* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This ebook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the ebook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the ebook. If either of these conditions applies, please contact a FP administrator before proceeding.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. IF THE BOOK IS UNDER COPYRIGHT IN YOUR COUNTRY, DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR REDISTRIBUTE THIS FILE.

Title: Life of Agnes Strickland

Date of first publication: 1887

Author: Jane Margaret Strickland

Date first posted: Oct. 8, 2017

Date last updated: Oct. 8, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20171002

This ebook was produced by: Alex White & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net




Agnes Strickland














All Rights reserved









A considerable time has elapsed between the death of Agnes Strickland, and the publication of this record of her life and literary labours.

Severe illness and important business often caused unavoidable delays to the editor, and prevented the completion of her task. Aware that the chronology was defective, from the fact that Agnes never dated her letters or fragmentary journals, the editor has endeavoured as best she could to arrange events in their proper order. She therefore hopes the reader will pardon errors for which she is not accountable. The dates respecting the sister authors’ stay in France may, however, be relied upon without any fear of mistake.

Both sisters had gained some popularity as writers in the annuals and other periodicals before they planned the series of Royal Biographies so widely known as ‘The Lives of the Queens of England.’ Their work was very popular, though in the later portion of the series they had to contend with the religious and political prejudices of some of their readers, who believed Agnes Strickland to be a Roman Catholic—an idea that probably originated from her baptismal and ancestral names, and from the fact that the head of her family, Walter Strickland of Sizergh Castle, Westmoreland, was Catholic still. As her sister would not allow her name to be associated with hers on the title-page, Agnes had to endure all the attacks made on her on account of the creed imputed to her by illiberal reviewers. Agnes was, however, a true daughter of the Church of England; in conjunction with her sisters, she founded the Reydon Sunday School, and when at home taught a class herself every Sabbath.

Her enthusiastic interest in the house of Stuart was more open to attack; but she only shared the feelings, and perhaps prejudices, of her ancestors, who had fought for their chivalric sovereign Charles I., and gone into exile with his bigoted son. Yet in spite of adherence to these gone-by politics, Agnes Strickland, like her father, was truly loyal to King George III., of whom she used to say, “his few faults originated from his malady, but his many virtues were his own.” The loyalty to his granddaughter, our own Queen, is seen in her description of the coronation, of which she was a delighted spectator. Opinions are divided respecting the sisters’ voluminous works, ‘The Lives of the Queens of England’ and ‘The Lives of the Queens of Scotland.’ The editor and many other readers consider the latter to be in a purer style, and more ably written.

It is as documentary historians that the sister authors’ derive their chief value. They state nothing but what they have authority for. Their admission to the State Paper Office enabled them to graft into their works facts which excited in the ignorant and prejudiced as much indignation as if the truths they cited had been pure inventions.

One very interesting fact was discovered by Agnes Strickland in the Cottonian Library, which, from an original letter she found there, exonerates our great Queen Elizabeth from the guilt of having signed the death-warrant of Mary Queen of Scots; for her signature was forged by one Harrison, a tool of Davidson, who employed his pen for that purpose.

If Agnes Strickland had done nothing more than by her researches to clear the memory of Elizabeth, she would have deserved the gratitude of posterity.


Birth and parentage of Agnes Strickland—Childhood—Early love of reading—First attempts at verse—Theatricals—First introduction to novels—Norwich—Monody on Death of Princess Charlotte—Metrical romances,1
Death of Mr Strickland—Publication of ‘Worcester Field’—Italian translations—Campbell and the ‘New Monthly’—Juvenile books—‘Lives of the Queens’ projected—Interview with Colburn—Joint authorship—Perils of literary popularity,13
Access to State Papers denied—But granted by Lord Normanby—Princess Victoria—The coronation—Royal impromptu verses by Agnes Strickland—Graceful self-possession of the young Queen,26
Royal acknowledgments of the ‘Lives’—Presentation at Court—Visit to Hammersmith Convent—Letter from Count Montalembert—Miss Strickland’s feminine tastes—Her mode of life—The royal wedding—‘Victoria from her Birth to her Bridal’—Letters from Guizot and Michelet—Dr Lingard’s opinion of the ‘Lives,’33
Publication of fourth volume—Visit to Sizergh—To Windermere—To Corby Castle—Involuntary trip to London,49
Catherine Parr and Mary Tudor—Escape from fire—Visit to the Houses of Parliament—Life of Elizabeth—Visit to the Lakes—To Scotland—Letter from Mrs Jamieson—Autograph requested by the Queen,64
Catherine of Braganza and Mary of Modena—Marriage of Sarah Strickland—Visit to France—Havre—Rouen—Paris—St Germains—Stuart Relics—Letter from Guizot—Palace of St Germains—Scots College—Lady Cowley’s ball—Letter from Amédée Pichot—Letter from Lady Elgin—Interview with Guizot—Introduced to the Duke of Wellington,84
Mary of Modena—The Count de Montemolin and Don Miguel—Visit to the Duke of Devonshire—The Misses Strickland decline to write the Lives of the Brunswick Queens—Tour in Scotland—The Craufurdland marriage—Highland tour—Stirling,139
Lord Lindsay—Lady Morgan—“No Popery” attacks—Bishop Stanley of Norwich’s defence of the ‘Lives of the Queens’—Lord Campbell’s plagiarisms and apology—Visit to Scotland—Chartist agitation—Miss Mackinnon—Bishop Stanley—Duke de Guiche—Visit to Chatsworth and Hardwick—Dr Wolff,163
‘Lives of the Queens of Scotland’—Edinburgh—Lord and Lady Morton—Miss Traill—Converting the Pope—Bishop Hinds of Norwich—Return of Major Strickland—Letter from Sir A. Alison,187
The Derwentwater peerage—Fresh difficulties with Colburn—Visit to Scotland—Lennoxlove—Prince Massimo—Hassop Hall—Walsingham Chapel,202
Splendid fête at Benacre Hall—Agnes introduced to Macaulay—His remark—Her rejoinder—Marriage of Major Strickland—Mr Lawson’s letter and legacies—Visit to Winchester College—Royal remains—Dean Alford—Marriage of Miss Stuart—Death of Lady Matilda,222
Agnes in Wales—Robbed of her watch—Lord Brougham at home—Prince Albert and the British Association at Aberdeen—Loch Leven,244
‘Old Friends and New Acquaintances’—Stanford Hall—Althorp and the Spencers—Clare, the peasant poet—Sudeley Castle—Attack by the ‘Spectator’—‘Bachelor Kings of England,’263
Ireland—Ball to the Prince of Wales—Dublin—Malahide—Rosmeade—Shane’s Castle,275
Accident—The Fletcher Gordons—Rousham Hall—‘Lives of the Seven Bishops’—Sancroft,284
The Gramonts—Drawing-room—Fronde’s Mary Stuart—Death of Mrs Strickland—Letter from Lady Buchanan,295
Oxford Commemoration—Explorations in the Tower—Queen Emma of Honolulu—Longmans’ and Bell’s editions of the ‘Queens’—Return of Colonel Strickland,305
Illness—Rousham Hall—Dytchley,319
Death of Colonel Strickland—Letter from Lady Augusta Stanley—From Victor Hugo—Visit to Holland House—Letter from Mr Thomas Wright—Lancaster—Sizergh—Ulverstone,325
‘Lives of the Stuart Princesses’—Tour in Holland—Lines on the Death of Miss Sheriffe—History of St Edmund—Civil List pension—Publication of ‘Stuart Princesses’—Scott commemoration—Henham ball,337
Serious accident—Paralysis and apoplexy—Declining health—Correspondence—Death,360



Agnes Strickland, the historian of the Queens of England and of Great Britain, was the second surviving daughter of Thomas Strickland, Esq. of Reydon Hall, Suffolk—her birth, which took place on August 19, 1796, having been preceded by that of her sister Elizabeth, the future associate of her literary labours. Both children were remarkably precocious, for neither could remember learning to read, though their greatest pleasures were derived from books far beyond the general capacity of infant minds. Though much attached to each other, the dispositions of the sisters were essentially different. Elizabeth was thoughtful beyond her years, and was never much of a child, while Agnes was fond of play, and as frolicsome as most young creatures are at her age. Indeed TRUTHFULNESS IN CHILDHOOD. the youthful mother of Agnes found the high-spirited little girl very difficult to manage; but though addicted to mischievous pranks, Agnes was remarkably truthful and honest, her faults springing from an open temper and active habits. In her father’s eyes her honourable avowal of faults for which she was sure to be punished, atoned for their delinquency, though troublesome and inconvenient to her mother.

There was one person, however, who could always bring the little rebel to contrition by appeals to her religious feelings. This person was an elderly widowed gentlewoman, who had lost all her property in the great fire that consumed a part of eastern London, and to whom Mr Strickland gave a home, as she had been brought up with his first wife. Perhaps the meek beauty of the Christian character was never better exemplified than in Mrs Harrison—a blessing to the young matron, to whose increasing family she proved a tender but self-constituted nurse. Though all shared her love, the little Agnes was regarded by her with extreme tenderness. It was from “dear Annie” Agnes learned the simple and sublime truths of the Gospel, which her friend brought forward to correct her faults; and while she wiped away the tears of the little rebel, who was indignant at receiving the justly incurred punishment, she made her acknowledge that it was just. Agnes profited so well by the religious instructions she received, that when Dr Middleton, afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, saw this child of seven years, he was astonished at her understanding and Scriptural knowledge.

Mr Strickland, who took charge of his elder daughters’ education, did not permit them the use of books of amusement, unless these were of a superior order, and were calculated to form their minds and morals; nor did he allow them to choose for themselves from the SHAKESPEARE BY STEALTH. stores of his own library. This restriction was in part lessened by a volume of Shakespeare falling by accident into his young daughters’ hands, and exciting their lively enthusiasm, Agnes declaring that she would never read any other book in her leisure hours; but Elizabeth, less imaginative, was more reasonable in her admiration of our immortal bard. They both, however, committed the finest passages of ‘Julius Cæsar’ to memory. But Agnes could not keep their acquisition from her father, who was too much pleased and surprised at the fruits of their disobedience to give them the reproof they expected to receive. He gave them leave to read Shakespeare in future, considering that their infant innocence would prevent them from receiving injury from those loose passages which the coarse manners of the age in which they were written had not only tolerated, but probably admired.

Pope’s ‘Homer’ succeeded Shakespeare in the estimation of Agnes, who learned many of the books of the ‘Iliad’ by heart.[1] She was passionately fond of poetry, and readily committed to memory what she admired; but from her father she derived her preference for history and biography. She read and re-read the two mighty folios of Rapin’s ‘History of England,’ translated by Tindal, and improved by his learned notes; and, strange to say, from that dull source she derived her historic inspiration, and was perhaps the first young girl who ever perused it without compulsion.

Harrison’s ‘Survey of London’ was also a favourite book. Plutarch’s ‘Lives’ gave her great delight, and perhaps turned her thoughts afterwards to the composition of biographical history. Elizabeth shared all her studies, but not her amusements. She was more FIRST POEM. womanly in all her actions; and while Agnes played with a doll, Elizabeth was studying the higher branches of arithmetic with her father. Mr Strickland wished to make his clever eldest girls mathematicians, and for some time had a hope that Elizabeth would realise his expectations. But the very mention of algebra frightened Agnes. Her lively imagination and passionate love for poetry unfitted her for scientific pursuits, though in her amusements the child betrayed the future historian. She was clever at cutting out paper, and her paper puppets represented the Court of Edward III., and through her mouth made speeches in Parliament, fought battles, and conquered kingdoms. As the fragments caused some inconvenience to the housemaid, the ingenious constructor sometimes had the mortification of finding the product of her labours destroyed by one who had no respect for the tiny representatives of King, Lords, and Commons.

As her years increased, Agnes began to consider the possibility of writing a poem herself—an historical one, of which the mighty Baron Bigod, who had defied the warlike first Edward to his face, was to be the hero.

She employed her leisure hours for some weeks in this premature poetical composition, keeping her literary labours a secret even from her sister Elizabeth, till the first canto was completed, when she brought her poem to her father with all the pride of a young author, her eager looks and sparkling eyes seeming to demand his admiration. To the infinite surprise and mortification of the author of twelve years, her poem, instead of pleasing her father, found in him a very severe critic. He pronounced it to be deficient in originality and merit, and advised her to give up verse-making till she was better acquainted with fine English poetry. He bestowed no praise to the luckless poem, but gave it a complete cutting up. The affection and veneration JACOBITE PRINCIPLES. Agnes felt for her beloved parent alone checked her tears. She promised to obey him; and in after-life was grateful to him for his wise and judicious criticism on her juvenile performance, though no harsh critique on her later works ever gave her so much pain as his had done. He rewarded her docility by putting the works of Milton, Gray, and Collins into her hands, the perusal of which inclined her to consign her immature attempt to the flames.

Agnes, after this discouragement, exchanged her literary work for that of the needle, in which she greatly excelled. She was fond of flowers, and took pleasure in cultivating them; but for reading she had an absolute passion. Books of mere amusement were interdicted; but as their father employed his daughters in reading history and biography to him, and discussed the events or lives of celebrated men with them, the want of lighter literature was hardly felt.

Notwithstanding their filial veneration for their father the two girls did not share his opinions in all things. Both imbibed the principles of their ancestors in regard to the Stuart kings, and were Jacobites, and so remained all their lives. Mr Strickland was a great admirer of William III., and of the revolution he effected. But the change must have taken place whether James II. had been dethroned by his son-in-law or not, since no free Protestant country could have borne his unconstitutional innovations on its laws and customs.

The Strickland family owed their education entirely to their parents. The neighbourhood possessed no masters for feminine accomplishments. An eccentric music-master was indeed procured from a distant town, under whose instructions Agnes promised to excel, till she gave up music for literature. The village of Reydon was an agricultural one, and afforded the young ladies REYDON THEATRICALS. of the Hall no companions: thus they were thrown upon their own resources entirely for recreation. Agnes, who had never seen a play in her life, resolved, with the aid of her four younger sisters, to act some scenes from Shakespeare, and selected the second part of ‘Henry VI.’ for their début. As they all had good memories, she did not find much difficulty in drilling her youthful company. Agnes, who, like her warlike ancestors, was a strict Lancastrian, could not induce Elizabeth to join her, for she was a stanch Yorkist, and they sometimes fell out while discussing those ancient politics. This new amusement lasted a whole winter, till Agnes, struck with the poetical beauty of Clarence’s dream, resolved, with the assistance of her next sister, to perform the murder scene in ‘Richard III.’—she herself taking the part of the doomed prince, while Sarah was to play the part of a good listener in Brackenbury, and also to take that of the first nameless villain. The scene came off very well till the entrance of the murderers, whose arch blooming juvenile faces did not accord with their evil intentions towards the hapless prisoner. A mistimed fit of risibility on their part overcame the gravity of the death-doomed Clarence, and the scene ended not in a tragedy but a comedy. Hitherto the juvenile performers had found in their kind parents a very favourable audience, but the ridiculous termination of this tragic scene made them discourage all private theatricals for the future.

Up to this time romances and novels were almost unknown to Agnes Strickland, till a visit to a married friend of her mother’s, residing in a country town, opened for her a new source of amusement in the contents of a circulating library—a better chosen one, too, than a rural district usually afforded. She read with much pleasure the works of Anna Maria and Jane Porter, Miss Edgeworth, the ‘Simple Story’ of Mrs Inchbald, and other A GOOD OMEN. works of merit, with immense delight. But the contents of the circulating library were not the sole attractions to Agnes in this first visit from home. Her friend had a baby, she passionately loved little children, and was much pleased if she could persuade the nurse to let her carry the infant about the garden. One morning she had taken the baby and was walking by the side of the river Blythe, whose sluggish waters bounded the garden, when a swarm of bees suddenly settled upon her and the infant. In this emergency Agnes did not lose her presence of mind; she stood still, though in great fear lest her charge should awake and buffet the intruders. Fortunately the swarm departed as suddenly as they came, recrossing the river in their search for a new habitation. To her great surprise the old nurse, who had witnessed the alarming incident, congratulated her—not upon her escape, however, but on the great good luck the lighting of the swarm upon her and the child would bring to both in later years. This classic superstition is naturalised in Suffolk—a singular one left by the Romans. Agnes, we may be sure, considered herself more fortunate in escaping the stings of her unwelcome visitors than in the prediction of the old woman.

Soon after Agnes Strickland’s return from her visit unforeseen difficulties compelled Mr Strickland to reside in the fine old city of Norwich, the capital of East Anglia and seat of its bishopric. The misconduct of a near relation of his wife, in whose business he had invested the chief part of his property, compelled him to leave Reydon during a portion of the year. As he possessed a house in Norwich, part of the family accompanied him, while the rest of the little flock remained with their mother. Notwithstanding the loss he had sustained, the change had its advantages for his children. There was an excellent classical school for the REVIVAL OF POETIC TALENT. boys, and the girls formed friendships and acquired the tone of society—advantages which were incompatible with the insulated situation of Reydon. There were fine libraries, too, from which they could obtain choice works on every subject. The pleasant walks in the vicinity, the noble cathedral, and fine old castle with its historical recollections, made their occasional visits to Norwich very agreeable to them.

But did the poetic talent always remain dormant in the bosom of Agnes Strickland? No, it did not. It suddenly broke forth upon her reading the account of the battle of Leipsic and the heroic death of the brave Prince Poniatowsky, in some impromptu lines whispered to her beloved confidant, Elizabeth. These verses have been preserved as they were written down by her sister. They evince considerable genius, but are not without the faults usually found in the compositions of youthful poets.

Change of place inducing new habits, prevented Agnes Strickland from giving her time to poetical composition till the great public calamity of the death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales revived the neglected talent. The Monody upon the decease of the presumptive heiress of the British empire originated from a depth of feeling which found vent in a poem which virtually opened the literary career of the future author of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England.’ A younger sister with difficulty prevailed upon her to show them to an accomplished literary friend of her father. He carried them to Mr Bacon, the editor of the ‘Norwich Mercury,’ who admired and published them in his journal. These verses excited some attention, but are now reprinted for the first time. No name being affixed to the Monody, the literary career of Agnes Strickland opened anonymously, though destined to give the unknown author a European reputation:— FIRST APPEARANCE IN PRINT.

Monody upon the Death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales.

Chill Autumn’s blast hath swept away

The smiling gifts of Summer’s sky;

Each floweret fades beneath its sway,

And darkly sad, and witheringly,

  They droop to earth and die.

A keener chill, a wilder blast,

O’er England’s brightest prospects passed,

And heavy was the mournful hour

When sunk in death her Royal Flower.


Oh fast the general tear-drops flow,

And long shall fall through many a year.

Mourn, Britain, mourn with bitter woe;

Thy cherished hopes, so bright, so dear,

  Are crushed beneath the blow.

The Deity’s chastising hand

Hath deeply struck the guilty land;

The stern and deadly shaft of Fate

Has left us dark and desolate.


The morning sun which rose so bright

And promised joy for future years,

No longer glads our eager sight—

That glorious dawn is quenched in night,

  And vainly flow our tears.

The cherished beam is early set,

Sad Claremont’s bowers are desolate,

And every cheek is pale and wet;

And lengthening years shall pass away,

Yet Britain still will mourn that day.


In vain arose the general prayer

That sought the nation’s Grace to save.

So young, so virtuous, and so fair—

E’en Death’s stern hand we thought might spare

  Such victim from the grave.

A mother’s anguish racked her frame,

But Heaven denied a mother’s name,—

Not hers, with dying tenderness,

Her Britain’s future king to bless.



No smiling infant met her sight,

Repaying each maternal pain;

For ne’er to view the morning’s light,

His eyes were closed in endless night—

  Her life was given in vain.

Perchance it had been sweet to give

Her life to bid her infant live:

To bless him with her dying breath,

Had softened e’en the pangs of death.


Mysterious are the ways of Fate,

Inscrutable and awful still;

And man is weak, and God is great,

And lowly in this mortal state

  We bow us to His will.

Yes, we must humbly, meekly bow

To that Great Hand that willed the blow—

For He who gives may take away;

And blessed be His name for aye.

As Lord Byron’s magnificent stanzas to the memory of this amiable young princess were not then written, the lines just quoted will bear a comparison, by no means to their disadvantage, with the many poems which the national calamity called forth.[2]

Agnes Strickland sent the paper containing the Monody on the Princess Charlotte of Wales to Reydon without avowing her authorship of it; and she was highly gratified by the praises given to her little poem by her parents and sisters, who were astonished and delighted when she acknowledged it to be her own. Indeed she had suffered so severely from fever that autumn, that POEM OF MATILDA. all mental exertion would have been forbidden for fear of ill consequences. From that early period of her existence poetry became a sort of inner life to Agnes, who gave up music, in which she promised to excel, for this absorbing pursuit, which, warmed and encouraged by parental praise, allowed her full liberty to follow the bent of her genius. After producing many minor pieces possessing considerable poetic merit, she determined to write a poem of some length—a metrical romance, to be called ‘Matilda,’ which, when completed, was to be read to her father, who had returned to his Norfolk home accompanied by his eldest daughter. In Elizabeth, Agnes possessed a judicious critic as well as an affectionate sister, whose fine taste, extensive reading, and judgment in literary compositions, were extremely useful to the youthful poet. No idea of publication entered her mind; nor was it fame that she was seeking, but the approbation of her father, for which alone she was striving.

Elizabeth and Jane kept her secret faithfully, and we must now suppose the poet of twenty years, with her two sisters, seated by her father’s side, to read the poem—alas! the last she was ever to recite to him. His delight and astonishment were long and fondly remembered by Agnes Strickland in later days, when her literary career had numbered her with the historians of her country, and the public had awarded her the meed of general praise. No popularity ever gave her such pure and unmixed pleasure as his approval.[3]

She commenced her next poem, entitled ‘Worcester Field; or, The Cavalier,’ the same spring. Her own JACOBITE SENTIMENTS. ancestors had been warm partisans of Charles I., to whom they had been devotedly loyal. She had inherited their devotion to the house of Stuart, and detested the bold usurper, whose vast talents had left nothing in the annals of his country but the memory of his successful crime, and no acquisitions but the island of Jamaica, stolen from the Spaniards in a time of peace, and the town of Dunkirk.

This was Sir Isaac Newton’s subscription copy, Mr Strickland’s first wife being the great-niece of that illustrious man.

It is a singular historic fact that the royal children who were the nearest in succession to the British throne were females—the Dukes of Clarence and Kent having no male offspring born to them; for the sceptre of the mightiest throne in the universe was destined to be wielded by the gentle hand of a lady, in the person of our own royal and merciful Queen Victoria, in whose reign not a single drop of blood has been shed for high treason—a fact almost unparalleled in the history of this country, or indeed in any other.

The poem entitled ‘Matilda’—with a longer one, the subject of which is the Wars of the Roses—remains still in MS., the taste of the public for metrical romance having been satiated with poetry in that style. Both these poems possess considerable merit; but the fame of Agnes Strickland was destined to accrue from her prose, to which she had not turned her attention at that time.



Sorrow, that deep stern lesson sent to chasten the joyous vivacity of young life, had not yet fallen upon Agnes Strickland and her family, till, on the 18th of May 1818, it came heavily down upon them, in the sudden death of the revered and beloved parent, the faithful and loving husband. The blow was sudden, the bereavement appearing yet more terrible from its being wholly unexpected. The widow, with feelings none but those similarly situated can understand, saw her young and numerous family, of which the younger portion were not yet out of childhood, bereft of paternal care when they most required it. The happy union of four-and-twenty years had been in a few sad moments brought to a close. There had been no discord to mar the wedded life of the couple now separated by the inexorable hand of death. Nothing but the extreme sufferings of her husband with hereditary gout had disturbed the tranquil life of the wife with him, though she could not witness his agonising pain BATTLE OF LIFE BEGUN. without feeling every pang in her heart. His patience in sickness, and cheerful spirits when convalescent, were remarkable, and seemed to reward her for all her tender conjugal care. His varied talents and accomplishments, his vast mental stores, fine person, and charming manners, had made her willingly renounce, for his sake, the gaieties of life, though she was nearly twenty years his junior. The loss to her was indeed irreparable, and rendered still heavier by pecuniary losses, which compelled her to practise a rigid and unsocial economy.

“The battle of life” was begun in good earnest, and all were disposed to fight it well and bravely. Agnes hoped to maintain her part of it by the publication of ‘Worcester Field; or, The Cavalier,’ a work commenced by her before her father’s lamented death. She was on the point of quitting with her family the East Anglian metropolis, though not without regret, when the poem was ready for the press. Her guardian—a man of literary taste and talent—hoped he had found for her a publisher in Baldwin, the proprietor of the ‘London Magazine,’ who admired it, and wished to insert it in monthly parts in his periodical. The sum he offered, though not considerable, would not have been unworthy of the attention of a young unknown author; but, unfortunately, El Dorados usually glitter in the imaginations of poets, and her kind guardian could not induce her to accept the offered remuneration, or open her eyes to the utility of the arrangement he had taken much pains to make for her. She had reason to regret her refusal at a later date; for when a publisher was found, and the poem was in type, his failure caused the sheets to be seized, which occasioned her much anxiety and cost to release the prisoners. The work was finally brought out, at the request of some loving friends, by subscription—a method that confined it, of course, to ITALIAN STUDIES. private circulation. This poem was considered to possess considerable merit, and was much extolled by its kind purchasers. It was followed, two years later, by ‘The Seven Ages of Woman,’ which was not so popular as ‘Worcester Field; or, The Cavalier’ had been. The feeling for poetry was fading away, and sober prose had replaced it in the public mind. Indeed the galaxy of illustrious poets who adorned the early part of the nineteenth century had left none to successfully compete with them. Agnes was not then aware that her name was to be celebrated as a prose writer, for she continued “to write in numbers, for the numbers came.”

A new source of intellectual pleasure was opened for her by the study of the Italian language—her kind instructor being an elderly cousin of her father, an engraver of some eminence, and a highly accomplished man. He generally passed the summer months at Reydon, where he was a very welcome and beloved guest. Being a man of vast acquirements, a fine musician, a great antiquary, and one who had seen much of life, his company enlivened the solitude of Reydon; and he kindly devoted himself to the task of completing the education of his young cousins, who on their parts took some pains to draw him out of his eccentric old bachelor ways, but of course with very little success. Agnes was a great favourite with this amiable old gentleman, with whom she read Petrarca, Ariosto in select portions, and Dante. Of the most obscure passages of the last he could give a learned exposition. The two Tassos—the father and son—she also studied with him, and soon rendered into flowing verse the beautiful stanzas “Di Lontananza” of Bernardo Tasso, addressed by him to his beloved wife Portia, whom he was destined to behold no more. She was no great admirer of Torquato’s ‘Gerusalemme,’ nor of his heroine Clorinda; for her feminine feelings could not sympathise INTERVIEW WITH CAMPBELL. with a fighting woman, however exquisitely portrayed by the great poet. She translated many sonnets from Petrarca, and other choice pieces, to the infinite delight of her preceptor, many of which afterwards appeared in the ‘New Monthly Magazine.’

Her cousin painted a fine miniature of Agnes during one of his visits at Reydon, which is now in the possession of her sister, Mrs Gwillym. This was an excellent likeness of her at the time it was taken, as she was then fuller in person than in more mature years. A cast of her head was afterwards made, somewhat to her regret, though she was an enthusiastic phrenologist; for the operators robbed her of a considerable portion of her magnificent black hair—a costly sacrifice she had no wish to make to science, the admiration her head received from its votaries not consoling a young lady for the injury done to her tresses.

During her first visit to London she had an interview with Campbell, who at that time edited the ‘New Monthly Magazine.’ He praised her talents, and afterwards described her to his friends as a lovely, interesting creature, full of genius and sensibility. She had the pleasure of shaking hands with Sir Walter Scott, of whose works she was an enthusiastic admirer. But she did not enter into society, for her bachelor cousin and his niece led very secluded lives in Newman Street. The library was, however, stored with rare books in many languages, and portfolios filled with choice prints and fine drawings; and she was amused and happy. Her gifted cousin and her father’s dear old friend the Chevalier Giese were her cicerones to public places. The wonders of art contained in the British Museum and National Picture Gallery made the want of lively society little felt to an intelligent young woman. For the first time in her life she saw a play, and was much delighted with the representation of Shakespeare’s LITERARY FRIENDS. ‘Henry VIII.,’ which was strongly cast, and which realised her own vivid conceptions of the characters introduced in that noble drama.

Upon her return to Reydon, she resumed the toilsome uphill work of a comparatively unknown author. She turned her attention to prose, and found in juvenile works the means of obtaining a little ready money. In conjunction with Elizabeth, she wrote a popular book of this kind—‘The Rival Crusoes;’ then ‘Historical Tales of Royal British Children,’ published by Hales; and soon after, ‘Historical Tales,’ published by Parker. These juvenile works made a great impression on Young England, and readily obtained for the author and her younger sisters admission into the juvenile annuals. She was now becoming a popular author, and her contributions to the annuals were generally appreciated, and opened for her an acquaintance with many people of literary celebrity.

In her visits to the metropolis, she found a home with Mrs Leverton, her father’s first cousin, a widow lady of fortune, residing in Bedford Square, under whose chaperonage she entered into society. Here she met Mr Sotheby, who presented her with his ‘Italy,’ and made the acquaintance of many of her father’s family, who till then had been personally unknown to her. Under the care of Mrs Leverton she was able to see many influential editors. Of these Mr Jerdan proved a useful friend: he appreciated her talents, and always gave her works favourable reviews. She had made the acquaintance of the learned and eccentric Mr Mitford, the editor of the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine,’ during a journey in which they were fellow-travellers, and his critical pen was likewise at her service.

The intense interest Agnes took in the struggle of the Greeks to shake off the Turkish yoke, made her once more apply her talents to poetry. ‘Demetrius,’ PLAN OF ENGLISH QUEENS. though the most polished of her poems, was cut up by Fraser the publisher in his own magazine, to the great injury and displeasure of the author, who had rashly published it on her own account. The cause of the Greeks no longer interested the English nation, and the publication of ‘Demetrius’ caused the author considerable loss.

Agnes again devoted her talents to a prose work, to be published upon the share account—‘The Pilgrims of Walsingham,’ a series of tales in three volumes, of which she retained the copyright. It produced neither loss nor gain. The time was, however, drawing on when she would abandon light literature for a higher walk, for which her early education and aspirations had prepared her.

Elizabeth, who at this time edited the ‘Court Journal,’ had written for it some interesting biographies of female sovereigns, which were very popular. Agnes then conceived the idea that the historical biographies of the Queens of England would prove a useful and interesting addition to the libraries of Great Britain. The sisters united in planning the work, and procured its announcement under the title of ‘Memoirs of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest.’ They lost no time in bringing their plan into operation; but though both possessed great historic information, they were aware that they must obtain documentary evidence if they determined to establish their biographies upon the firm basis of truth. While they were consulting reliable authorities, the accession of the young Queen presented a favourable opportunity for dedicating the work to her. Her Majesty was pleased to accept it very graciously, and the ‘Memoirs of the Queens of England’ was announced, with the dedication to the present sovereign. The first volume was already prepared for the press, when the title of their work was appropriated THE TITLE PIRATED. by another female author, and the sisters were forestalled in the literary market by her publication.

Agnes was so annoyed and mortified by this incident, that she was inclined to give the volume up. Elizabeth considered the pirating of the title of little consequence, as a better would be found in the ‘Lives of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest,’ by which the work was afterwards widely circulated and known. Agnes found no difficulty in disposing of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ which Mr Colburn agreed to publish upon the share account, she being exonerated from all risk, and dividing with him the profits of the work. Unfortunately, she drew up the agreement herself, and being wholly unacquainted with the technicalities required in such instruments, supposed she had made a good and binding arrangement for herself as well as for her publisher. The first volume had a very rapid sale, and the demand for the succeeding ones being urgent on Colburn’s part, the author did not demand the settlement as prudence required she should have done. The second volume followed the first with great rapidity—too great, indeed, to have been the work of one writer alone. Agnes, always delicate, fell into ill health, the result of intense labour, and would have been unable to proceed with the work even if no other cause for the delay had existed; but there was indeed a very stringent one, that would have stopped the pens of the sisters independent of the increasing languor of Agnes. This was the long purposely delayed settlement by Mr Colburn, which, when gone into, left, from the share account of the most popular work he had ever published, a paltry and inadequate remuneration.

The disappointment and vexation this caused the authors were extreme. Agnes became dangerously ill, and she resolved to give up the continuation of the AGNES OUT OF HEALTH AND SPIRITS. ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ from which she had gained much fame and no profit. Elizabeth, less sanguine, and possessing a finer constitution and more masculine mind than her sister, comforted and supported her desponding partner, by assuring her “that she saw a clear way out of the dilemma in which the unfair dealing of Colburn had placed them.”

The publisher insisted that the work should proceed; but how could he compel a person to write for his profit over whom the shadow of death seemed impending, or oblige another to do so whose name had appeared neither in the agreement nor on the title-page? In answer to the lawyer’s letter sent to Agnes, the certificate of her medical attendant gave a sufficient reason for her non-compliance with his demands upon her pen. Then Mr Colburn, when the joint authorship was made known to him, requested a personal interview with Elizabeth, upon whose literary labours he had no legal claim.

Perhaps no successful author was so unfortunate as Agnes Strickland at this trying period. She was sick and sorrowful, her hope of ample remuneration lost, and the prospect, if she recovered her health, of a life of fruitless labour before her. No wonder she was sad, with such a cheerless outlook before her.

Before complying with Mr Colburn’s request for an interview, Elizabeth consulted an eminent barrister, Archibald Stephens, Esq., upon the validity of the document containing the agreement between Agnes and her publisher. He was of opinion that the document, though it bound her sister, could not affect her, as her name was not included therein.

As soon as she was furnished with his instructions and advice, she made an appointment with Mr Colburn, who received her with great politeness, assuring her that as her sister’s illness prevented her from proceeding with the work, he should be satisfied by her continuing ELIZABETH’S INTERVIEW WITH COLBURN. it, as her literary talents were well known and appreciated by him.

Elizabeth in reply reminded him that she had made no agreement with him—that what she had done was to assist her sister in the arduous labour that had injured her health and left her in her present precarious state, adding, “I shall do nothing for you, having signed no document to that effect.”

This was a statement very puzzling to the publisher, who was not aware of the joint authorship of the sisters, and was evidently surprised and annoyed upon learning it. After a few minutes he replied, “But if I were to offer you a certain sum per volume, would you then refuse to continue the work?”

“If my sister, upon her recovery, is willing to accept your offer, I shall not refuse my assistance, but I will not allow my name to appear upon the title-page,” was her answer; and with this compromise Mr Colburn was obliged to be content.

Finally, a new agreement was drawn up under the direction of Mr Stephens, in which Elizabeth’s name was duly entered, Mr Colburn agreeing to pay the joint authors £150 per volume, upon which conditions they consented to continue the work—a poor remuneration for one so eminently important and successful as the ‘Lives of the Queens of England.’ In the new deed the authors forbade any corrections or alterations to be made by any hands but their own. No official of the publisher’s was to be allowed to introduce or exclude a single word; nor could the copyright be sold without the consent of the authors.

Elizabeth’s invincible dislike to seeing her name in print was fortunate on this occasion. She had no real reason for her aversion, for her talents were equal to her sister’s, and her industry greater; but she hated notoriety, and never courted it in any shape. Hitherto AGNES AT NEEDLEWORK. the joint authorship of the sisters has been only known to the few, and has remained a mystery to the many; but the veil is now to be raised, and the share taken by each lady arranged in proper order. There was indeed a marked individuality in the separate styles of Elizabeth and Agnes Strickland, which ought to have apprised the public of the fact that these royal biographies were not all by the same hand; nor, indeed, could one person have produced the serial volumes in such rapid succession.

While the negotiations with Mr Colburn were proceeding, Agnes remained in a very precarious state at Reydon, slowly recovering from sore throat and fever; but the prospect of a new agreement relieved her nervous depression, and she amused herself during her lingering convalescence with doing some ornamental work, in which from childhood she had been a proficient. Forbidden to write a line by the absolute decree of her medical attendant, she found pleasure in the use of her needle. Intensely feminine in her habits, she was never happier than while thus employed. Her first inquiry for the fine bâtiste handkerchief she had been embroidering gave her sister Jane, who was her sole nurse, great delight, as it showed a reviving interest in sublunary affairs, of which she had long appeared to have lost sight. This elaborate piece of stitchery was designed by herself with the needle alone, as she proceeded with the work, without the aid of a pattern. It was indeed a very delicate and beautiful imitation of point-lace, wrought in the cambric itself, and would have been greatly valued, and probably framed, if it had not been stolen by an ungrateful maid some years afterwards, to the great mortification of the artiste. As the handkerchief progressed so did the health of Agnes Strickland, and her family had soon the happiness of ANNOYANCE. seeing her restored to their society in her usual buoyant spirits.

As every serial volume of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ sold off as soon as issued from the press, it was supposed that Miss Agnes Strickland had realised large sums by the work. This erroneous supposition was an unfortunate one for her, whose sole name was on the title-page, since it subjected her to a series of petty annoyances in the shape of begging-letters from unknown individuals, papers requesting donations for building hospitals, restoring churches, and furnishing libraries. Some of her correspondents even requested her to favour them with situations under Government—one gentleman, whom she had known as a troublesome child, demanding of her to procure a snug sinecure for him. She was perfectly astonished, as well she might be, at the ignorance and folly of these applicants, who really were hoaxing themselves, not her, for they had the absurdity to be in earnest. Their cupidity did not deserve any answer, and she gave them none; but her kindly and charitable nature would not at first permit her to leave unnoticed and unrelieved many moving appeals to her compassion, till their frequent occurrence, and the repetition of the same pathetic story, in some measure opened her eyes to the necessity of closing her hand to unknown persons who were continually soliciting her alms.

More than fifty letters, purporting to be from the widows of clergymen, related in moving language the following story, stating “that the applicant had taken and furnished a house with the intention of keeping a school, but not being able to obtain scholars, could not pay for the furniture, and in consequence was threatened with arrest.” Agnes, after contributing to several cases of this kind, remembered that the obvious way of meeting the difficulty would have been to send ACQUIRES CAUTION. back the furniture, and was strongly advised to take no notice of the writers; and after reading a statement in an influential paper, she became more cautious, and confined her charity to subscriptions to valuable institutions, and to the relief of distress in her own neighbourhood, unless cases were recommended to her notice by her own friends.

The continual demand for autographs was also troublesome and expensive, but after a time she left such requirements unnoticed unless a stamped envelope with the address was enclosed. But a more serious attack upon the time and patience of the worried author consisted in questions requiring information already given in her work. Persons, too, bored her about their pedigrees, instead of applying to the Heralds’ Office for the missing links they were desirous to obtain. Such applications, however, would have cost them money, though they could have procured from thence the necessary information they required, if, indeed, they had any real claim to pedigrees.

Then the success of the ‘Queens of England’ gave rise to an immense number of royal female biographies, most of which fell dead-born from the press, to the authors’ or Mr Colburn’s loss. A host of plagiarists also sprang up, who chose the same subject as the successful work, and pillaged it without owning their obligations. One firm, indeed, who employed a person to write lives of the Queens of England for their magazine, had to pay a considerable sum for appropriating the work, which had been copied out without the slightest attempt at alteration.

But her correspondence was not always of this troublesome kind. Many learned and illustrious persons sent her valuable extracts from their family archives, or directed her attention to scarce books. Those persons, too, of ancient name and lineage, to VALUABLE CORRESPONDENTS. whom she applied for information regarding their own ancestors which could not be obtained from other sources, readily opened their family records for her inspection; and, in cases where no information relating to a particular era or individual existed, returned courteous replies to her requests, and referred her to the quarters where it might possibly be found.



The settlement with Colburn being now concluded, the sisters proceeded with the volume so urgently demanded by their publisher. Elizabeth remained in town, whither, as soon as Agnes was able to travel, she must also follow.

As soon as Agnes Strickland’s health was fully re-established, she joined her sister in London, and resumed her labours in the British Museum. She found close employment in the proofs and revises of the new volume, which she endeavoured, in conjunction with her sister, to render as perfect as possible. Their joint labours were eminently successful.

The third volume of the Queens, when concluded, fully realised the expectations of the public; but, in order to render the fourth volume a truthful and valuable record of the lives of Henry VIII.’s consort-queens, access to the State Paper Office was absolutely necessary. Agnes Strickland’s application to Lord John Russell for permission to examine these historical treasures met with an uncourteous repulse. She was AGNES DENIED TO THE RECORDS. surprised, and somewhat indignant, but was determined not to give the matter up, as she must examine legal documents before commencing the biographies of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard—delicate and difficult tasks, requiring great research and considerable tact.

Mr Howard of Corby Castle had already, in the Howard Memorial, given our female biographers valuable information respecting his ancestress Adelicia of Louvaine, the second wife of Henry I. In expressing her thanks to this learned gentleman, Agnes informed him of her intention of presenting him with her work as the serial volumes came out. His manner of accepting the gift was very gratifying to her, and his commendations induced her to apply to him for assistance respecting the guarded documents so jealously excluded from her examination in the State Paper Office, which he readily granted. Sir George Strickland, whose help she also engaged, united with him in using their influence with Lord Normanby to procure the admission she required. The noble Marquis conferred the favour in a very courteous manner, and the sisters were each given separate orders of admission at any hour or time it might please them to attend.

The British nation had not taken that care of the national records that the French people had, for these had been preserved throughout the reign of anarchy and terror, and were beautifully and methodically arranged. A better order of things in England had indeed taken place, but not before an immense collection had been destroyed by rats or used for waste-paper.

The production of the serial volumes of the royal biographies occasioned considerable expense, as both the authors must spend a large portion of their time in London, in order to study authorities not to be procured FIRST SIGHT OF PRINCESS VICTORIA. in the country. If they had not had some independent property they could not have found the requisite funds for carrying on their popular work. After a time Elizabeth took the lease of a pretty cottage in Bayswater, near Kensington Gardens, where Agnes only occasionally joined her studious sister. She was fond of society, and had formed warm friendships with many persons in whose families she was a beloved and welcome guest.

The death of King William had taken place while Agnes was in London the year before—an event which gave a regnant Queen to Great Britain in the person of a princess in the early bloom of eighteen, in whose accession Agnes Strickland had felt deeply interested. Her Jacobite predilections did not prevent her from being a loyal subject to the reigning family. She venerated George III., and had regarded the young orphan princess, the presumptive heiress of the kingdom, with enthusiastic interest. “I went yesterday with some ladies,” Agnes had formerly written in a letter to a friend, “to see the Princess Victoria of Kent return from the Drawing-room. She is a sweet smiling girl, as yet unsmitten by the storms that ere long will be smitten into her heart and brain by those who at present shout loudest in her praise. She is now the idol of the multitude; but for how long? Her joyous days will soon be over.” Such were the reflections of the author of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ while contemplating the lovely and youthful princess who in a few weeks was to become the sovereign of the greatest empire in the world.

Agnes was in London at the time of the proclamation of the young and interesting sovereign, whom she had seen a year before as Princess Victoria, a lovely and sweet young girl in her early maiden bloom. The grandeur of the pageant, which recalled so many historic recollections, made a lively impression on her THE YOUNG QUEEN. fancy, and kindled in her bosom an enthusiastic flame of loyalty, which indeed was shared by all; for never had the accession of any British monarch occasioned such a general feeling of loyal joy—no, not even that of Elizabeth, or indeed of George III., for in both cases strong parties were ready to oppose, if they dared, their just claims; but round the young royal Victoria clustered united wishes, ardent hopes, and pious prayers for her long life and prosperous reign, which in her merciful rule and personal example have been indeed answered.

A year later Agnes Strickland gives, in a letter to her sister Jane, the following brief notice of her youthful sovereign: “I saw our fair young maiden Queen in her diadem go in state to dissolve Parliament, and a sweet lovely creature she looked, all smiles and animation. It was a pleasure to see her apparently so happy.”

These brief notices will be useful to biographers in future days, when the minutest particulars relating to our excellent Queen will be eagerly sought for and lovingly recorded; for Agnes Strickland was devotedly loyal, and her Majesty could not have a more faithful subject, however limited her means of proving her loyalty might be.

As she particularly wished to see the coronation, and was presented with a ticket for that august ceremonial, rendered doubly interesting by the youth of the maiden Queen, she was obliged to shorten her slumbers that she might take possession of her seat in the Abbey as early as possible. She witnessed that splendid pageant with feelings of deep interest and admiration. It was a touching spectacle, she thought, to behold a youthful female sovereign solemnly pledging her faith to her people, to rule them well and wisely. The appearance of the maiden Queen was most interesting, and her costume suited her style remarkably well. THE CORONATION. “Her fair hair, in plaits, was simply folded, and arranged at the back of her head in a Grecian knot. She wore the picturesque garland-shaped diadem of the Plantagenet sovereigns, only in a lighter form, composed of very fine brilliants set transparently, which, from their absence of colour and pellucid brightness, resembled a wreath of hawthorn-blossoms covered with tremulous dewdrops.

“Surely never did any British sovereign receive inauguration under circumstances so auspicious and imposing. Yet she appeared serene and self-possessed when she arose from her private devotions and seated herself calmly in her recognition chair, round which her lovely train-bearers were grouped in their perfect costumes of white satin and garlands of blush-roses. There, too, were her maids of honour in virgin white, in attendance on their Queen. The ladies of the bedchamber, in their matron dignity, were not less attractive in a uniform costume of white satin and blonde, with trains of watchet-blue, white plumes, and splendid diamond tiaras.

“The pause between the recognition of the young Queen and her presentation to the people by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was broken by the whole body of the Westminster scholars rising up and saluting their sovereign, with the chorus, ‘Victoria, Victoria! vivat Victoria Regina!’ Of this their old prescriptive right they certainly availed themselves in good earnest, proud to be the first in the Abbey to hail their liege Lady.” Nothing seemed to Agnes more striking than the recognition and the general acclamations that followed the presentation of the Queen to her loyal people.

The enthusiastic loyalty of Agnes Strickland was shared by a mighty people; but while theirs found vent in acclamations, hers were mentally expressed spontaneously in these lines:— IMPROMPTU VERSES ON THE QUEEN.

Young maiden-Queen of England,

  Bright blossom of our isles,

God’s blessing is upon thee—

  On thee a people smiles.


How fondly we have watched thee

  Since that auspicious morn,

When thou to bless three mighty realms

  In happy hour wert born!


A royal child of England,

  Amidst thy people reared,

By many a precious memory

  To British hearts endeared.


Our ancient regal diadem,

  Ne’er shone so bright as now;

It boasts a light it could not lend

  To that young royal brow.


Oh may its glittering circlet ne’er

  For thee contain a thorn,

But long in glory and renown

  By thee, sweet maid, be worn!


And soon, its cares to lighten,

  In wedded love allied,

May we exulting hail thee,

  A happy, happy bride!


The mother of a mighty race

  Of kings whose deathless fame

Shall rival great Plantagenet

  And haughty Tudor’s name.


Our Alfred’s sacred lineage

  Continued still through thee,

And true-born English princes

  Victoria’s sons shall be.[1]

“I enjoyed,” remarks Agnes Strickland, “a fine view THE CROWNED QUEEN. of her Majesty on her return and progress through the choir. Our Sovereign Lady now appeared in her purple robe, her train borne as before by her eight noble and graceful suivantes. The crown-royal was sparkling on her head, and she supported its weight with becoming dignity. The tender paleness that had overspread her fair face on her entrance, had yielded to a glow of ‘rosy celestial red,’ and this brilliant flush added to the beauty of her countenance, and set off her jewels and regal splendour. In her right hand she bore the sceptre, in her left the orb, which, though large for the grasp of her fairy fingers, she carried with peculiar grace, moving with a firm majestic step, and acknowledging the rapturous applause of her people with gracious looks and smiles of satisfaction.”[2]

Published by Mr Colburn, in ‘Queen Victoria, from her Birth to her Bridal.’

Victoria, from her Birth to her Bridal.



The first volume of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ was presented by Agnes to her youthful Sovereign, whose librarian, Mr Glover, acknowledged her Majesty’s gracious reception of it by the following letter:—

Madam,—I have had the honour to submit the first volume of your ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ which you transmitted to me some time since, to the Queen, and I have great satisfaction in now being able to acquaint you that her Majesty received it very graciously, and was pleased to honour me with her commands to express to you how very sensible her Majesty is of your attention in presenting it for her perusal.—I have the honour to be, madam, your very obedient servant,

J. W. Glover.”

Agnes Strickland was delighted by receiving this ROYAL AC­KNOWL­EDG­MENTS. intimation that the august Lady to whom by gracious permission the royal biographies were dedicated, had acknowledged the receipt of the volume in a manner so gratifying to the feelings of the author.

Nor was the Queen-Dowager, to whom Agnes Strickland also sent a copy, less gracious in acknowledging the reception of the work.

“Lord Howe presents his compliments to Miss Agnes Strickland, and is commanded to convey the Queen-Dowager’s thanks for the first volume of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ which Miss Strickland has been so good as to send to her Majesty, who has received it with great satisfaction.

Marlborough House,

March 23, 1840.

The presentation of any lady to the Sovereign forms an episode in her life; and the historian of the Queens of England, who had witnessed the coronation and bridal procession of the Queen, was very desirous of seeing Victoria presiding in her Court. In a letter to her beloved friend Miss Porter, she gives the following account of so important an event:—

May 28, 1840.

“I have not written to you, my dearest, kindest friend, since the great affair of my presentation, which was beautifully arranged for me by the amiable Howards, Mrs Howard kindly regretting that (she was pleased to say) she could not have the gratification of presenting me herself, but would consign me to her venerable friend Lady Stourton, who was in all respects one of the most distinguished ladies I could have.

“It was an agitating but gratifying day; and fortunately I was so little embarrassed, that I absolutely forgot, PRESENTATION AT COURT. till I felt the train gently replaced on my arm after I had gone through the ceremonial, nor was I conscious of having so many yards of velvet sweeping behind me. When my name was announced to her Majesty, she smiled and looked most kindly. Nothing could be more gracious than her reception of my homage.

“Prince Albert returned my curtsey with a very courteous bow, and I passed from the presence with feelings of increased interest for the royal pair, but heard the most cruel and bitter remarks uttered by some of the ladies who had preceded me through the ante-room, on what they styled the ungracious and repulsive behaviour of the Queen to themselves and others. I am sure she was all sweetness to me, and those who thought so hardly of her had no business to intrude themselves upon her under the pretext of paying their homage.

“On Monday I attended the birthday Drawing-room, and a brilliant scene it was. The Queen gave me a nod and smile of friendly recognition when the lord-in-waiting pronounced my name. Nothing could be more gracious. She seemed to understand my feelings towards her. After all was over, I joined the dear Mackinnons in the corridor. Louisa Mackinnon looked lovely in her elegantly fancied dress, and is really one of the sweetest and most unaffected girls I know. You would have liked to see me in my Court costume, violet velvet, lined with primrose, over Brussels lace, and white satin; and from the absence of trimming and frippery, my nice historical dress cost less than many of the butterfly costumes round me. It was very suitable for the occasion, and will be useful.

“You will, I know, rejoice to hear that I have had one of the most gratifying notes in the world from Guizot, the French ambassador, on the ‘Lives of the Queens.’ He has, besides, allowed me to quote this proud testimonial to the work in the Introduction to the third volume.

“Most ardently do I hope we may meet in town. I rejoice to hear you are daily improving in health; and believe me ever, with much love, your affectionate friend,

Agnes Strickland.”

The historian of the Queens of England was much struck by the graceful self-possession her Majesty displayed upon every public occasion—the truest test of a dignified mind.


As conventual life was a mystery to Agnes, it was necessary for her, as a historian, to see the Christian vestals and their home. She was furnished with letters of introduction to the lady abbess, and also to Lady Bedingfield, who was living in the convent at Hammersmith when not on duty at Court, she being one of the Queen-Dowager Adelaide’s ladies. Agnes gives the following account of her visit to her sister Sarah:—

“We rang at a bell attached to a grated door, which was opened by a nice old dear in a white hood, with a large black scarf pinned over it like a veil. This was the porteress, who greeted us with a smile, and immediately ushered us into a shabby, ugly parlour, hung with prints and paintings of saints. One represented the embarkation of St Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins. After a time the lady abbess came in, wearing her Benedictine dress, black veil, and gold cross, who seemed embarrassed at first, till a dear old nun, whom she called Sister Josepha, came in, when her reserve wore off, and she took us to see her chapel and burying-ground. Then Dame Selby, the abbess, claimed kindred with me from the Stricklands of Sizergh Castle, and we became excellent friends.

“I was then taken to be introduced to a novice, who had received the white veil the day before. She was a very tall, interesting-looking person, in spectacles, wearing a chaplet of white roses over her veil, and a garland of flowers hung at the door of her cell. She was very lively, and was delighted with our visit. Her name is Sister Mary Walburga.”


The absence of drawers and wardrobe in her cell surprised Agnes Strickland, who asked, “Where she kept her clothes?” “I have none,” replied the novice, “as an individual possession. Our vestments are furnished from the conventual wardrobe.” When we consider how much importance women usually attach to dress, this regulation appears an admirable one for a religious community, and shows a complete severance from the things of this world; but it gave Agnes a melancholy view of conventual life, who was rather fond of rich attire.

“Lady Bedingfield received me with much warmth,” continues Agnes. “She was a Miss Jerningham of Cossey, and though seventy years old, is a very delightful person, bright and intelligent as well as amiable. She showed me a splendid MS. illumination of the battle of Tewkesbury, which she copied in the convent of Ghent. She told me how much Queen Adelaide admired the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ and how delighted every one was with the work. Lady Bedingfield’s rooms are beautifully arranged, and contain fine paintings and many curiosities. She will give me a MS. letter of Queen Mary Beatrice when she returns my visit, which she means to do the first time she comes to town.”

Agnes afterwards witnessed the profession of the novice of the year before. “It was,” she writes, “a very affecting spectacle. She received the black veil from the Bishop, and pronounced her vows—vows that dissevered her from the world—in a firm voice. The LETTER FROM COUNT DE MONTALEMBERT. service was interesting, and the nuns sang divinely. After the touching scene was over, we drank tea with Lady Bedingfield, and were introduced to the Catholic Bishop.

“The nuns appeared cheerful and happy; they were constantly employed—a great aid to contentment. Some were employed in teaching their school, others were painting or embroidering, and there was no time left for ennui. Their profession, too, was perfectly voluntary—it was the life they believed to be the most agreeable to God. Friendships in convents are not encouraged—a dreary circumstance in female life, of which it forms a principal charm. To young women of sensibility this can hardly fail to be a source of regret—at least we Protestants cannot but suppose so.”

Mr Philip Howard was very useful to Agnes Strickland by engaging in her service many of his literary friends in France. The following letter from Charles Forbes, Count de Montalembert, proves how much pains he had taken to interest that distinguished gentleman in her behalf:—

My dear Mr Howard,—I have received the two letters you have done me the honour to address me on the 23d and 10th instant, but it has been impossible for me to answer sooner, because of the very numerous public and private avocations I have had to fulfil, and also because of the length of time required for any sort of research like that required by Miss Agnes Strickland.

“I have consulted several persons who seemed to me most competent on such matters, but no one can give me any satisfactory answer with regard to the will of Margaret of Anjou. I have requested a member of our House of Commons M. Leprecost, renowned for his antiquarian lore, to search in the General Record Office for this same will, and he has most kindly undertaken this task, but as yet he has obtained no satisfactory result. As soon as I may hear something favourable from him or anybody else on this subject, I shall hasten to transmit that information to you. It will always give me pleasure to be useful or agreeable to you.—-With my respectful compliments to your father and mother, I remain, dear Mr Howard, your faithful and obliged servant,

De Montalembert.”


Agnes Strickland did not spend all her time in study. She was fond of society, and formed many lasting and enduring friendships among the great and good. Lady Braye, Lady Blantyre and her charming family, Alexander Mackinnon, M.P., and his amiable daughters;[1] and last, not least, Miss Jane Porter, the kindest, most useful, and disinterested of friends. But her attachments were not limited to the members of her own Church. The Howards of Corby Castle, and their accomplished daughter Lady Petre, though strict Roman Catholics, were very dear to her; and Mr Howard, and his learned son Mr Philip Howard, were very serviceable in the antiquarian portion of the work, as well as in furnishing the sisters with many rare historical documents. To her intimacy with the Howard family, and to her own ancestral names of Agnes Strickland, she owed perhaps the report that she was of the same religion as the head of her own house, the Stricklands of Sizergh, who had never quitted the ancient faith. Now she had been the means of founding a Sunday-school at Reydon, and when at home regularly taught the village children every Sabbath-day, who read the New Testament with her, and recited the Catechism and Collects, which formed their course of instruction. This is surely a sufficient refutation of an unfounded assertion.

Agnes Strickland had the pleasure of seeing the young maiden Queen open her Parliament, and was surprised and charmed by her delivery of her speech. Her self-possession, distinct enunciation, and sweet-toned AGNES’S FEMININE TASTES. voice, realised what had been so greatly admired in Queen Anne, and had been commended by those who had heard her long after that Queen-regnant had passed away. For our own Sovereign Lady, among many other accomplishments, possessed the rare one of reading and speaking well in public. Perhaps no other young princess in Europe could have addressed a great national assembly with so much dignity and grace; and Agnes Strickland was proud of her Queen. She had come to town for this purpose, and was gratified in witnessing this grand historical scene.

We must, however, remember that Agnes Strickland was really more of the woman than the author. She had a feminine love of dress and female employments, was fond of fine needlework, and did not despise the more useful handicrafts to which the needle is applied, and, till she had a maid, mended her own stockings. On one occasion of great distress she and her sister Elizabeth sat down to make a sheet for a sick person, which proved that the authors of the Queens were as familiar with the use of the needle as with that of the pen. Agnes for her especial friends would provide pretty accessories for the toilet of her own manufacture, and never seemed happier than when so employed. A glance at her domestic life may not be unacceptable to the reader.

Her lively descriptions of what she had seen and heard during her sojourn in the gay capital enlivened the seclusion of home, and delighted her mother and sisters in those hours not devoted to the great work she had in hand. In the country she made use of the stores she had gathered from the records of many lands, as well as those culled from British sources, and sometimes wrote till eleven at night, but rarely was out of her bed at twelve o’clock. She laboured assiduously in her study till noon, when she took a walk, and METHOD OF WORK. usually drove out in the afternoons, or paid visits to her friends, or visited the sick and needy. If the weather did not permit outdoor exercise, she joined the family circle, and employed her leisure time with needlework. On wet mornings she sat close to her desk. She wrote with great rapidity, having made herself complete mistress of the life of that queen whose biography she had in hand before commencing it; and this judicious method greatly contributed to her success as a historical biographer.

Her partner, Elizabeth, usually remained in town, as it was an absolute necessity that one of the authors should be in the metropolis while the forthcoming volume was issuing from the press. This necessity occasioned considerable expense, and materially lessened the slender profits of the work. Agnes usually joined her sister in April, and rarely quitted London till July, when she either returned to Reydon or took an English or Scotch tour, visiting on her way many friends to whom her company was dearly welcome.

Colburn was very urgent with Agnes to leave Reydon for London at this time, and she willingly complied with his request, as she was very anxious to be present at a ceremony the approach of which filled every loyal heart with intense interest—the marriage of Queen Victoria. She was aware that she could not hope to obtain entrance to the chapel, but thought she might, through the influence of friends, secure a ticket for the colonnade. Charlotte, Lady Stradbroke, kindly exerted herself on her behalf, and through Lady Fitzallan procured one for her.

Agnes rose at an unusually early hour to be full dressed for the occasion, and a friend lent his carriage and servants to attend her. She obtained a favourable place in the colonnade, whence she saw the grand procession on its way to and return from the chapel. QUEEN’S MARRIAGE. The splendid bridal procession, though so striking as a pageant, derived its chief interest from the royal bride herself, for whose happy wedlock every loyal heart breathed ardent wishes. It was a cold cheerless February morning, till the sun suddenly broke forth from gloomy clouds to shine for the maiden Queen as she entered the chapel. The return of the procession appeared to Agnes the most interesting part of the pageant, for the Queen no longer walked alone in her companionless grandeur, but with him who was destined (to use her own beautiful and touching words) “to make her life bright and happy.” No shadow of that sad separation that, after years of perfect union, was to divide by death the wedded lovers, darkened that auspicious bridal hour. The royal pair were in the brilliant early morning of life, in the bloom of youth and beauty: the bridegroom triumphantly happy; the bride serene, as if she felt she had secured her domestic felicity in giving her hand to the accomplished prince by her side.

After the procession had passed through the corridor, Agnes entered the chapel to obtain a sight of the Attestation Book, a relic of great antiquarian and historic interest, enhanced far more at that moment by the signatures of her Majesty and her illustrious consort, and of those distinguished persons who witnessed the important document, being still wet.

Not possessing the organ of locality, Agnes missed her way in leaving the chapel, and found herself, rather fortunately, in an apartment adjoining it, where the choristers were being regaled with sherry and bridecake by a clergyman, who very politely asked the intruder to drink her Majesty’s health, which she was very happy to do, not having taken any refreshment since her early breakfast at six o’clock that eventful morning. The kind donor regretted that the royal VIEW OF THE BANQUETING-ROOM. bridecake had all been distributed; but the glass of sherry was very acceptable, as she felt faint, and was considerably revived after she had received it, and had wished long life and happiness to the wedded Majesty of Great Britain and her royal bridegroom.

When she quitted this room she was again at fault; and after wandering about, followed a stream of people, who she thought were, like her, seeking their exit from the palace. In this surmise she was mistaken; they were on the route for the sight of the splendid banqueting-room, by the entrance of which stood the lord-in-waiting, who permitted each party a brief view of the glories therein, and was then engaged in an amicable contest with a lovely girl, who demanded more peeps than he considered was her due.

“No, Lady Jane,” he said, “you have had three peeps instead of one; other people must have the sight as well as you.” As he resisted the beseeching looks of his fair petitioner, Agnes feared her chance was not a very good one. However, she advanced and made her request known, to which he replied “that he would open the door with great pleasure if she had a ticket.” Now as Agnes was unprovided with that essential sesame, she relied upon her feminine eloquence to supply its place. She considerably softened the jealous guardian by her appeal, which she concluded by remarking “that it would do him no harm to give her the sight, though she had no documentary claim to it.”

He smiled and replied, “No, it will not. I will tell you what to do. When the next party arrives, come up with them, and I will ask no questions respecting a ticket.”

Agnes Strickland followed his obliging directions and, upon his unclosing the jealously guarded door, beheld the magnificent banqueting-room, with the table covered with glittering gold plate, while the royal ‘VICTORIA, FROM HER BIRTH TO HER BRIDAL.’ bridecake, with its banners and blazonry, occupied a separate table, the whole scene exhibiting a magnificent coup d’œil. After her two fortunate mistakes, Agnes Strickland found no difficulty in making her way out of the palace, as she had only to follow in the train of departing visitors, and found her friend’s carriage in waiting for her. Tired as she was, she rallied sufficiently to join a party to see the illuminations in the evening, with which the greatest and wealthiest metropolis in the world honoured the royal bridal of their lovely and youthful Sovereign.

This year Mr Colburn persuaded Agnes Strickland to write a work for him, of which the early life of her Majesty was to form the subject, to be entitled ‘Victoria, from her Birth to her Bridal,’ in two volumes. She undertook her task without due consideration, having no documentary evidence beyond the information provided for her by Mr Colburn himself, the public press, and anecdotes furnished by too credulous friends. Towards her youthful Sovereign her feelings were enthusiastically loyal, and she was grieved to find that the book did not please the Queen, and that the work not being her own property, she could not reprint it with the omissions and corrections suggested by her Majesty. If she erred, it was not from any want of love and loyalty on her part. Indeed she firmly refused to include in her lives of the Queens of England and Great Britain those of the Brunswick dynasty, as she considered it would be personally disrespectful to her Majesty to carry her researches into the present royal house, nor could the large remuneration offered by Mr Colburn induce her to do so.

The following letters, from Monsieur Guizot and his friend Monsieur Michelet, will show their appreciation of the talents of the author of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’:— LETTERS FROM M. GUIZOT.


London, May 17, 1840.

Mademoiselle,—I acknowledge, though very late, the kindness you have done me in sending me your ‘Lives of the Queens of England’; but I would not speak to you about them till I could find time to read them, which was not then at my disposal. I have read them, mademoiselle, with lively pleasure. It is a charming work. You have studied from the source, and presented your facts singularly exempt from dryness. My perusal being finished, I have sent your book to my daughters, who are now in Paris, and who will read them in their turn with the lively pleasure natural to their age. Accept, I pray you, mademoiselle, my thanks and respectful compliments.


P.S.—I have written to Paris to ask if there are any particular documents unedited concerning the history of Margaret of Anjou. If they send me any, I shall have the honour of transmitting them to you.”

The opinion expressed by the French Minister of her work was peculiarly gratifying to Agnes Strickland; for he was deeply read in English history, on which he has written with great power, judgment, and impartiality. His history of the ‘English Revolution and Execution of Charles I.’ is only paralleled by his ‘Life of Oliver Cromwell.’ In later times the fame of Monsieur Guizot will probably belong more to the fine author than to the great Minister.

Monsieur Guizot was quite as gracious in his acceptance of the third volume of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ as he had been in his reception of the two first:—

Mademoiselle,—I thank you very much for sending me your third volume. It will afford, like the two first, pleasure and information to my daughters; but I shall not transmit it to them till I have read it myself. If there should fall into my hands any documents that would interest LETTER FROM M. MICHELET. you for your second edition, I will not fail to send them to you.

“Be pleased, mademoiselle, to accept my respectful compliments.


London, August 29, 1840.”

Monsieur Guizot had not forgotten his promise respecting inquiries relative to Margaret of Anjou, made through Monsieur de Montalembert and Monsieur Michelet; and he sent the letter of the last-named gentleman to Agnes Strickland to prove that he had been mindful of it, though engaged in conducting the affairs of a great and turbulent kingdom. Nothing can be more courteous than the following letter from Michelet concerning the documents Agnes Strickland was anxious to procure:—


Monsieur Guizot,—You have not, I think, received through M. de Montalembert the notice of the pieces, unfortunately few in number, relating to Margaret of Anjou. These documents appear to be wholly diplomatic, and have nothing original or interesting in them.

“When I received the letter that you did me the honour to send, I have made new researches, hoping to be more happy; and I have asked a friend from Rouen if the archives of that city possessed any letters of M. de Brezè (Sénéchal de Normandie), and I have received from Rouen a voluminous catalogue of acts from this remarkable man, but none of them relating to English affairs.

“Will you, monsieur, express to the author of the ‘Queens of England’ the deep regret I feel in not being able to assist her on this occasion? I should be happy, if this lady had need of researches or references relating to the fifteenth century, of which I have made this year a particular study, to furnish them to her.

“Believe me, monsieur, with sincere compliments, to be your very humble servant,


May 31, 1840.


Monsieur Guizot was not the only historian of our day who did justice to the talents of Agnes Strickland. Dr Lingard, one of the ablest writers of English history, in a letter to his friend Mr Philip Howard of Corby Castle, gives his opinion of her work as follows:—

“I have snatched a few moments now and then to read Miss Strickland’s work, which you had the kindness to send me. It afforded me great pleasure, bringing to my recollection many anecdotes which I had forgotten, and making me acquainted with many that I had never met with—at least as far as I can recollect. The rival history[2] I have not seen; but to judge from this, I should say that Miss Strickland’s promises to be a very favourite book, particularly among the ladies, who will be proud of making acquaintance with the female sovereigns of other days.”

The learned writer is not, however, satisfied by the female author having ascribed that curious piece of needlework, called the Bayeux tapestry, to Matilda of Flanders,—the most likely person to have commemorated the conquest of England in that feminine manner—though it has been attributed to Odo, the half-brother of the Norman Conqueror.

“But in ancient subjects no one should ever be guided by modern writers,” remarks Dr Lingard. “Miss Strickland tells us that the Bayeux tapestry was embroidered by Matilda, and has even favoured us with a print of the queen at work. Yet had she inquired, she would have found she had no more authority for attributing it to Matilda than to Marguerite of France, or any one else. She suffered herself to be led astray by Ducarel or some other modern. But enough of that. I am happy that she has become a sister of the craft, and that she will do honour to the body.—I remain, dear sir, most truly yours,

J. Lingard.

Hornby, May 30.”


Agnes did not always care for criticisms, and indeed was generally highly favoured by reviewers; but she was really annoyed by an uncandid review, not only on her book, but on herself, in the ‘Athenæum.’

In her letter to Miss Porter she writes: “The writer in his zeal for Miss Lawrence, forgets his judgment as a critic, but also all sense of truth and justice, and has not only garbled my paragraphs by cutting out all the evidences I had adduced in support of certain historic facts not familiar to such superficial readers as himself, but actually condescends to the meanness of enclosing between inverted commas, as if quoted from my work, sentences not to be found therein, and says everything offensive and injurious he can think of to deteriorate from its merits. You will, however, dear Miss Porter, read the volume, and if the ‘Athenæum’ should fall in your way read it also, and determine whether it ought to be answered.”

The best answer to this unfair criticism was the immense sale of the volume, which won not only a high English reputation, but a European one.

Afterwards Duchess de Gramont, and Countess of Dundonald.

Memoirs of the Queens of England. By Miss Lawrence.



Access to the State Paper Office was of immense consequence to the authors of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’; for unless the long-withheld permission had been obtained, it would have been impossible for the lives of Anne Boleyn or Catherine Howard to have been written with the truthfulness required in historical biography. With this aid the sisters were enabled to perform their difficult tasks with considerable success.

The appearance of the fourth volume of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ produced an immense sensation among the reading public, and greatly added to the reputation of the authors. The volume was opened by Elizabeth with the biography of the virtuous and injured first wife of Henry VIII., followed by those of her unfortunate successors. This serial volume was the most popular one that had then appeared; nor was its popularity confined to the metropolis. In Norfolk especially it was in great demand. Blickling Hall, where Anne Boleyn was supposed to have been born, afforded a local interest to those readers who were natives of that county, and excited general enthusiasm. Not the least CATHERINE HOWARD interesting portion of the book was the touching record of the hapless girl-queen, the frail fifth wife of Henry. Perhaps nothing was ever penned more deeply pathetic than the tragical history of her over whose early dawn of womanhood no careful mother’s eye had watched.

Pathos indeed was Agnes Strickland’s forte. What she felt herself she unconsciously excited in her readers. No part, indeed, of her literary labours was so difficult for her to write as the brief and sullied career of Catherine Howard. So dense a cloud surrounded her early life, so utterly unknown were the causes that led to her degradation and ruin, that only a woman’s pitying hand could have attracted sympathy towards an erring sister so overwhelmed with obloquy and shame—her childhood and the evil influences that surrounded her orphan dawn of life returning once more to blast her reputation, and hurl her from the throne to the scaffold. Her despair, repentance, and truly Christian end have been both femininely and ably portrayed by her biographer, who has executed her delicate task with equal tact and modesty.[1] It would have been impossible for the sisters to have written these important lives without access to the State Papers so graciously accorded to them by a noble author in the person of Lord Normanby. The close application Agnes had given to her portion of the fourth volume had injured her health, for she was not constitutionally strong like Elizabeth. Her visit to a kind friend, the widow of General Skinner, and her lively daughter, completely restored her to convalescence. Before commencing the life of Catherine Parr, the sixth wife VISIT TO SIZERGH. of Henry VIII. and our first Protestant queen, it was absolutely necessary for her biographer, Agnes Strickland, to procure from an undoubted source the particulars of her childhood and early maiden life. As this queen had been brought up at Sizergh Castle, Westmoreland, she and her sister Elizabeth accepted the courteous invitation of Mr Standish to examine the Strickland documents respecting Catherine Parr’s connection with the family, and other interesting particulars.

On their way to Sizergh they were to rest at Middle Hill, the seat of the learned baronet Sir Thomas Phillips, in order to examine his very curious and extensive library, from which they procured valuable information for their important work. Agnes Strickland in the following letter gives an amusing account of their journey:—

“We took train to Slough—a place well deserving of its name—and after leaving it we safely reached the great train, and were whirled above the tops of the trees till we got to Steventon, where we changed into another and arrived at Oxford. At five o’clock we reached an antique stone wayside house, where an old woman was on the look-out for us, to take care of us till a postchaise would arrive to take us to the Hall, as an accident had happened to Sir Thomas’s carriage the day before. Our vehicle soon drove up, and we were rattled up and down such precipitous hills that Elizabeth would fain have got down and walked. I was not at all alarmed, but admired the beautiful hills clothed with verdure. Middle Hill is a fine old place on elevated ground, with higher hills rising above it. We were met by our learned host and his three pretty daughters, and had just time to dress for dinner. Every attention was paid us for comfort, and we were provided with desks and stationery of every kind. We study, dear mamma, MIDDLE HILL. from breakfast to luncheon-time; after which we walk or write our letters. In the evening we work, or hear music, or look at fine illuminated manuscripts; and we sometimes have a quadrille, our host being our only beau, till the arrival of Mr Philip Howard, who has been of great use to us in transcribing some of the treasures to be found in Sir Thomas’s noble library.”

Agnes Strickland and her sister, after a pleasant visit, took leave of their host and his daughters, and put themselves en route for Sizergh Castle, Westmoreland. Their journey was not accomplished without peril, as her letter to her mother will show:—

Dear Mamma,—We quitted Middle Hill for Sizergh, where we are now located, but we had a rough time of it, having been detained at Warrington by an accident to the train that started before us, and we were warned back, our engine howling all the way to the station, where we waited two hours without refreshment; and very dark and dismal the evening was. A Cheshire lad, however, went to some house and brought us two slices of bread and butter, which we ate very gladly. Then the train proceeded, but the shouts of ‘Back, back,’ caused us again to return to Minshul, a dismal swampy place. Five times we endeavoured to proceed, and still were warned back. There we remained four long hours, till the people sent for a train from Stafford, and we came on to the place where the stoppage had occurred. We then had to walk in the dark dismal night, with a deep stream on one side and rugged ground on the other. I was in mortal terror, and besought the guard to allow me to take hold of the tail of his coat, upon which he kindly offered me his arm, to which I clung till I was put safely into the carriage. We got to Warrington at one in the morning, and had to knock up the hotel people for beds after SIZERGH CASTLE. walking half a mile. A gentleman from the station and a porter attended us, and at last we had tea and went to bed. I had taken a bad cold and sore throat, and did not sleep. We got to Lancaster the next day. We embarked in a sort of gondola on the canal, and the day being fine, had a heavenly voyage to Sedgwick, with the woods and hills of the native Merth before us, and were landed at our place of destination within a mile of Sizergh. Descending a flight of stone steps, we reached a small public-house, where we left our luggage, a stout Westmoreland peasant carrying our sac de nuit. On our way we heard the rushing of the waterfalls of the river Kent, though unseen, and walked down a bowery lane, with the woods and grey towers of our forefathers rising before us, sometimes stopping to gather harebells and large purple pansies on our way, and at last stood before the venerable pile and heard the musical old clock strike seven. The steward, Mr Ellison, a fine handsome yeoman, came out to greet us, and presently his amiable wife, who gave us a delicious cup of tea and hospitable reception. We went early to bed in two stately chambers, but my cold was very troublesome.

“Yesterday Mrs Crewdson paid us a visit, the central part of the castle during the minority of Walter Strickland, young owner of Sizergh, being let to her husband, a Quaker banker, and a person of some consideration here. This lady kindly invited us to see the pictures and state apartments, and to drink tea with her. The portraits are splendid, and so are the carvings and tapestry. We spent a delightful evening.

“We have not viewed the whole of the castle, for it is a vast place. As yet we have only seen the dining-room, drawing-room, queen’s chamber, inlaid chamber, chapel, and central tower.

“We are now looking over the old papers, and are in SIZERGH CASTLE. very comfortable quarters, Mr Standish[2] having directed every attention to be paid us by the steward and his family, he being unable to come to Sizergh himself. So we are as much domesticated here as if we had been born on this lordly domain—a real ancient castle, with embattled walls twelve feet in thickness, Gothic towers and windows. The chambers, which are tapestried, are panelled with carved oak, and so are the ceilings. The beautiful ancient furniture is of black oak, curiously carved. In fact, Sizergh is a perfect realisation of all we have heard or read of an old baronial castle. We are to see some fine views to-day. I am to ride a quiet pony.

“Mrs Ellison is a very nice person, and her step-daughter Agnes a very charming girl. Mrs Ellison seems anxious to do everything she can to please us. There is a nice youth here, the son of Sir Edward Vavasour and nephew to Lord Stourton, who is learning farming of Mr Ellison. He is very good-tempered and obliging, and we are treated here like two queens. Eliza unites with me, dear mamma, in love to you, Sarah, and Jane.—Ever lovingly yours,

Agnes Strickland.

Sizergh Castle, Sept. 3.”

It must be owned that Agnes and her sister had not arrived at the old ancestral castle without some perilous adventures by the way, but they obtained from the family papers what they required for the life of Catherine Parr, who was for some years an inmate of this fine old place—old even in the Tudor age. They saw her beautiful needlework and the apartment she had inhabited, still called from that circumstance the Queen’s Chamber. THE STRICKLANDS OF SIZERGH.

The sister biographers found their researches in the muniment-chest of Sizergh very interesting. This ancient Norman family came in with the Conqueror, and derived their name from the lands assigned them by him in Lancashire—the Norman particle de being for some centuries prefixed to it.[3]

Formerly the Stricklands of Sizergh made some figure in history. To a Sir Thomas Strickland, while an esquire, was assigned the honour of bearing the banner of St George before the king at the battle of Agincourt. He lent money to his brave but impoverished sovereign, for which he was never paid. Henry V. had however, given him, by way of security, some broken silver vessels, which after his decease Thomas Strickland sold. He was called in question for the sale of this plate, and was compelled to petition Parliament on account of the matter—stating his services at Agincourt, Harfleur, and Rouen, and the necessity he was under, from want of money, to dispose of the pledge. The gallant esquire was fully exonerated from the charge brought against him, by Act of Parliament. Either this Sir Thomas Strickland or his son fought for Richmond at Bosworth, for the family were strict Lancastrians. In later times the Stricklands of Sizergh were loyal Cavaliers, but being Catholics, adhered SIZERGH CASTLE. to James I., whom they followed into exile. Among the papers some curious ones are in existence, throwing light upon the manners and customs of the times, and having a bearing upon the method resorted to by the exiles of St Germains for obtaining their needful supplies from England.

The valuable documents at Sizergh Castle, extending over several centuries, ought to be collected. Leave was kindly granted to Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland to copy what they required for the biographies they had in hand. Though the Stricklands were attached, and remained attached, to the old faith, there is no trace of bigotry in these family letters, in which it would have been displayed had it existed.

Of course the castle is haunted, and a very tragical history is told of Dame Margaret Hamerston, who destroyed herself a few days before her intended marriage to the heir of the family—the ghost of the frail lady being supposed to be seen in the apartment she occupied.

The Priest’s Hall, where the Catholic chaplain was occasionally concealed from the search of men who had more zeal than Christianity, is still to be seen. Oubliettes are said to exist beneath the castle—dungeons where the unfortunate prisoners were left to die; but these are probably walled up, as they are not shown.

The arms are as ancient as any in the kingdom: Sable engrailed, three escallops argent; the crest a full-topped holly-bush standing on a roll, with five points sable and argent. Motto—Sans mal. Supporters—a bull for Neville, and a stag for Ward. The only difference in the armorial bearings of Thomas Strickland, Esq., the father of Elizabeth and Agnes, being the addition of an ermine bordure to the engrailed sable one of Sizergh, the absence of the supporters, and the LETTER TO MISS JANE STRICKLAND. gathering up of the holly in a bunch, filleted sable and argent, and standing on a roll of the same.

Agnes writes next to her sister Jane from Sizergh, giving her an account of her tour to Windermere:—

My dear Jane,—I owe you a letter, and much thanks for your kindness in using your pen for me. We shall bring the fourth volume of the Queens home with us, though at present we cannot fix the day for our return. How delighted you would be with the solemn grandeur of Sizergh Castle, with all its magnificent carved oak furniture and panelling! It is, to be sure, rather cold and damp; but then the weather has been very wet, for we have not had one day without rain.

“On Thursday we went to Windermere—Agnes Ellison driving her mother and Eliza in an open carriage, myself on a white pony leading the way, attended by young Vavasour, who led the steeds down the steep hills—a caution not in vain, for our road on the mountain was as steep as if we were driving down Dunwich cliffs.

“The weather was fine, but bitterly cold, though we were wrapped up as in the depth of winter. But, oh, the wild and magnificent scenery, with rocks piled on hills round and above us! We dined at Bowness, and rowed on the lake to Philipson’s Island; but a storm came on, and wetted poor Vavasour to the skin with the rough breakers. We also got a great deal of the spray.

“We crossed to the station, a good look-out place on the Lancashire side, from whence we had a fine view of the county beneath our feet. We should like to take lodgings at Rydal or Ambleside; but that must depend upon our finances.

“Mrs Howard of Corby Castle has sent us a noble salmon, weighing 23 lb. She thought it would be pleasant for us to give it to Mrs Ellison. Was not this kind?

“Lady Frances Hotham[4] and her eldest son, Henry, have both written to me to invite us to stay with them if we return through London; but that will be, I fear, quite impossible.

“Good Agnes Ellison is making a drawing for me of the castle for my album.

“Yesterday we went to see a romantic place called Castle-head, from whence we saw Morecambe Bay and the sands. We drank tea at a lone farm under Whitbarrow rock—a perilous road. We had to go on the verge of a precipice. Eliza and Mrs Ellison preferred walking; but Agnes Ellison and I chose to remain in the carriage, as our cavalier Vavasour was in attendance. We came home by a different road—through a peat-moss, the moon gilding the distant hills. We shall certainly leave Sizergh next week. A family of the name of Wakefield, tenants of Walter Strickland’s, called upon us. They hire the powder-mills, and are wealthy and intelligent people. We returned their visit; but as there is some coolness between them and Mr Standish, we could not accept their hospitable invitations. They live in a beautiful house.

“Love to dear mamma and Sarah.—Affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”

While residing at Sizergh Castle the sisters visited the Hon. Colonel and Mrs Greville Howard,—very delightful people, fine specimens of the old English aristocracy, and renowned for works of piety and Christian charity. Levens, which had formerly belonged to the Stricklands of Sizergh, was a noble old place, with LEVINS AND CORBY CASTLE. fine gardens, the yews cut into curious shapes that would have rivalled those of the younger Pliny’s gardener had these remained in existence. But Ellison, the steward, was rather jealous of the admiration my sisters expressed for the place. He insisted that the Stricklands of Sizergh still maintained over it very stringent feudal rights; that they could at their pleasure at dead of night drive through the park and the Hall in their coach-and-six, to the great inconvenience of the inhabitants thereof; and he seemed annoyed that the progress of civilisation had made the Stricklands forego these inconvenient privileges. The lands of Levens had been given to the Stricklands for their services against France.

The portraits of the exiled royal family of Stuart were at Sizergh, the gifts of those whom the former Stricklands had served with such devotion: the queen of sorrows, Mary Beatrice, who had lost her beauty but not her majesty of mien; her children, bright in early youth, untouched by the care that marked their mother; and last, but infinitely more beautiful than queen or princess, that Lady Strickland who had followed the fortunes of her royal mistress, whose portrait, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, adorned the walls of the ancestral home. There, too, were the portraits of the two Cavaliers, father and son, who had fought for Charles I. with that deep devotion and loyalty which had marked the Catholic families during the Civil War. They did not lose their estates, probably through the influence of their kinsmen of the Wold, who stood high in Cromwell’s favour.

From Sizergh, Agnes and Elizabeth proceeded to Corby Castle, the hospitable seat of Henry Howard, Esq., with whom and his accomplished family they were on terms of warm friendship. His eldest son had been very useful to them in searching out documents CORBY CASTLE. and making extracts—very valuable services to historians and biographers, for which they were sincerely grateful.

The magnificent gift of the Howard Memorial, which had formerly been recommended to their notice by the Duke of Norfolk, and which was the work of their learned host, was a very valuable addition to their library.

The examination of the Corby papers afforded the authors much valuable information, while the beautiful scenery round the castle gave them attractive walks and drives, and agreeable relaxation from severe morning studies. Lady Petre formed the charm of the home circle at Corby. She was highly accomplished, sweet-tempered, and very fascinating, and, with her amiable and hospitable mother, studied to make her guests comfortable. Her vocal and musical talents were in requisition in the evening, and she was always ready to oblige her friends, to whom she was justly dear.

In her letter to her beloved sister Sarah, Agnes Strickland thus describes Corby: “Corby Castle is indeed a splendid place; there is nothing in Suffolk to compare to it.[5] Lord and Lady Petre are staying here, and Miss Petre. Her ladyship is very charming, and sings like an angel. We met here yesterday the Dean of Carlisle and his lady—very nice people, who seem much attached to young Mr Howard, whom they call Philip with affectionate familiarity. The air of Sizergh did not agree with me, but I felt quite well at Corby, which I left with regret. At our departure Mr Philip SUNDERLAND. presented us each with an elegant pair of travelling gloves, with deep velvet cuffs, which was very kind on his part. As we were to sleep at Hexham, on our way to Sunderland, he had engaged us to breakfast the following morning with two friendly monks. This arrangement, from a member of an old Catholic family, involved in its acceptance no violation of etiquette on our part. Our monks treated us royally, and after breakfast preached us a sermon on the vanity of beauty, bidding us to think of ourselves not as we were then, but of what we should be ten years hence.”

Their audience did not take the monkish warning in ill part, for it implied a compliment, and was better fitted in reality to excite vanity than to repress it.

“No tongue can describe the dirt and blackness of Newcastle,” writes Agnes. “All the way to Sunderland is hideous. Sir Cuthbert Sharpe’s house, however, is situated in a pleasant part of this town, and everything is nice and pretty.”

It may be remembered that the Asiatic cholera first made its appearance in the heart of this town after a fearful storm that drove a Russian ship under the mighty arch of the noble suspension-bridge. Such an arrival had never happened before, and death was on board that tempest-driven vessel, and the infection of the cholera came in with it. To the terror-stricken inhabitants it seemed like fate. Then Sir Cuthbert Sharpe, with some friends of his, bravely met and faced the danger, provided hospitals and nurses for the sick, and, with God’s help, the plague was stayed. He and his noble-minded companions gave the sick their personal attendance, and received no injury, to the astonishment of the selfish and timid.

“Why drew Marseilles’ good Bishop purer breath,

 When nature sickened and each gale was death?”

And as it was then in France, so it was here. No harm STORM AT SEA. befell the gallant naval officer or his family. God prospered his work of charity, and kept the cholera from his door.

As Lady Sharpe was unavoidably absent, being in attendance on a sick relation, Sir Cuthbert had engaged an amiable lady to do the honours of his house till her return. This distinguished naval officer was a great antiquary, and his visitors found his conversation both agreeable and instructive.

“We go to Durham to bring back Lady Sharpe to Sunderland,” writes Agnes; “and after we have dined, and explored with Sir Cuthbert the antiquities of the place, we return with our host and hostess for a few days, after which you may expect us in Suffolk. We think of coming home by a steamer, as our quickest and least expensive way of travelling.”

In these expectations the sisters were unfortunately deceived; for though their naval host had seen them safely embarked on board the steamer, with a fair wind, and every prospect of a safe and speedy voyage, they were scarcely out of the harbour before the wind changed and threatened them with a very rough passage.

For the first time in their lives Agnes and Elizabeth found themselves at sea in a storm, and discovered too, by the anxious looks of the seamen, that they were in some danger. Agnes asked the skipper if there was any chance of their reaching the coast of Suffolk that day. He assured her that their only chance of safety was the possibility of making the port of London, of which he seemed doubtful.

She returned to the cabin with a heavy heart; but, as there was no help for it, determined to make the best of a bad matter; and being very fond of children, and feeling an involuntary interest in their mother, she made herself very agreeable to some little girls, whose naïve inquiries after the health of two kittens amused STEAMER DRIVEN TO LONDON. her more than the “categories” did the poor stewardess, who had no time to bestow upon their pets.

The captain was right—there was no possibility of the steamer reaching the Suffolk coast; but early on Sunday morning she made the port of London, to his great joy, and the mortification of his lady passengers, at an hour when it would be troublesome to find accommodation till the following day.

While Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland were considering what they had best do in this emergency, the lady to whose children they had been kind during the stormy passage, proposed taking them to her house till the following morning, regretting that having been some time from home, things might not be in such order as she could have wished. They thankfully accepted her hospitable invitation, which proceeded from a benevolent disposition, since she was unacquainted with the names of her guests or their literary reputation. Few persons would have done so much for complete strangers.

The following evening the weary travellers reached Reydon, where they had been anxiously expected, great fears for their safety having been felt for them by their mother and sisters, whose vicinity to the sea had made them aware of the danger to which the storm had exposed them.

Some years before Agnes Strickland wrote the biography of this unhappy queen she had composed a tragedy upon her eventful life—which is still in MS. Alexandre Dumas has made Catherine Howard the subject of a drama. This piece, however, possesses less merit than the tragedies of this popular French writer.

Uncle to Walter Strickland, Esq., and member for Wigan. He was the elder brother of Mr Strickland, but with the name of Standish took Standish Hall, the wealthier appanage of the two.

The loss of the ancient prefix has led a modern herald into the mistake of supposing this family to be of Saxon origin, from the patronymic not being Norman-French; but like the Cliffords, whose blood they shared, the Stricklands took their name from the lands assigned to them by William the Conqueror. Sizergh Castle was acquired in later times by the marriage of the heiress of the D’Eyncourts to a Strickland. The general ancestor of the Strickland family was Sir Adam de Styrkland, who came over with William the Conqueror, and married the daughter of Sir Roger de Furness—the name gradually changing into its present form. The ancient mode of spelling was de Strykelonde. Why Mr Burke should have ascribed to this ancient Norman family a Saxon origin is a singular mistake requiring rectification.

Sister to the Earl of Stradbroke, and widow of Admiral Sir Henry Hotham.

In this opinion Agnes differs from Sir Walter Scott, who laments the alteration which he considered had deprived the castle of its ancient character. But the want of comfort is often severely felt by the inhabitants of these fine old buildings, which are frequently cold, damp, dark, and draughty; and in the attempt to render them convenient as residences, their venerable appearance is of necessity violated.



The opening year found Agnes Strickland and her sister labouring upon their fifth volume, containing Catherine Parr and Mary Tudor—one the nursing-mother of that Reformation in the Church which the other in later times vainly strove to crush. At this earlier and happier period of her life, while under the sweet influence of her pious and amiable stepmother, Mary did not betray those vindictive feelings that heaped upon Cranmer’s head the storm that abased him to apostasy, only to rise to faith and penitence in the death-tragedy, purified, sanctified, forgiven, and saintly. Perhaps if Catherine Parr had lived to her reign, the dreadful scenes that gained this Queen-regnant the not undeserved appellation of “Bloody” might not have taken place at all. Bradford the martyr, with the justice and moderation that marked his beautiful and apostolic character, had made this remark upon her government: “This woman, but for her religion, would be an excellent ruler.”

To show Mary as she really was, an able ruler, and SOCIAL RELAXATION. but for her bigotry a just one, was the difficult task of Elizabeth. To Agnes was assigned that of portraying our first Protestant queen-consort, the truly Christian wife of the cruel Henry—of her who helped to mould the beautiful character of his young successor—of him “who for England’s weal was early wise”—the pious, charitable, and learned Edward VI. It was a happy subject, and so Agnes Strickland found it; and the valuable documentary evidence respecting the maiden and early married life of this amiable queen greatly added to its interest. As she was anxious to procure an autograph of Catherine, she wrote to Dawson Turner, Esq., a literary gentleman who was known to possess many rare documents in MS., portraits, and holographs, among which those of Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr might possibly be found. His reply, though it did not afford her what she hoped to obtain, gave her some useful information, of which she was glad to avail herself.

Though closely engaged on her work Agnes found time to enjoy social pleasures, for relaxation from her morning studies was necessary for her health. Her sister author sometimes accompanied her to parties to the Howards of Corby, for they were on very intimate terms with the amiable ladies of the family. Upon a late return from one of Mrs Howard’s delightful réunions, a serious danger befell them from the carelessness of their own maid, who, after she had relieved them of their gala dresses and ornaments, went to bed, leaving a lighted candle in an open drawer filled with pieces of muslin and cotton—miscellaneous property of her own. While they were arranging their hair for the night, their attention was attracted by the smell of smoke, which, upon opening the door, filled the room, leaving no doubt respecting its cause. The house was on fire. Elizabeth, always prompt and energetic, hastened to ESCAPE FROM FIRE. find from whence it proceeded, while Agnes ran up-stairs to arouse the sleeping occupants of the house, eleven persons in number. She found this no easy matter. The master of the lodging-house was blind, too, which seemed to make the preservation of his large family and property more difficult. Elizabeth, who had discovered that the fire was in the kitchen, opened the door, calling “Fire!” while Agnes, half dressed, took her manuscript life of Elizabeth in one hand and her sister’s Bramah-desk in the other, and ran to Lady Brooke’s, who received her frightened friend very kindly, wrapped her up in a blanket, and made her lie down on the sofa. Two policemen and fire-engines were soon on the spot, and the flames were speedily got under; the blind man, with much presence of mind, keeping the doors and windows closed to exclude currents of air—the loss of the kitchen furniture and boarded floor being the amount of the injury he sustained.

This accident, which might have ended so tragically, made a deep impression upon Agnes, who recognised the merciful hand of God in her preservation; for had she retired to rest a few minutes earlier, she, with the numerous inhabitants of the house, must have perished in the flames. Her family were much affected upon learning the danger of Elizabeth and herself, and very thankful to the Almighty for their preservation.

Agnes Strickland, who had not seen the new Houses of Parliament, was invited by Lady Willoughby de Eresby to join her party and visit the House of Lords. She was accompanied by her sister Elizabeth, and was much pleased by the frank and courteous manner in which she was received by her ladyship.

“She showed me,” writes Agnes, “many beautiful miniatures and interesting relics of the Stuarts. As she was obliged to attend a committee of ladies which she had forgotten, she gave me an order from the Great NEW HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT. Chamberlain, her lord, and his card, for his headache would not allow him to escort us. His nephew, Mr Burrell, a handsome, graceful young man, received us with great deference, and gave us seats till her ladyship, with her pretty daughter Mrs Heathcote, and the rest of the party, arrived with Lady North, Lady Elphinstone, and other distinguished persons—Lord Elphinstone, who is a very handsome man, politely giving me his arm.

“As for the new House, it is a mass of gold and blazoning in the florid Gothic style, but truly imposing. We went everywhere, even into a sly gold cage over the throne, where the Queen can hear debates perdue if she wishes to do so. We poked about the unfinished buildings and hurt our feet among the loose stones, to the no small injury of my new drab satin dress. Lady Willoughby’s black damask was half a yard deep in dust. Fortunately, mine being dust-coloured, did not show it so much.”

Agnes Strickland was introduced to Father Mathew, the apostle of temperance, at a breakfast given in his honour by Mr and Mrs Howard, in Brooke Street; for though there were more than forty guests present, the Father was the great lion of the day. “I like him very much,” writes Agnes to her mother. “He is a very handsome, noble-looking man. His manners are mild, unaffected, and modest, yet dignified as well as kind. He is not eloquent, but persuasive and reasonable. He shook hands with Eliza and me, and assured us that the introduction was the greatest gratification he had had in London.”

Agnes was much amused some years afterwards by Dr Stanley’s account of the manner in which he and Father Mathew were received at Norwich, and the bountiful supply of gin they were offered by the populace, who accompanied their proffers by grins and facetious FIFTH VOLUME OF ‘LIVES.’ speeches, hoping to overcome by broad humour the gravity of their own bishop and his temperance friend. Some good was effected notwithstanding the opposition of the rabble, and men who came to mock afterwards took the pledge. A divine at once so mild and so firm as that lamented Bishop of Norwich, was not likely to give up a good purpose for fear of ridicule.

The sisters went over Ham House with the Hon. Maria Otway Cave, a very intelligent and highly accomplished lady, the eldest daughter of Baroness Braye. They dined with her ladyship on their return, and were introduced to her widowed daughter, the Hon. Mrs Murray.[1] Ham House contained many objects of interest—beautiful Vandyck and Lely portraits, historical miniatures, and fine tapestry.

Occasionally, from heralds and pursuivants, Agnes received very valuable information, and William Courthope, Esq., Rouge Croix, sent her the brief will of Queen Catherine Parr, which she much wished to see. This valuable document appears to give sufficient proof that the approach of death had removed all suspicious jealousy from the mind of Catherine. She does not name her infant daughter—an unfortunate mistake for the child, who, but for that omission, would have inherited her mother’s ample fortune, which was lost by the attainder of her father.

The fifth volume of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ was passing through the press while Agnes Strickland was writing the life of Elizabeth, the greatest regnant queen who ever sat on the English throne, or indeed on any other. Elizabeth Strickland’s life of Mary had excited the indignation of those who, in their horror of her bigotry, were determined to deny her even the good qualities she really possessed. LIFE OF ELIZABETH.

Undismayed by the storm raised by bigotry against her sister’s life of Mary, Agnes resolved to give a truthful biography of Elizabeth with the fidelity of a historian, and to narrate errors little known or believed of this illustrious queen. But in displaying Elizabeth in her real greatness as a wise peace-sovereign—the developer of a policy infinitely more enlightened than that of her warlike ancestors—she did her memory more justice than the host of adulatory writers to whom documentary authorities were unknown. Upon her life of Elizabeth, Agnes Strickland put forth all her energies, and displayed all the resources that history, biography, or deep research into the archives of this or other lands could afford. Yet with all her energetic search for truth, one interesting fact had not only escaped her notice, but that of Queen Elizabeth’s most enthusiastic admirers—her probable innocence of Mary Queen of Scots’ death.

In writing her life of Elizabeth, published by Mr Colburn, Agnes, finding no evidence to the contrary, had fully believed that queen to be guilty of the crime that has left a dark blot upon her mighty name; but she afterwards found reason to think that the denial and intense indignation expressed by this sovereign was real not feigned, and that the execution of Mary Stuart was the work of her ministers alone, who acted on their own responsibility, though perfectly aware that all Europe would charge the execution upon Elizabeth’s head.

In the edition now published by George Bell & Sons this new view of the transaction is given, with the probability—almost the certainty—that it is the true one,—that the signature of Elizabeth was forged by a man named Harrison, in the employment of Sir Francis Walsingham as his private secretary. The discovery of a curious document in the Cottonian SIXTH VOLUME. library led Agnes Strickland to this conclusion, and caused her some regret that in the earlier editions of this important biography she had represented Queen Elizabeth as a profound and heartless dissembler, punishing the less guilty instrument for fulfilling her own declared commands. Her female biographer was perfectly convinced, after seeing this document, of the innocence of this great queen.

Elizabeth was, indeed, too politic a ruler to have violated the “divinity that doth hedge a sovereign in.” She had left the memory of her mother uncleared lest it should draw attention to her own uncertain legitimacy, and recall the fact that queens could be brought to the block. All she had done was to reverse by Act of Parliament the attainder against her own birth. Whether she believed her mother to be innocent or guilty can never be ascertained. She left it to rest for ever in the shade.

The publication of the sixth volume added greatly to the fame of Agnes Strickland, and very much to Mr Colburn’s profit. The whole edition sold off as soon as it was in print. It was reviewed with immense praise—enough, indeed, to have turned the head of a less experienced writer. Letters from private individuals poured in on every side; and it is a curious fact that some authors who had been only formerly known by chance verses of small merit in the annuals, and who had openly depreciated her talents, troubled her with fulsome epistles, and the false assertion “that they had always admired her works, and done their best to advance her literary reputation.”

To these time-servers, who had always preferred their own little bow-wows, and had tried to stifle the notes of the swan, wishing, no doubt, they would be her last, Agnes gave no reply. She left them in the dust of their own dulness and malignity, despising their VISIT TO THE LAKES. praise still more than she had done their abuse. Both indeed, in her eyes, were equally unworthy of notice. To those kind friends and learned persons who had cheered and aided her in her literary pursuits she was deeply grateful.

To her labours of this year was added the severe task of editing the letters of Mary Queen of Scots, which she translated from the old French, adding to them those sent her from St Petersburg through the agency of Sir Robert Ker Porter and his sister Jane. These valuable documents were transcribed from the jealously guarded Imperial Russian archives, and proved of much value to the editor of the letters, who was already planning her biography of that unfortunate princess. Agnes, besides completing her life of Catherine Parr, was deeply engaged on that of Elizabeth; so we must conclude she had an immense deal of work on her hands. To give herself some relaxation from intense labour, she designed to visit the Lakes in the autumn with her sister Sarah. Green Bradley, Esq., the son-in-law of Mrs Boynton, her dear old friend, was to take charge of the travellers by that lady’s particular request. He came in his carriage to take them to Slyne House, his own pretty residence, and offered his services to be their cicerone to all places worth seeing in his neighbourhood.

To Agnes the wildly picturesque scenery of the north of England was not unknown; but to Sarah, who was unused to mighty hills, rocks, and waterfalls, mountain views presented marvellous features in the landscape, perfectly unlike the gently undulating surface of Norfolk and Suffolk, whose beauties originate in the high cultivation of lands rich in corn-fields, meadows, and groves, bounded by the German Ocean.

It being Sunday, the travellers were escorted to Lancaster Church by Mr Green Bradley. “A most LANCASTER. stately fane,” writes Agnes, “but much injured by the ill taste which caused the removal of the beautiful carved screen from the ancient line of demarcation between the chancel and the choir, where its light, elegant, graceful tracery must have had the effect of the richest lace-veil before the altar, shading but not obscuring the white-robed priest and kneeling communicants during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and giving at all times additional dignity to that part of the holy fane consecrated to the most solemn services of our Church. We heard an excellent sermon from a Mr May, one of the curates; but the choral portion of the service was very inferior from what might have been expected from such a nobly endowed church as that of Lancaster.”

The inspection of the castle gave the sisters much pleasure: they admired the great size of the keep, and the fine view from the ramparts, which displayed as magnificent a line of country as eye ever looked upon. The lovely Bay of Morecambe glittering in the distance, surrounded by an amphitheatre of rocks and mountains, seemed to lie at their feet. Agnes ascended to the turret and seated herself in John of Gaunt’s chair. He had been one of her Lancastrian heroes of old, and she would not forego the privilege of sitting where he had sat centuries ago.

Nothing could exceed the hospitality of their host, whose housekeeper, a clergyman’s aged widow, did everything in her power to make her master’s guests comfortable. He took them to see the beautiful country; and though charmed with all they saw, the Crook of Loon appeared to them a sight never to be forgotten. “We were,” writes Agnes, “on the side of a high mountain, and looked down from thence upon the lovely river sparkling in the sun, its banks covered with trees, and the mountain-ash dipping its clustered scarlet CROSSING THE SANDS. berries into the water, which went singing and dancing on its way over roots and stones. We could follow its course with the eye for miles and miles, for the country lay like a map at our feet. The wild flowers were beautiful—harebells, foxgloves, and purple heart’s-ease waving in the breeze. Suffolk is renowned for its wild flowers; but Lancashire has all her stock, and possesses many more than that pastoral county can boast.”

Our travellers were safely placed in the Sands coach, in which they were to cross a curious tract of country over which they could have, at high tide, sailed six hours before. Very dangerous accidents, of not very uncommon occurrence, happen in crossing that part of the route called the Duddon sand. The Lancaster coach is considered safest of all; nor does the Ulverstone bear a very bad reputation. A railway now ensures the safety of travellers, at least from drowning, if they choose to make use of it. Two dangers have to be encountered in crossing the sands—the being overtaken by the tide, or the sinking into a quicksand while going down into the bed of the river. The first may be avoided by giving due attention to the tide-table; the second is usually rendered safe by the presence of two guides, who, mounted on strong Flemish horses, act as pilots to the mail-coach. These officials, though paid by Government, expect a douceur from the passengers, which they certainly well deserve. Nothing could be more comical than the appearance of these safety-valves, with their round rosy cheeks and broad grins, their ragged frieze-coats girt with strong leather belts, and their humorous countenances. Agnes was amused by one of them courteously placing a woman and her child behind him, and, seemingly “all for love and nothing for reward,” plunging into the deep bed of the Duddon, to keep the poor creatures safe and dry, they clinging to his strong belt. When the dangerous ENGAGEMENT OF SARAH STRICKLAND. part of the journey was past, and the guides came grinning on either side of the coach, holding out such hats for what the passengers chose to bestow—such hats as only men of their calling ever do wear—their gratulatory grins were well worth, Agnes thought, the gratuity she gave. If science has banished these guides, it would be a loss to be lamented, since their presence not only ensured safety, but excited merriment in the bosoms of inexperienced travellers, alarmed by the tragical tales told—ay, and not untruly told—of persons lost in crossing these sands.

The novelty of the journey, the sight of ships lying in the bay waiting for the rising of the tide to come in, the lofty mountains in the distance, and those that rose round Ulverstone like a green and flowery crown, delighted the sisters, who took up their abode for a few days at the Sun Hotel, not at all foreseeing that one of the travellers was to become for many happy years a sojourner in Ulverstone.

Marriages are said to go by fate; and certainly the trifling incident that made Sarah a happy wife was rather in harmony with this ancient saying. It happened that Agnes wanted some stationery, and went with her sister into Soulby’s shop for it; and while she was selecting what she wanted, her sister took up a juvenile book then lying on the counter, with the name of Agnes Strickland on the title-page. She was surprised, and remarked the circumstance to her sister; but being overheard by the stationer, the presence of the author in his shop was made known by him to the incumbent of Ulverstone, the Rev. Richard Gwillym, who called upon them in the evening, and invited them to take up their abode at his house, which was kept by his maiden sister. Before the termination of the short visit, he proposed, and was accepted by Sarah, whose charms of person and mind had gained at once his DALTON. affections. This brief courtship terminated after a few months in a long and very happy union.

In a fragmentary journal, Agnes gives an account of her visit to Dalton and Furness Abbey:—

“It was a glorious day for the late harvest, and a very auspicious one for our long-projected tour to Furness Abbey in a car, a light carriage well adapted for traversing the hills and dales of this romantic country. In a few minutes we cleared the grey town of Ulverstone, and found ourselves among pleasant meads and fields crowned with golden corn. Something, however, seemed wanting to the picturesque beauty of the harvest: there were no gleaners, and I missed them, and even regretted their absence from the scene. Then the sheaves lost the effect of their southern waving beauty, for they were all inverted to secure them from damp—a not unnecessary precaution perhaps, yet taking very much from the lovely harvest landscape. After a pleasant drive of some miles we arrived at Dalton, once the principal town in Furness, pleasantly situated in a rich and fertile district, half-way up a lofty hill. Many of the humbler houses were built according to the old plan, access to the interior of the building being given by an outside staircase. This antique style has rather a picturesque effect when groups of children are perched on the steps. The square grey keep of the castle is in good preservation, consisting of a large room where court leets are held, and other manorial business transacted. A gallery runs round it, and above this another apartment, and a spiral stone staircase leading to the battlements, which we scaled, and were rewarded by a noble view of the surrounding country. At each of the four corners are martial figures, which, though reduced to torsos, retain traces of having been spirited statues, executed with some degree of genius. The market-place of Dalton, immediately below FURNESS ABBEY. the castle, is distinguished by an antique cross of curious workmanship, surrounded by ancient benches. I obtained the keys of the pretty neat church and the attendance of the clerk; but the spirit of destruction in the shape of modern innovation had swept away all the antiquities of the edifice, with the exception of the fine old font. The churchyard is very pretty, and possesses a pillar surrounded by a circular flight of steps, for a sun-dial. These crosses in olden times may have been occasionally used by the priest from whence to address his congregation on certain occasions, or even by permission by the preaching friars. Nothing could exceed the verdure of the churchyard, or the neatness with which it was kept. On re-entering our car and rattling down the precipitous hill that winds round the cemetery, we looked back and discovered the remains of a more massive pile of building, of which the walls might be traced, outside the churchyard.

“We went through a beautiful country, till we arrived at Furness Abbey, and were astonished at the grandeur and magnificence of this great northern house. Who could gaze upon its glorious remains without regret for its desecration? These grand ecclesiastic buildings might have been applied to better purposes if they had been turned into colleges and schools, and their churches devoted to the service of God, not ruined and profaned as we behold them now.

“Upon our return we visited Bardsea Priory, a magnificent modern building in the ancient style, one of the sights of this part of Lancashire, and a show place. We received great attention from the family, Colonel Bradyl himself doing the honours of his magnificent mansion, rich in paintings and works of art. We were offered refreshment, which we declined, and arrived at Ulverstone in the evening, much pleased with our excursion.” AMBLESIDE.

Here the journal breaks off abruptly: but after Agnes and her sister had ended their eventful visit to the vicarage, they left Ulverstone for Ambleside, where they took lodgings for a few days before proceeding on their Scottish tour.

They found comfortable lodgings with a widow and her niece, and received much attention from Mr Quinlinnan and his friends. The glory of the Lake country had departed with Southey and Wordsworth, whose names were familiar there as household words; but Agnes embodied afterwards the beautiful scenery of the north of England in her romance, ‘How will it End?’ a title chosen for her by the publisher. The story had been written in her gifted girlhood, but was not completed till she had herself fully realised, by her own personal experience, the scenery which her heroine Althea Woodville traversed in the course of her adventures. It was with great interest she beheld the Holme island and Calgarth Hall, her ancestral connection with the daring Cavalier Robert Philipson deepening her impressions of him and his exploits.

One little incident occurred during her abode at Ambleside which troubled her while residing there. Just as she was starting with her sister in a car for a mountain excursion, she found she had left her parasol in her bedroom, and returned to seek it, and was surprised and shocked upon discovering a key attached to a large bunch in her writing-desk. Owing, she supposed, to her speedy return, nothing had been disturbed; but she remembered hearing footsteps in the direction of her apartment. With great promptitude she relocked her desk, and pocketed the bunch to which the key was appended, which she brought back with her to Reydon, that they might not be used for such purposes again. No inquiry was made for them, their owner not venturing to claim them. Nor did THE LAKE COUNTRY. Agnes mention the attempt to any one but her sister. The incident was curious and annoying, but her retention of the keys may give a useful hint to persons who in the course of their travels may find themselves similarly situated.

Agnes Strickland was delighted with the Lake country, for she and her sister were frequent visitors at Rydal Mount, a perfect home for a poet, and redolent with the remembrance of Wordsworth. Here they became acquainted with the amiable wife of their friend Mr Quinlinnan, a very engaging lady, who was constantly sending them kind messages by her husband, offering his assistance on any occasion where the aid of a gentleman might be useful. Though a Catholic, Mr Quinlinnan escorted them to Ambleside Church, that they might be comfortably located in his own pew. During their abode at Ambleside they were enlivened by a visit from the Rev. Richard Gwillym, soon to stand in the endearing relations of husband to Sarah, and brother-in-law to Agnes—and his presence gave them much pleasure.

“We left Ambleside not without regret,” writes Agnes Strickland, “and journeyed through the most sublime scenery to Keswick, passing by the foot of the lofty Helvellyn, which I regarded with amazement; the Eagle’s Crag, a beautiful peak; Saddleback and Skiddaw. Our route lay by Scathewater; but the weather had changed from intense and unseasonable heat to extreme cold, so we were glad to arrive at Keswick, which we reached at five; and while our tea was preparing, walked to see the old church and Southey’s grave, by which we stood while the last rays of the sun above the mountains were shedding upon it a glorious light.” Agnes was a great admirer of Southey, especially of his “Don Roderick,” and also of his “Curse of Kehama,” a magnificent poem spoiled DERWENT WATER. by a very uninteresting subject, which will always prevent it from being popular, though abounding in fine passages. His “Don Roderick” has all its beauties and none of its defects, and presents a series of noble scenes for the pencil of the painter or chisel of the sculptor.

“The next morning,” continues Agnes, “we hired a car to take us to Lodore, through fine woods flanked by mountains on the one side, and Derwent Water on the other. The mountains were fearfully grand, filling the mind with admiration and awe for the Rydal and Ambleside range. We went into Mr Peters’ ground to see a fine waterfall, and clambered up to the top, from whence it tumbles down from the mountains.

“Then we went on to Lodore, when a gentleman who stood by his carriage at the inn assisted us out of the car, and offered his escort to the falls, as the guide, his nieces, and daughters, were gone to the fall, where we found them, for we thankfully accepted his guidance. His ladies, it seems, had recognised us, having seen us at Bardsea Priory. He led us upon the stones in the centre of the fall; but as we wished to go on to Boulder Stone and their horses were spent, we offered them a seat in our car, which they gladly accepted. Then we scrambled up to the Boulder Stone together; but I was so weary that I seated myself in the grey-stone cradle at the top, and overlooked the sublime view beneath, with the Derwent rolling in beauty far below. We seemed girt in with the mighty chain of mountains around us, with the Eagle Crag, and Claramere, and the Castle Grey close to us. We parted with our ladies and went on to the beautiful vale of Borrowdale, and home on the other side of the Derwent, over a mountain with the road only wide enough for one carriage—nothing indeed to prevent our going on one side hundreds CORBY CASTLE. of feet into the lake beneath. I was afraid for five minutes, after which the beauty of the view and the excitement restored my courage; and after traversing rocks and vales in succession, we got safe to Lodore, where we found a note from a lady of the name of Skelton, of Papcastle, who had called, and expressed in this manner her wish to pay me every attention in her power.

“The first thing we did on the Thursday was to visit the fine old castle, where General Windham’s bloodhound took a fancy to us, and helped to do the honours of the place. On our return, we found Mrs Skelton and her niece, who took us into some curious old houses, and invited us to stay at Papcastle; but our arrangements would not allow of our doing so, as I wanted to go to Cockermouth, where poor Mary Stuart landed, and Workington Hall, where she had been so kindly received. The Curvens, to whom I had a letter of introduction, were from home; but I went all over the Hall, and wrote a description of the portrait of Mary Stuart, and made myself mistress of the localities, of which I hope to avail myself in my biography of that unfortunate princess.

“We waited for the coach, which was to take us on to Maryport; and to our East Anglian eyes it was curious to see the sun set in the sea, instead of rising from it, as with us on the eastern coast of Suffolk. We left the coach by train for Carlisle, where we found Mr Howard’s carriage waiting for us, and arrived at Corby Castle much fatigued, where we found every comfort and luxury awaiting the weary travellers.

“Farewell, my dear mother.—With love to Eliza and Jane, ever your affectionate daughter,


Mr Howard of Corby Castle had insisted that Miss Agnes Strickland and her sister should rest at his seat VISIT TO SCOTLAND. on their way to Scotland. He remained in town, but everything was arranged by his direction for their comfort. His father had not long been dead, whose loss, and the absence of his kind mother and fascinating sister, Lady Petre, could not but be felt by Agnes, though she writes cheerfully to her mother respecting her brief abode at Corby.

Though in the very focus of Catholicism, Agnes and her sister went to the parish church, whither they were attended by the Protestant portion of the household, for, notwithstanding the erroneous report formerly alluded to, she was a steadfast member of the Anglican Church.

On their way to Scotland the sisters visited Naworth Castle, and after examining that curious stronghold, took the mail for Edinburgh, and arrived at the hotel where they were to sleep. The following morning Mr Home of Avontoun House, the Sheriff-substitute, came to show them the beauties of Auld Reekie. The view from the Calton Hill struck Agnes with its magnificence, combining as it did the wild sublimity of nature with the prospect of civilisation afforded by the Old and New Town lying at their feet. Their clever cicerone took them to see the College and the Provost’s library, in which Agnes found many things worthy of her attention.

Mr Frank Home accompanied them as far as Linlithgow, and they had a beautiful journey through Ayrshire. At Kilmarnock they found Mr Craufurd with his carriage waiting to convey them to Craufurdland Castle, where they were to take up their abode. Upon their arrival at the beautiful old place, with its towers and battlements covered with ivy, Mrs Craufurd and her elegant daughter stood in the Gothic hall ready to receive and welcome them—the lady looking like a châtelaine of Queen Mary’s time, quite in keeping with REV. NORMAN MACLEOD. her surroundings. Only one gentleman was invited to meet them the first day—the Rev. Norman Macleod, the Presbyterian minister of Loudon, an eminent person in the Scotch Church who afterwards attained much celebrity. Agnes was delighted with his conversation, and found, to her surprise, that he was a great admirer and partisan of Mary Queen of Scots, and of her descendant, Prince Charles Edward. In short, they got on so well together that Agnes agreed to hear him at his own church the following day, which happened to be Sunday. With such an able minister, Agnes found the service beautiful and edifying, in spite of her exclusive affection for her own Church. After the service was over, he showed them the graves of the martyrs, with their memorial tablets lining the low church-wall. “Now,” said he, “these, though well-meaning, were troublesome men. Persecutors themselves, but ready to die for conscience’ sake, they were barbarously used; but they would have done the same to others—it was the evil spirit of the times.”

They lunched at his manse, when his aunt, Miss Morris, gave Agnes a beautiful little cross, made of a piece of the Florida, one of the wrecked ships of the Armada; and she was delighted with her visit.

Their engagement to Avontoun House would not allow them to prolong their pleasant sojourn with the amiable possessors of Craufurdland Castle, for at Linlithgow Mr Frank Home was waiting to conduct them to Avontoun, where they were most kindly welcomed by his amiable parents and sisters.

As Mr Frank Home, being Sheriff-substitute, was engaged in Court, his father was their cicerone to Linlithgow Palace and Abbey, which they examined even to the dismal dungeons, painful relics of old feudal times. Stirling was the next place the tourists visited, as Agnes wished to see every palace that Mary Queen of Scots had inhabited. LETTER FROM MRS JAMIESON.

They quitted Scotland with regret late in the autumn to return to Reydon Hall—Agnes to write her biography of Catharine of Braganza, and Sarah to receive her fiancé’s first visit. Upon her arrival at home she found the following letter from Mrs Jamieson, enclosing an interesting volume from Mrs Sigourney:—

“Mrs Jamieson presents her compliments, and must apologise for the delay which has taken place in forwarding the book from Mrs Sigourney. It arrived in a parcel from America, which remained unopened during Mrs Jamieson’s absence in Scotland, whence she returned only a few days ago. Mrs Jamieson cannot but avail of herself of this opportunity to express the high esteem and admiration she has ever felt for Miss Strickland, and heartfelt thanks for the profit and pleasure she has derived from the perusal of her works.

Ealing, Nov. 30, 1843.”

Praise from such a source was very gratifying to Agnes Strickland. It was through this lady that she had become acquainted with Mrs Sigourney, the Hemans of America, in whom, as well as in her works, she was much interested. No person ever loved or was more beloved by her own sex, than the author of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England.’ She shared their feelings, entered into their pursuits, and in their society was always more of a woman than a writer. Her absence alike from assumption or pedantry made her society much prized by those who shared it. She was, in consequence, much more popular than professional authors generally are. Her lively conversation, cheerful spirits, and deference for the feelings of others, gave a charm to her manners which set everybody at ease in her company. She made many friends and lost none.

Early in this year Mr Frederic Devon made known to Agnes the Queen’s wish to add her autograph to her Majesty’s collection. She was much gratified by a request that did her so much honour.

Afterwards Countess Beauchamp.



Agnes Strickland had found materials for Catherine of Braganza in Clarendon’s account of her marriage, and of the misconduct of Charles II. to her while she was his newly wedded wife, but much of her widowed life remained unknown. Her return to her native country, and her latter years, passed with so much credit to herself and benefit to Portugal, were entirely unknown till brought to light by her female biographer.

The life of Mary Beatrice, the queen of James II., she knew required more material than she could obtain from British authorities, at least that part of it relating to her exile and death in France. She had already gleaned from the family archives of the Stricklands of Sizergh much valuable information respecting her; but to relate her domestic and political life in France would compel her to search the archives of that country, access to which she could obtain from Guizot, who was PUBLICATION OF THE EIGHTH VOLUME. on terms of friendly correspondence with her. This must be done before the ninth volume could be written.

The eighth, containing Henrietta Maria and Catherine of Braganza, was in a state of forwardness, the former life passing through the press while Agnes was writing her portion of the volume. Her Scottish tour had improved her health, and her fluent pen soon made up for the time spent on it.

The biographies of Catholic queens were sure to provoke the bigotry of narrow-minded people, and the three last consort-queens of Great Britain, natives of countries where Catholicism was the national religion, could not fail to revive the polemic storm that the publication of Mary Tudor had awakened. The sister authors represented facts as they found them, and cared for none of the prejudices entertained by rigid sectarians. The eighth volume was published early in the spring, for Agnes Strickland was in London to be present at the marriage of her dearly loved sister Sarah to the Rev. Richard Gwillym, which was to be celebrated in town to spare the feelings of her mother, who, though pleased with the match, was reluctant to part with her daughter.

Mrs Strickland’s separation from her two youngest girls, Catherine Parr[1] and Susanna, had caused her so much sorrow that it was thought better that the parting with Sarah should take place before the marriage.

Agnes Strickland was deeply engaged at Reydon in her literary labours, when they were agreeably interrupted by a summons to London to be present at the wedding of her sister.

The marriage of this tenderly beloved sister Sarah, better known at Reydon by her pet name of Thay, gave Agnes great pleasure, as she felt certain that the happiness MARRIAGE OF SARAH STRICKLAND. of that dear one, and that of the Rev. Richard Gwillym, would be ensured by their union. Agnes wrote to Mrs Strickland from London on the wedding-day as follows:—

“I give you joy, dearest mother, upon the marriage being happily concluded. It was a glorious day, bright, without a cloud, though a fall of snow in the night had clothed everything in a livery of dazzling white. The bride came forth fair as the day, though feeling at times, overpowered and ready to faint—Mrs Pearce, her modiste, having employed so much time and pains upon her dress that nothing but the announcement that the Dean of Carlisle was waiting could induce her to conclude the bridal toilet, which had flurried the bride a little. She was attired in white satin, trimmed and robed with swan’s-down, and a white-lace scarf looped on one shoulder, with a camellia of the same spotless hue. She looked a perfect picture. The marriage was to take place at St George’s, Hanover Square, and twenty wedding-guests were assembled in the vestry, Mr Lawson leading the bride. I stood next to her and held her bouquet, and Marianne Skinner her gloves. The church was full of people, and the bridal party filled the chancel. The Rev. Mr Tufnell[2] was the groomsman, and Mr Lawson gave away the bride. Your Eliza, Miss Gwillym, Mr Hornby the younger, Mr Rawstone, and several others comprised the company. The Dean, dear old gentleman, behaved like an apostle, and never did I hear anything half so beautiful as his reading the marriage-service. As the clerk pronounced the final Amen, out spoke St George’s clock and pealed twelve; so you see it was a near thing.”

The remnant of a curious superstition, derived from MARRIAGE OF SARAH STRICKLAND. the Romans, had made the populace assembled at the church-door call out, “Stumble, bride! stumble, for good luck!” as the bride was descending from the carriage to enter the church. She was, however, too graceful to make a false step.[3]

“We had a splendid breakfast, and everything went off well. It was a gala-day, for all the bells rang in honour of the Queen, who went in state to open her Parliament; and after the bride and bridegroom had departed, Eliza and I finished the eventful morning by going to the House of Parliament to hear the Queen’s Speech, which she delivered with more than her usual dignity and grace, though she alone could surpass herself in that rarest of all accomplishments, the power of making her voice distinctly heard without injury to the natural sweetness of its tones.

“But I have not yet told you how the dear bride was dressed when she went off with her bridegroom to Hampton Court in excellent spirits. She wore a purple damask dress, velvet mantle and bonnet, and looked charmingly in her elegant travelling parure, and excited the admiration of every one present, but more especially of her bridegroom. She sends her love to you and dear Jane, whom you are to tell that the beautiful handkerchief she worked for her was duly admired.

“Farewell, dear mother. May God grant that this marriage, which gives you a good son in dear Richard, may add to your happiness as well as to dear Sarah’s.—

Affectionately your own


P.S.—They will proceed to Windsor from Hampton Court, and return to town on Tuesday next.”


The marriage proved a very happy one; and Agnes, who generally concluded her northern tour with some weeks’ pleasant sojourn at Ulverstone, had frequently the pleasure of seeing the great domestic happiness of her sister and Mr Gwillym. But the loss of Sarah’s society was felt at Reydon, though her family endeavoured to stifle their own selfish regrets by remembering the connubial happiness she enjoyed with her worthy partner.

Agnes Strickland went with the Hon. Miss Otway Cave to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts—this lady’s talents and accomplished mind making her a very proper companion for such an occasion. “I was disappointed at not seeing Prince Albert,” writes Agnes, “who was prevented by an accident from taking the chair, which that old darling Sir Edward Codrington filled. Ibrahim Pasha—a horrid beast—was there, with all his paganish suite. It was a singular rencontre for him to be in the same room with the gallant old admiral who beat him so soundly at Navarino.” Her especial object was to see her friend Mr Lawson receive his medal.

Agnes Strickland was disgusted with the fuss made in a Christian country about Ibrahim Pasha—a man who had waged a sanguinary war with an oppressed Christian people, whom he had treated with unexampled cruelty. She was proud that British valour and British humanity had, by the victory of Navarino, given liberty to the Greeks. It was not a measure generally approved; but King William, it was said, had encouraged the brave admiral by writing to him in a true sailor style these emphatic words—“Go it, Ned!” If King William really did so write, it was a proof of DEPARTURE FOR FRANCE. his goodness of heart and sympathy for a Christian people. It was a cause Agnes Strickland warmly advocated, and its ultimate success gave her the highest pleasure.

Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland had long contemplated a voyage to France, as soon as the volume they had in hand was in a state of forwardness. It was, indeed, quite impossible for the biographer of Mary Beatrice of Modena to complete the life of that interesting queen without searching the French records for the particulars of her long years of sorrowful exile in France, till death ended her trials and opened for her a higher and happier kingdom. No historical justice had hitherto been rendered in England to this faithful wife of an unfaithful husband. Yet she had never, as queen or woman, influenced either the political conduct of James II., or that bigoted course that lost him the love of his subjects and his throne. To draw the virtues of this luckless queen from the gloom her consort’s faults and misgovernment had cast over them, was the destined privilege of Agnes Strickland—a task which she undertook and executed with equal fidelity and ability.

Baroness Braye, who was much attached to Agnes and her sister, gave them letters of introduction to several persons of distinction then resident in Paris. Her ladyship also enlisted the courteous and amiable Lord Strangford in their service, that the séjour of the literary pilgrims in the gay capital of France might be pleasant as well as profitable to them.

Agnes Strickland gives a lively account of her journey to Southampton and voyage to France in her journal: that of Elizabeth, from which we shall make some useful extracts, chiefly concerns the antiquities of the places she visited.

“Elizabeth and her maid Harriet,” writes Agnes, CROSSING THE CHANNEL. met me on the 3d of April at the station, from whence we proceeded by rail to Southampton. The morning was lovely; but the picturesque ruins of the Chapel of the Holy Ghost was the only object worthy of our attention till we reached Winchester, the old royal town of our Norman sovereigns. At Southampton we were met by Sir John Eustace, who took charge of us and our luggage, and escorted us to the Lady Saumarez steamer, in which he had engaged our berths. As we had time on our hands till the evening, we quitted the Dolphin Hotel, where we were to dine, to look at the town. We admired the fine old gateway and handsome church, the chief beauties Southampton could boast, though it is a very neat, cleanly town.

“We dined at the Dolphin, and at half-past eight, escorted by our friend Sir John Eustace, went on board the steamer and embarked for France, the bright moon throwing a glorious radiance over the waters of the bay. I lay down in my berth, upon a narrow black sofa prickly as a gooseberry-bush, and narrower than my coffin will be. Got no rest from the men stamping over my head. Note, the ladies’ cabin is always in the worst part of the vessel. Moreover, a pretty Norman baby called Paul, who disapproved of the discomforts he met with on board, testified his displeasure by loud squalls during half the night, greatly to our annoyance.

“We had a fine though slow passage; but at nine we came on deck, and saw the cliffs of Havre stretched like a wall before us, and enjoyed the fresh air. At eleven we made the quay, and were amused at the stirring scene round us. Every building seemed to wear an antique aspect, even to the hotels on the quay. The first thing that reminded us that we were no longer in the land of liberty was the approach of the gendarme, who demanded our passports. He was rather a picturesque figure, in a light-blue uniform, HAVRE. cocked-hat and white feather, bearing a ludicrous resemblance to the portraits of Napoleon. He received the documents with an air of theatrical homage very characteristic of the people of the politest nation in the world. He was presently succeeded by a functionary of a very different description in the person of Madame Messé, the douanière whose vocation was to examine the trunks and personal attire of ladies on behalf of the Customs House. She escorted us and our maid to the douane, and ushered us into a small den like a counting-house, where the drollest official, in the shape of an old woman, I had ever seen in my life, performed the ceremony of searching us, which she did by pulling our dresses about on each side, when, perceiving that I was provided with an ample and well-filled pocket, she pinched it a little and then said, ‘Cette à rien,’ with a knowing look intended to convey a contradiction to her words. We offered her three francs for her civility, which she rejected with a gesture and look of horror—‘Non, non—bah!’ when, perceiving that we were about to take her at her word, she gave a suspicious look round the room, and extended her hand with a satisfied grin resembling that of a monkey upon receiving a nut.

“After this little scene we went to the Frascati for the refreshment of a warm bath—the cleanest and prettiest establishment imaginable. Here we saw many lovely specimens of carved ivory, for which Normandy is celebrated.”

From her Sister Elizabeth to Jane Strickland.

Havre, April 1844.

“Our kind friend Sir John Eustace had charged Captain V——, an intimate acquaintance of his, to pay us every attention on board the steamer; and he HAVRE. performed very faithfully the duty put upon him. We need not say much of the discomforts of the steam voyage, which all passengers in turn must have experienced in sleeping on board. At eight in the morning the French coast was in sight. I went on deck, and saw the bold point of La Hève, with the headland towering above it. The steamer coasted swiftly for a few miles along a high table-land resembling the Dunwich cliffs, and, like them, seemingly disposed to crumble into the sea. At last we rounded La Hève, and stood boldly for the quay of Havre—the most picturesque scene in France, to my thinking. Captain V—— handed us on shore, but not before a polite monsieur, very smart in a blue-and-white uniform, had, after placing his hand on his heart, with a bow requested to inspect our passports. Captain V—— took a stroll with us in the town, where there was little to see and a great deal to smell. I saw that Agnes, whose olfactory nerves were remarkably acute, was disgusted with the odour from the stagnant ditches, and displayed by sundry gestures her dislike to La Belle Promenade, to which our cicerone had introduced us. Napoleon had carefully demolished every vestige of Norman chivalry, as well as those of the middle ages. He had pulled down the watch-tower of Francis I., which has been replaced by the modern glacis; but Havre still retains the armorial bearings of her dukes. I saw various small escutcheons surmounted with the ducal crown, and beneath, the two lions passant of the Conqueror, which proves that Speed was right in giving him those arms; for the tenacity with which French people cling to such tokens is intense, when they are very ancient and connected with their national pride in their province.

“There were no beggars in Havre, nor did we behold any signs of poverty in the people. There are no trees, HAVRE. and the principal church is modern, and so filled with votive offerings of every kind that it resembled a curiosity-shop more than a temple—though the number of little ships proved that we were in a nautical town. It was Holy Thursday, and the church was filled with worshippers, though it was not yet the time for service. We made our remarks more audibly than we ought to have done, when an ancient matron, apparently of the poissarde class, held up her finger to us to remember the sacredness of the place, and to be more regardful of the feelings of those who were engaged in devotion. We felt that we ought to have been more considerate, and took her implied reproof in good part. She herself, kneeling before an altar, would have made a fine subject for a painter while making her silent but dignified reproof.

“At Havre we first saw the high cauchoise caps and marmotte handkerchiefs, which those who did not wear the Norman head-dress wore instead. These, however, were chiefly poissardes; but all were clean and decent.

“At the Hôtel d’Angleterre we had good beds, excellent provisions, and great civility. We retired early, as we must be up at six, that we might have our breakfast comfortably before starting in the boat for Rouen. The people of the hotel assured us we need not hurry ourselves; but Madame Messé, who came for her fee, assured us if we did not the boat would be gone, which statement we found perfectly correct. The morning was very unpromising, being close and wet, and we had a scramble, after all, to get ourselves, our maid, and luggage on board.

“We got through the day and night at the Hôtel de Londres pretty well, considering the marine nature of the establishment. We had an excellent breakfast, and went on board the Seine steamer at nine, when all our plagues about douaniers and passports being NORMANDY. over, we began to think of Henry V.’s march, and to wonder that he had not preferred Calais to the route he took. Normandy, however, had been a hereditary possession of his royal ancestors, and perhaps his first thought might be to recover it from the French.

“The people were quiet and civil on board the steamer. Some fine Normandy cows occupied the prow of the vessel; they were covered with horse-cloths, and looked well-fed creatures. Agnes wished for some milk, thinking she would have it from one of the cows on board. But no; the lad in attendance brought her half a pint, for which he demanded half a franc. An abbé named l’Anglois, who was discussing the scenery with us, said one sous was the proper price; but the lad only lowered his demand to three, which was paid. The milk had been boiled, and Agnes disliked boiled milk; but there was no help for it.

“Directly we rounded a bold forest-headland, the grand chateau of Tancarville—the chamberlains of Normandy—came in view; and next the historical town of Honfleur, near which our Henry V., if my memory does not deceive me, landed. Honfleur has not an imposing appearance—the buildings, like those by lofty hills, having a toy-like look. But Tancarville was built by the Norman chamberlain boldly on the rock itself, and is in fine proportion with its noble background; and from its grand platform and mirador towers its warlike possessor could overlook all that was going forward on the busy quay of Honfleur. Then the port of the Seine for Havre, now so full of business and grand buildings on its quay, did not exist when Henry V., in the pomp and pride of chivalry, invaded the shores of the Seine; for the present quay is modern.

“Our route followed the banks of the Seine, only departing for its windings when it crossed the valley, where we met it again. When we traversed the fair VOYAGE UP THE SEINE. town of Vernon we thought of the Englishman, John Ufferd, who writes so securely of settling himself there, as if won for a permanent possession with his bow and spear. But the chief interest of the journey was the sight of the Château de Rosny, which stands on a height among the richest woods of France. The railroad has, however, divorced the village of Rosny from the ancient abode of Sully, which fortunately remains uninjured.

“Scenes of interest and beauty passed before us as the steamer moved up the Seine: now an old church, with its village embosomed in low woods, with a bold background of hills; or a chateau; or old stone quarry which in ancient times has supplied material out of its romantic-looking caves for many an English as well as French castle and church, in the Caen or Morman stone.

“Our kind cicerone, Abbé l’Anglois, who had politely undertaken to point out the unknown but interesting localities on our route, indicated to us the woodland niche which enclosed the ruins of the Abbey of St Wandrille, but which, owing to the lowness of its site, was invisible to the voyagers.

“Then he pointed out the grand ruins of the Abbey of Jumiéges, with its town at its feet; and we coasted along Caudebec and Le Clair. The air was cold; the warm breezes we had left at Southampton had given place to the sharp east winds. Agnes, always delicate, would fain have taken shelter in the cabin; but the stewardess chose to keep it in darkness, and we vainly petitioned for a window to be opened to let in the light. I have noticed in French soubrettes this tenacity respecting any regulation, whether made by themselves or imposed upon them by other people.

“The little cabarets of the fishermen on the banks of the Seine are the most picturesque amphibious nests I ROUEN. ever saw, and are very ancient. About twelve o’clock the majestic capital of Normandy showed its spires above the horizon. The Abbé recommended us to the Hôtel Vatel, Rue des Carmes, because it was in the heart of the antiquities of Rouen. We had been assured at Havre that all our troubles with the douane were over; but that we found to be a mistake, for before we landed, two fierce-looking messieurs, in the shape of douaniers, searched our sacs de nuit and other baggage, not for contraband cottons or muslins, but for joints of meat, bottles of wine or eau de vie, and other eatables or drinkables which are subject to the octroi, an ancient but very unpopular imposition upon natives as well as strangers. These Cerberuses found of course nothing of these excisable matters, but put some marks in chalk on nine packages, and handed them over to some porters who swarmed on the quay. However, we reached the Hôtel Vatel in safety, where we for the first time beheld the salon and bedroom in the same apartment, in which one end is divided into alcoves for beds, the partition including washstands. We did not like this salon, though, being on the premier stage, it was most likely the best guest-chamber, and having a fine parqueted floor; but finally settled in a clean-looking room in another part of the hotel, as its white draperies were tempting, though the floor was of red earth, and the little windows near the ceiling, and was evidently of great antiquity. This served us for dining and sleeping room. We had an excellent lunch-dinner, consisting of stewed eels, half a fowl—such as cooks in London might vainly sigh for—and a preserved-grape tart, all served up in a perfect style. After our delicious meal we sallied forth to hear the Ténèbres at Notre Dame, where we met by appointment our amiable cicerone, Abbé l’Anglois. We entered the glorious cathedral, and for the first time heard the Catholic service in one of the majestic temples NOTRE DAME. reared by Catholic piety. It was Good Friday; we paid for chairs, and witnessed this really imposing service. The mighty black veil, although it shrouded the tomb of Bedford, had a fine effect in that glorious cathedral. The priests in their black vestments looked not unlike those of our own Church when in the pulpit. Two canons, however, had their black gowns fringed with gold, and had high conical velvet caps, which they doffed whenever they passed the altar. The appearance of these dignitaries would have been imposing as they walked down continually on each side of the chancel; but the effect was marred by the ungraceful trains to their robes, which whisked after them like tails. I suppose these were orthodox appendages; but I am not sufficiently learned respecting the vast variety of sacerdotal garments worn by the priests in the Catholic Church to be able to determine the question. The dress of the little choristers, attired in red, had narrow tails of the same colour under their white albs, which gave them somewhat the strange appearance of dragons.

“After all the lights had been extinguished in the grand stand, with the exception of one which represented the undying principle of life in the Lord Jesus, three of the choristers crossed diagonally the sacred space before the altar with that. Whither they conveyed it I could not see, but ever and anon they answered the full-voiced choir with a distant response of vocal melody, which, dying away, seemed to represent the songs of angels. This gave me more pleasure than any opera or oratorio had ever afforded me. The melody of these three voices ringing through the ancient arches of Notre Dame was indeed worth them all.

“We walked about the cathedral after the service was ended, to examine it, and to visit the newly discovered statue of our lion-hearted Richard, to whose powerful forehead the sculptor has done justice, as well ROUEN. as to his form of majesty and might. There is an indomitable strength of mind and person in the Anglo-Norman sovereign truly characteristic of him. The lion-heart was found at Rouen, with an inscription which places the identity of this statue with it beyond dispute; yet those who gaze on it must say in truth—

“ ‘The glories of our pomp and state

  Are shadows, not substantial things;’

for the heart of our mighty Richard is as evanescent as his royal state and grandeur. Mr Albert Way, who discovered the statue, and also the burial-place of the lion-heart of Richard, is much valued at Rouen for the interesting account of the exhumation, for which the reader is referred to the ‘Archæologia.’

“We next examined the monument of the celebrated champion of Margaret of Anjou, Pierre de Brezé, the valiant seneschal of Normandy. The revolutionary spirit has torn away his bust or statue, for his canopied tomb presents but a plain space, which formerly the busts of himself and his wife occupied. I conclude, from the form and height of the canopy, that these effigies were busts, not statues, as the confined vacancy would not allow of the last unless they were of minute proportions. There are steel helmets and a chapeau hung up near the roof of the cathedral beyond access. The guide told me the chapeau formerly belonged to Pierre Brezé, and was a votive offering after his victorious combat in the lists. The form seems to belong rather to the reign of Louis XII. Now the valiant Brezé finished his martial career at the battle of Montlhery, in which he fell. The Normans show an equestrian statue over one of the doors of the cathedral, which they declare is his. It was this De Brezé who wrested Rouen from the English during the reign of Charles VII. of France, which of course did not make LOUIS DE BREZÉ AND DIANE DE POITIERS. the cause of Margaret of Anjou more popular in England, as he was the champion of that unfortunate and heroic queen. Near the monument of this warrior is that of his descendant, Louis de Brezé, Seneschal of Normandy, and the husband of Diane de Poitiers. This monument is finished with all the beauty of the revival of the arts under Francis I. The portrait statue represents Louis in the agonies of death, with dishevelled hair, and the limbs discomposed, just as life was departing. The view, though appalling, does not inspire horror; and if it had been designed of the human size, would have been considered a fine work. It is on the scale of a third less than that. Diane is represented standing weeping among the pilasters at the feet of the corpse in a widow’s dress, and is far more beautiful in this mourning effigy than in her portraits by Primatuccio, her favourite painter.

“The following inscription, rendered from the Latin, expresses her grief, which at that period of her life was probably sincere:—

“ ‘O Louis de Brezé, Diane of Poitiers, afflicted by thy death, has erected this monument to thy memory. She was thy faithful wife in this life, and will be equally so in the tomb.’

“ ‘The lady,’ some will say with Shakespeare, ‘promises too much;’ and posterity has raised a laugh and impugned her conjugal fidelity. But if the date of De Brezé’s death, 1531, and that of the birth of Henry II. are compared, they will find that this prince was only eleven years old at the time of Diane’s widowhood. Scandal has assailed her fame, on account of her having saved the life of her father by her supplication to Francis I., upon whom her beauty and filial tears made such a deep impression that he pardoned the Duke de Valentinois.[4] Had Diane really been the mistress of ROUEN. Francis, she would have been separated from Henry by the general horror of his subjects; for though adultery in sovereigns might be overlooked in that age, incest never was. The beautiful mistress of Henry II. is not interred by her husband, but in the church near the magnificent Château d’Anet, which her royal lover built for her.

“It is a remarkable feature in the costume of these times that widows, unless they remarried, always wore their weeds. Diane never quitted hers, and Henry adopted her colours of black and white in consequence.

“The monument of two celebrated cardinals, uncle and nephew, both named George d’Amboise, and ministers of France, is here in the most elaborate style of Gothic monumental architecture. The tomb looks like a mass of point-lace carved in stone. When relief was required, we are assured steel cutting was inserted to represent black lace, such as may be seen in the tomb of Edward IV. in the chapel of Windsor, by the blacksmith painter, Quentin Matsys; but it must have been easier to do this than to form this lovely white lace in stone.

“It is said that the circular window of the cathedral of Rouen is modern. It is certainly very glorious, and the painted glass very grand; but the circular windows of Notre Dame de Rouen are not so large as those of Westminster Abbey, nor is their architecture so rich.

“We had been examining the glories and antiquities of the cathedral, guided by the Swiss functionary in uniform, for Napoleon had placed the re-established churches of France under military protection.

Agnes Strickland was much struck by the deep MONUMENT OF ROLLO. devotion of the humble classes who were worshipping in the cathedral: working men who came in to offer up their prayers for a few minutes spared from labour, and young women, with modest looks, and bouquets of violets and wallflowers in their hands, seemed absorbed in their devotions.

“The children’s sweet reverential behaviour was really very edifying. I saw a boy of ten years, who had two little ones in his charge, come in hand in hand and kneel down with them in prayer, with looks full of meek holiness. The trio had evidently been taught to subdue the playfulness so natural to their age, out of respect to the sanctity of the place.

“The examination of the monument of Rollo,—the valiant and mighty founder of our own royal Norman line, greater as a legislator than even as a warrior,—in the chapel of Petit Saint Romain, was very interesting to Agnes. It has been removed from the first place of the Duke’s interment in the sanctuary of the ancient church to the site which is now occupied by the present stately fane. It is wonderful that this tomb should have survived so many injuries by lightning, fire, and the devastating hand of man. The statue is of noble proportions, lofty, but not gigantic in height; the head powerful, denoting faculties fitted to rule a mighty empire. He wears the ducal crown and robes. The sculpture is boldly and grandly executed, proving that the arts were in no mean state in the remote century when this fine work was executed. In the opposite chapel is the effigy of his son and successor, William Longspear, under an arched canopy. I asked a young man who had constituted himself our guide, for the tomb of the Duke of Bedford; but he told me that the tomb of Monsieur de Bedfort, as he styled the once terrible regent of France, the ruler of the province of Normandy, was at this time enclosed within the black ROUEN. curtains that on this day (Good Friday) enveloped the altar. I regretted much that I could not see his monument. Proceeding down the aisle to the right, we passed a black pavilion with an altar-tomb bound with scarlet, black, and gold, and trimmed with delicate point-lace. This was designed to represent the holy sepulchre. It was lighted up with funereal tapers, and filled with silent worshippers absorbed in devotion,—the whole scene forming an impressive tableau, strange to Protestant eyes, yet not devoid of interest, from the fervency of the kneeling devotees.”

Elizabeth has given a fuller account in her journal of the antiquities of Notre Dame de Normandie.

“In one of the side aisles,” writes Elizabeth, “we were met by our kind cicerone, Abbé l’Anglois, who brought a lady with him who knew a little English, which he thought might be useful. He conducted us through a side door, which seemingly led through crypts and many dark aisles, till we reached a staircase, and were finally ushered into a beautiful court formed by two mighty angles of the cathedral, and on the other side by grand houses apparently as old as the sacred building itself. We seemed to have stepped into one of Prout’s magnificent architectural paintings. To complete the picture our imagination created, old canons with white hair came into ancient balconies, which rose tier above tier, to look at us. One, who wore the high cauchoise cap, stood at a vast gallery window, appearing from the black depth of shadow in the background like a living representative of five centuries gone by. The interior square of the cathedral to which we had been introduced was scattered over with heaps of broken pediments, architraves, and bold alto-relievo figures of kings, saints, and bishops of colossal size and fine design. Among these relics the choristers, released from their sacred office and from their flowing robes, were NOTRE DAME. leaping and sporting. One of them, apparently the eldest, had formed and fenced in a little garden, and was tending his flowers with the vivid pleasure of a youthful amateur florist. We saw an aged Norman woman engaged in filling up an ancient and dilapidated bay-window in an adjoining house with pots of flowers. She was in a cauchoise cap as old as herself, of a different form from those we had seen. She evidently took pleasure in floriculture, though her collection was not so choice as that of our young chorister.

“In the meanwhile Agnes and the Abbé were lamenting the desecration of the court, and longing for the restoration of this part of the cathedral. I am not sure that if restored we should feel as much interest in Notre Dame as we do now. When I see a glorious fane restored, the first feeling is wonder and admiration, but the second is disappointing. We miss the ancient appearance of the building; all is new and brilliant, but it does not seem old; even the stones that once echoed the living voices of the mighty dead are gone, and their associations with them.

“While we were gazing upwards on the towers of the cathedral, we were joined by an ecclesiastic, who was introduced to us by our Abbé cicerone as Monsieur le Vicaire, the Curé of the cathedral, who spoke a little English, and was a very learned man. This gentleman invited us to his residence to see a fine ebony cabinet and some illuminations which he considered worthy of our attention. It was now dark, but some person brought him a Guy Fawkes lantern, and we again plunged into dark passages, through many a black arch leading to arcades equally dark, just such as people dream of and find leading to nothing. However, these did lead to something, for we were suddenly introduced into a pleasant Gothic study, looking upon the dying sunset, which left us light to behold the curiosities ST OUEN. we were brought to see. The room looked out upon some square garden in the city; one side was lined with shelves filled with books of divinity and a violoncello; the other contained an ebony cabinet of great size and magnificence. The drawers were filled with fragments of illuminations, each secured in a little wooden frame to ensure its preservation, and enshrined in this nook of Notre Dame. The Curé told us he had been taken for Father Mathew, to whom, however, he bore no resemblance. We saw a fine cast of the late Cardinal Archbishop of Rouen, taken immediately after he had breathed his last. Nothing could surpass the calm placidity of the features. I asked if he were a good man. Their reply was an enumeration of his Christian virtues. I thought that saint-like expression could only have been stamped on the face of a worthy person, ‘for the rapture of repose was there.’

“The Abbé l’Anglois insisted we must see St Ouen, which he declared was superior to Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame; and thither, though it was dark, he took us. This church is exceedingly grand, and in fact surpasses Westminster Abbey, whose model it has evidently been, by the long glorious view of the side aisles not being cut up in divisions like a cathedral with nave and choir. The well-satisfied eye takes in the whole architectural range at once. For the same reason, this glorious fane surpasses that of its neighbour, Notre Dame, because, in fact, a grand church presents a nobler coup d’œil than any cathedral. We looked into the fine bénitier, and saw in the water as in a mirror the glorious painted glass and dark roof of the church—the finest in the world, say the Norman antiquaries. I own that I did not admire the prevalence of the green and purple glass in the oriels so well as the warmer-coloured ones in that of Notre Dame, which we had lately seen. LIBRARY.

“We quitted St Ouen with regret, but were tired, and were glad to return to the hotel. On the following morning we went to keep an appointment with our friendly Abbé, who was to meet us at the adjoining library, where, however, there was little to see, excepting a splendid grail of the Benedictines, presented to them by Louis XIV., which was probably the last specimen of illumination devoted to ecclesiastical purposes. It was marred by the prevailing bad taste of the day, for shepherds and shepherdesses feeding their flocks had taken the place of the Biblical histories—the artists of this modern era having followed the prevalent taste of their times, just as those of the date of Louis XI. had done in those we had seen the night before. There was, however, an affectation of antiquity in the square musical notes of the middle ages, which were scrupulously preserved. It was the largest musical score I ever saw.

“We had been promised a sight of William of Jumiéges’ MS. chronicle, which turned out to be a copy, though an ancient one, with only a single illumination in red ink, representing William of Jumiéges presenting his volume to William the Conqueror, which is curious. A small fee is expected from the visitors to this library. It was not demanded, but received with thanks.

“Our guide led us into a street called Rue de Vieux Palais, and showed us the mouldering façade of an ancient building which he said was the old palace of the Dukes of Normandy. Although I was aware that such a one was in existence in the reigns of Henry I. and John of England, the architecture of this structure appeared to me too modern—being, I think, of the rich era of Louis XII. of France. However, as a confirmation of his assertion, I discovered, in an alto-relievo in the frieze of an old building in that street, the portrait ROUEN. of Matilda of Flanders, the wife of William the Conqueror, in the same attitude, with the book in her hand, and elegant costume and veil, as we have given her in the first volume of the ‘Queens of England.’ The figure is about a foot in height, and has remained for centuries uninjured. If it had been in England, it would have been destroyed long before. It is not likely that any new likeness of Matilda would have been placed in Rouen after the loss of the Duchy of Normandy to her descendants.

“From this street we hastened to pay our homage to the Place de la Pucelle. As for the fountain and statue, they are misplaced, and prevent the eye from dwelling on the site where the most glorious creature of that age was barbarously done to death. Tradition points out an old window from whence the cruel Bedford looked upon the sufferings of the patriotic victim. The houses are turreted, and seem old enough to have been standing at that time. Behind the square is the Hôtel de Bourgtheroulde, in which one tower is pointed out as the scene of Jeanne’s imprisonment. If so, it must be the ancient unornamented one, for those enriched with the curious friezes are not older than the era of Francis I. or Henry II. of France. The Clock-gate Tower, called the Porte of the Grand Horloge, is the next antiquity worth attention, and it is to be noticed that the curfew is tolled from it every evening, being a part of the laws of Rollo. We remember the offence its introduction gave our English people. Here it was a useful restraint upon men in trade, who were compelled to shut their shops at the hour it indicated, thus affording early rest to themselves and their people.

“We thought we had seen most of the fine buildings of Rouen, but our guide insisted that we must enter the church of St Maclou; and he was right, for it would have been a matter of reproach to us if we had not PARIS. visited that beautiful structure—smaller, indeed, than its august rivals Notre Dame and St Ouen, yet not inferior to them in architectural symmetry. The nave and aisles of St Maclou were crowded with worshippers of all ranks and ages. A great number of these were humble matrons with their babies. Some of these infants were in swaddling-clothes, like those we see in old sculptures and pictures of the middle ages. The babies were perfectly quiet, their mothers taking care to administer to their comforts by providing them with nourishment, some in a primitive way, others by means of feeding-bottles. The priests and choir then entered the church in procession, bearing a banner with the portrait of our Saviour, and also the crucifix with lighted tapers round it.

“If we could have spared time we might have spent a week at Rouen with profit and pleasure; but as that was impossible, we arranged for starting for Paris that very day, though we did not quit the fine capital of Normandy without regret. We did not find spring forwarder in Normandy than in England, though the season was remarkably mild.”

The travellers reached Paris without experiencing any more inconvenience than the examination of their trunks and baggage at the octroi, this search for contraband articles being always considered by females as a great annoyance. The sisters had been advised to take up their residence with Mademoiselle le Conte, at 30 Rue de Clichy, Chaussée-d’Antin, where a young friend was en pension. Their hostess came to give them a kind reception, and made them as comfortable as the nature of the establishment would permit. The pupils and assistants were, like the principal, very amiable and kind-hearted persons. It was Easter-eve when they entered Paris, and they had hurried their arrangements that they might be present PARIS. at Notre Dame at the celebration of Easter Sunday on the morrow.

They were not in time for the earlier portion of the service, but their attention was fixed by the immense crowd of worshippers in the church moving at footfall without the slightest sound or interruption to the solemn ritual in the sacrarium as they circled round it, the left-hand side-door accommodating those who as silently streamed out by that on the right hand. Various windows and recess chapels, dedicated to saints, on the left, were filled with devotees, but the centre chapel was that of the Blessed Virgin, directly behind the high altar of the Holy Trinity. The pillared path lay between them. This ambulatory procession of worshippers round the apse was what the sister historians particularly wished to see. At Ste Roche they found the same peculiar feature as in Notre Dame. Though no mean antiquaries, if they had not witnessed the devotions at these churches of the French people, they would have remained ignorant of the use of the apse. They afterwards found that this style of interior architecture was not confined to France, but might be found in many English churches, though blocked out by pews and other disfigurements wrought by ignorant lay church-wardens.

As one of Agnes Strickland’s chief reasons for visiting France was to examine the localities of St Germains, and to discover if any traditions of the exiled Stuarts lingered there, she resolved to go thither at once. She had been furnished with letters of introduction by Sir John Eustace to his relation, the Rev. Mr Eustace, and his daughter Mrs Connor, who resided at St Germains, which would make her visit to the old palace more agreeable to her and her sister.

In a fragmentary portion of a journal, unfortunately always fragmentary with Agnes Strickland, whose numerous calls upon her time seldom left her opportunity JOURNEY TO ST GERMAINS. for giving a daily and completed record of the manner in which she spent it, the reader will find an amusing account of her journey to St Germains.

“On Monday I left Paris with my sister and our maid, and after a pleasant railroad journey through a country full of historic recollections, we arrived at the terminus at Chatou, about a mile from St Germains. As the morning was warm and we were encumbered with our sacs de nuit, we determined to proceed by a petite voiture. No sooner had we signified our intentions than a sturdy old man, whose broad head was covered with a flat leather cap much the worse for wear, seized our carpet-bags crying out as he did so, “Allons, Mesdames Anglaise,” and trotted off with them at so brisk a pace that we had much ado to keep him in sight. We called out in vain to him to stop, nor did we come up with him till he had tossed our luggage into a sort of go-cart of the rudest construction, denominated a cuckoo, with a wooden canopy and ragged leather curtains, which he requested us to enter, with many commendations of its elegance and commodiousness. Not regarding his laudatory comments on his cuckoo, we assured him that it did not suit us. He declared that all English ladies travelled in his cuckoo; and as he had stowed away our sacs de nuit, we, remembering the caution of an experienced traveller to ladies, ‘Whatever you do, never lose sight of the baggage,’ reluctantly entered the vehicle, considering, indeed, that there were many worse misfortunes on a journey than travelling a mile in an old cuckoo, drawn by a lean cart-horse, equipped with wooden harness and rope-reins. Our queer driver expressed his satisfaction by continually repeating to himself, ‘Bon, bon—très bon.’

“Our maid Harriet, who was infinitely more disgusted than ourselves with the cuckoo, and did not DRIVE IN A “CUCKOO.” understand French, said, ‘If the old man’s buns are not better than his old ramshackle shay, I am sure they won’t be worth eating.’ Her observation excited my risibility so much that I never left off laughing as long as I remained in the cuckoo. Indeed we formed the rear of a very extraordinary procession of holiday-keepers: voitures filled with ladies; omnibuses carrying soubrettes in the glory of their new finery; old women in caps a foot high, or red handkerchiefs for head-tire, with baskets of poultry for sale; old men and children, who apparently had nothing to do but to amuse themselves. Another omnibus had a band of music playing lively tunes, notes of which were accompanied by the grunting and squeaking of several herds of the celebrated pigs of Poissy, stowed in carts driven by sturdy boys, who appeared to enjoy the music which their fat hogs so effectually marred by their dissonant outcries. Such was the company in which we crossed the magnificent bridge over the Seine, and wound slowly round the lofty hill crowned by the royal chateau of St Germains. The sun shone so brightly in the cloudless blue, and the air was so clear and invigorating, and everybody looked so happy and full of holiday spirits, that I must say I never enjoyed a drive more in my life than this compulsory one in the old cuckoo from Chatou to St Germains. But when we arrived at the barrier, we were disagreeably surprised by a demand of our passports from one official, and the sight of our baggage from the other. We had been so plagued by the douane at Havre that we did not expect this fresh annoyance from the Monsieur d’Octroi. Our surrender of our goods and chattels was very ungraciously received by the fierce official. Instead of opening our bags, he swore at our old man, who, it seems, was addicted to smuggling in his cuckoo wine, brandy, legs of mutton, and other excisable articles, ST GERMAINS. without the formality of paying duty for them. However, upon ascertaining that our baggage contained no contraband edibles, he at length permitted us to proceed.

“We took up our quarters at the old Jacobite hotel, Le Prince de Galles—still bearing the effigy of the Chevalier St George, the unfortunate son of James II.—in which we engaged a pleasant drawing-room, with two beds in alcoved recesses, and found excellent refreshments. We have summer at St Germains; but France is a barren land, with neither trees nor flowers—there are few gardens. Scotland is rich in foliage and verdure in comparison with this country. We presented our letters to Mr Eustace and Mrs Connor, with whom we drank tea. Mrs Connor, like all the Eustaces, is frank, generous, and good-tempered. I enjoyed rambling with dear old Mr Eustace and his kind daughter through the beautiful forest, where we found wild flowers like our own English ones. We saw old women carefully watching their pet goats, Frenchmen catching butterflies with green-gauze nets, and lovers meeting their beloved ones. With great difficulty we succeeded in obtaining an entrance into the old melancholy palace of the Stuarts, now turned into a military prison. But upon our second attempt the commandant, a handsome dark-eyed man, decorated with the insignia of the Legion of Honour, became more courteous, offered me his arm, and led me through all the apartments. Mr Eustace, Lady Airey, and the Honourable Mrs Brown, and some others, were of my party. Our commandant spoke very handsomely of me to Mrs Brown, assuring her that he found me ‘très intéressante, charmante, et scientifique.’ I suppose he meant to infer that I was learned in the history of the palace. We spend our time very agreeably here, dining with Mr Eustace and Mrs Connor every day—and make ourselves well M. GUIZOT. acquainted with the localities of this old place, where the exiled royal family found a home.

“Mr Eustace took us to see Versailles. A splendid sight it is; but I am still weak from indisposition, and the heat is intense.” The sisters returned to Paris, after which we hear no more of the journal. In their second visit to St Germains, Elizabeth gives an interesting account of the church and palace there.

In a letter to her sister Jane, while she feels grateful for the attention she and her sister-historian receives, Agnes complains of the number of visits she is expected to return, as it leaves her and Eliza little time for the business that brought them to the French capital—researches in the royal and foreign archives for documents connected with the exiled Queen of James II.

Monsieur Guizot, with whom they had an important and interesting interview, gave them every facility for the object they had in view. This celebrated statesman and author spoke English with facility, and even with elegance. He was intimately acquainted with the history, laws, and constitution of Great Britain, which he had studied deeply and thoroughly; and it gave him evidently some pleasure to aid them by his influence and advice. His own work upon the Revolution that changed the new republican constitution of England into a despotic military government, is written with great power and impartiality, and shows an intimate knowledge of documentary history; but he does not point out a fact that the history of republics always exemplify that the greatest military general makes himself the ruler of the state, whether under the specious names of protector, dictator, or president. In order, then, to secure a free constitution from civil war or military despotism, a hereditary ruler becomes a necessity; and happy it is for the British people that they have such a one in their own beloved and merciful Queen. LETTER FROM M. GUIZOT.

Monsieur Guizot did not forget his promise to Agnes Strickland, his former correspondent. He furnished her with letters of introduction to his personal friends who had the care of the archives, to whose attention he particularly recommended her. In the course of her conversation with the accomplished statesman, Agnes had informed him that she contemplated writing a history of Mary Queen of Scots, whose early life was passed in France.

In his letters of introduction he appears to have kept this particular object in view. He sent them the next day with the following note:—

Monsieur Guizot to Agnes Strickland.


“I have the honour of sending the two letters to Miss Agnes Strickland that I promised her. I engage, also, to send them to their address, and I beg her to accept my respectful compliments.


Monday, April 22, 1844.


My dear Friends,—I recommend very particularly to your attention Miss Agnes Strickland, author of a very good and interesting work, ‘The Lives of the Queens of England.’ She comes to France to make researches in our libraries and archives for her projected work on Mary Stuart, of whom she has published the letters. You will oblige me by giving her all the information and assistance in your power. She deserves it.—With much friendship,


P.S.The papers relating to James are to be found in the Archives de Royaume of the kingdom, of which Mons. Sebronne is the keeper, M. Mignet of the Archives Étrangères, Monsieur Normans, Member of the Institut, and guardian of the ‘Bibliothèque des Rois.’—Guizot.[5]


In the Archives de Royaume, Agnes was able to procure a mass of interesting documents for her historical biography of Mary Beatrice. She admired the order in which the French State Papers were arranged. They had survived the stormy period of the Revolution, and contained facts unconnected, indeed, with the subjects of her inquiry, but deeply interesting to her as a woman as well as an historian. There was the touching letter of Marie Antoinette, written with a piece of charcoal to Madame Elizabeth and her own daughter, in reply, seemingly, to their complaint of the scurrilous songs the brutal Simon had compelled the unfortunate Dauphin to sing, reflecting upon the characters of his aunt and sister. In that epistle, in which reason and deep maternal love were exquisitely mingled, the character of the condemned queen shone more brightly from the dungeon than when she glittered in that Court of which she had formed the ornament.

The sisters saw the unedited papers of Robespierre—those papers that no one had then ventured to edit,—the remains of that man so stained with blood and so unstained with gold! A monomania of a peculiar crafty and cruel kind seemingly possessed him; yet he was faithful to his trust as far as money was concerned, for he died poor, possessed only of a few francs.

Through the powerful influence of the accomplished statesman-historian, Agnes and her sister were enabled to prosecute their researches in the Archives de Royaume de France, des Archives des Affaires Étrangères, and to make transcripts from letters and documents which proved invaluable for their biographies.

In the midst of her profitable labours and researches, Agnes Strickland fell sick, with a bad sore throat and fever, at Mademoiselle le Conte’s residence in Rue de Clichy, and was in imminent danger. Though nothing could be kinder than her amiable hostess, or sweeter AGNES’S ILLNESS. than the behaviour of the young lady-pensioners, still Agnes felt that France was not England, with its many comforts, nor Rue de Clichy home and Reydon. By the care of her skilful English physician, Dr Laurie, she was soon out of danger, but remained very weak and low. She had kind nurses in her sister and her maid Harriet, and a host of friends in young ladies, who used to steal into her room with many love-gifts in the shape of bonbons and pâtisserie. Elizabeth discouraged these visits, which she feared would annoy the patient; but Agnes, always fond of young people, liked to see their bright and affectionate faces, though she was unable to find words to thank them.

Though progressing towards convalescence, she could not pursue her arduous studies and researches for some time. Dr Laurie advised her to change the air of Paris and try the country, as he would not answer for her speedy return to health in the crowded metropolis.

She decided upon a second visit to St Germains, whither accordingly she went as soon as she was able to travel—once more taking up her residence, with her sister and her maid, at Le Prince de Galles.

This arrangement enabled Elizabeth to give a very accurate and graphic description of the old palace and church of St Germains in her private journal, which is extracted for the benefit of the antiquarian reader:—

“This ancient palace has formerly been more extensive than we see it at present, reaching to the verge of the precipice and terraced flight of steps which now look out boldly over Paris, the Seine, and the Druidical forest of St Germains-en-Laye. On the terrace was built the pleasure-palace of the royal Bourbon. It was built by Henri Quatre, about 900 feet from the old castle. Here Louis XIV. was born, and his brother Philippe of Orleans; therefore it was the cradle of the branch of the house of Bourbon now on the throne of PALACE OF ST GERMAINS. France. Two large pavilions remain, but the connection between them and the frowning old chateau has been cut off, and many modern buildings built in a line, now called the Parterre, which seems to imply that the pleasure-garden intervened between the new and the old chateau. This palace served the Court for a country residence till Versailles was built. It was said that Louis XIV., when his sins came to his remembrance, did not like to have St Denis, the burial-place of the kings of France, so continually before his eyes. Indeed there is seen that venerable sepulchre, with its unequal towers, whether you look out from the pavilion or stand on the terrace. Whatever may have been the cause of his aversion to St Germains, he never occupied it after his new palace was completed.

“Upon the arrival of the exiled royal family of Great Britain, that part of it was assigned to James II. as his residence which looked towards the church of St Germains and a portion of the park. A high grille of iron pales and gates shut the Parterre and park from the town and Place aux Armes. The entrance into the castle of St Germains is in the market-place, which opens on a gate leading on what was once the drawbridge. Even now you look down on each side on the moat, lined with stone, and in part converted into a pretty garden. Directly the grand portal is passed you find yourself in a noble court, with the castle chapel on the right hand. The whole, though built of brick, lined and faced with stone, is rich and antique—very different in appearance from the plain grim black and greyish-white of the outside. The inner court would be a long quadrangle, were it not for the jutting forward of the large round towers at each angle of the chateau, which render it oblong. The beautiful chapel is a rich specimen of Gothic. Half of it is parted for the sacrarium, within which is another small pulpit. Galleries THE CHAPEL. are above the altar—an unusual circumstance in a Catholic country. The royal gallery is directly opposite the walls of the chapel, lined with beautiful mosaic, far finer than any specimen which remains in Westminster Abbey. The nobly groined ceiling is painted in the style of modern art, but is utterly faded, while the antique mosaic retains its pristine beauty. In the middle ages men built for durability as well as for beauty; and the modern chisel and hammer can hardly preserve their works from oblivion. It is probable that the royal gallery communicated with the royal apartments, though we could not discover the entrance. The officer who guided us led us through a lower passage groined like a crypt, and evidently of very high antiquity, which led to the staircase of the state apartments, very dreary, between stone walls, ceiled like a cylinder, fluted with ornaments of red brick. The stairs are framed of stone, filled in with red bricks. After passing through several of these curious places, we entered gloomy corridors, now full of dormitories for convicts, but formerly belonging to the body-guard of the sovereigns of France. We then entered a green and gilded suite of apartments, ornamented in the style of Louis Quatorze. The wreaths of flowers round the mouldings, in which pictures have been impanelled, are all of carved wood, delicately worked—the gilding in wonderful preservation. Carved and gilded dolphins are placed on these compartments, from which pictures and looking-glass have been torn. Monograms of M. A. V.—initials probably of the Bavarian princess, wife of the Grand Dauphin, as the eldest son of Louis XIV. is usually styled.

“Nothing can be more singular to English eyes than the style of communication between the state apartments and those of the attendants on royalty. No retirement, no privacy was ever the luxury of the French ST GERMAINS. monarch and his family. This was perhaps the counterpoise of the people in despotic governments. Kings and queens of France were only permitted to exist in public.

“Thus the royal apartments at St Germains are encircled by an intricate cordon of passages and staircases concealed within the thickness of the walls. A royal personage could not have spoken, nor moved, nor uttered a sound, but what the attendants must have been aware of the fact. There are œils-de-bœuf let on high into the walls round the ceiling of the privy chamber or private withdrawing-room, perhaps answering to the royal closet in our own court. Behind these round windows, which only appear as a part of the ornaments of the room, runs a close gallery, from whence the attendants in waiting viewed the privy chamber, and upon a slight signal could fulfil the commands of the royal person below, and who could play the part of spies if they chose upon the potentate upon whom they waited. How completely were French sovereigns at the mercy of their courtiers and servants, whose fidelity alone could be their safeguard!”

As soon as Agnes was sufficiently recovered, she returned to Paris, but not to remain at the establishment of Mademoiselle le Conte; for though no one could be kinder than that amiable lady, the residence of the sisters there had its inconveniences. They took up their abode with Madame Colmache, whose society and literary attainments made her a very useful acquaintance, as she could chaperon them to the public libraries and antiquities they wished to see.

Agnes Strickland to her Sister.

Paris, April 26, 1844.

My dear Jane,—This day Madame C—— kindly accompanied us to the Hôtel Soubise, on an introductory LETTER OF QUEEN MARY BEATRICE. visit to Monsieur Michelet, on whom our last hope relied of finding aught relative to Mary Beatrice of Modena. We were received by him with great courtesy, and he told us that the employees in the Archives had succeeded in finding a little regarding our purpose. We were then introduced to a room adjoining his own, and presented with three packets, all in the well-known hand of the Queen of James II. These letters were ostensibly supposed only to consist of her correspondence with Madame Prioli, the Superior of the Convent of Chaillot, but they really contained other matters of great interest.[6] Soon after, a considerable MS. was brought to us containing anecdotes of her life. Then within the packets we found not only the will of this princess, but a most precious narrative of her escape, and the names of the ladies who quitted England with her and shared her exile—Lady Strickland being the one first mentioned by her royal mistress. I showed the name to M. Michelet, who made us a low bow, partly to us and partly to the name of our relative, and said, ‘C’est une circonstance très intéressante,’ as indeed it was.

“We set to work for two hours in good earnest, to the evident surprise of the French officials.

“After our departure from the Hôtel Soubise, Madame C—— took us to see a building called La Maudite Maison, from whence a printer and his daughter had been dragged forth by an infuriated mob and burned alive in the courtyard on a charge of sorcery. The house had been shut up for a hundred years, having been regarded with superstitious horror by the Parisian people. There was nothing remarkable in the SCOTS COLLEGE. Maison Maudite, which bore no marks of antiquity about it.

“Our next pilgrimage was to that Scots College which was the destination of so many of the letters of Mary Queen of Scots. Our fiacre traversed the two isles of the Seine, till we began to climb the Fossés de St Victor, where many trades and manufactures seemed actively carried on in the stately ancient buildings which had once had noble tenants. The people looked kind and amiable. The entrance of the Scotch convent is very fine, and we ascended the broad staircase, which, after several square massive turnings, brought us to a chamber on the second floor, which I think may have been the chapel where the hearts of James II., his wife and daughter, were deposited. The chapel was full of shavings, and was undergoing partial desecration, as the west end, in which were the royal memorials, was being parted from the altar and converted into an ante-room to the chapel, for the parents of the children belonging to the establishment; for it is now rented from the Catholic bishops of Scotland, who are still the proprietors of the house and its belongings. All the sentiment once inspired by these monuments is entirely lost; and venerable as they would appear in a chapel connected with so many historical reminiscences, they seem absurd anomalies in a waiting-room.

“Fronting the entry is a marble monument raised to the memory of James II. by his faithful friend the Duke of Perth. The inscription speaks of the wrongs the king suffered from those who, like Absalom, followed the counsels of Ahithophel. The monument is of grey marble. The ornaments, in imitation of curtains, are formed of white marble. The brain of the king was enclosed in a bronze urn, which has disappeared. At the foot of the monument is a diamond-shaped tablet, to mark the place where the viscera of Mary Beatrice of PORTRAIT OF THE OLD CHEVALIER. Modena were deposited on her death, 1718; but beyond that is another memorial to the beautiful Marie Louise, her daughter,—the inscription saying that she died in her nineteenth year, and that her birth proved how calumnious were the assertions respecting that of her brother, invented by those who hated her religion. The floor of the chapel is studded with memorials of several faithful Jacobite Drummonds and Hays, who all testify their love to their hapless master by the inscriptions on their gravestones.

“The courteous master of the Maison invited us to rest in his apartments, and showed us an original portrait of the Chevalier de St George (the son of James II.), without a frame, but in excellent preservation, which hung in his dining-room. The colours are particularly brilliant. The young prince is about sixteen. Young Roger Strickland, who is in attendance on his person, stands behind him in his Polish dress—just as he appears among the family portraits in Sizergh Castle, only not so handsome in face. The prince is pointing to the English coast, where Dover Castle is seen in the distance, in the glow of a beautiful sunset, which has a fine pictorial effect. The features of the royal disinherited youth are so completely impressed with the peculiarities of those of the Stuart family, that it seems as if nature designed to vindicate his parents from the calumny of his spurious birth wherever he showed his face. He would have been handsomer if his forehead had not been so excessively high; the chin, too, is a little underhung, like that of Charles II.—an hereditary defect derived from his Protestant ancestress, Joanna of Navarre. The young prince is in armour; but his nut-brown hair, which flows in ringlets down his back, is very beautiful. The blue ribbon of the Garter is worn over the bright armour, and he wears also a crimson scarf. His helmet is borne by Roger AUGUSTINIAN CONVENT. Strickland. The countenance of the Chevalier St George is smiling and hopeful, the only portrait which gives him an expression of cheerfulness, all his latter ones being marked by deep melancholy. To the right of this interesting portrait is this inscription: ‘Belle fecit, 1703—ætatis 16.’ It had been painted at a time when the restoration of young James Stuart had been considered an inevitable event.

“We saw through the open doors, as we descended, the ancient college garden, bright in the verdant glow of an April day. There was nothing of Gothic gloom or richness about the building—nothing to denote antiquity. Not the value of a franc has been expended in ornament, the strong square staircase which leads from the bottom to the top of the house giving access to plain, square, massive rooms.

“The architecture of the chapel is entirely Grecian. The altar-piece has been torn down, and was leaning against one of the Tyrconnel tablets. The altar was of dark wood, as were all the doors. Some portions of carved wood were strewn about in confusion, which apparently had belonged to the altar. The floor, too, was torn up. But all is to be restored, and the chapel reconsecrated in September.

“A few steps down the steep hill brought us to the neighbouring Augustinian convent, Aux Dames Anglaises, to which we ascended by wide steps. It seems much more ancient than the college, and, like it, is devoid of all architectural ornament. The sister who acted as portress was not very willing to admit us, declaring that the Revolution had destroyed all vestiges of interest in the chapel—that it was a pity we had not come before that time, when we should have seen it in its beauty. At last she said the superior would speak to us in the parlour, where common parlance was usually held. We followed her into a room with a BODY OF JAMES II. grating, and then into another, grated from top to bottom, where we found a handsome, dignified English-woman, about thirty-five, in her conventual habit, consisting of a black-crape veil, a white gorget cap of lawn, having a hole for the face to be put through like a knight’s helmet and gorget—from which the costume appears to have been copied—for the head-dress. A white frontlet cape and sleeves and a white serge petticoat completed the habit of these Christian vestals. As all the nuns we saw were pretty women, this garb was not unbecoming. The superior was intimately acquainted with the history of the Stuarts. She thought that Mary Beatrice of Modena was either buried in the convent of Chaillot, just by the Champs Élysées, or in that of the Benedictines in the Rue St Jacques. There, she told us, the body of James II. remained unburied in its hearse and coffin: the last, covered by a rich pall, had lights burning round it for years. He had died in the hope that his remains would be restored to his country, which expectation was never to be fulfilled. For some reason, the royal corpse escaped demolition at the Revolution, though the abbess told us that the Republicans broke open the coffin. They found the limbs supple, and she believed held some superstitious reverence for it, which, however, did not prevent them from making a show of it, and receiving from the spectators a sous or a franc, according to the capability of the parties to pay such a sum. Robespierre ordered, it is said, the corpse to be buried; but it was not certain whether this was actually done. Strange, most strange, and illustrative of French caprice, that the same people who desecrated the grave and scattered the remains of their popular and greatest sovereign, Henri Quatre, should have spared those of the exiled British king!

“The Church of the English Benedictines, Rue de St ENGLISH SOCIETY IN PARIS. Jacques, was established in Paris by the Abbess of Cechelles soon after the Reformation. The body of Marie Louise, the youngest daughter of James II., was buried there. The convent was suppressed at the time of the Revolution, and, becoming private property, is now a cotton manufactory.”

The sister authors were greatly indebted to Messieurs Michelet, Mignet, Dumont, and Champollion—these celebrated persons giving them great assistance in the kindest and most courteous manner. Agnes employed a person to transcribe the correspondence of Mary Beatrice with her beloved friend Françoise Angelique Priolo, containing an interesting record of the feelings and domestic life of the fallen queen, involved in misery by the rash bigotry of the husband to whom her conjugal attachment has alone lent a shade of interest.

The hard daily labours of the sisters did not prevent them from entering society, of which they sometimes felt they had rather too much. The English residents were anxious to have their company, and those ladies to whom they had brought letters of introduction paid them the most gratifying attentions. At Lady Elgin’s house they met a refined and intellectual society, and formed with the amiable family of their accomplished hostess lifelong friendships. Nothing surprised them more than the ease and absence of formality in French circles, where evening dress was confined to the ball-room, and only a simple though elegant parure was required at soirées, unless given on very particular occasions. The politeness of the French people in giving directions to foreigners, correcting their mistakes without a smile, and their general courtesy to each other, found even in the lowest ranks, astonished Agnes, who could hardly believe that the horrors of the Revolution could have been acted by such an amiable nation. REVOLUTIONARY SYMPTOMS. Everything appeared quiet, yet the presence of soldiers in every street seemed to show that something was required to ensure the public tranquillity. Jeune France was eager for a republic, and those who were preparing the great change that took place four years afterwards were distinguished by wearing their beards or arranging their hair in a particular fashion. Louis Philippe, the citizen king, was the most unpopular person in his kingdom, and when he appeared in his carriage, sat shielded by the large bonnets of his queen and her ladies. As bonnets were worn very small, this fashion was evidently adopted to guard his person from injury. That this singular precaution was not unnecessary appeared from this incident: Agnes saw a young man among the crowd double his fist in a menacing manner at the partially concealed person of his citizen sovereign, exclaiming as he did so, “À bas Louis Philippe, le grand tyrant!” Such were the precursors of that revolution that involved France in a state of anarchy and confusion, destined to end once more in a despotic military government with a Napoleon.

“We were at Lady Cowley’s ball,” writes Agnes to her sister Jane. “There were 700 besides ourselves present, but the arrangements were so beautifully ordered that no one suffered from heat. We saw the new dance, called the Polka, danced unweariedly: it is a singularly indelicate performance.[7] I was disappointed in the toilets of the French ladies at this ball. I must say I prefer the English for evening dress. Eliza is weary of France—she misses and pines for English comforts; yet it is best for us to remain a few weeks longer, as we have much to do and see. BALL AT THE EMBASSY. Yesterday we went to an evening party at Mrs Foster’s, a dear old lady, to whom we had a letter of introduction. We met there Mrs Austen, formerly Miss Sarah Taylor of Norwich, looking handsomer and nobler than she did twenty years ago. She asked if I were the same Agnes Strickland whom she had formerly known. Upon my replying in the affirmative, she said, ‘I thought it must be so;’ and then we had some pleasant conversation about old times and scenes. Mr and Mrs Hawtrey were there, who made much of me, and spoke very affectionately of Harry Birch[8] and young Hotham.[9] It was a small but very pleasant soirée, and the Baron and Baroness de Triqueté took us home in their carriage. We have had an invitation from Miss Rawdon, Lady Cremorne’s sister, but were engaged to hear Rachel on that evening. As yet I have seen little of Paris, owing to my severe illness. To-day I walked with an English lady to see the Madeleine, a grand new church, full of marble and gilding, very fine and gay, but more like a beautiful opera-house than a Christian temple. The terrible crossing terrified me so much upon my return, that it took away all the pleasure I should have felt in seeing the grandeur of the Place de Vendôme. The worst crossings in London are nothing to those in Paris. I never mean to go out on foot again: fortunately coach-hire is very cheap here.

“The Baroness Triqueté brought us tickets for a private view of the Louvre. Every one here is very kind to us—particularly those to whom we had been given letters of introduction. Adieu.—Affectionately your


In her next letter to her sister Jane, Agnes gives an RACHEL IN ‘EMILIE.’ account of her going to the Théâtre Française. She sat with Mrs Dawson Darner and some other ladies of distinction to see Rachel in ‘Emilie.’

“I was greatly disappointed,” writes Agnes. “The heroine of Corneille’s ‘Cinna’ is an odious creature; nor did I admire this celebrated actress, who performed that part. On Sunday we went to the English church, and heard a good sermon from Dr Hailes, who had called upon us the day before. His clerk, being a Catholic, confined his duties to robing the clergyman and collecting the sous for payment of the sittings. After luncheon we went to see the cemetery of Montmartre, a curious city of the dead.

“The following day we returned Miss Rawdon’s visit, and found her very charming. She invited us to dine with her on Wednesday. We had a visit from the Protestant Bishop Luscombe and his ladies, and an invitation to keep Miss Luscombe’s birthday on Tuesday.

“To-day we went to the Princess Czartorisky’s fête to see the lottery of the Sisters of Charity drawn, which took place in her saloon. In the ante-room the Princess herself was seated at a little table covered with cakes and pastry, when those who wished to please their hostess took a cake and put a franc into a little bag lying on the table. Her beautiful niece in like manner presided over the sale of bouquets. As this was done in aid of the charity, no one could well pass through without contributing their franc for such an object.”

As the works of Amédée Pichot are well known in England in their original language, the following specimen of an English letter from his pen may please his readers, though they must bear in mind the difficulty of our idioms to a foreigner better accustomed to read our language than to write it. It conveys, however, intelligibly enough, what the writer intended to say:— LETTER FROM AMÉDÉE PICHOT.

Revue Britannique, Rue Grange Batelière,

Paris, le 23 juin 1844.

“Mr Amédée Pichot presents his respectful compliments to Misses Strickland, and sends three letters here included.

“Though Mr Guizot himself introduces Misses Strickland to Mr Mignet, as that gentleman is a friend and countryman of Mr Amédée Pichot, a French of the south, he has taken the liberty to write some lines too for Mr Mignet.

“Mr Amédée Pichot should be very happy to be of any use to Misses Strickland, not only by his friends, but by himself also. It is not an everyday luck for French readers to be able to admire at once the English books and the English authors, and he must protest against Madam Colmache saying that there is something less to be known by our readers. It may be many times the less for bookmakers of our sex, but never for ladies, and specially for ladies who write royally, and give a new life to such queens as Mary of Scotland, Jane Grey, Catherine Parr.

“Mr Amédée Pichot will be excused if he tries to retrieve his friend’s credit of an English scholar, which was brought in question, he dare say, by the fair travellers when they did hear his bad accent and phrases yesterday.

“He subscribes himself the devoted servant of the Misses Strickland,

Amédée Pichot.”

Among the celebrities of Paris there was one who had read and admired Agnes Strickland’s works, and greatly wished to converse with her; but the author of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ was unwilling to meet Grassini, on account of her former life. A literary lady of high character reminded her that this celebrated enchantress was ninety years old, and was so mixed up with the secret history of the times, that as a historian she ought to permit the introduction, which could possibly do herself no harm. Thus urged, she reluctantly consented to meet her at the house of her friend.

Grassini, though frightfully disfigured by a vain attempt to disguise the ravages of time, retained her THE OBSERVATOIRE. faculties and graceful manners; but the effects of ninety years, however harshly developed, could not have made her the object of horror she had made herself. Her face had been enamelled, but the enamel having cracked, displayed dark channels compared with which wrinkles would have appeared beautiful. She had false hair, eyebrows, and teeth, and her youthful attire, though elegant in itself, was singularly out of place for a person of her extreme age. This was the fascinating woman who had been so admired, and whose charms had been celebrated throughout Europe. Her person presented a living sermon on human vanity at ninety years old. She paid Agnes an elegant compliment upon her works and appearance; but Agnes felt more disposed to moralise than to pay her one in return, for she was astonished and disgusted. It is not, however, in a Phryne like her that we can expect to see the venerable dignity proper to virtuous old age. Elizabeth Strickland, in her journal, gives the following amusing account of her visit to the Observatoire:—

“Lady Elgin made an appointment for us to meet in her drawing-room in the Rue de Varennes, and from thence to proceed with the Baroness de Saintmenil and a Mecklenburg baron to the Observatoire. We passed by the Boulevard St Antoine, but previously by the college founded by Stanislaus—ex-king of Poland, and father of Louis XV.’s queen—or by his daughter. It is a long low building, like a barrack, of great extent, having the name Stanislaus constantly repeated on the walls. One of the company told me that the students of this college never obtained prizes, which did not speak much for the institution. There were an immense number of blocks of stone prepared for adding to the building, through which our skilful Parisian coachman guided us with perfect ease. It was a THE OBSERVATOIRE. cloudy night, not at all favourable for astronomical observations.

“The astronomer appeared more intent upon displaying the perfection of his instruments than in showing their effects upon the heavenly bodies, and he made the oddest observations I ever heard from a man of science. The possibility of the moon being inhabited was discussed by one of the company. ‘No, no,’ he replied, ‘there are no inhabitants in the moon; we have proved it beyond a doubt.’ I expected he would have grounded his assertion on the fact that the moon was destitute of atmosphere.[10] ‘No,’ continued our astronomer, ‘there are none; for we signalled to them, and they have not answered us.’ If the moon had inhabitants, they nevertheless might be wholly ignorant of astronomy and its signals. I was afraid I should have seen nothing. However, in the telescope chamber a polite young astronomer showed me a lovely star, with a smaller one of a blue colour apparently adhering to it. He did not name it (it was probably Castor, which has a satellite of that celestial hue). We looked at it through an illuminated disk of ground-glass with large square lattices, marking, I presume, the degrees, which we were told was done by the threads of the spider’s web. We were shown into a high room which had been formerly inhabited by Cardinal Richelieu, with the signs of the zodiac engraved on the stone floor. I could not learn any historical tradition respecting this apartment, for our astronomer was no antiquary. I did not see Arago—for which I was sorry—but only Dragon, his dog, an immense animal spotted like a Danish one, but as tall as a donkey. As it was the canine law in Paris that A RELIC OF THE REVOLUTION. all dogs should be muzzled, Dragon had a little basket attached to his neck, which did not, of course, cover his mouth. Now some of the ladies chose to be afraid of him, and entreated the astronomers to invest him with it, so that he could not bite. But they assured them that Dragon did not permit any one to muzzle him but his celebrated master; and I must think Dragon was right. This noble creature took a great fancy to me, rubbing his head against my shoulder, which his height permitted him to do without any inconvenience to himself or me.”

A wretch who made a fearful figure in the sanguinary era of the Revolution was pointed out to the sisters in the streets of Paris. He was a very aged man, of colossal proportions, with a long white beard, but who appeared still erect and strong—said to be the person who headed the mob who brought the hapless royal family forcibly back to Paris on the 6th of October. He had served as a model to the Academy of Painting, before the municipality of Paris sought him out to fill the post of leader to the infuriated populace. He chose to perform gratuitously the office of headsman by decapitating all the victims of an infatuated people’s frenzy.[11] He was handsome still, and was well dressed; but no one spoke to him, though he haunted those public walks of the city in which he had played his dreadful part. He appeared, indeed, to be universally shunned, though he did not shrink from popular observation nor popular hatred. As his vigorous frame promised length of days, he might be living when a third Revolution drove the citizen king LETTER FROM LADY ELGIN. into exile. Of that Revolution some symptoms might be discerned already by the precautions taken by the Government to prevent any movement of the kind. Soldiers patrolled in every street; while the long beards worn by Jeune France denoted a strong and rising party adverse to royalty, and composed of those who combined against the reigning dynasty the strong wills and daring minds of youth.

Elizabeth Countess Elgin to Agnes Strickland.

Tuesday Evening,

No. 66 Champs Élysée.

My dear Agnes Strickland,—The Princess Galitzin with whom you returned last Monday from my house, is extremely anxious to have the pleasure of seeing you at her own this evening, to meet me and some persons she thinks might be agreeable to you. The Princess begs you will not make any toilet. Come with your bouquet. Pray come immediately if you can.—Yours very truly,

Elizabeth Elgin.”

Lady Augusta Bruce to Agnes Strickland.

Dear Miss Strickland,—Mamma desires me to say that she is charged by Mons. Buchon to let you know that Mons. Champollion has found in the Bibliothèque Royale some very interesting letters from James II. written at St Germains, and that he will be delighted to show them to you, and to give you leave to have them copied should you wish it.

“I hope you were not too much fatigued with our charming visit to the Hotel Cluny.—Ever, dear Miss Strickland, yours very truly,

Augusta Bruce.[12]


Agnes Strickland, being anxious at not hearing from LETTER TO MRS STRICKLAND. home, wrote the following letter to her venerable mother:—

Rue de Clichy, Paris.

My dear Mamma,—Although we have written twice by private hands since our arrival in France, we are afraid, as we have not heard from you, that our letters have not reached Reydon. I have not been well since I have been here: the hot suns and cold winds are very trying, and living in Paris is so strange that all delicate persons suffer from the change of diet at first. Miss Lesconte is a most kind and worthy creature, and makes us as comfortable as the want of domestic conveniences will allow us to be—a universal want, it seems, in Paris.

“We are in high society, and, I fear, in a few days will not have a minute to ourselves. Last Monday we went to a charming party at Lady Elgin’s, who invited us to dine with her to-morrow; but we were engaged to Madame Colmache, to meet some gentlemen connected with the different archives. Yesterday we went with them to the Bibliothèque du Roi, and also to the Hôtel Soubise, once the palace of the Guises, where the archives of the nation are kept,—a most deeply interesting visit to us.

“All the English in Paris make much of us—who, by the by, congregate together like a flock of sheep. Paris is a much finer city than London, and its royal buildings and antiquities are splendid. I like the people; and if I had a comfortable house, with proper fires, I should prefer it to London. Eliza detests France, and would like to be home.

“We went to-day to the Bois de Boulogne—a rare wood, forsooth! Reydon wood would furnish trees for a dozen French forests. But the hawthorn was in flower, and all the leaves in the Tuileries gardens had put forth INTERVIEW WITH GUIZOT. their tender green; the beautiful fountains were playing in the sunshine; and the people seem more amiable and smiling than in England. Although I have seen the black towers of the Conciergerie, I know not how to believe in half the horrors of the Revolution, now I have seen how good-natured and courteous the French really are.

Monday Morning.—Dear mamma, we have just returned from our interview with Guizot, to whom we went by appointment. He is the most delightful and amiable person in the world, with beautiful eyes beaming with intelligence and kindness. He is about fifty-five years of age, rather below the middle height, with a pale clear complexion, grand forehead, and small features, but decidedly handsome. He was very gracious and obliging—regretted that he could not enjoy the pleasure of personally assisting us in our researches, but said he would give us letters to two of the keepers of the archives, who would give us access to everything. He speaks English beautifully, and has the sweetest voice in the world. In short, I should lose my heart were I to see much of him; but he is at this time overwhelmed with business, and, I daresay, would be much happier as an author among his old chronicles than as a Minister of State. Everybody here is lost in astonishment at our obtaining a private audience of the Premier at such a time. Yesterday, after our interview with Guizot, we went to the Bibliothèque du Roi, which was full of bearded gentlemen. Nearly all Paris is, however, bearded now—an odious fashion.

“I regretted not being able to go to Lady Elgin’s soirée, for we were engaged to Madame Colmache, who had invited Monsieur Amédée Pichot to meet us, and other celebrities. Monsieur Pichot gave us much useful information.


“With love to Jane, and dear Sarah and Gwillym, ever your affectionate


Agnes Strickland’s next letter contains the account of her serious illness—the quinsy sore throat to which she had from time to time been subject—which occurred the day before she was to have been presented at the Tuileries.

“Paris,” she remarks, “is a splendid place. I admire the independent manner of visiting here, and the absence of Grundyism. As for the French society, I know little of that. We are among the choice English families. I neither like French cookery nor the French fashions. I think they dress better in England.

“I bought a striped brown silk here, and had it made up by a French modiste, who made me wait a month for my redingote, and stole two yards of the material, besides making an extravagant charge.

“This class seems to have much the same imposing ways as in England, and perhaps everywhere else.

“I spent,” continues Agnes Strickland, “a week at St Germains, the old melancholy palace where James II. kept Court with his amiable and interesting queen. We are now with Madame Colmache, our new lodgings. We work very hard on the archives, and I have two transcribers employed for me. Guizot kept his word, and his friends have been most useful to us.

“When we were at St Germains we slept at the Prince de Galles, an old Jacobite hotel, where many a Strickland[13] had slept before, in a droll room with red-brick CHATEAU D’EU. floor, and beds in curtained alcoves: very strange it appeared to us.”

Agnes’s next letter is to Mrs Gwillym:—

Dieppe, July 2, 1844.

My dear Sarah,—We left Paris last Thursday, and are so far on our way to England. This is the prettiest and quietest seaport I have ever been in. We are at a very comfortable hotel, the European, where everything is quiet and very clean. We are on Quai Henri; and the bay is beautiful, with the most lovely scenery, white rocks, green woods, and picturesque buildings and vessels, to say nothing of the droll old women with their lofty coiffures.

“Yesterday we went to the royal Château d’Eu, where our Queen was received by Louis Philippe. It is not a beautiful building, but furnished and fitted up in a magnificent style. The ceilings are richly carved, and emblazoned with gold and blue. The chairs and curtains in the State drawing-room, covered with Gobelin tapestry, are splendid; so are the parquets and inlaid floors. We had a fatiguing day, for we had to rise at six to meet La Belle Frigate, the diligence, and travelled through a mountainous country for twenty miles to D’Eu, but arrived in time to see the beautiful old church. We saw a procession, and the blessing of some ARQUES. great round loaves, which were afterwards cut into small squares and handed round to the congregation—an ancient observance, probably derived from the love-feasts of the primitive Church. I took a piece, but there was quite a scramble for this bread among the children and poor people. The chanting, with accompaniments, was divine; and sometimes the peasants enthusiastically chimed in, but in perfectly good time and tune, and the effect was really beautiful.

“After service we went into the crypt to pay our compliments to the beautiful monuments of the princely Counts and Countesses of D’Eu, of the old Valois royal family. They are beautiful; but I did not like the coldness of the subterranean chapel, and was glad to emerge into the bright warm sunshine once more. Then we took our refreshments in the park, where we rambled, and enjoyed the prospect of the little harbour of Treport, where our Queen Victoria landed.

“We went by water the day before to Arques, to see the battle-ground where Henri Quatre defeated the Duke Mayenne. We had three good-tempered but dull Norman sailors to navigate our boat; and we sailed up the pretty river Arques among the lovely meadows, till we came to the most romantic village in the world, where the old castle sat mantled in ivy, a gigantic mass of ruins, but yet appearing a mighty whole on its lofty height. I have no time to give you all the particulars of the day, but the most curious incident to me was the old Norman boatman asking me if I were not a relation of Mr Standish,[14] my likeness to him being so strong,—adding that he knew Mr Standish very well, and his lady too, having often taken them on excursions in his boat when they were at Dieppe, before the decease of Mrs Standish; and he made loving inquiries about their RETURN TO ENGLAND. children—the pretty garçons, as he styled them. A curious proof of consanguinity, however distant, is that mysterious one of family resemblance.”

The sister authors had a pleasant voyage to Southampton, and arrived in London much benefited in health from their expedition to France.

Elizabeth joined her mother at Reydon Hall, but Agnes remained with her friend Miss Mackinnon, in whose society she enjoyed much pleasure.

Agnes, while staying with Miss Mackinnon, had the gratification of being introduced to the Duke of Wellington by her amiable friend, during the grand fête given at her host’s house this summer. He shook hands with her, and thanked Miss Mackinnon for making him known to her, his manner to both being kind and almost affectionate. In her lively letter to her sister Sarah she gives a minute description of the great Duke’s dress, and of her own and that of her friend, the destruction of her pearl berthe being the only drawback to the pleasure of the evening, in ascending the stairs in company with eight hundred people. Though Agnes did not enter her bedroom till four o’clock, she was in the British Museum the next day, notwithstanding her want of sleep, the urgency of the publisher for the succeeding volume compelling her to work very hard at the time she would have preferred devoting to pleasure.

She was married to Thomas Traill, Esq., Lieutenant 21st Fusiliers; Susanna to John Dunbar Moodie, lieutenant in the same regiment.

Afterwards Bishop of Brisbane.

This notion, that the bride ought to stumble, was purely classic, as, in memory of the Sabine virgins’ resistance to their forced nuptials, the Roman bride was directed to stumble on the threshold of her bridegroom’s house, when she was lifted over it by the bridegroom and his friends. Old customs are deeply rooted often in the minds of the people, though the cause has been lost in the oblivion of ages.

Who is said to have died from the revulsion of his feelings upon receiving his pardon. Tradition has even declared that his head was laid upon the block when the grace of his sovereign reached him, but that upon his being raised up he was found actually dead, though untouched by the axe.

Written partly in pencil on a scrap of paper in this way.

The correspondence of Mary Beatrice of Modena with the nuns of Chaillot was copied for Agnes Strickland in its original French, and is in the possession of the editor. It would be a useful addition to the British Museum or to any great collector’s library.

It has never been danced in England as Agnes saw it performed in France. Our customs would have been revolted by such an exhibition. The polka here is a modification of the original dance.

Afterwards tutor of the Prince of Wales.

Son of Lady Frances Hotham.

Some astronomers are doubtful upon that point, though the greater number are positively of opinion that the moon has no atmosphere: if so, no breathing creatures could exist on such a planet.

Neither Monsieur Capefigue nor Abbé Barruel gives this man any name, though they speak of his sanguinary acts with horror. Madame Campan notices this person in that portion of her interesting work, ‘Recollections and Anecdotes.’ She gives him no name, nor did Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland hear one given him. He seems to have been distinguished by his atrocious actions alone.

Afterwards Lady Augusta Stanley.

It was to the Jacobite Court, indeed, that Agnes Strickland’s great-grandfather’s elder brother had fled, leaving his country and inheritance, on a groundless pique with his mother, with whose second marriage he chose to be displeased. It was here the wayward youth was received by his kindred of the same name, but was long mourned for at his northern home as one lost at sea. He was one of the band of gentlemen volunteers who went to Spain in order to establish the Bourbon dynasty in that country, and was left for dead on the plains of Almauza. His return to England, after eight-and-twenty years’ absence, was a disastrous event for his younger brother; but nothing was ever known of him after his return to the Continent the same year, 1728. A Mr Strickland was seen in London, and was duly noted to the Government (see Macpherson’s State Papers). He was the gentleman thus denoted. His kinsman, Francis Strickland, the son of James II.’s admiral, was one of the seven who accompanied Charles Edward on his chivalrous expedition to Scotland. The granddaughters of Francis Strickland, Mary and Elizabeth Strickland, were nuns in the Dominican convent at Antwerp, where a cousin of Agnes Strickland’s father saw and conversed with them.

M. P. for Wigan, and eldest son of the late Thomas Strickland Standish of Sizergh Castle and Standish Hall.



Agnes had had the correspondence of Mary of Modena copied for her in France, which greatly aided her in writing the life of that unfortunate and virtuous queen-consort of the bigoted and unfaithful James.

The winning of the youthful and reluctant bride had never appeared before the public, nor yet the curious fact that the Pope, whom the royal pair regarded with such misplaced veneration, was their secret foe, being wholly under the influence of the German Court—the Empress of Germany, who was all-powerful with her husband, never having forgiven the slight she had received from Lord Peterborough when Princess Eleanora Magdalen of Newburgh. As the imperial consort of Leopold I., she proved that she had not forgotten the affront. Her resentment had an important bearing on the affairs of Europe.

The Pope, nevertheless, sent his legate to England, though he must have been aware that such a measure ALEXANDER MACKINNON. would increase the unpopularity of the royal convert to that religion of which the Roman Pontiff was the head.

Agnes was early in town this year. She had to arrange for the first volume of Mary Beatrice the mass of information she had obtained in France and Scotland, and to renew her researches in the British Museum and among the royal archives. As the next volume would conclude her portion of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England and Great Britain,’ she was already making collections for those biographies, afterwards published by Messrs Blackwood of Edinburgh under the title of ‘Lives of the Queens of Scotland,’ which she had already planned with Elizabeth; so that in her researches she had a double object in view, which required both time and thought.

She had, we have seen, edited the letters of Mary Queen of Scots, and for that unfortunate princess entertained an enthusiastic interest; and being confident of her innocence, hoped to be able to prove it. It is perhaps, and ever will be, an unsolved problem.

Agnes Strickland had formed a lasting friendship with Alexander Mackinnon, Esq., M.P., and his amiable mother and daughters, but Miss Mackinnon in particular was her beloved friend. At the house of her accomplished host she constantly met the most distinguished persons in the age for talent or rank. Among those guests whom the réunions at Hyde Park Place had brought together, Agnes saw the titular kings of Spain and Portugal—kings indeed without kingdoms, or possessing any right to them, yet claiming some historic interest from the circumstances in which they were placed.

The opinion Agnes formed respecting the character of Don Carlos Louis de Bourbon, usually styled Conde de Montemolin, was precisely the same privately expressed by Lord Palmerston, and openly by Lord COUNT DE MONTEMOLIN. Strangford; but her ideas on the subject will be best related in the following letter to her sister Jane:—

“On Tuesday, Emma Mackinnon wrote to invite me to spend a long day with her and Louisa, but advised me to come in my evening dress, as some gentlemen were to come in. I did not take much pains with my toilet, not being aware whom I was to meet; but it was a very grand business, the visitors being Don Carlos Louis de Bourbon, son of the Infante Don Carlos, the claimant to the Spanish throne, and usually styled Count de Montemolin—and a very pretty fellow he is, and very engaging. He was attended by the Duke of Medina Sidonia and Colonel Meroc. Besides Count Montemolin, who was, of course, the great-gun of the party, there were four ambassadors, Count Kielmansegg, Count Wratislaus, Count Reventlow, and the Hanseatic Minister, whose name I do not remember. Then came Lords Strangford, Lonsdale, and Ingestre, and others. We, however, got our tea by ourselves very quietly in the library, after which, with the assistance of the maids, we made ourselves fit for the evening. In due time we descended, Lady Palmer and her daughter being our other ladies.

“We all rose upon the entrance of the Infante, made our curtseys, and remained standing till he entreated us to be seated, after which he sat down. He is a light graceful figure, about five feet seven in height, with black hair, eyes, and moustache. His head is fine, his features regular, and his face oval, its only defect being his teeth. His hands are very beautiful, and he speaks English remarkably well. He talked some time with me, and I complimented him upon the correct and elegant manner in which he spoke our language, which seemed to give him pleasure. He is easy and graceful in his manners, well informed, and very intelligent. He is musical, and played a long Italian piece called ‘Fra COUNT DE MONTEMOLIN. poco’ with much taste and expression—too well, indeed, for a prince. His countenance assumed a melancholy expression while he played. His fingers, I observed, were slender, and the nails formed like those we see in Greek statues. He never raised his eyes from the piano. He played without notes, which enabled me to examine his phrenology, for which his abstraction gave me a good opportunity. His organisation is bold and intellectual; much perceptiveness, mirthfulness, ideality, caution, firmness, conscientiousness, enormous amativeness, attachment, combativeness, much music, and more benevolence than veneration.

“Lord Strangford said to me, ‘That is a nice lad, who ought to have had the Queen of Spain. He is a bright fellow, very sensible, and his private character admirable. His income is very small; but nothing can induce him to exceed it, or to accept of the unlimited accommodation offered him. Every Saturday night he pays all his bills, and is in all respects an example to young men in his general conduct.’

“After hearing this eulogium, I thought if I had been the young Queen of Spain I would have looked no farther, but have taken him, and have left all the power in his hands, and only retained its outward semblance, since he seemed so worthy to reign. At parting the Count gave his hand to all the ladies present, and left with me a pleasing and interesting recollection, never to be forgotten as long as I live. Lord Palmerston had formed the same opinion of this prince, and regretted the choice of the young queen had not fallen on him.

“Lord Strangford assured me he had long wished to make my personal acquaintance, and that he considered meeting me a fortunate occurrence. I took this opportunity to thank him for the valuable letters of introduction he had given me, through Lady Braye, to Lady DON MIGUEL. Cowley, Lady Londonderry, and others, when I was going to Paris. He said all manner of pretty things in return, and at parting kissed my hand, which, as an adorer of Camoens, seemed quite in character. Save that part of this letter relating to Count Montemolin, for if he should become king of Spain, it may be valuable and curious.”

Lord Palmerston’s opinion of this prince entirely coincided with that expressed by Agnes Strickland.

Agnes Strickland was introduced to Don Miguel soon afterwards, and that unpopular prince did not make an unfavourable impression upon her. She even considered that his personal appearance did not want dignity. She thought his face rather handsome, though dark-complexioned and fierce-looking. He was very polite to her, and offered, unasked, to send her some valuable documents respecting Catharine of Braganza when he should become master of Lisbon, which he confidently expected to be. While conversing with her, Count de Montemolin entered, she said, “with the easy natural grace of a Spanish cavalier. ‘Ha!’ exclaimed he, as he ran to greet his uncle of Portugal; upon which Don Miguel turned his broad chest towards him, while a smile passed over his dark features as he held out his hand to his nephew, who struck his into it with such force that it was audible to the company, and pressed it very warmly. If it had not been for our presence,” continued Agnes, “and the presumed prejudices of English manners, they would have embraced and kissed each other. As it was, they stood linked hand in hand as if united in a firm bond of alliance, and talked rapidly in Spanish. Their attendants seemed pleased by this apparent cordiality between their princes, for they exchanged looks and smiles full of intelligent meaning.”

The publication of the ninth volume, containing the LIFE OF MARY OF MODENA. first part of the life of Mary Beatrice of Modena, greatly added to her biographer’s reputation. “This volume,” writes Agnes to Mrs Gwillym, “makes a greater sensation than all the rest. But two chapters are required for the succeeding one, and Eliza worries me about getting them ready.” This was not unreasonable on the part of her sister, as the latter portion of the book, which contained the beginning of the lives of the two queens-regnant, Mary and Anne, was ready for the press. Agnes, however, had very precarious health, and was not always capable of such intense literary exertion as Elizabeth, who possessed a very fine constitution. “Indeed,” continues Agnes, “I am quite wearied with the hurry about it; and then I am continually interrupted by people insisting upon seeing me, and I have so many letters to read and answer, that sometimes I do not know what I am about—though to hear or write to you, dearest, is always a pleasure to me.” Elizabeth escaped these pains and penalties of successful authorship by withholding her name from the title-page. She would not have borne them so patiently as Agnes if she had been similarly tried.

She was not so careful as Agnes to avoid giving offence; and her portion of the work, able and truthful as it was, much oftener provoked bigoted criticism than that written by her sister,—and certainly Agnes was the more popular writer. However, the lives of Mary Tudor and Mary and Anne, queens-regnant, could hardly be written without provoking party spirit. Yet truth ought always to prevail, whether old prejudice be for or against the individuals of whom documentary facts must be stated. But when did party spirit ever regard truth? The writers of history and biography ought not, we know, to express their private feelings; yet not to do so appears an impossibility, since it is never done. One only historical record—the oldest LADY WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY. and the best—has given facts without comment. It is in the inspired writings alone we find this striking impartiality.

Agnes Strickland was constantly receiving kind attentions from distinguished literary characters or ladies of rank. She notices with much satisfaction a kind letter written by Lady Willoughby de Eresby, the hereditary grand chamberlain of England, offering to copy for her some valuable letters in the possession of her family. This lady was the heiress of the Dukes of Perth. Nothing could be more truly courteous than such an offer from a personage of her high rank.

Unfortunately, Agnes Strickland had communications of a less pleasing nature. An improvident widow whose person was unknown to her, though not her name, demands her patronage of a book of her daughter’s, also asking her to write to everybody she knows for subscriptions. Agnes declined the office, but sent her a sovereign as the best means she could devise for aiding her object. A variety of useless articles were not unfrequently sent, for which sums, varying from five shillings to a sovereign, were to be paid. The demand for autographs was also very tiresome. Sometimes she considered her sister Elizabeth had acted wisely in withdrawing her name from the title-pages of their mutual works; indeed she would not have stood the trial of these annoyances half so well. All ill-natured reviews were sent her post-paid by malignant persons. One or two of these attempts to annoy her occasioned a hearty laugh. Many years before she attained her fame, she had declined contributing to two short-lived and trashy magazines, the editors of which, out of revenge, had stated on the covers that they had rejected Miss Agnes Strickland’s articles. Some anonymous correspondent now favoured her with the works, to her infinite amusement. VISIT TO THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE.

Agnes was careful not to forget the duties she owed to her family, and that larger one to which every Christian woman is or ought to be bound as a member of our common humanity. She was ready to assist every one she could, but was careful not to mislead literary aspirants, knowing the great misery false praise would bring upon persons without genius who wished to engage in literature, and leave the safer paths of manual industry. In such cases she gave sound and wholesome advice, instead of flattering and delusive encouragement. She had, as a matter of course, an immense number of applicants, few of whom possessed available talents. Her judgment was too sound to be mistaken in her decision upon the specimens forwarded for her inspection.

The Duke of Devonshire invited Agnes Strickland and her sister to visit him at his villa at Chiswick, and examine some archives that might be useful to them, preserved in his cabinet. He had already sent them a valuable document in the letter of a young Lady Cavendish to a friend, describing her presentation to King William and Queen Mary, then holding their first Court.

The Duke came from Brighton to receive them, and opened his stores for their examination. He gave them a delicate French dinner; but he dispensed with the attendance of his servants in the dining-room, summoning them when requisite by striking upon a tumbler. Notwithstanding his deafness they found him a pleasant companion—amiable, manly, and unassuming, though surrounded with splendour on every side. He invited them to visit Chatsworth and Hardwicke, to examine his family archives, and gave them tickets for these remarkable places, assuring them that his housekeepers should pay them every attention. He gave them an order to see Devonshire House, of which they were delighted to avail themselves. LADY KATHARINE JERMYN.

At a morning concert, where Agnes heard Grisi, Ivanoff, and other celebrated vocalists, she had an opportunity of hearing the extemporaneous poetry of the celebrated Pistrucci, the Italian improvisatore. “I was asked,” she says, “to give him the word, and gave ambizione. His powers in that way are really wonderful.” The extreme copiousness of the Italian language must make such efforts comparatively easy. It is indeed poetry in itself.

Lady Katharine Jermyn called upon Agnes and her sister to consult them upon the proper costume to be worn by her in the character of Queen Berengaria at the Queen’s fancy ball. They gave her the necessary information, and received an invitation to drink tea with her and some friends who were coming to her house to see her in her ball parure, which they accepted; and Agnes describes this visit in the following letter to her favourite sister Sarah Gwillym, addressing her as usual by her pet name:—

Darling Thay,—Yesterday evening we, according to Lady Katharine Jermyn’s invitation, went to the Earl of Bristol’s house, in St James’s Square, to see her in her grand costume before she went to the Queen’s fancy ball. Mrs Greville Howard, the Hon. Mrs Upton, Colonel Howard, and a few more privileged persons, took tea with us in a very sociable manner. Lady Georgina Grey, Lady Katharine’s sister, did the honours for her. Lady Katharine did not appear till nine, an hour later than her note specified. Dear Mrs Howard was not able to come, but sent abundance of affectionate messages to us by Mrs Upton. Colonel Howard is uncle to the Ladies Katharine and Georgina; so we were on the most friendly footing at a glance and a word. We were in the middle of tea when the folding-doors were thrown open and Lady Katharine appeared in all her LADY KATHARINE JERMYN. splendour in the costume of Berengaria, the queen of Richard Cœur de Lion; only, instead of the crown, which etiquette would not permit any lady to wear in her Majesty’s presence, she had a garland of pink and white roses, each rose with a gem in its centre and five pearl balls, so that it imitated an earl’s coronet—her hair in Clotilde braids. Lady Katharine is very tall—taller than our sister Jane—very fragile, but graceful. She has a Grecian face, with a delicate complexion of the maiden blush tint. Her under dress was a gold-embroidered white areophane, over white satin, with long sleeves: it was confined to the waist with a belt of gems, from which depended a chain of the same, with an aumônière of crimson velvet and gold chains, A royal mantle was fastened to the shoulders, of ruby velvet, lined with white satin, and gloriously embroidered with bullion; the red cross on a small white oval on the left shoulder, and over this depended from her coronet a transparent veil of gold tissue, richly bordered, and spotted with gold. She carried off her splendid costume with the unaffected grace that marks persons of high birth. As soon as her own children and Lady Georgina’s pretty little girl saw her, they made the saloon ring with their merry shouts. There was a beautiful boy of four years old, Augustus, who leaped up and screamed out with delight, ‘Fire, fire away!’ Lady Katharine, who had kept Lady Stanley waiting at the door for a long while, only stayed to have our opinion on the correctness of her costume, and departed.

“In half an hour her husband, Lord Jermyn, the treasurer of her Majesty’s household, came forth in his costume of the Edward III. era, for he was booked for the Queen’s quadrille; and then the children laughed so immoderately that I unluckily caught the infection, and laughed as much as they did, instead of making a solemn curtsey when he was presented to me by Lady Georgina. FANCY DRESSES. He wore a tight cote hardi of cinnamon velvet, embroidered with gold, and trousers of different colours—one being red, the other blue—a crimson velvet hood, and gold checkered boots, which he complained pinched him. His throat was bare, his hair curled down each side of his face; he had on his head a red and blue béret cap. And he seemed greatly annoyed with his finery. When he was gone we finished our tea, and spent a most delightful evening.

“How you would have doted on Lady Georgina’s sweet little girl, a lamb only three years old, but so engaging and well-behaved! I made a paper boat for her, and cut her out some sailors, which the ladies considered wonderful performances.

“Everybody made much of us. It is with the higher circles I feel most at ease, because they are accustomed to the station they occupy, and never commit themselves by saying or doing rude things, like those persons who are always endeavouring to impress you with the idea of their own consequence. I have been very busy in the British Museum, and have had a long chat with Sir Frederic Madden and Mr Hartwell Horne. Adieu, darling.—Ever lovingly your own


Agnes Strickland’s portion of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England and Great Britain’ was to end with the biography of Mary Beatrice. The two regnant queens, Mary and Anne Stuart, written by Elizabeth, were to conclude the work. To the immovable determination of the sister authors Mr Colburn was strongly opposed. He hoped to realise considerable profit by the lives of the Brunswick Queens, which they considered would be disrespectful to their own beloved Sovereign. He was disposed to be very liberal (at least he hinted so) if they would comply with his request; but nothing could tempt them to undertake the task. MISS ELIZABETH RIGBY. How could they have described the contest between Queen Caroline, the consort of George II., and her eldest son—that eldest son, too, the great-grandfather of their own sovereign, Queen Victoria—without giving offence to her whom they were loyally bound to revere and honour? They considered that to have recorded a matter so delicate, for the sake of emolument, would have been improper, and even, in their view of it, unjustifiable. Then the trial of the consort-queen of George IV. involved particulars to which no female authors could even allude. Such were the reasons that determined the sisters to conclude their royal biographies with the life and reign of Queen Anne.

From courteous though sometimes unknown correspondents, Agnes Strickland continually received important information to be ingrafted in her royal biographies.

Mr Repton, whom she had formerly known in Norfolk, sent her a very valuable and characteristic anecdote respecting Queen Elizabeth’s reception of some of her Norfolk relations on the Boleyn side, of which Agnes gladly availed herself. The courtesy of this gentleman led to her introduction to his family, with the members of which she formed warm friendships.

“At Mrs Hamilton Grey’s house,” writes Agnes Strickland, “I met Miss Elizabeth Rigby, a beautiful and charming girl, who called on me the following day and presented me with her new work, ‘The Jewess,’ a story founded on fact. I see she will be one of the first authors of the age, there is such fresh free original talent in her writings,”[1]—a prediction amply verified by the well-earned reputation of the lady. Agnes was an admirable judge of literary merit, and would have made an excellent critic.


On her way to Scotland Agnes paid a visit to Lady Mary Christopher at Bloxholme Hall, Lincolnshire, who took her to see the stately Lincoln cathedral, the old Roman arch, and the ruins of the bishop’s palace. Lincoln she considered a very fine place, rich in antiquities, and its cathedral the grandest she had seen with the exception of Westminster Abbey. Lady Mary wished her to make a longer stay; but her portion of the tenth volume was still unwritten, while the two concluding ones were almost ready for publication.

At this time Agnes Strickland received some letters from a gentleman signing himself Sobieski Stuart, claiming to be the legitimate descendant of Prince Charles Edward. She had met him in Edinburgh, which induced him to send her his work, which led to some curious correspondence on his part, that did not establish his claims in the eyes of an accurate historian. A legitimate heir was so necessary to Charles Edward, that he would never have been so impolitic as to leave disowned and in obscurity a legitimate son. He seems to have left several illegitimate children, whose descendants may have been deceived respecting their presumed legal descent from this prince.

While in Scotland this year, Agnes Strickland was invited to be present at the wedding of Miss Craufurd of Craufurdland Castle to Mr Fairlee, as an old and valued friend of the family. The wedding was to be kept in a manner suitable to the position in life of the party—Mr Craufurd being the hereditary cup-bearer of the kings of Scotland, before the regal title was merged in that of Great Britain.

“I left Fleetwood,” writes Agnes to her sister Jane, “in a splendid boat, the Royal Consort, and saw the sun set gloriously over the waves, and the moon rise. VISIT TO CRAUFURDLAND. The great steamer, Princess Alice, bearing the mails for Dublin, started out before us; but we soon left her far behind, and got into Ardrossan before eight. I breakfasted at eight on deck, that I might not lose the glorious scenery of the Scottish coast. As the train was ready to start, we scrambled in. At Kilwinning we were turned out to wait for the Kilmarnock train, and I had nearly met with a serious accident, as it began to move and my hand was caught in one of the doors; however, I was more frightened than hurt. I arrived at Kilmarnock, owing to our quick voyage, three hours before I was expected, as the carriage was not to be sent for me before twelve. Fortunately, Captain Craufurd’s buggy, which had conveyed him to Glasgow, was at Kilmarnock, and took me to Craufurdland Castle, where I found the family at breakfast, much surprised at my early appearance. I had a very warm welcome, and after taking some refreshment, went to bed till it was time to dress for dinner.

“As Constance Craufurd is of the Church of Scotland, and Mr Fairlee of that of England, the marriage rites will be performed according to those of each establishment. I am assisting to fit up the library as a chapel, as the Episcopal minister and his clerk are coming from Ayr to-morrow to perform the ceremony according to our own service, as soon as the Scottish form has been gone through in the drawing-room.”

The wedding took place the following day, of which Agnes Strickland gives a graphic description. She was too tired to be present at the Scottish custom of washing the bride’s feet the preceding night; but from the gay voices of the six bride’s-maids, and their merry laughter when the gold ring, dropped into the foot-bath, was found by the one whose fortunate acquisition of it was presumed to be a happy augury of her being the first of the fair attendants to exchange her maiden WEDDING AT CRAUFURDLAND. state for the holy one of matrimony, she supposed it was a very happy party.

“The bridal was a beautiful scene, and very interesting. Constance Craufurd, my dear mother, being a very superior and charming young woman, behaved with equal good sense and good feeling. On the eventful morning she took her usual seat at the breakfast-table, and poured out the coffee as calmly as if nothing remarkable was to take place that day.

“At two o’clock all the ladies staying at the castle took a hasty lunch with Mrs Craufurd in her bedchamber, as all the other rooms were required for the preparations. At three we assembled in full dress in the drawing-room. As none but the bride and her maiden train were to be robed in white, I wore a blue satin dress with white lace robings, Lady Adelaide Hastings a rose-coloured striped glacé silk—indeed we were the only gay butterflies, excepting the bride’s-maids. There were two ceremonies—a white-robed Hymen and a black one—the bridegroom being an Episcopalian, while the bride, her parents, and brother were Presbyterians. So after Dr Buchanan of the Free Church had declared Mr Fairlee and Constance man and wife, the bridal party went into the library, where the Episcopal minister from Ayr was to unite the bride and bridegroom’s hands according to the rites of the Anglican Church, having brought with him surplice, scarf, hood, and licence for the important occasion. He went through his office rather sulkily, to my regret. As soon as the white-robed Hymen had concluded the ceremony, we all returned to the drawing-room, when the bridegroom’s best man cut the wedding-cake, and we all drew for three oracular prizes attached to the bouquets of orange-blossoms that adorned it. These comprised a ring, a sixpence, and a thimble. The latter, which indicated a life of single blessedness, FESTIVITIES AT CRAUFURDLAND. was drawn by the handsomest bachelor present, Mr Burnet, laird of Gadsgarth. After this fun was over, the bride’s-maids pinned on the elegant favours, and by that time the dinner was announced, which was served in the spacious banqueting-hall—a dinner that bonnie King Jamie would have rejoiced to see. The bride sat by the side of her newly wedded husband, looking a perfect picture in her splendid veil and virgin white; and the sunbeams pouring through the painted-glass windows, gave a beautiful effect to the scene. Two bands stationed without played the lively Scotch air, ‘Wooed an’ married an’ a.’

“At eight the bride retired to change her dress, and having kissed all the ladies, was led to her carriage by the bridegroom, whereupon Lady Adelaide Hastings and I, with the six bride’s-maidens, flung each an old white-satin shoe after it for good luck. At the park-gates a shower of old shoes of humbler pretensions flew round the carriage in all directions, flung by the cottars and their children. As for the politer white-satin shoes, they were eagerly collected by the spectators as memorials of Miss Craufurd’s wedding-day.

“Our festivities were to conclude with a ball given to the tenantry and retainers in the great barn, which was to be lighted up and decorated for the occasion. At ten o’clock Mrs Craufurd, the bride’s-maids, and her son, Captain Reginald Craufurd, conducted us through the woods to the festive scene. The barn, with the arms and crest of the Craufurd family wrought in flowers in the roof, and hung with evergreens, rather resembled a baronial castle than what it was, being splendidly illuminated, and really made a fine ball-room.

“We were all expected to dance, and Captain Craufurd set us a very good example by capering unweariedly with the lassies, who testified their sense of the young LADY MATILDA MAXWELL. laird’s condescension in choosing them by very reverential curtseys. He certainly, in his young pretty partners, was better off than we poor ladies were. My partner was an old man named Jemmy White, a very indefatigable dancer, who insisted that I should dance a reel with him, at the same time giving me an encouraging pat on the shoulder, as if I had been a little child, telling me ‘I was a bonnie lassie, and should do as well as ony o’ them.’ I wish you could have seen me footing it away with my droll old man, and a beau garçon for my alternate man. Well, my partner was so proud and elated with having got me, that he chose to change the reel into a polka by turning me round and round till I was out of breath with laughing.

“Miss Maxwell and Miss Cunninghame got partners of the same grade; only my old man begged me not ‘to leave with my lady Craufurd, as there would be more fun going on after her departure.’ However, we had had enough of it, and departed with our amiable hostess at twelve, leaving Captain Craufurd to conclude the revel.

“The following morning I took leave of Craufurdland Castle and my dear friends for the kind Homes of Avontoun House, where your next letter will find me.—Ever affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”


Lady Matilda Maxwell sent a kind invitation to Agnes Strickland to visit her at Pollok House, Glasgow, where Lady Augusta Bruce was then staying. As she was well acquainted with the Dowager Lady Elgin’s amiable family, Agnes gladly availed herself of this opportunity of meeting Lady Augusta again. She formed with Lady Matilda a warm and lifelong friendship.

After she left Pollok, Agnes took a tour to the Highlands HIGHLAND TOUR. with her friend Miss Harriet Home, of which she gave a lively account in a letter to her sister Mrs Gwillym.

Nothing could exceed the kindness and hospitality Agnes Strickland received in Scotland, accompanied with valuable assistance and warm friendship, never to be forgotten by her by whom it was received.

Loch Lomond.

“I shall not have much time for writing, dearest Jane, only I will send off these few lines to let you and dear mamma know that I am in the land of the living, and surrounded by kind and amiable friends. Harriet Home and I were bound for Dumbarton on a tour to the Highlands. We reached Glasgow by rail; but having three hours to wait for the steamer, we visited the library, the Hunterian Museum, and the Cathedral. The crypt is magnificent. We also went to see the Exchange. Our cavalier, Mr George Cochrane, a friend of Harriet’s, was a very good cicerone. We had a grand voyage up the Clyde, and a noble view of the rock of Dumbarton. Upon our landing, we found Mr Cochrane, the gentleman at whose house we are now staying, waiting with his britzska, who brought us to this lovely place—a villa built in the style of a French chateau, with two circular pavilions at each end, commanding a splendid view of Loch Lomond and its mighty range of mountains.

“Ben Lomond, with its triple crown, fronts the windows of my chamber, and the garden slopes down to the brink of the lake. I cannot help confessing that it is a finer scene than either Windermere or Derwentwater presents, but is a union in beauty of both. Mrs Cochrane, who is the sister of the late Harry Inglis, the author of ‘Wanderings in Many Lands,’ gave us a hearty welcome and delicious cup of tea. On Friday HIGHLAND TOUR. we drove through a splendid line of country to Dumbarton, and scaled the mighty rock, which is still a fortification, but retains no remains of the ancient castle from whence Mary Stuart set sail for France. The view is sublime. On our way home I had to pay the penance of going over a factory—that of Bonhill—where £1000 are disbursed in weekly wages to the workmen. I saw the whole process of cotton-dressing, but I would rather pick stones at threepence a-day than exist in that hot, stifling, noisy den of machinery for any consideration. All the people work barefoot, and in almost Spartan negligence of apparel. One of the young masters gave me his arm and showed me everything—a pretty fellow, and very courteous; but a factory is a horrid bore to see, and I was glad to get into the delicious air again.

“Yesterday we had a lovely drive by the lake to see Rossdhu and Glen Luss. We climbed Stronbrae, where we sat for an hour admiring the lovely prospect. To-morrow we embark in the steamer, go round the lake, and upon our landing, about seventeen miles off, are to mount ponies and cross to Loch Katrine.

“I was very sorry to hear of sweet, dove-like Clara Norton’s declining health. Give my love to her Emily and dear Mrs Norton.—With affectionate love to dear mamma, ever yours,


It was necessary for Agnes to visit every part of Scotland where Mary Stuart had been, and the kindness and unbounded hospitality of her Scotch friends made her examination of these localities very delightful to her, and rendered them less expensive than they otherwise would have been.

The following letter to her beloved sister Sarah Gwillym contains the rest of the Highland tour, written in the easy natural style of Agnes Strickland’s LETTER TO MRS GWILLYM. family letters, which were never designed for publication, though giving a charm to home. They convey much information, and will be acceptable to the large circle of personal friends to whom she was dear, and by whom she was always tenderly cherished.[2]

In her letter to Sarah she goes on to relate her tour:

“Well, dearest Sarah, I am settled here for a few days with our friends the amiable and hospitable Homes, and I write at once to assure you that I have not been dropped into the lakes or rolled down the mountains by the way. On Tuesday, we, Mr and Mrs Cochrane, the boy Jem, the Highland terrier Worry, and a lady rejoicing in the name of Dickie, set off in an open carriage to call at Tillychonein Castle, and then to ascend Mount Misery, one of the Ben Lomond ridge of crags. We scrambled up the ascent, though dreadfully afraid of cattle; but Jemmy and Worry drove them off, and we all pelted them with stones out of our way, as we came back from viewing our glorious landscape.

“The following day Harriet and I set forth on our pilgrimage. Our kind friends, who loudly lamented our departure, furnished our basket with sandwiches and other nice things. Mr Cochrane drove us as far as the picturesque bridge of Balloch, where we took the steamer to round the mighty loch. There was a swarm of tourists, but all strangers to us. We had a tolerable fine day, and landed in a Highland glen at the head of the loch. Two Irish gentlemen, who were going on the same excursion, kindly assisted in mounting us upon LOCH KATRINE. two Highland ponies, and fixing our luggage on the back of another. As the gentlemen preferred walking, two white ponies, without riders, headed the procession; and in this order we scrambled up a mountain-path, more like climbing a chimney than a road—and this, too, on the edge of a precipice. The Paddies behaved like real squires of dames to us, leading our ponies, and urging them on whenever they stopped to feed. But when we had climbed the first terrace of the mountain and saw an open carriage waiting for us, we were not sorry to exchange our steeds for a seat in the conveyance, as we had five miles of a mountain-pass to traverse. When we were half-way through, while passing a cottage a woman with two baby-boys took possession of the front seat, while her daughter, a bare-footed lassie, ran by the side. At last the road became so precipitous that we determined to walk, when the gentlemen politely assisted us to alight. On our arriving at the brink of Loch Katrine, we found a boat, into which we all stowed, and enjoyed a row over that fairest of all waters, the scene of the ‘Lady of the Lake.’ Our Highland boatmen repeated whole passages from the poem to illustrate the scenery. Pleased with our attention, and mortified by the indifference displayed by the Paddies, one of the boatmen remarked to them ‘that they were not half so much interested in the story as the ladies were.’ I told him, as a proof of my interest, I would give him sixpence more if he would tell me the whole story, which he did with great satisfaction. At one of the little bays a handsome Highland wench came forth, and tucking up her petticoats above her knees, carried the two babies on shore, and then the girl; lastly, she returned to the boat and took the woman on her back, whom she safely landed. This sturdy Highland girl was named Christie, and was sister to one of the boatmen and sweetheart to the other. The STIRLING CASTLE. scarlet garters of poor Christie excited the curiosity of one of the gentlemen, who asked her lover ‘why she wore articles for which apparently she had no use, as she was without shoes or stockings.’ ‘She has both,’ indignantly replied the boatman; ‘she has just cast them off for this occasion.’ Notwithstanding the visibility of one part of her costume, and the absence of the other, Christie was a modest young woman, and conducted herself with perfect decorum.

“We landed in the Trosachs glen, and walked on to the Stuart, where there was no room for us. So we ordered a carriage and went on to Callander, had tea, and went to bed. Rose, breakfasted, and went in an open carriage to Stirling. Stopped to see Doune Castle by the way, a mighty relic of royalty; but I have no time to describe it, nor yet the beauties of our drive to Stirling.

“We proceeded to the castle, where I sent up my card to the governor’s house, and was affectionately greeted by the Miss Christies, ‘who were delighted,’ they said, ‘to make my acquaintance.’ They made me sit in Queen Mary’s and Queen Victoria’s chairs, and showed us the closet where the Douglas was stabbed and thrown out of the window. The ladies then invited us to tea; but when the dear old veteran governor, Sir Archibald Christie, came in, he said ‘he would not part with us out of his sight, and that we must stay and dine.’ We pleaded our travelling dresses, but he would take no excuse. The Miss Christies took us over the castle, and into the street to see Argyll House. I longed for you; and Stirling is so lovely in its summer beauty, a thing to dream of and remember for ever. Well, the old dear cared not to eat his dinner for talking to me. He engaged me to dine with them on the 20th, to meet a grand dinner-party, and arranged for a lady to convey me and bring me back; and the ladies made me promise ALVA. to stay with them during the races and to go to the ball.

“Sir Archibald at parting gave me a huge folio, and sent a Highland sergeant to carry it, and to guard us to our inn. He wanted us to stay till the next day, when he would take us, he said, some beautiful drives; but we were engaged to lunch at Alva with Captain Johnstone, the brother of Mrs Hamilton Grey. Alva is a lovely place, and the Captain, who did the honours for his brother, provided us with a magnificent luncheon, and gave us grapes, peaches, and beautiful bouquets to take with us, and sent us down to Alloa to the steamboat.

“We had a fine passage till we came to the Queen’s Ferry, when a storm skirled up, and we were pitched and tossed for an hour in sight of Granton pier—where we were to land—which made me very poorly and unsettled. At the pier we found the faithful Mary-Louisa and Mrs Gillespie waiting for us with a coach. They brought us home in triumph, but I was obliged to lie down till my qualms went off.—Affectionately and ever yours,

Agnes Strickland.”

To Mrs Gwillym.

“I got your kind letter, dearest Thay, when on the eve of starting by train for Stirling, for the amiable Christies would take no denial, but come I must for the races and ball. The Homes, though sorry to lose me, did everything they could to expedite my journey. I was most affectionately welcomed by that fine old veteran Sir Archibald Christie and his daughters, and the kind old dear took me a drive to call on Lady Seton Steuart as soon as luncheon was over.

“It was quite a sensation driving through all those old royal courts and embattled gateways, and wherever we came the soldiers presented arms to his Excellency. THE SETON STEUARTS. Lady Seton Steuart is hereditary armour-bearer to the kings of Scotland; and Sir Archibald told her ‘he had engaged her son to open the ball with me as his substitute;’ and she replied, ‘My son will be very proud of the honour.’

“Well, we had splendid weather for the races, and many gentlemen coming in to attend us; but we did not go upon the course, but witnessed them from the garden terrace. On the Friday I went to the ball, and wore my white satin dress, lace tunic, and pearl tiara, and my costume was considered the most elegant there. I danced five quadrilles, but the coachman made us wait so long that the ball had commenced before our entrance. I had Sir Seton Steuart for my partner in the one quadrille, and the steward took me in to supper. We did not get home till the sun was rising over the mountains. I take a fit of alarm, with my heart beating, whenever I awake in my antique chamber, which I often do as the clock strikes the midnight hour. I hear the bugles playing the réveillé; and it seems a complete romance being here. Our apartments are on the steep side of the palace, inaccessible to all foes. How you would delight in them! Every one makes as much of me as if I were a queen; and I sit in Queen Mary’s chair, and am in close conversation with one of her descendants, who looks like Charles I. come to life again, he resembles him so much, and is a man of transcendent talent and princely manners.

“Adieu—With love to dear Richard, affectionately your own


The Lady Eastlake of a later period, well known by her able and interesting works.

Unfortunately those letters written to learned persons in her own country are not in the possession of the editor, an omission which she hopes she may be able to supply at a future time. If these kind persons will favour the editor with transcripts of these letters, or the originals, as the amiable and talented Lady Buchanan has already done, they will confer on her a lasting obligation.



The new year, though remarkably severe, found Agnes Strickland well and happy, and, as usual, hard at work. Many pretty souvenirs for the toilet from absent friends gave her great pleasure; but the gift of Lord Lindsay’s fine work drew from her the following high opinion of its merits in a letter to her sister Gwillym: “Lord Lindsay has presented me with his beautiful, learned, and critical work on Christian art, containing many legends of Catholic saints and martyrs, told in the prettiest language imaginable. I am afraid some bigots will raise a No-Popery howl against it. I hope he will not fall in love with the system, for he makes church antiquities very fascinating.”

Agnes Strickland was in London in May, where, as usual, she divided her time between hard literary work and research, and pleasure.

Among her literary acquaintances she numbered the eccentric Lady Morgan, of whose novel ‘O’Donnel,’ in BIGOTED ATTACKS. her girlish days, she had been an admirer, though she greatly disliked the political tendency of her later productions. Mrs Alaric Watts and Mrs Thompson she was pleased to number among her friends; and above all, the beloved Jane Porter, to whom she owed many friendly obligations. No one was ever more nobly generous and disinterested than the author of ‘Thaddeus of Warsaw,’ or more tenderly attached to Agnes Strickland.

The publication of her part of the tenth volume completed Agnes Strickland’s portion of the ‘Lives of the Queens’; but she was in treaty with Colburn for the publication of a selection from her poems, which her sister Jane was to edit for her during her tour to Scotland. She felt like a bird released from its cage when she had seen the ‘Queens of England,’ so far as she was concerned, concluded. The hope of obtaining from the work she was planning increased fame and more emolument stimulated her to fresh exertion.

In general the ‘Queens of England’ was highly, and with few exceptions universally, praised; but of course there were some exceptions, for though the Catholic consort-queens were really good women, bigotry did not like their being considered and proved to be so. Agnes was annoyed by an unkind attack made at a public meeting at Ipswich by an evangelical member of her own Church,—this gentleman actually advising the women and children of England to be prohibited from reading the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ which, however, they continued to do in spite of his prohibition. It gave the author much satisfaction to receive Dr Stanley’s message, sent through her sister Jane, expressive of his regret that one of his clergy should have made such a remark. “I wish to convey to Miss Agnes Strickland my opinion of that attack, that it was unchristian, ungentlemanly, unprovoked, BISHOP STANLEY OF NORWICH. and uncalled-for; and I should have written to him and told him so, but I found the press had forestalled me. I wish to state also, that I have derived great pleasure from the perusal of your sister’s work. She has taken her stand on new and untrodden ground, with a difficult task before her, which she has executed very ably, delicately, and with a great regard to truth.” Nothing could be more gratifying to Agnes Strickland than praise from the good and talented Bishop of Norwich. She had the pleasure of meeting him the following year at Southwold, whither he came to preach the Dispensary sermon. She found him a most delightful person, so kind and endearing in his manners. No prelate was ever more deeply or deservedly beloved than the holy and truly Christian Dr Stanley; and he was so by his clergy, with the exception of the careless, bigoted, and immoral. Dr Stanley, if he had enemies, left none at his death, for his memory is fondly cherished in Norwich, where he is remembered as a good man and faithful bishop. To advance Christianity by means of early and pious education was one of the great aims of his exemplary life; and the benefit of his good works in the city in which he resided have borne rich fruit, and have doubtless followed him.

That Agnes Strickland cared little for cutting reviews upon her works, the following extract from a letter to her sister Mrs Gwillym will abundantly prove:—

“There is a great attack on the ‘Lives of the Queens’ in the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ but I do not care about it. It is merely a tirade of contradictions, founded on nothing but the assertions of a person who knows nothing of history. But I am very well satisfied, because he sets out with attacking female authors, and then says of me, ‘This lady is a stanch upholder and AGNES’S CATHOLICITY. adherent of the Church of England, and a stickler for all its institutions, and attached to monarchical governments and the right divine of kings.’ So that it is of far more value to me than praise, as the ‘Edinburgh Review’ attacks all works written in that spirit.

“I care nothing for their abuse, and indeed am much obliged to them for speaking of my true attachment to the Church of England in such decided terms—not that it was required, but it may serve to disprove the false charge of Romanism brought against me by some ignorant Low Church bigots.”

Agnes owed some of the attacks to which she alludes to her baptismal and ancestral names; but though she had attached friends and relatives who belonged to the Catholic Church, of her own name, she never swerved from the Protestant faith.

Agnes was a great admirer of Bishop Wilberforce’s preaching. Robert Montgomery was also a great favourite with her in the pulpit, which she thought was his proper sphere. Though by no means an admirer of Presbyterian doctrine or manner of worship, yet she did full justice to Dr Macleod’s oratory, and regarded him as a great light in his own Church. True child of the Church of England, she considered its liturgies and doctrine as more apostolic than those of any other Church, and if she occasionally attended the services of any other, she always maintained the superiority of her own. She was taken by Monsieur and Madame Ralli to the Greek Church, of which she remarks, “It was a very splendid service, and divine singing, all in ancient Greek, but no music.”

“In the evening of the same Sunday,” continues Agnes, “I went with Lady Blantyre and her lovely daughter, Mrs Rashleigh, to the lighted service at Westminster Abbey, where we heard glorious music, and a beautiful sermon from the Dean, Dr Trench. LORD STANHOPE. As soon as I was seated some one plucked me by the cloak, when, upon turning round, two pairs of kind hands were extended to me. It was Lady Belhaven and Lady Ruthven who claimed my attention. As they were Presbyterians, I was glad they heard such a noble sermon and saw such an earnest congregation of worshippers. They were delighted with the service, and when we came out introduced me to Lord Carlisle, whom I was glad to meet.”

Agnes, who was a great admirer of Lord Stanhope’s historical writings, was much gratified with her introduction to him and his lady at the Mary Stuart Exhibition by their mutual friend Lady Belhaven. “I was,” she writes to her sister Jane, “delighted with them both. He was the Lord Mahon who wrote the History of England, and she was the daughter of the late Sir Edward Kerrison, and a native of Suffolk. They expressed much pleasure at the introduction, and Lord Stanhope has sent me his pretty volume of Historical Essays.[1]

Agnes Strickland was naturally displeased with the numerous plagiarisms upon her biographical works by inferior writers whom she did not think worthy of notice, but when the highest law officer in the empire was guilty of the same offence, she would not let it pass without comment—since such a distinguished person as Lord Campbell, in his ‘Lives of the Lord Chancellors,’ had made use of many passages, derived unaltered from the LORD CAMPBELL’S PLAGIARISMS. ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ without any reference to the author. This piracy, whether from the inadvertence of his lordship or his secretary, had displeased Agnes Strickland, who would have been, on the contrary, much gratified if he had duly acknowledged his obligations to her work. She made her wrongs public by a letter to the ‘Times’—that powerful European organ—which produced an ample personal apology from the great jurisconsult.

“The scene of explanation,” writes Agnes to her sister Jane, “took place in a corner of the House of Lords. But as you will like to hear it all from the beginning, I must tell you that at Lady Willoughby’s—amiable darling that she is (as you may be sure from her letters)—it was arranged by her and Lord Clare that Elizabeth and I were to hear a debate in the House of Lords; so we had tea with her before we set off. We were duly admitted into Sir Augustus Clifford’s box, below the bar. Lord Brougham was pouring forth a storm of eloquence when we entered, and by-and-by Lord Campbell rose and made a long speech too. We rather admired his appearance, and were amused by his manner and delivery.

“After a time he crossed the House and joined a coterie, of which Lord Clare was one, who with a smile pointed me out to his attention. Whereupon Lord Campbell came to the place where Eliza and I were standing, and said, ‘Miss Agnes Strickland, I have long been desirous of the opportunity of apologising to you for having given you cause of complaint, but I mean to say something about it in the book.’

“I had then to apologise to him for the annoyance my letter must have caused him. He made a very kind reply, praised the ‘Queens,’ and inquired after the forthcoming volume—which, by the by, is not yet forthcoming—and asked me to shake hands with him, SCOTLAND. which I did with hearty goodwill, assuring him that he was the most amiable man in the world for not having answered me in an unpleasant way. He certainly behaved like a wise one. This little scene below the bar caused some excitement. But our conference was broken up by an order for the House to be cleared for the division.”

This matter terminated pleasantly enough; but among the numerous plunderers of the work none behaved with the good sense and good nature of the amiable Lord Chancellor—though some, when brought to book, had to pay for their unblushing piracy. She was afterwards surprised and pleased with a visit Lord Campbell paid her when she was in Scotland, and greatly regretted being absent when he called upon her.

Agnes was accompanied by a young friend this year on her tour to Scotland, Miss Emily Norton,[2] who, having lost her sister, was in poor health and spirits, and required change of air and scene. Their first visit was to the kind Homes of Avontoun House, their next to Craufurdland Castle. They lunched with Lord and Lady Eglinton, and went with the Earl and Countess over the tournament ground. Lady Eglinton kindly lent our author Mary Queen of Scots’ necklace, which Miss Emily Norton copied very beautifully for her, as her especial object in coming to Scotland was to procure a fund of information respecting Queen Mary’s domestic life. The tourists spent some pleasant days with Lady Hopetoun at Hopetoun House, where the juvenile heir gave them a display of fireworks every night. Agnes had the great pleasure of meeting at Pollok House her sister Sarah Gwillym and her husband. Lady Matilda and Sir John Maxwell did everything in their power to make their stay agreeable.

At Glasgow they had the pleasure of hearing Jenny LORD ASHLEY. Lind, whose sweet bird-like voice Agnes did not think equal to Grisi’s, though she admired the Swedish Nightingale’s very much. “I am glad, however,” she writes to Sarah, “I have heard her, and that through the kindness of that most exquisite of human creatures, Lady Matilda Maxwell.”

At Rothesay, Agnes and her young friend were joined by Mrs General Skinner and her daughter, the Gwillyms, and Dr and the Misses Molesworth. The party were astonished and amused by the gymnastics performed by the fair maids of Rothesay in the water, who swam like naiads and dived like mermaidens, though they were all properly costumed,—in which they differed from their Greek prototypes or enticing German Lurleis. The mild climate of Rothesay, its beautiful situation and grand scenery, made Agnes more than once think of it as a permanent place of abode, nor did she leave it without regret.

The next move made by Agnes and her young friend was to Wishaw House, on a visit to Lord and Lady Belhaven. Here Agnes met Alison the historian, Lord and Lady Ashley, and other distinguished persons. “I went to see the Falls of Clyde in company with Lord Ashley,” writes Agnes of this nobleman. “He is one of the handsomest and grandest persons you ever saw—a man eminently fitted to cope with the powers of darkness. He is a very magnificent specimen of the aristocracy. His lady is very lovely and sweet-tempered.”

As Agnes and Lord Ashley did not agree in politics, they had many friendly skirmishes on various points. But upon those philanthropic labours to which he had so nobly applied his time, his powerful influence and eloquence, she could meet him with all her heart, and felt proud that one of her own name, Sir George Strickland, had aided him in delivering the hapless factory CRAUFURDLAND. children from a portion of their cruel bondage, in his endeavours to deliver the hapless victims of Mammon from bitter slavery and premature dissolution.

From Lady Belhaven’s, Agnes Strickland and Emily Norton proceeded to Craufurdland Castle, where they met with a warm reception from Mr and Mrs Craufurd. Agnes was delighted to see her friend Constance (Mrs Fairlee) looking well and happy, with her beautiful boy in her arms. The presence of a baby always gave Agnes pleasure, for towards these innocent specimens of humanity she had quite a maternal heart. Whether the offspring of the noble or the peasant, an infant was always an interesting object to her—plain or pretty, she loved them all. Her friend Constance left her boy with her mother, which added to the satisfaction she felt in her domestication with her dear old friends.

Their next journey was to Ulverstone, where they were warmly welcomed by Mr and Mrs Gwillym.

Agnes had the pleasure of seeing Miss Norton’s health and spirits revive during their pleasant tour, and was able to restore her to her mother in renewed beauty. Our readers may remember that Dr Stanley, Lord Bishop of Norwich, had expressed to Miss Jane Strickland his disapprobation of an attack made on her sister’s work, at a public meeting held at Ipswich. When he came to Southwold to preach the Dispensary sermon, he particularly requested the lady at whose house he was staying to procure him an introduction to the author whose work he had defended.

“He gave a capital sermon,” writes Agnes to Mrs Gwillym, “and there was an unusually large collection. The old dear made much of me, and said he hoped some one would attack the ‘Queens’ again, to give him an opportunity of defending them and me at any public meeting at which he could bring the matter forward. He earnestly desired to bear the high testimony to the PLANS OF NEW WORK. merits of the book in public which he always did in society.

“He is the most delightful person in the world, so kind and endearing in his manners. You may be sure his praises of the work made me very happy. So I need not care for the No-Popery howls, nor for any other attacks, with such a defender as our dear Bishop.”

Agnes Strickland’s introduction to the Bishop of Norwich was followed by the gift of his interesting pamphlet, accompanied by the following obliging note:—

My dear Madam,—I enclose a copy of my ‘Mauvais pas,’ and with it would have sent the ‘Chron. Eusebeii’;[3] but it was lent to a friend some time ago, to whom I have written, and on receiving it, will give directions (as I am leaving Norwich in about a fortnight) to secure its being forwarded.—I remain, yours faithfully,

E. Norwich.”

In their plans for their new work the sister authors differed. Agnes wished the series to commence from the earliest period of Scotch regnal history; but Elizabeth considered it would be better to begin with the life of Margaret Tudor, the consort of James IV. and the ancestress of the royal family of Great Britain, and to conclude the series with the biographies of the princesses connected with the royal succession to the British throne. She reminded her sister of the immense research the former plan must of necessity involve, and that the life of the admirable Margaret Atheling, who had been canonised, would cause a renewal of those MARY STUART’S CUP. illiberal attacks made so unjustly on the ‘Queens of England.’ She succeeded in convincing her sister, and Elizabeth’s idea was finally adopted—and it certainly was the best.

Every relic of Mary Stuart was extremely valuable in the eyes of Agnes Strickland; and the sight of the cup given by her, while on the verge of eternity, to one of the Strickland family, made it appear very precious indeed.

“This precious relic,” writes Agnes, “was given by the poor Queen, on her way to execution, to her god-daughter Mary Strickland, after she had drunk out of it. It was brought by its venerable possessor—the Rev. Charles Eustace, a fine noble-looking old clergyman—to Agnes by the request of his brother, Sir John Eustace of Sandford Hall. It is an heirloom in their family, which descends from Mary Strickland, from whom it came into their possession. The Rev. Mr Eustace is the claimant of the Baltinglass peerage. Eliza undertook to make a drawing of this precious cup for me, and it was left in our charge for that purpose.”

The sister author executed her task with great fidelity, as she possessed considerable artistic talents.

Agnes spent a part of the spring and summer in Hyde Park Place with her dear friend Miss Mackinnon, from whence she writes to her sister as follows:—

Saturday, Hyde Park Place.

My dear Jane,—As you and dear mamma are anxious about my health, I must tell you that I am much better, though still under medical care, and got through the fatigue of the dinner-party better than I had expected. I was seated between the Turkish Ambassador, the Greek Prince Callimachi, and the noble Spanish exile Don Juan Montenegra. Miss Mackinnon DINNER AT THE MACKINNONS’. had on one side the Royal Chevalier Count de Montemolin, and on the other Lord Dundonald, the hero of our childhood, now a mild, hoary-headed veteran, very good-natured and gentlemanly. There was also his buxom wife and helpmate—handsome, ruddy, clever, and covered with magnificent diamonds—who has stood battle and siege by his side, with bullets whizzing round her, undauntedly. She was a great contrast to the soft, languishing Greek beauty, Princess Callimachi, who was dressed in a pale spotted silk, with a wreath of vine-leaves in her beautiful dark hair,—the sweetest-looking Oriental you ever saw. The Prince spoke excellent English, and is well read in our history. He is a little, dark, lively man, a Christian, and very fond of his beautiful wife, with whom, by help of French and English, I got on pretty well. Then the dear kind Lord and Lady Aylmer were among the company. But to the splendid dinner I could do no justice, though I was able to sit it out. In the drawing-room I had a long chat with Lord Dundonald, and got him to write his autograph in my book.”

Agnes, in spite of the influenza and its consequent debility, lived a very gay life in Hyde Park Place—going much into society with her friend Miss Mackinnon. While with this young lady, she had her portrait taken by Hayes[4]—a work of some merit, which was afterwards engraved and appended to her ‘Queens.’ At the time it was painted the likeness was very striking, for she was thinner than at any other time of her life. After she became stouter, a half-length in water-colours by Cruikshank represents more truly the Agnes Strickland of latter days.


But Agnes was compelled to work hard in the State Paper Office and British Museum. The gay doings of party-going and party-giving with Miss Mackinnon, though consuming a portion of her time, did not consume the whole of it while in town. At a party at Lord Aylmer’s, her noble host offered to introduce a scientific gentleman to her who could make, for her amusement, insects out of flint. “Tell him to make me a butterfly directly,” demanded Agnes. He feared his friend could not produce anything so beautiful, as the flint creatures were not at all pretty. So she did not care to see them, to the great amusement of his lordship. Perhaps she thought there were ugly insects enough in the world already without increasing, or appearing to increase, their numbers.

Agues was in London with Miss Mackinnon this spring, during the movement of the Chartists, and felt no fear—though, woman-like, the courage of Agnes Strickland was of a very fluctuating nature. She could be brave on great occasions, and was timid often in regard to trifling matters. The capering of a horse or the freedom of his action would cause her considerable alarm. She was not at all frightened at the march of the Chartists, which throughout England was regarded with great anxiety—anxiety, too, by no means causeless. The sight of cannon mounted on the roof of the Bank of England, and the appearance of the police with cutlasses by their sides, showed how well prepared the inhabitants of London were for the entrance of the Chartist army of rabble. The calm intrepidity with which it was met is, however, a memorable incident in modern history.

Agnes Strickland, who had formerly furnished the prose portion of the ‘Juvenile Scrap-Book,’ from Fisher’s house, was entreated to edit and complete that for 1849 by Mr Peter Jackson, his successor. She agreed to do NORWICH. so if her sister Jane would contribute the larger portion of the work and edit it, she finding all the poetry, and her sister choosing the plates from the large number to be submitted to their judgment. Their mutual labours were soon brought to a close, after which they went to Norwich, where they had the pleasure of meeting some dear old friends whom they had not seen for years, and of visiting their cousin Admiral Hawtayne, and his amiable daughter Elizabeth, at Catton. Agnes’s presence in the East Anglian capital was duly announced in the Norwich newspapers, and she could not enter any shop where she formerly dealt without the customers crowding round her to get a look at the author of the ‘Queens of England.’ She chose a shawl at the most fashionable depot in Norwich for such articles, and was surprised and pleased by the vendor’s refusal to receive the purchase-money. Of course she complied with his earnest request to visit his manufactory. But he took her to see a more interesting sight in the hand-labours of a number of orphan girls employed in making Lisle lace collars. The young workers were sitting in a large, airy, well-lighted room, looking upon a beautiful garden glowing with the lovely tints of an early May. They appeared healthy and happy, and seemed delighted when Mr Blakely informed them that her Majesty Queen Victoria and Queen Adelaide had given ample orders for their lace. A benevolent lady had gone abroad purposely to learn this beautiful art, in order to teach these orphans: and this lace school was under the patronage of Bishop Stanley’s eldest daughter, who took a great interest in what gave a pleasing and feminine employment to her own sex. “Ah, she is a darling!” was the term we heard generally applied to her by the people of Norwich.

Agnes visited the old castle, and was conducted to the prison ward by the Rev. Mr Brown, the chaplain; VISITS IN NORFOLK. and she remembered with pleasure that from his hands she and her sister Jane had received their first sacrament in their girlhood, when he was rector of St Andrews. He had, however, devoted all his time and talents to reclaim the lost sheep here. His success with many of the juvenile delinquents had been remarkable; some of those he had reclaimed would send him portions of their earnings by honest labour to repay by instalments those they had robbed. He had inculcated the Scripture law of restitution, and these converted lads had thus followed it—a sure proof that their reformation was sincere. Surely his hoary head was a crown of glory. He has since entered into his rest.

Agnes had never forgotten the early friends of her youth, and took this brief leisure-time to visit at Aylsham her dear and earliest friend Mary Rackham, Mrs Wickes, and her amiable married daughter Ellen, and Catharine Rackham, who afterwards became her sister-in-law. They had all loved and prized her in her girlhood, and met her now in the fulness of her fame as an author; and very affectionately, as of old, was she welcomed by them all. Of necessity her visit was brief, for she took the train for London to resume her literary labours, and enjoy the society of other dear though not dearer friends.

While in Norfolk, Agnes Strickland made some inquiries respecting the authenticity of a tradition she had ingrafted into the life of Anne Boleyn. She received the following information respecting it from the then noble possessor of Blickling, Charlotte Lady Suffield:—

“The tradition respecting the burial of Anne Boleyn mentioned by Miss Strickland is current in this neighbourhood, but belongs to Salle Church, the adjoining parish to Cawston, and one which was the property of her ancestors.

“The oldest people of the place recollect being told by MR LAWSON. their fathers that a particular black slab in the church covered the remains of Anne Boleyn.

“Lady Suffield recollects to have been told that a room in the old house at Blickling used to be shown as the one in which Anne Boleyn was born; but that room, although a small part of the old house remains, does not form a part of the present mansion.

“Lady Suffield is not aware of any history belonging to the statues of Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth upon the staircase at Blickling.”[5]

Agnes Strickland suffered much this June with severe affection of the nerves of the face, which she did not lose entirely till after her visit to Bath, at the hospitable mansion of her friends Mr and Mrs Lawson—her host, the great amateur astronomer, being the same gentleman who became such a liberal benefactor to the observatory at Bath. Mr Lawson claimed a descent from that daughter of Catherine Parr who was said to have died in childhood,[6] and considered Agnes Strickland as his kinswoman, and always treated her as such. She was much interested in his observatory, and acquired from him a smattering of astronomy; and he was only too happy to afford her information on that wonderful and abstruse science. Unlike most scientific persons, Mr Lawson could bring himself down to the capacity or limited knowledge of those with whom he conversed upon the lofty subject that engrossed his mind—a rare talent not common with learned men. GLOUCESTER. The lady was the kindest of all elderly ladies, her manners very engaging, though purely primitive.

From Bath Agnes Strickland went to Bristol, where she had the pleasure of seeing her valued friend Jane Porter. Dr Porter was in a dying state; but Jane was in better health than might have been expected from that sad circumstance.

Agnes Strickland was indebted to her dear friend Jane Porter for an introduction to the Bishop of Gloucester, who, with the amiable Mrs Monk and their charming family, became valuable friends. Agnes received the most gratifying attentions at Gloucester, and two valuable presents from Mr Turner, the banker, a lock of Catherine Parr’s golden hair in a locket, and a miniature of Henrietta Maria. “I saw the battle-ground of Tewkesbury, and was enchanted with the grand old abbey and its touching memories of the past,” Agnes writes. At Worcester she found new friends, and an excellent cicerone in Dr Hastings, whose lady and daughters were very kind and attentive to her.

Agnes returned to London much improved in health by her excursions.

A fresh arrangement was made by the sister authors respecting the future editions of the ‘Lives of the Queens,’ which were to be enlarged and illustrated for Colburn. But here they were obliged to apply to their legal friend Mr Archibald Stephens, as the publisher was unwilling to pay for the additional matter to be inserted in the work. The dispute was, however, amicably arranged by their kind and disinterested adviser.

Some years before, Agnes Strickland had sat to Bailey for her bust, which adverse circumstances occurring to the great sculptor had prevented him from finishing. He had removed to Newman Street, whither BUST BY BAILEY. she took her friends Mrs and Miss Sheriffe to see his studio.

“The moment Bailey saw me,” writes Agnes to her sister Sarah, “he said, ‘I hope you will come and sit to me. We were very unfortunate in losing that bust, but I will make something better of you now.’[7] I am to sit to him this morning for the first time—though nothing can restore to my person the long years that have gone by when I was in my prime.

“ ‘How is your pretty sister Miss Sarah Strickland?’ I told him you were quite well, and very happily married.

“ ‘Oh,’ replied he, ‘what a beautiful creature she was! I had a great wish to model her, only I was too busy at that time.’

“My friends assured him ‘that you were very handsome still.’ However, though this is quite true, no one can be what they were fourteen years ago.”

The likeness of the bust to my sister was strong—so strong, indeed, that the resemblance was as great to Agnes Strickland in death as in life, and must always recall the lamented one vividly to her attached relatives and friends.

Miss Mackinnon’s engagement to a distinguished French nobleman who had passed his childhood at Holyrood with Charles X., then Count d’Artois, was now made public, and Agnes thus describes her friend’s fiancé to her sister: “The Duke de Guiche is a fine handsome gentleman, resembling the portrait of the warrior in your old bedroom at Reydon. He speaks English perfectly, is very fascinating in his manners, and is a fine specimen of the French noble of demi-royal rank. He has written some beautiful French lines in my album.”[8]


The lines written in Agnes Strickland’s album by the Duke de Guiche are given here:—

“Des reines vous fites l’histoire,

  Triste episode de douleur;

Car ni le sceptre ni la gloire

  Ne sont les sources du bonheur.

Il est un source plus pure

  D’où bonheur vrai vient aux humaines.

Amour fut mis dans la nature

  Pour rois comme pour citoyens.


27th August 1847.

This autumn Agnes resolved to avail herself of the Duke of Devonshire’s former kind offer of inspecting his archives at Chatsworth and Hardwick. “In regard to Mary Queen of Scots, it may be useful in detail to see two places,” writes the Duke—“one where she certainly did live, and the other long supposed to be her residence.”

The orders enclosed by this courteous and distinguished nobleman were for admission to Chatsworth and Hardwick, the Duke’s housekeeper, a gentlewoman by birth, being charged to pay Agnes Strickland every hospitable attention. Agnes Strickland was much indebted to the nobility of England and Scotland for their kindness in opening their family archives for inspection.

Agnes was delighted with Derbyshire, that wildly picturesque county, which she traversed on her way to Chatsworth, where she was received by Mrs Hastie, the Duke’s housekeeper, with great respect. She found the gardens most beautiful, and the fountains were ordered to play for her gratification. She examined all JOURNEY TO HARDWICK. the archives respecting Mary Stuart, and also made use of the Duke’s fine library. She had arranged with her friend Mrs Thompson, of Stubbin’s Court, that she would visit her on her way to Hardwick. Of her journey thither she gives the following amusing account to her sister Jane:—

“I was sent in an elegant open carriage drawn by Dandy and Merriman, the Duke’s pretty grey ponies, driven by his own coachman; but we descended such hills as I never travelled down before, and I felt rather afraid of the ducal steeds for fear they should fall down by the way and leave me at the foot of a precipice. My driver missed his way, and alighted to inquire the road of some men at work in the fields—leaving me, O Mistress Jane, to hold his spirited steeds![9] I do not know what you would have thought if you had seen your Agg, as you sometimes presumptuously call me, in such a predicament. The gallant greys, nowise tired with their twelve miles’ trot, looked inclined to race after coachie. He, seeing their intention, blocked up the wheels with large stones, saying as he did so, ‘They cannot be off now, madam.’ However, I sat in fear, though the pretty dears licked each other’s faces, and were as quiet as lambs while he was gone.

“We arrived safely at Stubbin’s Court, where a warm welcome from Mrs Thompson awaited me.

“We went next day to a charming picnic to see poor Mary Stuart’s prison-house at Wingfield—a beautiful spot; and to-day Mrs Thompson carted me to Hardwick, and we lunched in the Duke’s private dining-room. HARDWICK. I stay here till Monday. It is all like a chapter of romance—a dream—these lonely tapestried halls, and Tudor windows that look out over the lovely wild valleys of Scarsdale.”

Agnes Strickland was enthusiastic in her admiration of Hardwick, and she almost forgave Bess of Hardwick her slanders of her royal captive and other malversations for having founded such a noble and antique pile.

“Chatsworth,” she writes, “is a gem of modern magnificence and polished art; but Hardwick is a perfect Elizabethan mansion, full of tapestry, historical paintings, antique carvings, and ancient recollections.”

Here, while writing in the library till dusk, our author was startled, when she arose to leave it, by seeing a figure in white advancing to meet her. She stopped in some trepidation, being afraid to advance, as to gain the door she must pass the apparition which was stationed opposite to her. At last she made up her mind to face the spectre, which, as she moved, advanced also. She stood, upon which the figure, doing the same, convinced her that the form was the reflection of her own. She was determined to discover from whence the deception came, and found a convex mirror curiously inserted in the drapery of the window-curtain, the cause of her alarm, and was amused by having taken herself for a ghost.

After she had extracted much valuable matter from Hardwick, she visited Mrs Hamilton Grey at Bolsover Castle, a fine old place, and a charming hostess. Here she met Colonel and Lady Dorothy Leslie, with whom she formed a lasting friendship, and she greatly enjoyed her visit. She did not go to Scotland this year.

“Before I left town,” writes Agnes to Jane Porter, “I came, by the aid of our kind friend Archibald Stephens, to an amicable arrangement with Colburn. My NEW ARRANGEMENT WITH COLBURN. sister and I agreed to embody our collections into the new edition of the work, and also to make sundry compressions, so that, even with the important addenda, the twelve volumes will be compressed into eight. I mean to compress the life of Elizabeth into one volume, though with the addition of some important and many entertaining facts, the result of recent gleanings.

“Your learned friend Mr Gerrard, the Bristol treasurer, has promised to send me some extracts from the Bristol city archives. I did not think to ask him if there were any seals appended to the charters granted by the queen-consorts, who gave great privileges to Bristol. We are in great want of an impression or facsimile of that of Marguerite of France, a queen to whose amiable character you, dear Miss Porter, have done justice in the ‘Scottish Chiefs.’ We cannot find any historical representation either in carvings, or painted glass, or illuminated chronicle; therefore we are anxious to obtain a drawing of her seal, which would illustrate her memoir in the absence of any other likeness of her. We have now got in progress authentic portraits of all the other queens, save Adelicia of Louvaine; but a drawing from her great seal, appended to the charter of her grants to Reading Abbey, will be sufficient to show her costume, and to give an idea of her face and figure. The portraits in Lady Blessington’s ‘Royal Book of Beauty’ are chiefly fancy compositions. It was that work I alluded to in my preface to the last volume, though I did not condescend to name the book, or the woman by whom it is put forth.

“The Scotch queens are for a time postponed, till the heavy job in hand is expedited, as Colburn wants it immediately.”

From her letters to this admirable friend, more of Agnes Strickland’s literary pursuits and occasional trials may be gathered than from any other source, and LAST TWO VOLUMES OF ‘QUEENS.’ Miss Jane Porter was never weary of lending her aid to one whose genius and friendship she valued so much.

The appearance of the last two volumes of the ‘Lives of the Queens’ called forth a fresh storm of bigotry from low literary periodicals of a religious cast, if their titles were to be the tests of their contents. Lord Campbell had, in a previous conversation with Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland, remarked, “I do not know what you will do with those women, Mary and Anne, if you state the truth respecting their conduct to their father.” They, of course, were compelled to give the lives of the regnant queens according to documentary evidence. Mary appears to have been guided by her love for her husband; her ambition may have been to exalt him. But that of Anne was wholly personal—religion had nothing to do with her unfilial conduct. In fact, William of Orange was the least guilty of the trio. He had been deeply injured by Charles II. and James, and it is not improbable that revenge for the share his uncles had taken with Louis XIV. for the partition of Holland, had as much to do with his expedition to England as ambition. The defeat of his fleet at Sole Bay must have been a sore subject to him. If, indeed, we can feel interest in this unamiable and ill-mannered prince, it must be in his devoted patriotism and heroic defence of his native country that his real greatness consists, for which he said, more nobly than elegantly, “he would die in its last ditch.”

The sister authors were perfectly aware of the storm these biographies would occasion. But they cared nothing for such criticism; they knew “that truth is mighty,” and must finally prevail.

Agnes Strickland was pleased and surprised by receiving an interesting letter from the celebrated Jewish convert and missionary, Dr Wolff, whose zeal in the cause of Christianity she had always admired. DR WOLFF. He wished her to edit his projected autobiography, which her engagements made it impossible for her to grant. Nor could she promise to procure him subscribers for his revised volume of ‘Bokhara’; but she took a copy, and wrote to her sister Sarah, to interest her husband, the Rev. Richard Gwillym, on his behalf. The Rev. Dr Wolff had quite a success at Ulverstone, and the result of his visit pleased Agnes very much.

The winter of this year Elizabeth passed at Reydon with her friends, both sisters working very hard upon the revisions of the new edition of the ‘Queens of England,’ and upon the first volume of their next work, and giving themselves little rest. From the Honourable Georgina Stuart, Lady Blantyre’s accomplished daughter, Agnes received from time to time very valuable extracts for Queen Mary of Scotland’s life.

Some years afterwards she had the honour of a visit at her own residence, Park Lane Cottage, Southwold, from his son, Lord Mahon, the Conservative member for Suffolk, and was very glad that he came in with a considerable majority for the Eastern Division of the county, not only on account of his very high character and abilities, but because she was a hearty Conservative in politics. She had many friends, however, whose political principles differed from her own, and was aware that an Opposition might be necessary, for she was a bigot in neither religion nor politics.

A granddaughter of Sir Charles Blois of Cockfield Hall.

The loan of the ‘Chronicon’ was for Miss Jane Strickland, with whom the Bishop had, we remember, some conversation. It was in her possession at the time of the decease of this pious and amiable prelate, and was by her returned to his afflicted family. The ‘Chronicon’ not being usually printed with the works of Eusebius, made the loan more useful and valuable, as being very difficult to procure.

This picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy, but was bequeathed by Agnes Strickland to the Kensington Museum, for the Historic Gallery of Portraits.

More than one church claims to be the last resting-place of this unfortunate queen. The fact can only be elucidated by the examination of the presumed place of her interment in the Tower Church.

Query, might not this female ancestor have been an illegitimate daughter of the admiral’s by some other woman, and not by the Queen-Dowager? There seems no reason why Catherine’s daughter should have been reported dead, as she had been robbed of all the property she ought to have inherited from both her parents by the attainder of her father.—Editor.

Bailey made a fine bust and excellent likeness of Agnes Strickland, which was duly exhibited the following year.

This accomplished French nobleman, afterwards as Duc de Gramont, attained great political celebrity. He married Miss Mackinnon, the dear and attached friend of Agnes Strickland, at the close of this year.

Her younger sister Jane Margaret Strickland was accustomed to drive her out daily in a pony-carriage; but if any little matter occurred such as losing the road, or a stone getting into the creature’s foot, Agnes was in a terrible fright when required to hold the reins while it was removed, and in this apostrophe she intended to recall her timidity to her female charioteer’s memory.



Agnes Strickland came to London in May to negotiate with Mr Colburn for the sale of the copyright of the new work she and Elizabeth had in hand, ‘Lives of the Queens of Scotland and the Princesses connected with the Royal Succession,’ for Colburn and Elizabeth Strickland were on bad terms, and he would not meet her on the subject. Agnes, who was even-tempered, only smiled; while her sister, whose temper was irritable, was offended with the brusquerie of the wealthy and consequential publisher, and showed she was so. He, though desirous of possessing the work, would not agree to the terms upon which it was offered to him. The Messrs Blackwood instantly agreed to them, and nothing could be more honourable than their conduct to the authors. As Colburn was very desirous to have a work from the popular pen of Agnes Strickland, she agreed to publish with him a collection of her poems, to be entitled ‘Historic Scenes.’ Her sister Jane undertook for her the arrangement of the volume, she having too much literary business in hand to do it herself. This younger ARRANGEMENT WITH MESSRS BLACKWOOD. sister was very useful to her by answering for her such correspondence as, though trivial, required replies; but Agnes had an immense number of important letters as well as these, taxes upon the time of a successful author which, however troublesome, seem to be unavoidable evils. Many letters prompted by mere curiosity she would have left unanswered, if the kindliness of her nature would have allowed her to do so. Besides these, she wrote frequently to the large circle of friends whom she dearly loved, and by whom she was tenderly beloved. Her time was wholly filled up, often to the prejudice of her health, which was always delicate; but her buoyant spirits enabled her to perform an immense deal of work in a brief period, the walk or drive seemingly restoring her animation, and calming the fears of her anxious mother lest the burden she sustained should shorten her days.

Agnes Strickland and her sister Elizabeth went on very smoothly with the Messrs Blackwood. They had every reason to congratulate themselves on their change of publishers. Nothing but what was kind, courteous, and encouraging ever passed between them.

Female authors are of necessity more sensitive than men. From the deference paid to the weaker sex, they have in society been treated with gentleness and consideration. Therefore bluntness and rough dealing are new to their experience. Mr Colburn, though a good judge of literature, did not know how to differ from ladies without giving them offence. The fault, perhaps, lay in his education and breeding. Agnes Strickland made some allowances on these accounts; but to Elizabeth his abruptness gave great offence, and she showed her displeasure so much that they never could draw well together. But the Blackwoods were gentlemen, and always conducted themselves as such. If they differed from the sister authors in any respect, ‘QUEENS OF SCOTLAND.’ they never gave them any cause for complaint. These gentlemen became warm friends of the authors as well as their publishers.

The first volume of the ‘Lives of the Queens of Scotland’ sold rapidly, to the great satisfaction of the authors and their publishers. It was necessary for Agnes to be in Scotland while the volume was passing through the press, so she was in Edinburgh with her friend Miss Helen Walker during its publication.

“I had a great deal to do at the Signet Library,” writes Agnes Strickland to her sister Jane. “While there the Prince of Canino, the son of Lucien Bonaparte, insisted on being introduced to me, and shook hands with me.” This was the celebrated ornithologist, the greatest author on that subject in the world. She had formerly been introduced to his cousin, Louis Napoleon, the late Emperor of the French, at her friend Mrs Milner Gibson’s house. He was then in exile, and Agnes had no high opinion of his phrenological aspect, a science in which she had implicit faith.

The following letter from Agnes to her sister Elizabeth will prove how much she was engrossed by her literary labours, and correspondence with friends and strangers:

My dear Eliza,—I write one line to tell you that I have this morning completed my task, and made my last revise of the preface in Blackwoods’ den by reading it over to the two brothers, and giving it a final polishing. They professed themselves delighted with it, and fully satisfied with the volume, but entreated me to stop in Edinburgh as long as I could. I am with the Countess of Morton to-day, and till after luncheon-time to-morrow.

“I send you a very satisfactory note from Sheriff Alison, to whom I sent ‘Historic Scenes’; but I never saw till yesterday Colburn’s detestable addition on AT WORK ON SCOTTISH QUEENS. the title-page, ‘Poetic Fancies.’ If anything can make people sick, such a fade affectation must. The title-page was never sent to me, and they have misprinted the poems vilely, and spoiled the last verse of ‘Lilies of Jerusalem.’

“Helen Walker has been very good to me. I have had meals at my own hours, too; but the labour and anxiety attending the publication of the two works, letters and toilets, as well as travelling, are rather too much for me. My journey here was only forty minutes, and Lady Morton sent her carriage for Fisher and me. I have thirty letters to write, and must send one to the dear Muz,[1] or she will fret.—Ever affectionately yours,


Agnes Strickland was delicate in constitution, and her literary toils were often injurious to her health; while such labours were life and health to her sister Elizabeth, who was much stronger, and consequently more energetic. It was fortunate for Agnes that she had such an untiring partner in works that involved much research and intense labour.

Her memory was, however, so great and retentive, that she remembered with ease anything connected with the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ and was continually gathering fresh matter for new editions of that popular work, notwithstanding her intense application and continual researches among old records and older traditions respecting the queens of Scotland. Tradition, she considered, was generally founded on some fact orally, and therefore imperfectly, transmitted; yet not to be wholly disregarded, but that rather search should be made in old books and old records for the discovery of its foundation.[2]


She studied very closely a considerable portion of every day; but some hours she gave to society, the relaxation enabling her to continue her labours with unwearied spirit. But however pressed for time, and however loaded her desk with proofs and revises, she never encroached upon that sacred portion given for bodily rest and religious improvement. The Sabbath she always considered as a privilege and blessing.

Agnes spent a few pleasant days at Ratho with Lord and Lady Morton, where she obtained valuable additions to the mass of documentary evidence she was gathering for her life of Mary of Scotland, and the permission of having the curious screen wrought by that hapless Queen in her captivity copied. Nothing could exceed the kindness and attention of the Earl, his amiable Countess, and their charming family.

Upon her return from Ratho, Agnes was once more the guest of her early Scotch friends, the Homes, of whom she remarks: “Though I have many friends, and some of elevated rank, I have none more worthy, or who love me better or would go further to serve me.”

At Glasgow, Agnes met her beloved friend Lady Matilda Maxwell and her sisters. Lady Lucy Grant carried her off a very willing captive to Kilgraston, and conveyed her to the Errol station, where Lady Threipland’s carriage was waiting to convey her to Fingask Castle, where she was received and warmly welcomed by the venerable lady and her son, Sir Peter Murray Threipland, and his sisters. Here she saw many Stuart relics, and made useful extracts for her work. She visited Lady Drummond of Hawthornden, but quitted that classic spot to witness her Majesty’s entrance into Holyrood, for which she was given tickets for herself and friends. Nothing could be more enthusiastic than the Queen’s reception. The night had been stormy, the early morning wet, but the sun came out for the ST MARGARET’S CONVENT. auspicious occasion. “Her Majesty shook hands with Lady Belhaven, who stood by my side,” writes Agnes to her sister, “and gave me a bow and smile of recognition. I saw Prince Albert lay the first stone of the National Gallery with a gilt mallet. The Scots Archer Guard were in attendance upon his Royal Highness, with their long bows, which made a grand historical spectacle.”

While residing with her kind friend Helen Walker, she was attacked with one of her constitutional sore throats, and was in some danger. She had taken cold at Holyrood, and the air of Edinburgh Dr Sibbald considered too cold for her recovery. Lady Lucy Grant, who came to see her, took her to Kilgraston, where the climate was milder, and nursed her with care and tenderness, till she was able to return to Miss Walker’s and her literary labours.

While in Edinburgh, Agnes Strickland had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of several of her brother-in-law’s relations—Lieutenant Moodie, of the 21st Fusiliers, having married some years before her youngest sister Susanna, a lady of some literary celebrity. “I dined yesterday with Moodie’s aunt,” writes Agnes, “Mrs General Macgregor, at Portobello; she is such a dear old lady, and so fond of him. She sent for her sister-in-law, Lady Charlotte Macgregor, who told me Moodie was her cousin. There was another relative of his—the Hon. Mrs Sinclair—and they all wished to claim me as a near connection through him.”

This was very gratifying to Agnes, who soon after was invited to visit St Margaret’s Convent to meet an eccentric lady, Miss Traill, the sub-prioress, who was a relation of the husband of her beloved sister Catharine, and who had become, from a rigid Presbyterian, an equally austere Catholic. The occasion was curious, for, being deeply versed in controversial divinity, she PROSELYTISING THE POPE. imagined she could not only confute the Pope by her convincing arguments, but convert him to her own peculiar tenets. “I was so blind and presumptuous,” she said to Agnes Strickland, “that I really was persuaded I had a call to do this, and actually went to Rome for this profane purpose.” However, by her own account, the Pope declined the interview she demanded, as ecclesiastical etiquette did not permit him to grant private interviews to ladies. Of course he must have been amused at the idea of the Presbyterian lady coming from Scotland to convert him. He, however, behaved very courteously, for he informed her that though he was prevented by circumstances from hearing her arguments personally, he would depute one of his chaplains, who held precisely his own religious sentiments, to argue the points of difference with her between the holy Catholic and apostolic religion and the tenets of her own; and he hoped that, as the gentleman was a native of Scotland, his choice would be agreeable to her.

To hold her arguments in favour of her own religion with the Pope’s chaplain, and possibly to convert his Holiness through this second-hand medium, was better than nothing. Accordingly the shrewd Scotsman came and made many inquiries respecting old friends and kindred before the war of words commenced, so that the lady and gentleman were quite on familiar and friendly terms. By her own account she commenced her attack by assuring him “that the city sitting on the seven hills, the mystic Babylon, was Rome,” which he, of course, denied. She demanded, “What other city was denoted in Revelation?”

“Edinburgh,” was his ready answer. “Why, you know Edinburgh sits on seven hills.” And he reckoned them up, to her great astonishment, for he was a native of Auld Reekie, and had a very good memory. MISS TRAILL’S CONVERSION.

“I was struck,” was her remark.

“Well, but you must know that the Man of Sin is the Pope.”

“No, madam, the man of sin is John Knox;” and this audacious reply seemed to have overthrown or dispersed the store of arguments the lady had brought to Rome with her. Our canny Scot followed up the advantage he had gained, and left the zealous lady bewildered, shaken, and half convinced that she was mistaken.

“After two other argumentations I had nothing more to say,” remarked the lady. “I was convinced, converted, and in the course of a fortnight was admitted into the bosom of the only true Church.”

Agnes, who drank tea with her at the convent, was highly amused with this curious narration. She admired the nun’s skill as a painter, an art in which she succeeded better, she thought, than in making converts. The following year, when she again visited her, she had attained to the higher rank of superior of the convent, and was as zealous in her endeavour to convert her visitor to the Catholic faith as she had formerly been to make the Pope a Presbyterian,[3] and Agnes did not go again.

Agnes Strickland was soon able to give a very gratifying account of the publication of their mutual work, the first volume of the ‘Queens of Scotland,’ to her sister Elizabeth. Everything went smoothly on with the liberal gentlemen who published these national biographies; REV. MR MILLER. for the Blackwoods were not only highly educated men, but gentlemen in every sense of the word—nay, more, they were warm and hospitable friends to the author, who always valued and appreciated their kindness very highly.

Agnes writes to Elizabeth: “I saw the Blackwoods yesterday, and they wish to have the volume revised for the reprint, in case it should be immediately required. Three thousand copies were printed, of which 250 were immediately sold. Nothing can go off better, and every one here is delighted with the volume. The publishers are in high spirits, and have presented me with Sir William Allan’s unfinished head of Mary Stuart, and a lovely figure of a lady by him in chalks, for my album, and will give me the sketch of Magdalene.”

Agnes Strickland went over the Edinburgh penitentiary with the Rev. Mr Miller, a great Presbyterian power, Christian philanthropist, and admirable minister, of whom she speaks to her sister with unqualified praise. “Oh the No-Popery howls and botherations that troublesome Pope Pio Nono has inflicted upon poor me, with his absurd appointment of men of straw as bishops and archbishops. Indeed a Lord George Gordon émeute is expected against a religion that, on conscientious motives, I could not embrace.” Pope Pius knew what he was about when he adopted a measure that he foretold would bring over to his Church unsound clergymen of talent and ambition,—a result Agnes Strickland did not anticipate.

“Mr Miller,” remarks Agnes to her sister, “good noble-minded man, was shocked last night at the bigotry displayed by a party of Presbyterian and Free Church ladies at a musical soiree. He said there was no Christianity in such railing, and that he feared bloodshed would be the result. Oh if all were trying like him BACK AT REYDON. to labour to save the lost souls abandoned to the despair of guilt, as many of our penal prisoners are, what a blessing they would draw down upon themselves and on those wandering sheep!”

In the autumn Agnes Strickland spent a few days with the Earl and Countess of Beauchamp, at Madresfield, who took her to Malvern to see dear Lady Braye and Miss Otway Cave, and to introduce her to Lady Emily Foley, styled the Queen of Malvern, from her great territorial possessions in that place.

After her visits to Mrs Claxton, the Bishop of Gloucester, and Mrs Monk, Agnes was again in her study at Reydon Hall immersed in documents carefully and laboriously collected for the ‘Scottish Queens,’ so auspiciously ushered into the literary world by her friendly and honourable publishers Messrs Blackwood. The new edition of the ‘Queens’ also engaged much of her attention. Some parts had to be compressed, others to be omitted, and a mass of fresh matter to be ingrafted into the work. Elizabeth worked very hard in London also, and generally took the task of the last revises. Their sister Jane carefully re-read them in case any misprint or requisite correction had been overlooked by the authors, for much work was required by Colburn in a very short time. As the quiet of the country was necessary for Agnes to perform these difficult tasks, she determined to delay her visits to London and Scotland later this year than usual. She was also engaged in making great alterations at Reydon, to which she gave her personal inspection. Her mother and sister Jane greatly enjoyed her company, a rare pleasure at this time of the year.

She passed her mornings, as usual, mostly in study, but before her early dinner, walked a couple of miles, or inspected the labours of her workmen, or was driven by her sister Jane in the pony-phaeton. Occasionally BISHOP HINDS OF NORWICH. on wet days she would employ her fingers in fine needlework, and chat with her family; and this was very delightful to the now narrowed circle of home, as in her own graphic descriptions of what she had seen they realised, in a manner, her pleasant visits to her warm-hearted Scottish friends, or accompanied her to those gayer scenes during the London season in which she took such pleasure. They were quite satisfied with the descriptions she gave, without wishing to participate in them.

As she was attached to the Church of England, she always attended its services twice every Sunday. This year there was to be a confirmation at Southwold, which she wished to attend as a spectator—the ceremony being a very interesting one to her; and indeed a beautiful sight it was to see the youthful catechumens professing publicly their assent to the Christian doctrines before a great congregation, and receiving the blessing of their pastoral head.

After the service Mr Kitson, the bishop’s registrar, came to Agnes and her sister Jane to pay his respects as an old friend, and to inform the first that the Bishop of Norwich requested an introduction to her, to which, of course, she assented. As soon as she made her curtsey he shook hands with both sisters, and said to Agnes, “You know me very well,”—when, seeing her look surprised, he continued, “Yes, you do; and you wrote to me several times when I was not what I am now, but Dr Hinds of Trinity College, Dublin, with whom you had some correspondence respecting the Stuart papers.”

Then Agnes remembered his name; but his translation to the see of Norwich had been recent, and she was not aware of the promotion. He smiled when she apologised for her forgetfulness, and his kind manner made the coarseness of his features and ungainly presence DR STANLEY. less conspicuous. He conversed very agreeably with her for some minutes, till his attention was called off by the vicar, who wished to speak to him. This bishop had not a good voice; for though his charge pleased the clergy, it was only audible to those who sat near him. As an ignorant churchwarden had very rudely expelled Agnes Strickland from the seat in which she had been placed, he was doubtless surprised when he found that the bishop himself was desirous of an introduction to her.

There could not well be a greater contrast in personal appearance and mind than between Dr Hinds and his predecessor in the see of Norwich, Dr Stanley; for though kind, the former was unprepossessing and abrupt in manner, while the late bishop, high-born and highbred, was the pink of courtesy, and gave a charm to everything he said by his graceful and winning way of speaking. His death was deeply lamented, and his memory will long be cherished in his diocese. His was indeed the perfection of Christian charity, which extended like a full-flowing stream to all who bore the Christian name. It was a disadvantage to Dr Hinds to replace such a man, for Norwich had had many bishops, but only one Stanley.

Agnes was still engaged in her improvements and alterations when two unexpected visitors enlivened the family group at Reydon Hall, in the persons of her brother, Major Strickland, and his young widowed daughter, Mrs Beresford, who were greeted with the fondest affection, their society giving a new charm to home. Indeed the return of Major Strickland, who had quitted Reydon a beautiful but undisciplined youth of seventeen, but who reappeared as an intelligent and amiable man, gave Agnes Strickland and the domestic circle at Reydon intense pleasure. He came as a widower, having lately lost his pious and admirable MAJOR STRICKLAND. Irish wife. His eldest daughter, a widow of nineteen, was with him, and both were fondly welcomed and tenderly cherished.

“You should see our Major,” writes Agnes to her sister Sarah; “he is very like our dear father, but not quite so tall or handsome, though he is very handsome. The loss of his beautiful light-brown curls has taken from his height. He has a military air, and is so frank, good-natured, and intelligent, and so full of sense and sensibility, that you must love him, and think him worthy of the name he bears. Maria Beresford is a sweet, unaffected young woman, upon whom early adversity has done its work. She lost her husband before her baby was born, and after a few weeks was bereaved of an object so dear to a young mother’s heart. She was in drooping health and spirits when she first came, but is composed and cheerful now.”

Major Strickland was not idle during the autumn and winter he spent in England. He wrote his useful and entertaining work, ‘Twenty-seven Years in Canada,’ which contains everything necessary for a settler to know. Agnes found him no interruption to her literary pursuits, for he was always employed. He was either drawing, reading, mapping, or writing his book, when he was not walking with or driving his sisters about the country. Time never hung heavy upon his hands, for hands and head were never idle. His engagement to an amiable lady gave great satisfaction to his family. He wanted a good mother for his children, and was so happy as to obtain one, though obliged to wait for her some time. Agnes Strickland was much gratified by the marked attention paid to her brother, old friends and new treating him with great distinction.

He, too, had much to relate of trials, perils, and MAJOR STRICKLAND. losses of beloved relatives and friends; but his cheerful temper did not long dwell upon the dark side of life. His fine person and pleasing manners ingratiated him with high and low, and like his father, without aiming at popularity, he won the affections of all who knew him. His ‘Twenty-seven Years in Canada’ proved a highly useful book.[4] He made no scruple of acquainting the world with his trials and privations, for he wished all settlers to know what they had to expect, and that it was only by mental and manual exertion, united to prudence, they could look forward to realising a competence in Canada.

Agnes Strickland did not intend to leave her brother so immediately on his return. They took a little tour in Norfolk together, and he had the pleasure of seeing Aylsham, where he had finished his education with the Rev. Mr Jervis, and also of renewing his schoolboy acquaintance with Miss Catherine Rackham, for whom he had had an old liking, which ended in their engagement, to the general approbation of his own friends, though, as her mother refused to part with her daughter, the marriage did not take place till after the old lady’s death.

As Elizabeth wanted her in London, Agnes, attended by her brother and the family at Reydon, took her departure from Lowestoft by the evening train, as she wished him to see the immense improvements made in that place by the railway company. The party, after their explorations, dined and drank tea at the Victoria Hotel, and saw their dear Agnes depart in good spirits for town, though not without regret on their parts for the loss of her society.

Agnes was welcomed by Mr and Mrs Kirby in town, LETTER FROM ALISON THE HISTORIAN. and as usual divided her time between study and social intercourse with her friends.

Agnes was much gratified by the receipt of the following letter from a distinguished historian:—

Possil House, Glasgow,

August 7, 1851.

My dear Miss Strickland,—I yesterday received, with equal surprise and gratification, your kind present of the two first volumes of the new and beautiful edition of the ‘Queens of England.’ I had previously read these volumes with the greatest pleasure from the book-club, from which I had ordered it for this place; but I need not say with how much additional delight I shall read the succeeding volumes, which I shall owe to your kind friendship.

“I can safely say that I have acquired a much clearer idea of English history from your own than I ever did from general history—and so I never fail to say, both at home and abroad; and the reason is, that the history of each queen forms a separate cell in the memory in which to deposit the events of the past, and that your genius has given an interest to the narrative which renders the storing no longer a labour but a most agreeable occupation.

“I am looking anxiously for the second volume of your ‘Queens of Scotland,’ from our friend Blackwood, which I shall take the earliest opportunity in my power of making the subject of a second number of the review in his Magazine.

“I am busily engaged in biography, being engrossed with a new and greatly enlarged edition of my ‘Life of Marlborough,’ which will appear in winter in two large volumes. I have endeavoured to make it as detailed and minute as my History (of Europe); and when it appears, I hope you will give the copy, of which I shall request your acceptance, a place by its side.

“Mrs Alison unites with me in kind regards, and in the sincere hope that if you can escape from your labours to Scotland this autumn, you will do us the favour of giving us some days of your agreeable society at Possil.—I remain, dear Miss Strickland, with truth and great regard, your faithful and obliged servant and friend,

A. Alison.”

Muz, a pet name for her mother.

“Tradition is the memory of the people.”

A circumstance not less remarkable occurred nearly two hundred years before, in a Quaker lady going to Constantinople to demand an interview with the Sultan, who, more polite than the Pope, actually granted it. Her object was not to convert him, but to induce him to abstain from war; for the Turkish Power was then the predominant one in Europe, and threatened to overrun it. However unsuccessful the attempt was on her part, still we cannot deny the praise due to such a benevolent one, eccentric and useless as it appears to us to be in the case of this remarkable female Quaker, who, if she failed in her object, did not abandon her own religion for that of Mohammed.

This work, published in two volumes by Bentley, is now out of print. If its author had lived, he intended to have added to it very materially, as the resources of the colony have immensely increased.



Agnes Strickland was frequently overwhelmed with correspondence relative to matters with which she had no possible concern—requests for information respecting genealogies of descendants or supposed descendants of extinct or attainted peerages. One of the most curious of these epistles respecting the alleged descent of a family claiming to be the living representatives of the unfortunate Earl of Derwentwater surprised her very much, and is inserted here as a curiosity:—

Birmingham, May 1, 1852.

Madam,—I am in possession of certain facts relative to a John Radclyffe who used formerly to reside in this town in 1717, and for some time, I am informed, incog., and his descendants are now living here. These facts, supported by documentary evidence and divers family traditions, have always left a conviction in the minds of the family that they were in some manner connected with or related to the Derwentwater family; but they have always, until lately, considered the evidence hopeless, as being too remote, believing that by the death of the son of James (the last Earl) in 1731, THE DERWENT­WATER PEERAGE. and by the death in 1814 of the grandson of the Countess of Newburgh, who married Charles, the brother of James, the title became extinct, unless there had been living issue of the family of the first Earl of Derwentwater. This is according to Burke. ‘The name of the son of James, dying 1731, was John.’

“The Radclyffes here have lately received information that, notwithstanding Burke and other received authorities, proofs can be furnished that James, the last Earl, had a brother John, and that there is now to be seen the marriage-settlement of the Earl’s sister, and that John, the brother of the Earl and the second son of the family, was the trustee of that marriage-settlement. And further, a letter of the Countess Newburgh can be seen, in which she states her belief that her brother John died in France; that it can also be proved that there was a mock funeral of this John (the Earl’s brother) and General Forster.

“Now if the information should be true, and could be proved, that the Earl’s brother John, to escape the suspicion of the times, retired into obscurity, and was lost and forgotten, I think it very probable that the John Radclyffe who, as before stated, came to reside in Birmingham in 1717, was the very brother of the Earl; and if so, his great-grandson is now residing here, and is the heir of the Derwentwater family: and I judge of this being probable from many circumstances relating to this John Radclyffe.

“It is also right to mention that the information above mentioned is received from a person who requires a considerable sum of money paid down before the promised proofs are exhibited; but I have advised that the matter is at present too speculative to risk so much upon a mere preliminary step. It has been urged upon this person that he may name his own sum as a reward for this information only in the event of ultimate success. Yet the payment of the money beforehand for the above-mentioned proofs merely is still insisted upon; and as a matter of course, a doubt therefore arises as to the prudence of the step.

“In reading the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ I determined, and I trust not impertinently, to address you upon this subject, feeling that it was not altogether without interest, and with more confidence to address you on this DUCHESSE DE GUICHE. subject as the persons concerned in the matter are artists, and on that account might humbly claim from you a kindred sympathy; and also feeling that your experience and vast research would at once enable you to advise, if it so pleased you, as to the propriety of proceeding further on the information that has been received, and whether there are any ready means of obtaining access to those ‘treasures of antiquity,’ where evidence of these curious so-called facts lie yet unopened. Should my letter be deemed a liberty, I must humbly apologise.—I have the honour to subscribe myself, madam, your obedient and humble servant,

George Gem.”[1]

Agnes had the great pleasure of being again domesticated at Hyde Park Place with her beloved friend Emma, Duchesse de Guiche.

“I am very comfortable here,” she writes to her sister Jane. “Emma is very kind and amiable, the Duke charming, and he dotes on his little wife, and is so deeply interested in her dress, in which he has made great improvements. She has a French maid, Josephine, with whom I practise French a little when she comes to wait upon me. I went with them to Lady Palmer’s ball, but found it dull, as none of my own particular friends were there.

“Our home party consists only of the Duke and Duchess, Miss Macdonald, Lord Macdonald’s niece, Mr Mackinnon, and myself; but we are very happy together.” FRESH DIFFICULTIES WITH COLBURN.

The marriage was a very happy one, and realised the perfect idea of domestic felicity. The Duke nursed his baby, and was an attentive lover to his English wife. Agnes was delighted with his lively and sensible conversation. It was not long before he was called to fulfil many diplomatic situations, for which his talents eminently fitted him. His early residence at Holyrood had made him a perfect master of the English language, which he spoke with the fluency and elegance of an accomplished native gentleman. Not then had he experienced the ingratitude of his own country—that country that he loved so much and served so well.

The lives even of successful authors have their literary trials and troubles. Mr Colburn, though he had had the first offer of the ‘Queens of Scotland,’ had been annoyed by its publication by the Blackwoods, and placed every impediment he could in the way of the progress of the new biographical work. The nature of the trouble he gave the joint authors of the ‘Queens of England’ is well stated in the following letter from Agnes Strickland to her friend and legal adviser, Archibald Stephens, Esq., who was always ready to give them the aid of his great talents gratuitously:—

July 14, 1852.

Dear Mr Stephens,—You were so kind as to renew the offer of your professional chivalry in behalf of my sister and myself, and I am going to put your friendship to the test once more, unless you should happen to be so engaged as to find it an inconvenient task.

“My sister and Colburn have had a notable skirmish, previous to our final settlement, on the following grounds:—

“We were pledged by his agreement to afford our best advice, and to superintend the adaptation of the DIFFICULTIES WITH COLBURN. illustrations of both plates and woodcuts for the revised edition, of which you have received a copy. Now Colburn, after we had selected the greater number of the woodcuts, refused to have them in the said edition. We wished, indeed, to have them, but he peremptorily refused to have them in; so the third edition was published without them. Now he wants to have them in, and demands of us to go over our work again to introduce them into his intended stereotype edition, choosing to impose a deal of trouble upon us for nothing. High words took place between him and Eliza, who gave, it seems, her testimonial to his conduct and characteristics in the matter of the’ Queens of England’ in not very flattering terms, but not before witnesses. He wrote to me to come and confer with him, as he would not settle with Eliza, as he declared she had thrown doubts on his honour.

“Well, he tried to coax and bully your humble servant into signing a paper, engaging to work in the rejected woodcuts for nothing. I told him I would sign nothing without Mr Stephens’s consent, that I had performed my contract according to his own instructions, and called upon him to pay the balance due last April or May. He said, ‘No. Unless I would sign the woodcut obligation, to which he declared I was pledged by the first agreement for this edition, he would not pay the balance.’ I replied he must do as he pleased, but that I would not sign for additional work, since he had refused when we could have put in his woodcuts while progressing in our work on that edition, and that now it would be extra labour, and that unless he paid for it we would not do it.

“He walked out of the room in a huff with his cheque, but soon returned, and said he would pay for what we had done, but should send us a notice to put in his woodcuts, and compel us to do so by legal (ergo, MEETING WITH TORY MINISTERS. illegal) means. Then he spoke of the abridgment which he now wants, but I referred him to you.

“I suppose you will think it desirable to confer with your profitable clients, Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland, on that point.[2]

“I am now with my kind friends the Kirbys, 14 Devonshire Street, Portland Place, but am going to Scotland on the 25th. I suppose you are very busy with this agreeable change of Ministers. I met Disraeli at the Duke of Somerset’s last night. How is dear Emily his [daughter]? I have just sent ‘Mary Stuart’ to press. Adieu, dear Mr Stephens.—Believe me to be your sincere friend,

Agnes Strickland.

“I leave town for Scotland next week, but expect to return after the publication of the third volume of the ‘Queens of Scotland.’ ”

“Last night,” she writes to her sister Sarah Gwillym, “I met all the new Tory Ministers, and all the ambassadors, with the exception of Lord Derby. The Austrian ambassador, Count Colloredo, was presented to me by his own express desire; so was the Turkish ambassador and his amiable wife; Disraeli was also introduced to me, and paid me a high compliment on the ‘Queens of England.’ Then Mrs Disraeli came to chat with me. But among all this splendid display of stars and garters nothing pleased me so much as the sight of the Turkish ambassador’s beautiful boys in costume leading their little sister, only five years old, but a little empress in miniature. Such eyes the creature had; I never saw BOLTON CASTLE anything like them. These lovely children are Greeks. There was a deal of Italian singing, which interrupted very interesting conversations; and a little Portuguese boy—a musical prodigy—who performed wonderful gymnastics on the piano.”

For music calculated to astonish the eye Agnes Strickland had no admiration. Her ear must be gratified and her feelings touched. But to produce such emotions is not the aim of the modern school of music—a mistake which only a purer taste can rectify.

Agnes left London for Bedale in Yorkshire, to visit a far-off Catholic kinswoman, whose maiden name had been Strickland, and who, like herself, was descended from the Stricklands of Sizergh.

As she wished to see Bolton Castle, one of Queen Mary of Scotland’s prisons, Lord and Lady Bolton’s invitation to herself and party was very gratifying to our biographer, who had a very courteous reception from their hosts. His lordship permitted her to examine his large collection of papers, which, however, contained nothing relating to Mary Stuart.

Agnes was struck by the commanding situation of Bolton Castle, the view over Wensleydale and three other dales being very glorious, encircled by mountains, in a richly wooded and pastoral country; but the castle itself looked like a grim massy prison-house, with no Gothic ornaments or tracery. A little rushing beck poured out its gushing bright waters on the green beneath the walls. Much of the immense pile was entire, but Agnes was sorry to see the state rooms which Mary Stuart formerly occupied turned into carpenter’s and tinker’s shops.

Agnes was next taken by her kind friends to Hornby Castle, by express invitation from the Duchess of Leeds, who received her with much distinction.

No one could be kinder than these Catholic cousins, LIFE OF MARY STUART. who, though strict in their adherence to their ancestral religion, always sent her in their carriage to the parish church for the morning and evening services. “I love them all,” writes Agnes; “but Catherine Mackann, a beautiful young widow, is my favourite.[3] She has a lovely little girl, a very good and amiable child.”

Agnes received an invitation from the Lady Mayoress this summer, for a grand soiree at the Mansion House, which she attended with her sister and a select party. She met Lady Glasgow, Miss Catherine Sinclair, Sir George Strickland, and many of her friends. The Lady Mayoress stood before her chair of state to receive her guests, her eight pretty daughters grouped round her like maids of honour. The Duke of Argyll, the Duchess of Sutherland, and many other people of quality, were among the company.

The autumn of this year found Agnes again in Scotland, employed on her life of Mary Stuart, for which she was continually gathering fresh materials. Believing firmly in Mary’s innocence respecting her husband’s murder, she took great pains to prove her so. She was collecting an immense deal of minute evidence, which she considered must transfer the guilt of that horrid deed from the calumniated queen to Bothwell and others of her factious nobility.

She considered that the Casket Letters, never seen in the handwriting of Mary Stuart or of any of her loyal friends, could not be of any real weight in the momentous question. Now Mary, who wrote French and Latin with ease and fluency, could not have written letters to Bothwell in Scotch, which had formed no part of her education. In fact she could not write a sentence therein that could be understood, as may be proved by a note written by herself, and quoted by LENNOXLOVE. Agnes Strickland in her biography of that unfortunate princess.[4]

Agnes left London for Scotland, where she was received by her amiable friends with all the abundant hospitality the most hospitable country in the world could offer her. Her visit to Lennoxlove with her beloved Georgina Stuart afforded her great pleasure; but her appreciation of her sojourn with this accomplished friend is eloquently expressed in her home letters: “I arrived at this charming old castle in Lady Blantyre’s carriage, with Sir Robert Houston for my companion, who came to take charge of me. Dear Lady Blantyre was absent, but sweet Georgina Stuart, looking like a Lely portrait, welcomed me with many kisses; and we are very happy together, working on my proofs and revises all the morning, and taking excursions every afternoon.”

Lennoxlove, 1852.

My dear Jane,—I have been very anxious about your severe illness, though relieved by mamma’s letter, which assured me of your recovery. I feel for the deep anxiety she must have suffered on your account, but am very happy the cause is now removed.

“I have been leading a merry life here with dear Georgina Stuart in these old halls during what she calls her bachelor régime. On Friday last we all set out on a real expedition in the elegant phaeton. I confess I rather trembled when I saw the reins in the delicate hands of my fair companion, who drove a spirited pair THE GOBLIN’S CAVE. of spanking chestnuts over mountain and lea, to say nothing of deep glens and ravines. To be sure, we had the groom in the rumble; but then he as well as ourselves might have been smashed in a moment if the carriage in turning sharp corners swung us over a rock or soused us into a rushing river.” (Agnes Strickland “was indeed a right maid in her cowardice.”) “However, the fair Georgina had undertaken nothing but what she was fully equal to. Unfortunately there was no one to see the grand swell we made—she being the loveliest and most elegant young woman I ever saw, and so affectionate and sweet in her manners.

“Our first halt was at her uncle Sir Patrick Stuart’s, where we lunched, and feasted on strawberries and cream. Then we proceeded to Yester, the seat of the Marquis of Tweeddale, and there the young ladies of the family and a bevy of noble damsels were to meet us by appointment at the Goblin’s Cave. Georgina resigned the reins to the groom, and we proceeded on foot to the eyrie whereon the magic-built castle sits in her lonely ruined majesty, so embosomed in thick woods that we could not see its ivy-mantled keep and turrets till we were under the walls. The Goblin’s Cave is at the foot of the ruins, just above a brawling little stream called the Tyne. Lady Jane Hay frightened one of her guests by hiding behind a rock and bouncing out upon her to personate the Goblin.

“The ladies were disappointed that I would not go into the cave, Lady Jane and Lady Emily Hay having kindly brought with them tapers and lucifer-matches to guide my steps therein; but there was a phalanx of tall nettles to storm, and I did not wish to endanger the virgin whiteness of my bonnet, so I contented myself with examining the localities.

“When we descended the wooded steep, Lady Jane Hay volunteered to drive me through the beautiful A “PORRIDGE-MAKING.” grounds, while Georgina with Lady Julia and the rest of the party walked. I like Lady Jane very much indeed.

“On Saturday we went on a glorious excursion to see Dirleton Castle. On Sunday we went to the parish church, after which I took a delicious ramble through the park with dear Georgina, and sat and chatted by the waterfall.

“Yesterday we lunched with Sir George and Lady Susan Suttie. A lovely drive among the mountains of North Berwick Law, and were feasted and made much of by the amiable family. Lady Susan sang sweetly Scotch songs to please me, and though it poured with rain, the girls insisted on my going to the porridge-making. I made some demurs on account of my blue damask dress, but Miss Suttie lent me a linsey-woolsey skirt, and provided Georgina with another. So we left our gala dresses behind, and got into Lady Susan’s low phaeton; and the youngest child, a pet named Kitty, sat on a low stool in front to drive us and her mamma. The rain ceased before we arrived at the farm where the manufacture of the porridge was to take place.

“Little Kitty would help old Jenny Lamb to make the porridge. Twelve gallons of water, to which four pecks of Scotch meal were to be added, formed the simple receipt—Kitty with her own hands pouring the meal into the copper, while old Jenny actively stirred the mixture. Lady Susan seated herself quietly on an ale-stool, while we stood round to see the process. Presently they shouted that it was done, and old Jenny quenched the fire, lest the porridge should burn. Then it was divided into fifteen single messes and seven double ones, and ladled into very clean little wooden stoups for the shearers’ suppers, who had also a great ‘bap’ or roll to eat with their mess. One stoup was LENNOXLOVE. reserved for our own use. So we all adjourned to the pretty little parlour to eat porridge and cream, which was dainty fare; and then Lady Susan and I re-entered the phaeton, with our little black-eyed fairy to drive us all round the rocks, which rise a mighty range of battlements to shut in the gardens and house-plantations. We had tea and coffee on our return, and after restoring our borrowed garments to their rightful owners, bade adieu to the kind family with regret.

“I cannot tell you how beautiful Lennoxlove is, or how glorious the harvest. It is the garden of Scotland. Thank the dear mother for her pretty note.—And with love to her and yourself, ever affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”

In the charming companionship of the Honourable Georgina Stuart, Agnes passed her time very happily, and indeed usefully. She worked, while at Lennoxlove, on her proofs; and found in her accomplished friend an admirable critic, and, we need not add, a most kind and liberal one. Indeed the Dowager Lady Blantyre and her whole family were very dear to Agnes, for every member of it regarded her in the endearing light of a friend rather than as a celebrity.

To Mrs Gwillym, Agnes writes respecting her visit to Lennoxlove in terms denoting great enjoyment:—

Lennoxlove, 1852.

“I have had, dearest Thay, such charming expeditions with sweet Georgina Stuart and dear Lady Blantyre, and the weather has been divine. On our last the fair Georgina drove me in an open carriage to Balgone, by especial invitation from Lady Susan Suttie. After our arrival we were transferred to her own low pony-phaeton, driven by little Kitty, the pet child of the house, seated on a stool in front. Sir TANTALLON. George Suttie and his eldest daughter, the beautiful Margaret, mounted on two gallant steeds, dashed over hill and dale as our outriders. In this way we proceeded to Tantallon Castle, on the wild sea-cliff near the Bass Rock. Such a magnificent pile of ruins, recalling Marmion, Clara, and Fitz-Eustace vividly to my recollection. Then we remounted and dashed down to North Berwick—a picturesque seaport; and after doubling its conical mountain, returned to Balgone, where we found Lady Susan Suttie seated in her easy-chair outside the door, waiting for us. As the weather was very hot, we took tea abroad, and had some delicious broiled mushrooms with our bread-and-butter. When Miss Stuart’s carriage was brought round, Lady Susan kissed me many times, and gave me a beautiful drawing for my album. Georgina drove me gallantly and swiftly home to Lennoxlove, which we reached at eight in the evening, when Lady Blantyre made us partake of another tea, with all sorts of nice things, and such strawberries and cream as I seldom had tasted in England.”

After mentioning several visits she was engaged to make, she says, “But I must be in Edinburgh on the 1st of October, when my ‘Mary’ will be published.”

Agnes was very fond of Scotland, and its hospitable people and fine scenery. To her sister Eliza she writes: “Scotland is most beautiful in July. Oh the rich roses, the lovely emerald turf, and magnificent gardens at Goodham and Holme! I have followed the summer like a bird of passage; but it is cloudy and wet to-day. All Scotland is haymaking, and redolent of fragrance.”

Nothing could be more agreeable to Agnes Strickland than her abode at Lennoxlove, where she was able to follow her literary pursuits without interruption. “I PRINCE MASSIMO. have had such blessed rest at this sweet peaceful place; for though there has been company all the week, and more are coming next, I have been able to work my difficult chapters, and to nurse my bad cold. I write, too, in my own room, by a good fire, till one, then take a long stroll in the lovely gardens and park, then work again after lunch-time. At four I come down for a chat with dear Lady Blantyre and her son Willie—who is the attaché to the British Embassy at Paris—home for a holiday, and is very intelligent and agreeable. Sweet Georgina, who is the greatest darling I know, makes every one happy where she is. After dinner she sings Scotch songs like an angel, to please me. So you see, dear Thay, I am very happy indeed here.” Thus Agnes describes her pleasant domestic life at Lennoxlove, in which the labours of her difficult literary work were ameliorated by rational pleasures and sweet feminine companionship with the wise and good.

Agnes Strickland’s next visit was to Mrs Skene of Inchdairnie, a very charming lady, who took her to Balfour, formerly the residence of Cardinal Beaton, where she was kindly received by Captain and Mrs Beaton, and saw a fine portrait of Mary Beaton—one of Mary Stuart’s Marys. At Lord Leven’s, Agnes met the Italian Prince Massimo and his lady at a morning visit. With the Prince, while staying some days after with his host and hostess, she became intimate, and found him a very learned and pleasant companion. He declared his descent from Fabius Maximus Rullianus, which no one of course could contradict. The beautiful Princess was not sociable with any of the party, most of her time being engrossed by devotion and maternal cares for her lovely boy. Prince Massimo promised to procure for Mary Stuart’s biographer some important papers written by the Queen herself, to be ROSSIE PRIORY AND MOUNT STUART. found in the Vatican, which promise he and his sister faithfully performed, copying them themselves.

Lord Leven showed Agnes the golden key, the badge of Mary Stuart’s chamberlain’s office, which she examined with great interest.

Agnes visited Lord and Lady Kinnaird at Rossie Priory, and was astonished at the magnificence of the place and the grandeur of the furniture, which exceeded anything she had then seen in Scotland. Here she met Sir David Brewster and Lord de Mauley, the father of her amiable young hostess.

This autumn she paid her long-promised visit to the widowed Marchioness of Bute at Mount Stuart, with whose bright little Marquis Agnes was on the best terms imaginable. The home party consisted of Lady Adelaide Hastings, Lady Selina Henley, the kind Craufurds—her old valued friends—and a no-Popery lady who bored her about the Roman Catholics and interrupted a better style of conversation. When Agnes arrived at Reydon she found awaiting her return an elegant prie-dieu as a remembrance of Mount Stuart.

The two first volumes of the ‘Queens of Scotland’ had made a great sensation in Edinburgh; but the third, containing the early life of Mary Stuart, far exceeded them in popularity. Agnes had to bestow immense research on the regency of Mary of Lorraine, and to take great pains to elicit truth between partisanship on one side and fierce polemic enemies on the other. She, however, executed her difficult task with equal ability and impartiality. But Mary’s early life did not involve such difficulties; her childhood and early happy wedlock presented smiling pictures to the reader, till she was called, in her widowed loneliness, to rule a turbulent nation. The third volume was eagerly read and purchased, to the great delight of its sole author, and profit of its liberal-minded publishers. HASSOP HALL.

Agnes had the pleasure of seeing published her brother Major Strickland’s book, ‘Twenty-seven Years in Canada,’—“a work,” she remarks, “very useful to emigrants, or persons desirous of becoming so, and one, too, that will not injure the literary reputation of the family.”

Agnes worked very hard, and that with right good will, for she was an enthusiastic admirer of her heroine, and hoped to raise the dark cloud that covered her fame. The volume was ready to go to press when she took her usual journey to London; but she was suffering much from pain in the face nearly as bad as tic-douloureux. Dr Arnott treated his patient with his usual skill, but did not debar her from entering society, as he said “she required relaxation.” “As indeed I do,” writes Agnes to her sister; “for they are printing ‘Mary Stuart’ very fast, and the proofs and revises provide me with plenty of work.”

It must be owned that Agnes Strickland availed herself largely of her friendly physician’s offer, for her home letters show an immense amount of gaiety. She always attended the Drawing-rooms; and this year her friend Lady Dorothy Leslie, become Countess Newburgh,[5] was to be presented to her Majesty upon her accession of rank, and wished to take Agnes with her—an arrangement that was very agreeable to both.

At the close of the season Agnes visited Lady Newburgh at Hassop Hall in Derbyshire, from whence she wrote to her mother in high spirits. “The country is glorious, and we are perched upon the High Peak, four miles from Chatsworth, overlooking its woods. We are very quiet here; so I am able to correct my proofs and revises, and the rest from excitement does me good.”


Colonel Leslie and Lady Newburgh, though strict Catholics, sent their Protestant guest every Sunday to Edinsor Church; and she was very much pleased with the edifying manner in which Mr Ellison performed the service.

On her way from Hassop Hall, where she had had a delightful visit, she proceeded to Buxton. “Such a glorious drive,” she writes to her mother, “through the valley of Ashford, over Toply Pike—the name speaking for itself.” Agnes took up her quarters at the Old Hall Hotel, where Mary Stuart had resided. This, the reader must know, was, however delightful, a professional tour, as our author wished to see all Mary’s prison-houses or the ruins of them. She proceeded to Dovedale, and finally to Tutbury, before leaving Buxton, as she was determined to view the wonders of the locality, to visit Peak’s Hole and the celebrated pillar that still bore the name of Mary Queen of Scots, from the tradition that she had entered the cavern and there had stayed her steps. Alas! Agnes did not possess the courage of her royal heroine. Her tiny feminine guide presented her with a naked candle wrapped in a cabbage-leaf, and she herself was dressed in muslin, and trembled lest a gust of wind should cause her flowing draperies to take fire. A very few steps settled the matter, and she ingloriously returned—a warning to ladies not to enter caverns in gala morning costumes, nor without a masculine attendant to laugh at their fears and reason them into courageous behaviour.

Mary Stuart’s biographer wanted her pluck. To be personally brave was impossible with her. Yet those who had known her from girlhood were surprised that she had overcome her constitutional timidity as much as she had done, even to be passively courageous.

Agnes Strickland visited the stately ruins of Tutbury, TUTBURY. the locality of which, in her life of Mary, she describes as having a far different aspect to what it appears now. For what at that time was undrained marshy ground, surrounded in the winter season with water, civilisation has converted into verdant meadowland, very unlike what it was when the castle was Mary’s most dreary prison. The people of Tutbury knew nothing about the hapless queen’s imprisonment there, and Agnes could collect no lingering tradition respecting her or of the earlier inhabitants of the once strong fortress from them, though she has given a brief but graphic description of the castle and its royal occupants in her life of Mary.

Agnes left Buxton with regret, and took a carriage to Dovedale for a pleasant mountain excursion, intending to stop at the Izaak Walton for the night, but, finding it full of noisy excursionists, was proceeding to Tutbury to take train, when, she writes, “I saw a great crowd assembled as we turned out of the gates, a vehicle overthrown, and people lifting up an old man covered with dust, and a harmless babe of three years old, his grand-daughter. His mare had taken fright, and he was in great trouble for the want of a conveyance to take him back to Ashbourne, where he kept a grocer’s shop. So I offered to take him and his little companion,” writes Agnes, “as I was solus in a huge landau. He was very thankful. He was at first so much shaken by the fall that he was quite deafened, and could not speak without stammering. Fortunately neither he nor little Kitty was hurt, bating a few scratches. I had the pleasure of setting them down within sight of their own door in the market-place. His name was Hall, and he was eighty years old. I found him a superior person for his station. He was very thankful for a small service.”

Her benevolence was a prompt and impulsive feeling, always ready in a time of need to give a helping hand; CONTINUED SUCCESS OF ‘MARY STUART.’ and it gave her much pleasure to be able to aid the unfortunate on this or any other occasion, knowing that “small service is true service,” and often of more use than large gifts.

Agnes was at the Gloucester musical festival, with which she was delighted. She was the guest of the kind Doctor and Mrs Claxton, though she spent a good deal of her time at the palace with the Bishop and Mrs Monk. She was invited to meet Clara Novello, whose singing in the oratorio in the morning had filled her eyes with tears. “She is very lovely and interesting,” writes Agnes. “I had some conversation with her, and admired her unassuming manners. In sacred music she is really archangelic.”

Agnes did not return to Reydon till late this year. She was obliged to visit Scotland, and, as usual, her home was at Miss Helen Walker’s house. The sale of “Mary” was very satisfactory. Sometimes she was the guest of the Blackwoods, with whom she was on friendly as well as professional terms. She stayed with the Dowager Lady Drummond this year, accompanying her ladyship’s relation, Helen Walker.

Agnes received an invitation to visit Walsingham, in Norfolk, from Mrs Manby, an unknown lady, which she resolved to accept, for she had never seen this place, so celebrated in the annals of superstition, and was glad of the opportunity so pleasantly afforded her. She found Mrs Manby a very charming and intelligent person, and enjoyed her sojourn with her.

During her visit to Mrs Manby, Agnes Strickland examined the ruins of Walsingham Chapel, as renowned for pilgrimages as that of Loretto, both claiming the honour of being the very house at Nazareth where the blessed Virgin received the annunciation. She was paid much attention by the family of Lee Warner, Esq., the possessors of the abbey. The locality was the more DEAN PELLEW. interesting to Agnes because she had written and published, many years before, a collection of tales entitled ‘The Pilgrims of Walsingham,’ a work now out of print, but certainly deserving of republication. Mrs Manby took her to call on Lady Leicester at Holkham Hall; but her ladyship, who had expressed a wish for introduction, was unfortunately not at home. “On the whole,” writes Agnes to her sister Sarah, “I was disappointed with the building, which is half French, half Italian, though the park and gardens are very pretty, but the country is very flat.”

Agnes visited Norwich on her way to Reydon, and paid a visit to the Dean and Hon. Mrs Pellew. “I went to the cathedral,” writes Agnes to Mrs Gwillym, on Wednesday afternoon. “The Dean shook hands heartily with me, and expressed much regret that he and Mrs Pellew should not have the pleasure of seeing you and Richard with me. I dined with them, but not to meet a party, for which they were sorry; so we had only dear Mr Brown. However, I enjoyed their society very much.

“The Dean presented me with his life of his father-in-law, Lord Sidmouth, and showed me many precious autograph letters from George III., and his sons George IV. and King William, and also from Queen Charlotte, and gave me a letter of Mr Pitt’s. You would quite love those sweet girls, who played and sang delightfully, and made much of me. We had prayers at nine, and I, not feeling very well, went to bed at ten.”

Agnes, on her return to Reydon, received the sad intelligence of the death of her friend Lady Newburgh, from whom she had so lately parted, and to whom she was much attached.

The editor is not aware whether Agnes Strickland answered this remarkable letter. It is certain she could throw no light upon the descent of the Derwentwater family or the claimants; but the person holding the documents—real, or assumed to be such—would certainly have produced them if he designed to act fairly by persons in humble life, who at least were entitled to a sight of them without payment of a large sum of money. The presumed facts mentioned by Mr Gem are improbable as regards a mock funeral of the second Earl’s brother in France; while there could be no reason for the assumed death of such a person, as the exiled Jacobites were in favour in that country.

The difficulty, by the assistance of their kind legal friend—assistance always gratuitously given—was finally amicably settled between the anthors and Mr Colburn; but his terms not suiting them for the abridgment of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ it was not published by him, but some years afterwards by Messrs Bell & Daldy.

Remarried to Colonel Gordon, a very brave and experienced officer.

We must remember that Robertson rests his belief on Mary’s guilt or innocence of her husband’s murder upon the Casket Letters, which, if genuine, he considers condemn her. He does not believe them to be, what they undoubtedly were, a skilful forgery. Indeed, if Mary wrote to Bothwell, she would have written to him in French, which he perfectly understood. If they translated the letters, why did they not produce the original documents?

Lady Dorothy, after the death of her youngest brother Francis, enjoyed for her life the title of Countess.—See Lodge’s Peerage.



The loss of the amiable Countess of Newburgh, in the preceding November, occasioned Agnes Strickland much pain. Her domestication with this lady had made her intimately acquainted with her valuable qualities. “I have lost,” she writes to Mrs Gwillym, “my dear and amiable Lady Newburgh; and as soon as I heard of the sad event, I wrote to Colonel Leslie to express my sympathy for him on his heavy bereavement. He replied by a long and touching letter, telling me how gently and happily her spirit passed away, so that those who watched her believed she was asleep. He has sent me a beautiful brooch—one, he said, she often wore—as a little memorial of one who loved and valued me so much. I shall miss her, indeed, more than I can express. She did not enjoy her honours long; but I had known her as Lady Dorothy Leslie some time, and was very fond of her, dear Sarah, as you very well know.”

Agnes Strickland and her sister Jane were present CHARITABLE WORK AT REYDON. in January at the splendid fête given at Benacre Hall by Sir Edward and Lady Gooch, on the occasion of the marriage of Miss Gooch to her cousin the Rev. Edward Clissold. It was a charming réunion, rarely to be seen in Suffolk. Agnes had the pleasure of meeting Lady Frances Hotham, and many other of her country neighbours and friends.

But festive scenes only claimed a portion of Agnes Strickland’s and her sister’s attention this unusually severe winter. They walked half a mile every day in the deep snow to visit and comfort Anne Rowe, their Sunday teacher, whom they had trained themselves—an excellent and amiable young woman whose piety was preparing her for that world to which she was slowly passing away. There was a tie of many years’ standing between them and their dying teacher, who had been brought up in their school from the age of eight years. Lady Frances Hotham, whose benevolence in her maiden state at Henham had made her deeply beloved by the neighbouring poor, was very kind to the sufferer, and liberally contributed to her comfort—though, like poor Anne Rowe, she has also passed away. We hope and trust that her good deeds have followed her into the better land. Anne Rowe died early in February, leaving her example of virtue and holiness to her young contemporaries.

Agnes left Reydon for London as usual, to spend her early mornings in study, and her evenings in the society of her friends, noble or literary.

Among other celebrities gathered together by people of rank and fashion, Agnes Strickland, at the house of the late Duke of Somerset, met for the first time Mr Macaulay,[1] and was by no means impressed by his manners and appearance, for he seemed to her ugly, vulgar, and pompous—the merits of the popular historian MEETING WITH MACAULAY. being overlooked in the unprepossessing person of the man. Probably this impression would have vanished if they had had much conversation on English history, as on certain points—such as the iniquity of the Popish Plot, contempt of Titus Oates, and sympathy with the legally murdered Lord Strafford—they entirely agreed. The Duchess of Somerset gave him to his fair rival for her cavalier at dinner; but they did not get on well together. A very handsome quiet young man, who faced them, apparently afforded Mr Macaulay a topic for conversation, for he looked pointedly at him, and commenced a tirade of invective on the stupidity of handsome men, by which the Adonis of the party evidently was embarrassed and annoyed. Agnes thought the attack unfair, and replied, “It was a consolation for ugly men to consider them so.” He became sulky, and they had no further conversation together. That his opinion of James II. was a juster one than that entertained by Agnes Strickland, is fully borne out by facts. His admiration for William III. is, however, no better founded than hers for James. Neither was free from prejudice,—a difficult fault for historians and biographers to avoid.

After the fatigue of the London season was over, Agnes visited her beloved sister and her husband, the Rev. R. Gwillym, at Ulverstone, and accompanied them to Harrogate, where she made the acquaintance of a gentleman learned in the law, Mr Greaves, and his accomplished lady, in whose hospitable mansion she was afterwards, when in town, a frequent guest. Among her numerous unknown correspondents she had received from an antiquarian clergyman named Nelson Graburn some valuable descriptions of historical portraits in his possession. At Harrogate she now made his personal acquaintance, and had the pleasure of seeing his fine collection. In describing the interesting EDINBURGH. series to her sister Elizabeth, Agnes, when she comes to the portrait of our Dutch king and Lord Macaulay’s hero, writes, “There was a wonderful portrait of William III., said to be by Kneller; he is not older than thirty, and is the most sinister and gentlemanly villain I ever saw depicted”—an amusing critique upon a prince who, if called upon to choose between two ways of obtaining the same end, always preferred the indirect to the open and straightforward.

The Blackwoods wanted the presence of Mary’s biographer in Scotland, whither she was obliged to go—but not unwillingly, for she had many warm friends, partisans, and admirers in that hospitable country.

My dear Jane,—I think you will be much pleased with the beautiful photograph I send you of Antonia Augusta, the youngest daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia, from the genuine antique bust.[2] I have begged it for you from a wealthy and learned bachelor—Andrew Coventry, Esq., of the Faculty of Advocates. It would make a charming frontispiece for the second volume of your ‘Rome.’ Will you return the printed account I enclose, which contains some interesting historic traits and curious facts, and thank him for the loan of them?

“The Dowager Lady Blantyre and her darling daughters, sweet Georgina and Lady Seafield, came to see me yesterday to invite me to stay as long as I can at Lennoxlove; and I mean to do so, as I can finish my proofs there. Ten compositors are at work on ‘Mary THE KIRK-OF-FIELD. Stuart.’ I have been to Blackwood’s, who promised and vowed that I should have the work in slips this week; so I hope it will be so, for Lennoxlove is one of my best havens of rest.”

Lady Blantyre and her charming family were very much and deservedly beloved by Agnes Strickland, to whom they proved the kindest and truest of friends.

It was absolutely necessary for her to be in Edinburgh to examine the localities near the Kirk-of-Field and its vicinity, in order to unravel the mystery involved in the murder of Darnley.

During her stay in Edinburgh she was pleasantly located with Mr Mark Napier and his amiable wife. Between her and the biographer of Montrose there was much sympathy, for the subject of his work was one of her own Cavalier heroes.

Notwithstanding the number of compositors employed upon her work, Agnes was urgent for its publication before the meeting of Parliament. Captain Blackwood reminded her that as her part was done, she could leave Edinburgh, as the proofs and revises could follow her to Lennoxlove, which for some weeks would be her home. A very happy one it proved; and though there was a large and distinguished party, her literary work went on. The beloved Georgina Stewart, as usual, was a very efficient help in the corrections. In a letter to her aged mother, Agnes gives an amusing account of the manner in which her time was passed at Lennoxlove.

Previously to her visit to Lennoxlove, Agnes had passed some happy days with Lady Matilda Maxwell at Pollok. That amiable Christian lady, though admiring her works much, and loving her more, was anxious to disengage her friend from betraying party spirit therein, and advised her strenuously against offending the religious prejudices of the Scotch nation by attacking LADY MATILDA MAXWELL. the Presbyterian saint, John Knox, whom her candid ladyship believed to be a good though bigoted man, and a useful man for the times in which he appeared; for Lady Matilda’s Christianity extended to every creature who believed in and loved Christ, resembling in that respect the pure faith of the glorious primitive times.

Lady Matilda was very anxious that her friend should bring out a condensed ‘Life of Mary Queen of Scots,’ which she considered would be extensively useful, and, being reduced in price, would pass into the hands of many readers who could not afford to purchase the larger work. This judicious idea was followed up by the author, though it was not accomplished till after the admirable and pious suggester had long passed away. “I think,” she says in one of her letters, “an epitome of the life of Mary would be invaluable; . . . and to avoid as much as possible censuring her enemies. I think it would have a wide circulation.” It is easy to trace the forgiving and truly Christian spirit of Lady Matilda Maxwell in this advice, who had no enemies and never made any.

On occasion of the New Year, after offering her affectionate wishes, she writes: “May you prosper. May truth be your inspiration; and may God guard you from promulgating what is false, and make you dispel falsehood,—not only what you think falsehoods, but what He knows to be such; and not only what you think to be truth, but what He knows is. I was told yesterday in Glasgow that all the ladies in Scotland ought to be thankful for what you have done for our heroine.”

Lady Matilda took great interest in the ‘Lives of the Scottish Queens,’ more especially in that of Mary Stuart. “Writing from Harrogate, she says: “I am so glad to hear of your success. My preux chevalier (Sir John Maxwell) is full of admiration and sympathy at LETTER FROM LADY MATILDA MAXWELL. the way in which you have made out Foul Briggs.[3] It is beautiful to see such determination in seeking evidence.”

Lady Matilda’s interesting letters did not always relate solely to the literary works of her friend, but sometimes to her family affairs:—

Pollok, August 13.

My dear Agnes,—I ought to have written sooner, but our plans were uncertain. We have two marriages in the family—the brides both, strange to say, doomed to help Sir James Brooke in his glorious mission to Borneo. My sister’s second daughter, Annie Grant, has consented to become the wife of Captain Brooke, the rajah’s nephew and probable successor in office; and her brother Charles returns to Borneo with a wife, Matilda Hay, a grand-niece of the dear old lady Miss Erskine, you remember, consequently his third cousin. I believe her to be superior in worth and character. Annie has the real spirit in her. God bless them both, which wish you will echo.

“Annie’s marriage is fixed for September 9th, when we have promised to attend. We expect to be home again on the 22d, and I need not say how happy we shall be to see you. Let me know when you are coming.”

The event of the year to Agnes and her family was the return to Reydon of her eldest brother, Colonel Strickland, C.M., to claim his bride, whom the death of her mother had left free. On her way to London, Agnes stopped in Norfolk to be present at her brother’s wedding, of which she gives an animated account to her mother in the following letter:—

Whatfield Rectory,

April 18, 1855.

“This lovely morning, dearest mother, I had the pleasure of seeing our dear Major[4] united to his beloved MARRIAGE OF COLONEL STRICKLAND. Katherine at half-past nine. We all took breakfast in our own rooms, that we might be ready in time. The bride looked young and lovely in her white bonnet and veil, and exquisitely neat morning dress. She went in a clarence with her sister and sister-in-law, Mrs Fowler and Mrs Rackham; the bridegroom in an open carriage with Mrs Wickes and myself. The other gentlemen walked—the distance from the church not being much. Mr Fowler performed the service, and the brother of the bride gave her away. I was bride’s-maid, and Mr Leigh groomsman. He had taken immense pains with the Major’s necktie, which, of course, was tied to perfection. All went off beautifully. We had an excellent déjeûner à la fourchette at the rectory, and a profusion of flowers. They leave here at four for London, and I start to-morrow for Blandford Square. The 18th of April being Jane’s birthday, was the reason of the Major fixing that for the bridal day. All send their love to you, Eliza, and Jane. You may be certain that my brother’s marriage will add to his happiness, and I doubt not to Katherine’s also.”

In a letter to Elizabeth, Agnes complains of the false reports in circulation about her religion, which had been caused by her sister’s life of Mary Tudor.

“On the other hand, Lady Hayter, who is a Catholic, came here the day before to vent the anguish of her soul about a grand picture her husband is painting—the subject dear to Protestants, the burning of Latimer; and a very grand thing it will be. Of course it will cause an onslaught of attacks against the Catholics. She was delighted with the life of Mary Tudor, which she thought was by me. I told her no, but by my sister Elizabeth. She said Sir George Hayter’s eldest son, who is blind, was a Catholic and a saint; and though he is only her stepson, she venerates him more than any creature in the world. THE CRYSTAL PALACE.

“Sir George is very venomous against Catholics, which is unfortunate for her. He invited me to see his studio, and professes to admire me and my works, and is very complimentary. He is very clever, but will not bear the slightest contradiction.”

Agnes Strickland, while in town, was kindly and hospitably received at 11 Blandford Square, Regent’s Park, by her valued friends Mr and Mrs Greaves, whose learning and various accomplishments made their society very delightful to her.

She had tickets for the Crystal Palace, where she found everything splendidly magnificent. The presence of her Majesty, accompanied by the Empress of the French, formed the great attraction to the visitors. Unfortunately, the general curiosity was scarcely gratified,—for, writes Agnes, “our sovereign lady and her companion held their lace parasols, deeply fringed with the same material, before their faces, so that no view of their countenances could be obtained. However, it was altogether a most splendid pageant, and I was astonished at the magnificence of the courts.”

Nothing could exceed the kindness of her host and hostess. Indeed at Blandford Square Agnes was quite at home, for she visited her friends or received them according to her pleasure, of which privileges she frequently availed herself; and she had opportunities of meeting her brother and new sister in town, as they spent their honeymoon at Elizabeth Strickland’s pretty cottage at Bayswater, as she remained at Reydon with her mother and sister.

“I called yesterday,” writes Agnes Strickland, “upon the widowed Duchess of Somerset. She kissed me, and reproached me for not coming to see her before. Her eyes are swollen with weeping for her poor old Duke. She looks well in her weeds, which become her.” From this illustrious lady Agnes Strickland had always received RELICS OF CATHERINE PARR. great attention, constantly meeting at her hospitable mansion persons of elevated rank and celebrity.

“Lady Selkirk,” writes Agnes, “has sent me a beautiful drawing by Lady Katharine Douglas of the curious locket with the portraits of Mary Queen of Scots and her first husband, Francis II.” This was a valuable acquisition to the Mary Stuart album, and much prized by the recipient. “Mrs St John Mildmay has written to me that she is going to execute two drawings for my book,” continues Agnes; “they are to be coloured.” Nothing gave Agnes Strickland more pleasure than in realising again, by means of these illustrations, those places to which she had made her personal pilgrimage to render her life of her unfortunate heroine more interesting and truthful.[5]

Agnes Strickland received the following letter from her old friend Mr Lawson, which filled her with some apprehension for his health, he being then at an advanced period of life:—

My dear Miss Agnes,—I much wish to put you in possession of the relics of our progenitor Queen Catherine, and will have them packed up and sent to you. Do me, therefore, the honour of accepting them, and please to say where the packing-case shall be addressed to.

“I am sorry to say I am suffering from a severe fit of indigestion, and know not when I may again move out.

“I thank you and your sister for your two last kind letters, and would answer them with my own pen; but as you see, I am obliged to employ another to do that office for me.

“With the halo of friendship to your whole family, I remain, my dear Miss Agnes, your friend and connection,

Henry Lawson.


Mr Lawson was anxious to put Agnes Strickland without delay in possession of his bequests—some curious relics derived from his presumed ancestress, Catherine Parr’s daughter, by Lord Thomas Seymour.

“Dear old Mr Lawson,” writes Agnes to Mrs Gwillym, “has sent me the relics of Queen Catherine Parr, carriage paid, to Reydon. They comprise a portrait of Henry VIII., in a black-and-gold frame; a miniature half-length portrait in water-colours of Edward VI., by Holbein, most delicately and beautifully delineated; a large print of Dawson Turner’s Catherine Parr; the royal arms in bronze, which are not those of Catherine Parr, but are certainly those of Mary Tudor, Queen-Dowager of France—for the fleur-de-lis are in the first quarter of the shield, surmounted by the crown of France. Most likely the treen dish,[6] to a portion of which the arms were attached, was given to the Lady Mary Seymour by Katharine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk. There is also a facsimile engraving of Catherine Parr’s coffin, containing the body in the state in which it was found; a napkin belonging to Catharine of Arragon, and a facsimile of it engraved on tinted paper.

“I looked at these relics with melancholy interest, as I knew the great value my poor old friend set upon them, and that he would not have parted with them unless he had been in a dying state.”

This supposition proved but too true; for Mr Henry Lawson died the following week, having survived his wife only a few days. Besides these antiquities, he bequeathed £50 to Agnes Strickland in his will. She was much attached to the old couple, and was by both affectionately regarded.

The large sum of £20,000 was left by this scientific gentleman to the observatory at Bath. APOLOGY FROM THE ‘ST JAMES’S CHRONICLE.’

Link after link of Agnes Strickland’s oldest friends was giving way. She felt their loss, which she knew nothing could supply. The chain was broken, though she trusted and hoped it would be united again in that world where tears and partings are unknown.

The death of the amiable and venerable Lady Threipland, of Fingask Castle, gave Agnes Strickland much sorrow, for she loved and venerated her aged and attached friend.

The publication of the ‘Life of Mary Stuart’ in the serial volumes of the ‘Queens of Scotland,’ as a matter of course subjected Agnes Strickland to a critical storm from Low Church writers and partisans of John Knox. Both the admirers and defamers of this gifted but unfortunate queen-regnant made a party business of it. But the defamers did not confine their invectives to Mary Stuart; they assailed the author with unmanly vituperations, of which Agnes Strickland takes some notice in a letter to her accomplished friend Miss Stuart:—

“I arrived home on July 17th, and, sweet Georgina, have been hard at it with Mary Stuart and her persecutors, and have still two or three months’ laborious work before I can send the MS. to press.

“I have made the editor of the ‘St James’s Chronicle’ apologise for allowing me to be called a Jesuitess in the letter of a lucubrator of the Dogberry genus, who, not content with abusing me, accuses me of saying in the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ that James II. left legitimate descendants who might contest the crown with our Queen.[7] Then I am frequently assaulted by DEATH OF LADY STRADBROKE. some pedantic donkey who signs himself ‘J. M., Edinburgh,’ in a small pretentious publication called ‘Notes and Queries,’ who reviles Mary Stuart and me, and picks out undotted i’s and uncrossed t’s, and such minute errors as will occur in all books.”

The New Year opened sorrowfully to Agnes Strickland, who was much attached to Charlotte, Dowager Countess of Stradbroke. The death of this amiable and benevolent lady gave her much pain. To her sister she writes: “Dear Lady Stradbroke was brought down and buried last Thursday by the side of her old lord. The funeral was very private; only six followed—the Earl, Admiral Rous, Captain Rous and his son, Sir Edward Gooch, and Mr Clissold. I put on black: everybody has done that.”

The deceased lady was deeply and deservedly regretted by all classes; but to the poor her death was a national misfortune, so deeply had her benevolent sympathy and liberal charity endeared her to them.

To Agnes Strickland she was a warm and generous friend. During her lifetime she supported the Reydon Sunday-school, and was kind and good to all. The news of her fatal illness caused a great and sorrowful sensation in the parishes of Henharn, Wangford, Reydon, and other villages round about the residence of her son. Her bountiful hand was ever open to relieve the wants of the sick and distressed, and “her works, we trust, have followed her” to another world. No lady of high rank was more generally beloved or universally regretted than Charlotte, Dowager Countess of Stradbroke, whose memory will long be cherished by her friends and dependants.

As the lease of Elizabeth Strickland’s pretty cottage at Bayswater was nearly out, the ground being required for building purposes, she, who had remained for nearly two years at Reydon Hall, resolved to leave London for VISIT TO WINCHESTER. Surrey, where she purchased a small villa in the village of Tilford, a rural place near Farnham in Surrey, as she was fond of the country and disliked the noise and bustle of London. Here Agnes occasionally visited her, and they planned together those new works upon which they intended to engage.

From Abbot’s Lodge—for that was the name of Elizabeth’s new home—they frequently took pleasant excursions; and Agnes received much benefit to her health while breathing the pure breezy air of this fine county, and taking country walks and drives with her sister. Agnes had a great wish to see the camp at Aldershot, and a still greater one to examine Winchester College and Cathedral; and as Elizabeth assured her both could be seen in one day, they agreed to make an excursion for that purpose together.

In a letter to Mrs Strickland, Agnes gives the following account of their pilgrimage to the cathedral and college, and the hospital of St Cross founded by King Stephen, to whose munificence so many noble ecclesiastical foundations owed their origin. He probably imagined that his splendid endowments would atone for his usurpation of England and Normandy, and cover a multitude of sins.

My dearest Mother,—We went to Winchester last Friday, and saw the camp at Aldershot on the way, as our road lay through it. We had an open carriage to take us to Farnborough station, which made our excursion very pleasant. The view of the camp, partly in tents and barracks, with hotels springing up like mushrooms, is curious enough in the midst of a vast barren heath. It was very pretty when, on our return, we saw it lighted up.

“We got to Winchester in time to lunch with Mr and Mrs Heathcote, and to attend service in the beautiful CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL. cathedral, after which we went all over it and into the crypt. We saw the tombs of Cardinal Beaufort, William of Wyckham, and many other interesting monuments, besides the sarcophagi which contain the bones of King Egbert, Canute, Queen Emma, William Rufus, and other worthies and unworthies, all packed together like giblets in pies. Then we drove down to St Cross, a grand hospital foundation of Stephen de Blois, Cardinal Beaufort being its second founder. Here, following the rules of the foundation, we wayfarers were offered white bread and a horn of beer at the buttery-hatch. As I was very hot and tired, I ate the bread and drank the beer, and afterwards went to see the beautiful college and school. We did not get back to Tilford till eleven at night.”

Nothing could be more interesting to the sister authors than the examination of ecclesiastical antiquities. Elizabeth especially took infinite delight in these existing relics of the past, and sometimes would have rendered the royal biographies too erudite for general readers if her partner had been of the same mind as herself.

“You will be glad to hear, my dear mother, that I have returned from my tour to Canterbury and Dover.[8] The noble cathedral is well worth paying a little to see. Besides the tomb of the Black Prince, it contains many noble relics of antiquity. The ancient painted-glass windows are like gorgeous jewellery; I never saw anything so beautiful. Dean Alford, Mr Beresford Hope, and the antiquarian Canon Robertson were my ciceroni, and escorted me to the crypt, a grand underground church. The Dean invited me to a great dinner-party, BRITISH ASSOCIATION AT CHELTENHAM. and took me into the dining-room, placing me at his right hand, though several ladies, wives of the prebends, were present. This was doing me much honour in a cathedral town, where very rigid etiquette is usually maintained. I left for Dover on Friday, and saw the opposite shores of Calais from the top of the castle. It was a beautiful day, and I hired a boat and went out in front of the town to see how the white cliffs of Albion, the grand old castle, and Shakespeare’s Cliff looked from the sea. It was indeed a grand coup d’œil.”

Agnes Strickland was deeply interested in Sir Henry Rawlinson’s ethnological lecture at the British Association at Cheltenham.

“I wish you had been with me at Cheltenham,” she writes to Miss Stuart; “for I often thought of you, and wished for your company and comments on the very interesting subjects of discussion. It was something quite in your way, and you would have been charmed with the lectures. The only drawback to me was the crack-tooth names of the subjects of discussion, derived from the Greek. I wish it were made felony to pedantise the Queen’s English thus. The section to which I confined my attention was Ethnological (fie on the word!) and Geographical; but I heard some deeply interesting lectures, especially from Sir Henry Rawlinson, on his Assyrian researches and decipherment of the chronicle indited by Sennacherib, King of Assyria, filling up with historic facts the outline of Hezekiah’s defeat, and detailing all the spoils and tributes won by him from the said Hezekiah, including two hundred maidens, and ending with the observation, ‘Leaving him as bare as an unfledged bird.’[9] By a singular coincidence, the afternoon’s lesson on the following Sunday was that very chapter which records the humiliation of Hezekiah. The collation of the two accounts, sacred and SUDELEY CASTLE. heathen, was deeply interesting to my feelings as a historian. It was a wondrous confirmation of the truth of Scripture history. I afterwards met Sir Henry Rawlinson at our friend the Duchess of Somerset’s, and talked it over with him. I also met Sir Fenwick Williams, the hero of Kars, who is one of the handsomest and most agreeable of men, at a little dinner given by the Duchess. Our party included Mr Babbage and Lord Panmure. I had Sir Henry by my side, Lord Panmure for my cavalier, and the hero of Kars, who took the Duchess, for my vis-à-vis. The Duke’s place at the bottom of the table was left vacant. The Duchess has not yet changed her deep weeds, which, I think, are very becoming to her.

“Before I left Cheltenham for London, my friend Mrs Dent carried me off to Sudeley Castle, which her husband is restoring, and furnishing in the style of the Tudor period. The Association were to come and lecture in the old chapel on the history of Sudeley Castle and Catherine Parr; so she wanted me to help her discuss her historical treasures. After the luncheon was over, we accompanied the procession to Bourne Abbey, and to Stanway, the seat of Lord Wemyss, where I was seized upon by humble friends and adorers of the noble ladies of Lennoxlove—the Rev. Mr Traill, and old, honest, right Scotch Mrs Traill. Oh how their hearts and tongues overflowed while speaking of Lady Blantyre and her worshipful daughters!

“Well, I lost a good deal; for they kept me in discourse so long that I had no time to climb the hill and see the prospects. I was quite charmed with Stanway, leaving it with regret to view the cumbrous uninteresting grandeur of Toddington, Lord Sudeley’s far-praised mansion. Be sure and tell Lady Harriet Suttie, and the amiable sisters Ladies Jane and Caroline, how charmed I was with Stanway. I should like to live MARRIAGE OF HON. GEORGINA STUART. there: it is quite a place for a historical romance to be written in.

“I hope you will like my new volume of ‘Mary Stuart,’ and send me any papers with notices in them, for I see none but the dull Suffolk ones peculiar to the county.—With love and best wishes for Lady Blantyre, yourself, and family, your attached friend,

Agnes Strickland.

December 15, 1856.


The marriage of her beloved friend the Hon. Georgina Stuart to Mr Buchanan took place this spring; and Agnes, who was present, gives this account of the wedding to her sister Jane:—

“The Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, and many other distinguished persons, were present at the ceremony. The bride looked lovely and interesting in her bridal robes of white satin, point-lace, wreath of orange-blossoms, and veil, when led by her tall, handsome, aristocratic brother, Lord Blantyre, to the altar, followed by her six bride’s-maids—Lady Emma Campbell, Lady Jane Hay, Miss Colville, Miss Suttie, the number being completed by the two beautiful nieces of the bride, the daughter of Lord Blantyre and lovely little Edith Rashleigh. Their costumes were white tarlatane flounced dresses, and jackets trimmed with pink, and white bonnets with pink roses. The prettiest sight was Edith Rashleigh and her two little cousins—Lord Reidhaven and the heir of Blantyre—in their Royal Stuart tartans, their beautiful fair ringlets floating over their shoulders. I wore a white embroidered tunic skirt over primrose silk, with jacket to correspond, and transparent bonnet and flowers. The bridegroom, Mr Buchanan, a noble-looking man—grandson to the late Earl of Caithness, and ambassador to the Court of Denmark—is worthy of Georgina; and MARRIAGE OF HON. GEORGINA STUART. she, above all others, is fitted for an ambassadress—it is just the situation for a person of her rare talents and accomplishments.

“The chancel was crowded by the noble company, and all went off admirably. After the wedding was over we were all invited to breakfast at Mrs Rashleigh’s, the sister of the bride, at 31 Hill Street. As there was an interval of time at my disposal, I called on Lady Glasgow and Catherine Sinclair, who expressed much pleasure upon seeing me.

“When I arrived at Mrs Rashleigh’s house the bride tenderly embraced me, and thanked me for my present, a set of ‘The Queens of Scotland.’ Then she presented me to the Duchess of Sutherland, who said the pleasantest things in the world to me, and is very sweet and unaffected. The banquet was splendid. Five large gilt vases were ranged down the whole length of the table, filled alternately with fruit and flowers. There was an abundance of every kind of delicacy. Indeed it was the grandest wedding at which I had ever been present, and the pleasantest.”

The only drawback to the pleasure Agnes Strickland felt on this happy occasion was the long separation that of necessity must take place between her and this amiable friend, so much valued by her for her high and estimable qualities. The Hon. Mrs Buchanan did not forget Agnes Strickland. She maintained a constant correspondence with her from the various Courts of Europe, to which her husband’s diplomatic talents caused him to be successively transferred as ambassador; and the perusal of the letters of his accomplished wife gave the author of the ‘Lives of the Queens’ one of the highest intellectual pleasures she could enjoy. Lady Buchanan was faithful in her friendship to the last hour of Agnes Strickland’s existence.

On her way to visit Lady Seafield at Balmacaan in DEATH OF LADY MATILDA MAXWELL. the Highlands, Agnes Strickland stopped some days at Pollok with Lady Matilda Maxwell, for very tender friendship had long existed between them, and Agnes Strickland was never happier than in her society at Pollok House. When she arrived there in the autumn of 1857, Lady Matilda was apparently in good health, and was in her usual serene spirits, and received her with greater warmth than ever. In the course of three days her ladyship seemed poorly, but did not complain, nor did her friends or attendants anticipate any danger for her. The rapid increase of her indisposition alarmed her sister, Lady Lucy Grant, and the opinion of the medical man confirmed her fears. As he wished the dear sufferer to be kept from excitement, it was considered necessary to clear the house of all visitors. Lady Matilda, however, insisted upon seeing Agnes, who perceived with extreme sorrow that the hand of death was upon her beloved friend. Calm, serene, and holy, the dying sufferer gave her last farewell and blessing to Agnes. The grave had no terrors for that exalted Christian, and as she had lived she died, an example of holiness and Christian love.

Upon her sad journey Agnes received the intelligence of the death of this beloved friend, by a note from Lady Lucy Grant, in a few brief sorrowful words, which grieved but did not surprise her. For the deceased lady herself all that was bright and happy gleamed like a glory round her memory; but what a loss to her husband and surviving friends—what a blank in a Christian home! Yet who could remember her without wishing that their latter end might be as holy as hers!

Agnes Strickland was warmly welcomed to Balmacaan by Lady Seafield, and her mother Lady Blantyre. She was charmed with the magnificent scenery. Life in the Highlands appeared in a new aspect, for Lord DEATH OF ADMIRAL HAWTAYNE. Seafield was a Highland chief in full costume, and his little son and heir was a miniature copy of his father in outward array. Agnes and Lord Reidhaven soon became good friends; he was a charming child, very lovely and engaging. She was amused by the extreme deference paid by his clansmen to the tiny Master of Grant. Lady Seafield was like a queen in the Highlands, so courteous, bountiful, and beloved, well deserving her great popularity. Agnes spent three weeks very pleasantly in the Highlands, which she left to perform her engagements with other friends.

This year had its sorrows as well as its pleasures. The loss of the beloved Lady Matilda was followed by the tragic death of Agnes Strickland’s kind cousin, Admiral Hawtayne, at Lowestoft, Suffolk.

The accident that deprived this gallant admiral of life was a very singular one. His married daughter and her child had been staying with him at Lowestoft, and he accompanied them to Norwich and put her in the train for her husband’s parsonage. From Catton he brought his rector, the Rev. Mr Hartwell, and that gentleman’s wife and daughter, to enjoy a day by the sea. As they were to return to Catton that evening, he attended them on their way, holding their little girl by the hand. The September evening was dark, and the child, skipping on the pier by his side with the buoyant spirits of her age, went too near the unguarded edge, lost her footing, fell from the height into the water, drawing the Admiral, who was small in person and very slender, with her into the water. She, more fortunate than her companion, was precipitated into the mud, the tide being out, but he struck his head against the piles, and never spoke again. The little girl, besides the fright and shake, received no injury. The bereaved daughter of the Admiral, who had parted from her father in the morning, was telegraphed for in haste, but did DISCOVERIES IN THE REGISTER OFFICE. not arrive in time to meet him living; for he had been dead half an hour before she could reach him. In her deep sorrow she was cheered by the recollection of the last Sabbath they had spent together, and their conversation after they had received the Lord’s Supper, feeling that, however suddenly removed, he had died with Christian hope.

At Lady Belhaven’s, Agnes met the Duke of Hamilton, who invited her to see his paintings and MSS., regretting that the absence of the Duchess prevented him from offering her more hospitality. As usual, Agnes’s great business in Scotland was to procure documents respecting Mary Stuart’s life and reign. The discovery of many valuable ones in the Register Office, Edinburgh, was of immense service to her, especially a letter of the Countess of Lennox, in very friendly terms, to her imprisoned daughter-in-law, seeming, in her biographer’s eyes, to fully establish her innocence respecting Darnley’s murder.

On her return from Scotland, Agnes Strickland visited Lord and Lady Muncaster at their castle, his lordship claiming her as a relative on account of an old ancestral connection between his family and her own. The castle was a curious place, and had sheltered, during the Wars of the Roses, the unfortunate Henry VI.—the De Penningtons, like the De Stricklands, being stanch Lancastrians. The King’s room was an object of historical interest to Agnes, whose early sympathies had been excited by his virtues and misfortunes. The closing year found her at Reydon, where a charming letter from the Honourable Mrs Buchanan, giving her a lively account of the Court of Denmark and her abode in Copenhagen, awaited her.

Mr Macaulay had not then been ennobled.

Miss Jane Strickland was struck with the resemblance her sister Mrs Gwillym in her early youth bore to this photograph—only that Antonia Augusta had a sterner expression. Indeed the mother of Germanicus, the Emperor Claudius, and the beautiful but frail Livilla, was a stern Roman matron of the older school, as her unmaternal conduct to her weak-minded son, and the manner in which she made atonement to the family honour by starving the daughter to death who had tarnished it, sufficiently prove.

Queens of Scotland, vol. v.

Afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel Strickland, C. M.

This album was left to her niece and name-child, Agnes Strickland of Dunro, Upper Canada, who took this interesting memorial of her distinguished aunt to Canada with her in the year 1877.

Now in the possession of Miss Jane Margaret Strickland, of Park Lane Cottage, Southwold, Suffolk. Treen, wooden.

What could be more false and ignorant than such a disloyal assertion charged upon an author so well aware, as Agnes Strickland was, that all the legitimate descendants of James II. ended in his youngest grandson, the Cardinal Duke of York, and that few, if any, of his illegitimate ones remained?

The editor is uncertain what date to assign for Agnes Strickland’s visit to Canterbury and Dover, but thinks her letters to her mother describing it may be put in here.

This records Sennacherib’s first attack on Hezekiah’s capital.



The New Year found Agnes in her study, as usual deeply engaged in the records of ancient times. She was grateful that the family chain was yet unbroken, and that her venerable mother still survived. The kind letters of attached and long-tried friends cheered the solitude of Reydon. One indeed, in the person of the lamented Lady Matilda Maxwell, was wanting—a void to Agnes that never could be filled up. The beloved Mrs Buchanan was a constant and deeply valued correspondent. Her old friend the Duchesse de Gramont, the beloved Emma Mackinnon of earlier days, wrote constantly to her; nor were other dear ones less mindful of her, besides the frequent correspondence of men of science and historical research, which are too numerous to be given here. She was working very hard upon her seventh volume of ‘Mary Stuart,’ to be published at Easter—of all the volumes the most difficult, and requiring the greatest research. She was much gratified by a letter from her learned friend Mr Riddell, whose minute antiquarian and historical CHESTER AND WALES. knowledge made his praise very valuable to her. From Cuthbert Bede, the nom de plume of that clever popular author the Rev. Edward Bradley, she always received the present of his works, the perusal of which enlivened her after her severe studies. She visited Miss Rushout in Somersetshire this summer, where she met Dr Tait, the Bishop of London, and his amiable lady, who afterwards became her warm friends. Her next move was to Chester, of which antique old town, and of her tour to Wales, she gives the following lively account to her sister:—

Dearest Elizabeth,—I performed my journey to Chester safely, and greatly admired the glorious country between Ludlow and Shrewsbury. I met the kindest welcome from our little friend Mrs Kilner, whom you used to know as Mary Scott, the eldest daughter of our old friends at Shadingfield Hall. Her excellent husband is the chaplain of Chester Castle, and has a most beneficial influence over the prisoners, and you would admire him very much. I have visited the prison, and attended service twice in the chapel and once in the fine old cathedral. The choir there is the finest I ever heard; they sang like angels. The town is walled round, and has beautiful walks.”

Capel Curig, Wednesday Morning.

“ ‘In the Welsh vales, ‘midst mountains high.’

“Here am I, after two days spent in travelling, Mr and Mrs Kilner having made up their minds to accompany me. So we started on Monday morning for Conway, a glorious place, where we lunched with Archdeacon Jones, saw a Welsh fair, and got on to Bangor the same evening, where we had nice quarters. Saw the old castle and the Menai Bridge. Started next day WALES. for Carnarvon. Nothing could be more delightful than the weather or more glorious than the country, richer than Scotland, resembling the Westmoreland lakes, only more boldly magnificent. Travelling is cheap, and as we performed a good deal of our journey in cars, that made it still cheaper; only the turnpikes here are a tax upon travellers. On Tuesday the mist threatened to spoil our fine prospect, but it cleared off like the rising of a curtain, and the sun shone very hotly on us while we walked on the ramparts of Carnarvon Castle, and scaled the towers of this magnificent pile. The room where Queen Eleanor brought forth her unfortunate son is in good preservation. But of course it was not in such a mere closet, as queens were delivered in public, and this is in the backstairs nest of apartments, behind the royal bedchamber, into which the adjoining gallery has opened with a grand arched portal—though the chambers are all gone, for the beautiful tower has lost its spacious central hall and suite of apartments forming at that time the Queen’s lodgings. It is called the Eagle Tower, and faces the Queen’s Gate, by which Eleanor made her public entrance. It is impossible to conceive a grander or more noble pile than Carnarvon Castle.

“From Carnarvon we proceeded by car to Llanberis, among lakes, rivers, and mountains, for ten miles. I saw and had a fine view of Dine-Brun Castle, which Lady de Spencer defended against the troops of Mortimer and Queen Isabella. We dined luxuriously on trout and chickens at the pretty inn by Snowdon Lake. Went to see a waterfall, attended by three pretty Welsh children, who sang hymns to us in their native tongue by the green hillside.

“We then started at five for the Pass of Llanberis, a grand drive through the Snowdon range of mountains, and we were amused for the first miles by some boys WALES. running after us and holding up pieces of crystal, and crying ‘A penny, twopence, sixpence!’ I made some small investments with these little chapmen. Then I got the carman, a genuine Taffy, to sing Welsh songs by the way. He sang ‘Her Peggy Ban’[1] and ‘Hibud,’ and I liked the melody very well. It was dark before we got to the inn at Capel Curig, where I had a restless night, and a bad breakfast of heavy bread, stale eggs, tough mutton, and the salt remnants of a gigantic ham. The place is beautifully situated, but the call-bell was in the passage close to my bed’s-head. However, our stay there was the only thorn in three days’ intense enjoyment.

“We had an enchanting drive through the mountain scenery of Denbighshire to Llanwrest, where we dined at a table d’hôte, and then went to see the Gwydyr chapel with the stone coffin of Llewelyn the Great, and other most interesting relics of antiquity—brasses engraved like beautiful copperplates, fit artistically for printing off portraits, with the most delicate work, and bright as silver. Then we went to see Gwydyr Castle, a beautiful old mansion of Lord Willoughby’s, with all the walls and furniture like those of Sizergh and Levens, only more perfect than either; and such delicious gardens! Then we went back to Sinway by the steamer, a glorious two hours’ passage down that fair river, with richly wooded mountains in perpetually varying groups, till we found ourselves at sunset under the hanging towers of the grand old castle, and landed at the suspension-bridge. Had a nice tea at the Temperance Hotel, and at eight took the train for Chester, and had the glorious moon, and the comet with its beautiful tail, rising over the indented rocks, to delight us on our homeward route. BOTHWELL.

“We reached home at ten, and I got a delightful night’s rest in my quiet chamber at Chester. I am charmed with Chester and its antiquities, and the Kilners are such kind hospitable people. Mary showed me a pincushion with a butterfly painted for her by you, which she values very much. Oh, what a warm heart she has—so loving! There is one nice black-eyed boy—her only one—of seven years old.

“You ought, dear Eliza, to see Bushworth’s collections for Elizabeth of Bohemia. I opened it at Sir Frederic Ouseley’s College, and saw some valuable bits about her, and a noble speech of King James on the subject. One person says—‘Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but our king’s daughter has not where to lay her head.’

“I have only seen three goats in Taffyland, one like your Jet. Welsh cows are pretty creatures, but small. Adieu, dearest. I have now given you a full account of my Welsh tour.—Affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”

Agnes Strickland was in Scotland this autumn, visiting new and old friends, but still gathering fresh matter for future editions of her works. In point of style, though the ‘Queens of Scotland’ was not so popular as the ‘Queens of England,’ the work was more elegantly written. Such, indeed, was the opinion of Agnes Strickland respecting her “Mary Stuart”; and though authors are not considered the best judges of their own works, her decision seems to be a true one.

From her friend Mrs Buchanan, Agnes procured from Denmark some information respecting Bothwell from Professor Worsont, which was useful to her; for this intelligent lady was anxious to elucidate for her friend all particulars relating to his imprisonment.

At Aberdeen, Agnes was delighted with the Archæological EXHIBITION AT ABERDEEN. Exhibition, and astonished at the electrical experiments given by Dr Robinson, a very celebrated man, in the course of his lecture. She was domiciled in the house of General Turner, whose interesting blind daughter had been her friend before poor Helen lost her sight. From Aberdeen Agnes went to Drum Castle, where she was most hospitably received by Mr and Mrs Irvine.

After this visit she returned to Edinburgh, and resided as usual with her excellent and philanthropic friend Helen Walker. Upon her return to Reydon she was induced by a Mr Burton, a publisher at Ipswich, to publish a work entitled ‘Old Friends and New Acquaintances,’ comprising some sketches from her pen from annuals to which she had formerly contributed, and new tales of rural life, which her habit of cottage-visiting enabled her to depict with truth and accuracy.

This employment was a complete relaxation to Agnes, who was no longer compelled to consult and decide between conflicting authorities, but could follow the impulse of her own luxuriant fancy. Her provincial publisher wished her to write a historical and biographical work expressly for him. She took rather a wide scope of time, to accord with the title, ‘Bachelor Kings of England,’ dating from William Rufus to Edward VI.—Elizabeth contributing the tragic history of Edward V., and suggesting the subjects for the plates, which were beautifully designed and engraved, the book being well printed and got up. Owing, probably, to the work having a provincial publisher, the ‘Bachelor Kings’ was not so popular as it deserved to be, for it could fairly compete with those which had gained much favour with the reading public. She did not, however, furnish this volume till the following year, for she needed relaxation, and confined herself to the lighter WORK AT REYDON. labour of the Tales, in the writing of which she found amusement.

It was impossible, indeed, for Agnes Strickland to be idle; for it might have been said of her what Schiller says of Wallenstein, “He kills thee who condemns thee to inaction.”

These were pleasant days for Reydon. Her aged mother and sister Jane were delighted with having more of her society. She read the contents of the volumes as they progressed, which they found very amusing. Her incessant occupation left her no time for needlework; the pen had at last engrossed the use of her fingers. The drive or the walk, when not engaged at her desk, was necessary for her health. Country society, too, had its claims; nor were those of home neglected. To her mother and sister her animated descriptions of the gay scenes she had moved in, or the places she had visited, were always delightful. She was so cheerful, so willing to be happy at home, that when the time came for leaving her family, her absence created a great void, till her lively letters seemed to bring her once more among them.

She was again in London in April, but she intended to return to Reydon for a few days before taking her northern tour. She was always searching for fresh matter to add to the new editions of the ‘Queens of Scotland’ in that country.

Agnes Strickland possessed no friend more able or willing to procure her information that might aid her in her ‘Life of Mary Stuart’ than the Hon. Mrs Buchanan. During Mr Buchanan’s diplomatic relations with the Court of Denmark, his lady had endeavoured to procure some particulars of Earl Bothwell’s exile in Denmark. She ascertained that he never wore chains nor was confined in a dungeon, but was treated, though a prisoner, like a man of distinction. After Mr Buchanan BOTHWELL. had been transferred to Spain, he received the following account of the exhumation of the supposed corpse of this celebrated person.

Extract from a letter written to Mr Buchanan by the Rev. E. Ellis, English clergyman at Copenhagen:—

“On the 31st of May last, Professors Worsont and Ibsen (the latter medical), with Baron Zytphen-Adela and myself, drove to Faourville church, where six men had been working all that night and day in opening the vaults. We were not long in coming to the conclusion that there was but one coffin in both vaults which could possibly clear up the mystery. After examining its contents, the coffin was removed to a small private vault easy of access, in the chancel, for further examination.

“The notes I made, thinking Professor Worsont would instantly take the matter in hand, were not so full as they otherwise would have been.

“The coffin was of common deal, without ornament or inscription of any kind, but in excellent preservation, and such as would probably be used for a prisoner’s corpse. The shroud, however, was of a rich texture. The skeleton was what would be about five feet English measure; but the medical professor said the man when alive might have been five feet three or four inches taller. Much light hair mixed with grey attached to the skull. The teeth and hair agree with the age of Bothwell. The forehead low and receding.

“The conclusion come to by the whole party, including the medical professor, was, ‘nothing absolutely certain of its being Bothwell’s remains, but nothing as yet against it.’

“Countess Dannskiold bids me say that she had some of the supposed Bothwell’s hair, and a piece of the wood of the coffin, of which latter she had had a cross formed, and was only waiting a safe opportunity to forward them to Mrs Buchanan.”

Of course the identity of the remains of the man whose union to Mary Stuart involved her name in a cloud of suspicion in her own day, whose obscurity, in the eyes of many, overshadows it to this distant era, LETTER TO MRS STRICKLAND. could not be established to any certainty, unless they tallied in some degree with his personal description. One thing only it proved, that Mrs Buchanan made every exertion to aid her friend in developing the particulars relating to Bothwell’s life and death in Denmark.

To her mother, on her eighty-ninth birthday, Agnes Strickland writes the following interesting letter. Mrs Strickland, though so advanced in life, still retained her faculties, and was bright and cheerful:—

“Many happy returns, dearest mother, of this day, and may all the joy the world fails to give in youth be yours in the calm sunset which it has pleased God to grant you—be followed by better things in the bright region of perpetual sunshine, where the pains of age, its infirmities and privations, shall be felt no more, but the cloudless happiness of perpetual youth, and reunion with the loved and lost on earth.

“I was at church yesterday during the dreadful tempest, which began as the clergyman was commencing the holy communion service. I never heard such awful bursts of thunder, and could think of nothing but the last trumpet that will wake the dead. The hail perfectly cannonaded the church, and the floods of rain came down like the Falls of Clyde in miniature. The gas chandeliers were in front of me, just over my head; but fortunately the lightning did not flash in that direction. The danger was imminent, but I resigned myself to the thought, ‘There is but one step between death and me,’ and mentally whispered—

“ ‘In Thy destroying angel’s hour,

    Oh, gather me to Thee.’

“I believe it is well for us to feel ourselves sometimes upon the brink of eternity, and to think, How shall we stand before the face of an Almighty Judge who has seen our most secret actions and forgetfulness of Him, and all the work He has appointed to every creature born into this world of sin?”


Agnes Strickland at this time was robbed of her beautiful and expensive repeating-watch, of which she gives the account in the conclusion of this letter:—

“As I was on my way to call on Lady Blantyre, I was accosted in Hill Street by two artful miscreants—one apparently a sickly overgrown schoolboy, the other a young woman a little older—who asked me the way to Sloane Square. I knew this was the watch-snatcher’s dodge; but could not suspect young people, neatly and respectably dressed, sickly, and apparently artless. They said they were strangers in London, and could not find the place they wanted to go to. I told them it was far off, and as they seemed tired, it would be best to take a cab. They replied that if they could get into Hyde Park they should be able to find out the place, and asked me to direct them. I did so; but they pretended to be too bewildered to understand, and at last said, ‘Then you advise us to take a cab?’ I replied that it would be their wisest and safest plan, and they went away. Upon returning to my lodgings I found my watch was gone. Yet it was under my cloak, and well guarded—neither the chain nor swivels that secured it being broken. I sent the account of my loss, and a description of the watch and its depredators, to the police office; but they failed to recover it or discover the thieves.

“I then sent the account of the robbery to Mr Yardley, the police magistrate,[2] who has put the business in the hands of the detectives, and gives me hopes of its speedy recovery.


“I have borne the loss with tranquillity, though a serious and very inconvenient one; but I would rather lose my valuable watch a thousand times over than be hardened like these hypocritical young people. Yet desperate reprobates as they now are, they could not always have been so, but have become vile by slow imperceptible steps, yielding at first to slight temptations, till they plunged deeper and deeper in sin, leading them most likely to an early death and a miserable eternity.”

Agnes returned to Reydon for a few weeks this summer, then she proceeded on her way to join the British Association. At Carlisle she took her tickets for the course of lectures, where she met some of her old friends, and, among others, Philip Howard, Esq. of Corby Castle, where the third lecture was to be held. Mrs Howard paid her the most gratifying attentions; and she was delighted to meet Lady Petre, Lord and Lady Muncaster, Mr Albert Way, and many interesting people. Agnes slept in the state chamber, though many persons of rank were in the house. Here she met Mr and Mrs Howard of Greystoke Castle, with whom she stayed some pleasant days; and went to Ulleswater, which she enjoyed very much. Her next excursion was to Lyulph’s Tower, her new host’s castle, where the party lunched; then Lord Muncaster and Mr West rowed her for an hour on the lake, which gave her much pleasure, after scrambling among the rocks to see a fine waterfall. Greystoke Castle was a fine old place, full of tapestry and portraits; the lady very pretty and pleasing, with a lovely family of children. This was a very charming family, Mr Howard being a very intelligent and manly person.

During her stay with the Howards of Greystoke Castle she called at Brougham Castle with Mrs Howard, on Mrs Brougham, when Lord Brougham was introduced LORD BROUGHAM. to the author of the ‘Life of Mary Stuart.’ He brought a miniature of that unfortunate princess to show Agnes, who was struck with its beauty. He seemed pleased with her admiration of it as a fine work of art, but remarked emphatically, “Yes, it is beautiful; but she was an adulteress and murderess.” Agnes did not agree with him, as a matter of course; but the conversation closed on his part with a very courteous and pressing invitation to stay at Brougham Castle, which Agnes accepted, having had a request to the same effect from Mrs Brougham. Till she came to Brougham Castle she was not aware that Lady Brougham was residing there. Mrs Brougham did the honours, but both ladies were very kind and attentive to her.

His own home was not the place to see the great jurisconsult to advantage. He was labouring for the good of countless generations to come, at his very advanced age, and was austere and even morose in the domestic circle. All his affections seemed concentrated in his brother’s youngest son, a sweet little boy named Reginald, to whom he wrote when absent every day, and of whose liking for Agnes he was apparently jealous—his passionate love for this child presenting the only pleasing feature in his domestic character. To Lady Brougham he never spoke, and the situation of this poor lady in her own house appeared to Agnes very pitiable; for though she was not capable of guiding it, a kind word from her distinguished husband would have been dearly appreciated by her. “Ah,” she said, with a deep sigh, “he was not always cross, but was very fascinating.” Agnes was a favourite with both ladies, Mrs Brougham and her amiable daughters endeavouring to make her comfortable. Lord Brougham seemed worn out and irritable when he appeared at dinner. His intense studies and hard work probably caused his morose manners. The work was, however, LINES ON SIR JOHN BARROW. of such immense national utility, that it will be remembered with gratitude when the flaws of temper it occasioned will be for ever forgotten. The idolatry often excited by great men would vanish from their adoring admirers could they behold them in the bosoms of their own families. Lord Brougham could not stand this simple test, though his legal labours will entitle him to the veneration of posterity. Although he was the benefactor of his own family, no female member of it seemed to love him but his neglected wife. His nieces were evidently afraid him. Little Reginald was the only creature who, with the exception of his brother, seemed to be attached to him.

From Brougham Castle Agnes Strickland went to pass a few days at Ulverstone with Mr and Mrs Gwillym. During her stay at Ulverstone, Agnes Strickland was asked to write some lines on the votive column raised in honour of the late Sir John Barrow, Bart., naval secretary, who was a native of the place. The fastidious feelings of his son respecting the origin of his father gave the author some vexation; and the editor thinks they were never printed, and are given here as a proof of her appreciation of Sir John Barrow’s fine talents and character:—

Memorial on Hoad for the late Sir John Barrow, Bart.

Rise, votive column, to attest the worth

Of Nature’s nobleman of humble birth,

Who naught inherited, but bravely won

Wealth, fame, and honours, as the people’s son.

A Town Bank scholar he, with thoughtful mien,

Oft with his book on Hoad’s green height was seen;

Or on the lonely sands of Morecambe Bay,

Working his problem at the hour of play.

Still in his class the foremost he surpassed,

Not only mates, but masters at the last:


And all he learned but made him wish for more

Extended fields of knowledge to explore.

Full oft his mother marked her youthful sage

Poring unwearied o’er the midnight page,

By that celestial lamp whose beams divine

Alike on cots and palaces may shine.


Heaven for his trust and virtue for his guide,

Hopeful, but penniless, he left her side,

Launched his small bark, a vent’rous flag unfurled,

And steered into the ocean of the world.

God gave him talents, and the spirit too,

To show his compeers what a man may do

Who in this land of freedom fairly tries

The power of his own generous energies.

He kept his steadfast course, and bravely gained

More than the loftiest mark at which he aimed;

And ’midst his well-earned honours ne’er forgot

His humble Alma-mater, nor the cot

At Dragley Beck,[3] whose lowly roof beneath

He drew in poverty his earliest breath.

Agnes made a short stay with her sister Mrs Gwillym and her husband, as she intended to be at Aberdeen to be present at the meetings of the British Association. She had a great wish to hear Prince Albert’s speech.

“On alighting from the train at Aberdeen,” she writes to Mrs Gwillym, “I encountered Sir David and Lady Brewster, Sir Hugh Playfair, and Sir Patrick and the PRINCE ALBERT’S ASSOCIATION ADDRESS. Miss Threiplands. You may suppose what a greeting we had!

“Prince Albert is to come in on Wednesday, and the British Association are invited to lunch at Balmoral; but I do not hear that any ladies are asked. Sir Patrick Murray Threipland is invited, but his sisters are not. To-night Prince Albert and all the grandees arrive, and the ladies, including myself, go to the Music Hall to hear his address. All the Scotch antiquaries are entreating me to write the lives of the early Queens of Scotland. I have been to see the portraits in the Music Hall, preparing for exhibition, and was received with much distinction by Vice-President Elphinstone Dalrymple. The Darnley cuff is in a case lined with white satin made to fit it, and is exhibited by Sir Patrick Murray Threipland. I could not help laughing at the droll manner in which my maid begrudged it to him; but I am glad that I had it in my power to add to the collection of my kind friends anything they value.

“We have glorious weather, and the town is dressed with flags. The air, too, is brisk and pleasant, and enlivens every one.”

Agnes was not disappointed respecting Prince Albert’s address to the Association. She gives her impression of his address in another home letter to her sister Jane:—

“On Wednesday evening,” she writes, “he gave the address, or rather I should say read it, which he did most beautifully. His voice is very sweet and pleasant, and he has no foreign accent. I admire his head and expression very much. He spoke for nearly an hour, and was excessively cheered and applauded.

“Prince Albert has made his appearance yesterday at the morning section, and passed close to me. He went first to the Archæological Exhibition, but every one was LOCH LEVEN. kept out. Elphinstone Dalrymple related to him some of my remarks on Mary Stuart’s portraits, with which he said he coincided. Mr Dalrymple told me that if I had only sent in my card, he would have admitted me and presented me to his Royal Highness.

“To-night there is to be a very interesting lecture on the Geology of the Northern Highlands by Sir Roderick Murchison.”

From historical and scientific lectures Agnes Strickland returns to the domestic details of home, to the sickness of a friend, and also to the early death of a young villager whom she and her sister Jane had educated in their Sunday-school:—

“I am so sorry for young Mr Sheriffe, and feel so much for his aunt, who loves him so much; but I hope the case is not so serious as you apprehend. Poor Marianne Brown! she was always a great favourite of mine—a sweet, good child, I trust called in her early womanhood to the happy land.”

There was no doubt that this lovely pious young creature of seventeen years entered her immortal rest as soon as her eyes closed upon the things of time. Yet there is and must be a regretful feeling about the loss of the young—a fond natural feeling, which, for a time at least, quenches the heavenly reflection that they were taken from the evil to come. We think too much of what they lose, and too little of what they gain.

While staying at Pitfour with Mrs Skene, Agnes Strickland made a second expedition to Loch Leven with her amiable hostess and a select party. On a former visit to Mary Stuart’s prison, the boatman, who was an admirer of that unfortunate princess, would not take money for his fare, so she sent him the first volume of her ‘Life of Mary Stuart,’ with which he was much delighted. LOCH LEVEN.

“This morning,” writes Agnes, “we are all to start for Loch Leven, Mrs Skene having written to David Marshall to have the boat ready for her party, which included Miss Agnes Strickland. An open carriage conveyed us to the shore. David, who had grown almost into an elegant young man, was neatly attired in a black surtout, and could hardly refrain from tears when I spoke to him. He had written to thank me for the book, but was afraid to send the letter, which he had by him, he said, still. He was so enchanted with the book that he had made a historical tour himself to every place mentioned therein, and had read the passages to his companions, and that it was impossible to describe the sensation they produced. ‘But,’ continued he, ‘I like the last volume best. I built this new boat, madam, since I saw you last, and called her Mary Stuart, as you see.’[4] David had raised steps against the windows of the old keep, which was inaccessible to ladies before, as I had found on my former visit. He had taken care to clear away all obstructions.

“First he showed me the vaulted cellar, and the well which he had discovered while clearing away the rubbish, and had replaced the original stone-coping that had formerly surrounded it. Then he led me into the banqueting-room with as much reverence as if I had been Queen Mary herself, and he her lord chamberlain, where Mary Stuart once held her state, and also where, during her captivity, the Laird and Lady of Loch Leven were supping with their household when Willie Douglas stole the keys from beside the laird’s plate. The storey above contained Mary Stuart’s bedroom, privy chamber, and lodging-rooms for her ladies and officers of state. Over this suite of apartments LOCH LEVEN. were those appropriated by the family. The most interesting discovery made by this very intelligent young man was the site and foundation of the old tower, now fallen, in which Lindsay threatened to incarcerate Mary if she refused to sign the deeds of abdication. This tower, at the north-east, had been used as a guard-tower for defence; but the lower portion was a gloomy dungeon, only lighted by a small hole in the thickness of the wall, and still remains a dismal record of the feudal times. A niche, more like a stone coffin than anything else, is just long enough to admit a person in a standing position, like those described by Scott in ‘Marmion,’ and intended for a living tomb. It was doubtless her terror of such a fate that conquered the stout heart of poor helpless Mary.

“I leave Pitfour next Monday, but will write again to tell my next whereabouts, upon which I have not yet decided.

“Mr Milne, the Episcopal clergyman, has promised me some important documents respecting the early Queens of Scotland, more particularly regarding St Margaret and Lady Macbeth, the last being the rightful queen-regnant of Scotland.[5] I really think one volume of the early Queens would be a desirable addition to the work.

“I lunched yesterday at the new palace of Falkland, and met our nice captain, Mrs Connor, and Willie, who all inquired for you.—Affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”



Before leaving Scotland, Agnes Strickland visited the seat of Lord and Lady Leven, by whom she was treated with great distinction, being located in the bedchamber the Prince of Wales was to have occupied. It was made and furnished for the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth in 1677; the walls are panelled, and covered with tapestry. The apartment is 14 feet high, crowned with coronets and splendid ornaments; the bed crimson Genoa velvet lined with white damask; the furniture and fitting-up in perfect condition. The staircase is very grand, lined with family portraits.

Agnes Strickland at Edinburgh heard the grand salute with which her good and loyal town greeted their Queen in the evening. Her Majesty, however, made no stay, for she was on her way to open the water-works at Loch Katrine, for the supply of the pure element to the people of Glasgow.

“Her Peggy Ban,” composed in honour of Margaret of Anjou, who was popular in Wales.

The family arms being on a miniature shield on the back of the watch, would prevent its sale, so of course it would be melted down, for the owner, in spite of her prompt measures, never recovered it again.

Sir John Barrow’s mother inherited the little farm of Dragley Beck, Ulverstone, Lancashire, consisting of a few acres and a farm cottage, barely sufficient to supply the wants of her numerous children. The family, though fallen into decay, had formerly been affluent, and was ancient and respectable. Sir John was educated at the Town Bank school on the foundation, and early displayed a genius for mathematics when only in his ninth year. He did not forget the seminary where he received the rudiments of his education, of which in his after-career he became a bountiful benefactor. He was the author of several pleasing works. His autobiography is a delightful book, and is pervaded by a spirit of cheerful piety. His talents and industry advanced him to the post of Secretary of the Admiralty, with the rank of a baronet.

To the antiquary, the labours of David Marshall will be both useful and interesting.

It certainly would have given a shade of interest to the character of Lady Macbeth if Shakespeare had followed the history of Scotland more closely. His gracious Duncan had murdered her father and usurped his throne. She sees in the sleeping monarch a likeness to his victim, and says—

“I had done it, had he not resembled

My father when he slept.”



The first volume of ‘Old Friends and New Acquaintances’ came out this year; and Agnes Strickland, finding it successful, prepared a second volume on the same plan. Mr Burton was, however, so urgent with her to allow him to publish a historic work, that she, in concert with her former partner, Elizabeth Strickland, commenced a new one, of which the unmarried kings of England were to form the subject, and to be entitled ‘Bachelor Kings of England.’

Elizabeth did not like the title; but as her share was only to comprise the life of Edward V., and the choice of the plates and decorations, Agnes had her own way, and commenced her part with great alacrity. Her new volume interested her very much, and she applied herself closely to the work before her. She was cheered by the interesting letters she received from her friends, which constantly proved how much she was prized and valued by them. Her correspondence with them made the charm of her life; and notwithstanding her intense VISIT TO STANFORD HALL. application, she found time for interchange of thoughts and feelings with those so deservedly dear to her.

She was in London with her friend Mr Mackinnon, at Hyde Park Place, Lady Cullen and other ladies being his guests at the same time. Here she received visits from her kind friends Lady Muncaster, Lady Lucy Grant, and Lady Mary Nisbet Hamilton.

The accouchement of Lady Muncaster of a daughter, after seven years of childless wedlock, was a very interesting event for her lord, who gave an amusing account to Agnes and her friends of his first attempt at nursing his baby. He got on very well till it began to cry, when, fearing he had hurt it, he gave it back to the nurse in a great fright, and was glad to get rid of his new office. After Agnes quitted Hyde Park Place, she was with her kind friends the Greaves, with whom she was able to see her friends or visit them at her pleasure—a privilege for which she was grateful.

After the London season was over, Agnes paid her long-promised visit to Baroness Braye at Stanford Hall, Bugby. She found the venerable lady still bright in intellect, and charming in spite of her advanced age. Lady Braye had her daughters and grand-children with her; Lady Beauchamp, as delightful as ever; and Mrs Edgell’s family, very promising, Miss Edgell most amiable, and her twin-brother extremely clever—but of the three boys Agnes liked the youngest[1] the best, for he was a very bright and sweet-tempered child, and he became a great favourite with her.

From Stanford Hall Agnes went to Althorp, by invitation from the noble owner of the princely mansion. Nothing could be more gratifying to her feelings than her cordial reception there. Her visit to Althorp was as useful as delightful to her, for there was a fine ALTHORP. library and noble picture-gallery, in which she saw many beautiful historical portraits. She was so much struck with the majestic beauty of the ancestress of her amiable host, Lord Spencer, that she was half disposed to forgive her political intrigues, to which the dynasty of the Stuarts mainly owed their expulsion from the throne of Great Britain—a benefit to the country, though no credit to the Duchess of Marlborough.

“I am so much at home with the kind Lord and Lady Spencer,” she writes to her sister Jane, “they are such charming young people. Lady Sarah Spencer is also a very sweet young creature, like Mary Gooding in person. She makes so much of me that I feel as if I should like to kiss and embrace her. Indeed two more amiable young ladies than Lady Spencer and her sister-in-law I never met with. The Earl is an admirable person. I went over the prison and the lunatic asylum with Lord Spencer at Northampton. You would have been amused to see how the poor madmen in the convalescent ward crowded round him, for they are all so very fond of him. I saw poor Clare, the celebrated Northamptonshire peasant, among them. He is sullen and sad, but not violent. He told me he was much happier when he worked hard with his hands, for then he was strong and healthy. It was literature that had turned his brain, and he put his hand on his head. His remark and action gave me the heartache.

“In the penitentiary I saw twenty young women confined in separate cells, who had been sentenced to solitary confinement, chiefly for dishonesty; one, a pretty gipsy, for an assault on her brother-in-law. She was very fierce, I was told, when she first came in, but has become gentle and subdued. I am not VOLUNTEER FÊTE AT ALTHORP. idle at Althorp; I examine many books, in which I am aided by sweet Lady Sarah, who looks them out for me.

“We have the grand rifle-meeting to-day, and the house is full of company to witness it.

“Yesterday at dinner we had the Marquis of Exeter, lord lieutenant of the county, wearing his star and ribbon of the Garter, his son Lord Adalbert Cecil, Lady Mary Cecil, the Earl of Euston, Lord Pomfret, General and Miss Seymour, and some others.

“We have such floods of rain here that all the country seems afloat, and Lord Spencer’s trenches have become unwelcome canals. His tents for the volunteer riflemen were blown down in the hurricane the other night; but they are all set up again, and dressed with flags for five hundred men to feast in. We are very anxious about the weather; but the sun has at last pierced his veil of mist, and begins to shine. ‘ ’Tis worth his while,’ for the whole county will be here to see the rifles shoot for the prizes. A grand silver vase, of the value of £25, is to be shot for, and many other pretty things, as well as sums of money. After the review, there is to be an archery-meeting for the ladies. The park has been thronged since daylight; and if the rain does not spoil the sport, it will be a very pretty sight indeed.—Half-past twelve. I have been out to see the firing at the butts, but have been driven in by the showers. The gleam of sunshine was deceitful splendour, and the park a perfect swamp. I am very sorry for the rain, but house is better than land to-day.

“I am very happy here; the youthful lord and lady are so kind that I feel quite at home with them, and Lady Sarah Spencer is quite a darling. I had a very pleasant visit to dear Lady Braye before I came here. She is as bright in intellect as ever, though turned of ninety-three. I hope to return to Reydon in a few days.—With love to dear mamma, ever, dear Jane, yours,



Agnes, however, had more visits to pay, and many places to see, before her sister and mother could welcome her to her own quiet home in Suffolk.


Poor Clare, whom she had visited in his cheerless home, wrote for her the following pretty verses, so redolent of liberty, the country fields, and spring, though composed in a lunatic asylum:—

“The daisey is a happy flower,

   It blossoms in the spring,

 It blossoms in the sunny hour

   When bees are on the wing.

 It brings with it the butterflye,

   Likewise the bumble-bee,

 The blue path in the suny sky,

   The crow’s nest on the tree.

 It brings also the buttercup,

   The dewdrops, in a shower

 Which the morning sun dries up

   Before the noontide hour;

 Hedge-sparrows in the hawthorn-hedge

   Building their mossy nest,

 Till evening shaddows usher in,

   And leaves them all at rest.

John Clare.

July 25, 1860.

Agnes Strickland gives the following account of these verses and their unfortunate author:—

“The above was written by poor John Clare in the lunatic asylum at Northampton, where I saw him on the 28th of August, when I went over that establishment with Lord Spencer and General Spencer. I told Clare I had been much pleased with his lines on the daisy.

“ ‘Ugh! it is a tidy little thing,’ replied he, without raising his eyes or appearing in the slightest degree gratified by my praise.

“ ‘I am glad you can amuse yourself by writing.’

“ ‘I can’t do it,’ replied he, gloomily; ‘they pick my brains out.’

“I inquired his meaning.

“ ‘Why,’ said he, ‘they have cut off my head and picked out all the letters in the alphabet—all the vowels and consonants—and brought them out through my ears; and then they want me to write poetry! I can’t do it.’

“ ‘Tell me which you liked best, literature or your former avocation?’

“ ‘I liked hard work best,’ he replied, with sudden vehemence; ‘I was happy then. Literature has destroyed my head and brought me here.’

“Alas for the tragedy of authorship to men of low degree! How many lunatics, drunkards, and suicides may date their calamities from the evil hour when literary ambition was roused and excited by a flattering and fickle world!”[2]

Some of Clare’s near relatives had been insane, and his mother, a woman of no education and common mind, always considered her gifted son mad or foolish, even in childhood. His genius to her was folly, yet he probably at that early period of life might betray the hereditary taint fast linked to his poetic temperament.


Agnes’s feelings on leaving Althorp were expressed in the following lines:—

Farewell, delightful Althorp,

  Thy glades of emerald green;

Farewell to noble Spencer,

  And Spencer’s fairy queen.


Farewell, sweet Lady Sarah,

  Thou claim’st a rhyme from me;

I would that time permitted

  To weave one worthy thee.


To sing fair Sacharissa,

  Unmoved by Waller’s lays;

Preferring worth and valour

  To poet’s flattering praise.


And weep the mournful story

  Of Newbury’s fatal plain,

Where died her wedded lover

  For royal Charles in vain;


Of pictured forms assembled

  In that fair gallery,

Where mutely meet the rivals

  And friends of days gone by.

Agnes Strickland had been so happy while a guest with her noble host and hostess and their amiable sister, that she could not leave Althorp without regret.

She was much interested in the restoration of Sudeley Castle and chapel by her friend Mrs Dent, whom she visited this summer. From Sudeley she removed to Stoke Edith, the seat of Lady Emily Foley; and from thence to Holly Lodge, where she was quite domesticated with General and Lady Emily Seymour, and their charming young family. Agnes was, we know, very fond of children, and they were always fond of her. She held a key to all young hearts, and she made herself quite at home with them here. General Seymour took her over Windsor Castle and the royal gardens. She was delighted with the Queen’s dairy, of which, in a letter to her mother, she gives an animated description. “A most beautiful place, with pale-blue porcelain pillars decorated with primroses, daisies, cowslips, and other pastoral flowers; marble ‘BACHELOR KINGS OF ENGLAND.’ shelves, fountains, and beautiful entablatures of white porcelain. I never saw such a beautiful grotto.” Agnes passed a few days with Mrs Skinner at Hampton Court before returning home to resume her labours on the ‘Bachelor Kings of England.’

The new biographical and historical work was published in the spring of 1861. Agnes had found pleasure in describing the young bachelor king “who for England’s weal was early wise,” under whose auspices the Book of Common Prayer replaced the services of the Mass Book, and completed the Reformation—or restoration, as it might more properly be called, of the purer worship of the primitive ages of Christianity. The genuine piety of the youthful monarch, and his benevolent care for the distressed and outcast poor, were qualities on which his female biographer loved to dwell, “for though dead, his works” still speak for him. Though from a country press, the book was very beautifully got up.

Agnes Strickland was in London when the work came out, and was enjoying herself at the Bishop of London’s garden-party in spite of the illiberal attack upon her in the ‘Spectator.’ “I was very well and very happy,” she writes to Mrs Gwillym, “notwithstanding the brutal and malignant review in the ‘Spectator’ on my book, which Burton had sent to disquiet me; and it did disquiet me at first, because it said ‘I had made so many fruitless attempts to get married,’ with other unprovoked impertinences. The Bishop and every one else told me not to care for vulgar folly like that, and that the ‘Spectator,’ once the best critical organ going, was now very low in public estimation, and that no one would attend to what was said against me there.” And remarked Lord Wensleydale: “The ‘Times’ and other papers have brought your name very honourably forward in connection with Lord ATTACK BY THE ‘SPECTATOR.’ Campbell’s piracy on your ‘Lives of the Queens,’ so you need not lay to heart this unmanly attack.”

Any anonymous personal attack upon an author can only emanate from a malignant and mean mind; but when a woman is made the subject of it, the matter becomes cowardly as well as malignant. In this case the feminine delicacy of Agnes Strickland was wounded on a point upon which all women are and must be sensitive. The charge was wholly false; but if it had been true, what could it have to do with the work under review?

Agnes Strickland was fully aware that the pursuit of literature was unfavourable to a purely domestic life, and that if she had married, that pursuit must of necessity be given up. The infelicity of celebrated literary women in the married state forms a heavy list. That some exceptions may be found is certain; but, indeed, it cannot add to the comfort of a husband if his wife’s time is so occupied. A female author is wiser to remain unmarried. Literature is an excellent occupation for single women, and so Agnes Strickland thought,—the name of old maid had no terrors for her. She enjoyed life, and her society was more prized as a woman than as an author.

Her works, too, had gained her a European reputation, and with rare exceptions had been extolled in reviews that stood high in public opinion, so that she really need not have cared for that in the ‘Spectator’; and she would not, if it had not offended so deeply her feminine delicacy.

June 20, 1861.

My dear Jane,—You will be glad to hear that I got through the black Drawing-room yesterday quite well. I wore a black velvet train, black silk under-dress, and a black velvet tiara, lappets, and plume. I fear that head-dress must have given me THE “BLACK DRAWING-ROOM.” the look of Bellona. However, as everybody wore the same style of head-gear, it did not much signify; but I found it very hot and heavy.

“The young ladies who were presented were all costumed in lily-white, with garlands and bouquets of flowers of the same spotless hue. It was really a fine sight to see these grand black dresses and sable plumes, blazing with diamonds, intermingled with the white dresses of the young ladies.

“The Queen looked out of health. It must have been a great trial to her to be in a manner compelled to appear in public after her great sorrow.[3] There was an immense crowd; and but for the assistance of Lord Talbot de Malahide, who got the carriage up for me, I should never have got through the crush.”

Agnes Strickland sent her work, ‘The Bachelor Kings of England,’ to the Prince of Wales, then a young royal bachelor, for which he returned, through General Bruce, his gracious acknowledgments in the following letter:—

The Curragh Camp,

August 1861.

My dear Miss Strickland,—I am desired to thank you very much for your letter and gift, which the Prince of Wales accepts with real pleasure. His Royal Highness has read with great interest and profit your former works, and looks forward with much satisfaction to the perusal of your ‘Bachelor Kings,’ although I am sure that you would not wish him to be included in a future series of royal biographies under that title.

“Mrs Bruce, who is here, desires me to offer you her best remembrances, to which permit me to subjoin my own; and believe me very truly yours,

R. Bruce.”


A curious matter of business engaged Agnes Strickland’s attention at this time. Many years before, when her talents were almost unknown to the public, she had written a pretty juvenile volume of poems published by Effingham Wilson; but owing to his failure, the book was never paid for—a serious loss to her at that time. Twenty-four years had elapsed since its publication, when the publisher wrote to inform her of the piracy of the work, which he thought was his own property.

“I am afraid,” she writes to Mrs Gwillym, “that I cannot accept your invitation yet, as I shall have to return to town respecting a curious matter of business; for Webb & Millington, publishers at Leeds, who have also a house in Fleet Street, have pirated my ‘Floral Sketches,’ which is now very handsomely got up, and full of pictures.

“Effingham Wilson, who never paid me a farthing, claims the work as his copyright, forsooth! But Mr Stephens told me I must purchase a copy as evidence that they were selling my book piratically, and sent his clerk to do so; but the people in Fleet Street said they had none to sell, for all the copies they had in hand had been recalled. Now if dear Richard can get some one to buy two copies for me at Leeds, and would not mind taking the trouble, I should be able to make the house pay for the book. It must be done very cautiously, as the publishers have evidently taken the alarm. The purchaser must write on the title-page, ‘I purchased this book at such a shop at Leeds for such a sum,’ and sign his name to it and the date.”

The copies were obtained, and Webb & Millington PIRACY COMPROMISED. compromised the matter by paying the not unreasonable compensation for the copyright demanded by the author, to avoid the threatened Chancery suit.

Agnes was indebted on this and many other trying occasions to the friendship and valuable legal advice of Archibald Stephens, Esq., always given gratuitously.

Become Lord Braye by the deaths of his elder brothers—the second dying early, and the eldest falling in battle in India.

Copied from Agnes Strickland’s Autograph-book.

The death of the Duchess of Kent—soon, alas! to be followed by a deeper and still more lasting sorrow in the decease of her beloved and gifted consort, Prince Albert.



Agnes Strickland received an invitation from the Mayor of Dublin to meet the Prince of Wales at the ball to be given in his honour, September 11, 1861. Although she had occasionally thought of visiting the Emerald Isle, she had not expected to do so on such a festive occasion. She was visiting her friend Mrs Crompton at Manchester, and was engaged to meet the British Association; but neither her host nor amiable hostess would allow her to forego a visit to Dublin under such agreeable auspices. Her friends General and Mrs Bruce, she knew, would be there; and as she was furnished with letters of introduction, she had no doubt of finding hospitality in a country in which that virtue was proverbial.

Nothing could be more delightful than the voyage to Dublin. The day was bright, the water calm, and the view of the bay enchanting. It was not till the falling dew warned her to enter the cabin and she inquired for her maid, that Agnes was informed that neither maid nor luggage was on board.

Every sweet must have its sour; and poor Agnes had DUBLIN not even a change of dress. Her night-linen and gala apparel had been left in Brown’s charge, and the ball was to take place the following night. Here was a fix. Still the stewardess suggested that the maid and luggage would, upon her landing, be found, as there was another steamer. No such good luck, for neither maid nor luggage was forthcoming. On her disconsolate way to the Gresham Hotel, she fortunately met her friend Mr Stephens, who escorted her thither, calmed her anxiety, and promised to take the proper steps for the recovery of the missing articles. Agnes Strickland could have done without the maid; but her wardrobe, including the elegant ball apparel and her jewels—how could she appear without these accessories?

The mistress of the hotel kindly provided her with night-linen. The damsel, who had been telegraphed for, arrived by the night steamer, and at midnight all was right, and the wearied Agnes went to bed and slept soundly till morning. The damsel, while staring about, had let the steamer start without her, instead of attending to her mistress as she ought to have done.

In the following letter to her mother Agnes gives a lively account of the Dublin ball, and also of the kind attention paid her upon the morning of the gala day:—

Sept. 12, 1861.

My dear Mother,—Yesterday was a busy day of pleasurable excitement in Dublin, and was bright, beautiful, and altogether delightful. I dined with Mrs Grattan, the widow of the late M.P. for Dublin, at an early hour, who took me in her carriage to see some of the sights, and afterwards left me at the hotel, where I had an appointment with Lady Vaux, who made me promise to come to her on the 19th to stay at Rosmeade. But I have promised to pay my first visit to Lord and Lady Talbot de Malahide at Malahide BALL TO THE PRINCE OF WALES. Castle, where I am to be on the 14th of this month. Then to Rosmeade, and the week after to Lord and Lady Monck’s. So you see, dear mother, I am in some request, every one being very kind to me.

“I was presented last night at the ball to the Prince of Wales by General Bruce, though it seems this was not according to etiquette—only his Royal Highness wished for the introduction. He was very gracious, thanked me for having sent him my books, ‘which,’ he said, ‘had afforded him much pleasure,’ though, speaking of the ‘Bachelor Kings,’ he assured me ‘he did not mean to be one.’

“In person he is really a very pretty fellow, small in stature, but very well-shaped, and dignified in appearance, though timid in manner. His eyes, eyebrows, and hair are really beautiful; he has a handsome, well-cut aquiline nose, full lips, beautiful teeth, and an agreeable smile. He blushed and was a little agitated while speaking with me. He danced unweariedly and very elegantly, though the height and fulness of some of his partners nearly eclipsed him.

“Lord Carlisle came up to re-claim my acquaintance, and the Lord Mayor paid me a great deal of attention. The multitude, who had no respect for persons, pushed me very rudely, tore my beautiful Honiton-lace dress to pieces, and almost broke my arms in trying to thrust me back to get before me, as Lord Vaux was taking me in to the supper-room. The supper was excellent, but the people we got among behaved like gorillas. One man was holding a plate of dressed crab over his head, and others clawing and reaching to get some of it. Others held glasses of champagne and bottles in the same uncivilised manner. Two thousand invitations had been sent out.

“With much love to dear Jane and your dear self, ever affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”


It must be owned that feeding-time was not the best period for displaying the Hibernian character to advantage; but the assailants of Agnes Strickland were mostly, it seems, hungry boys—too hungry to respect the persons of Lord Vaux and his charge. Paddy’s character was afterwards seen under more favourable auspices by Agnes, if we may judge by her own remarks. Indeed she seems to have beheld Ireland under couleur de rose.

“I like Ireland,” she says, “and admire the people. It is a beautiful and glorious country.

“I spent a long morning at the Record Tower with good kind Sir Bernard Burke. I send you an interesting lecture on Rome, which has made a great impression here. The author was the ci-devant Mrs Yelverton’s counsel. It is beautifully done.

“I received a card of invitation to the Viceregal dinner, and was welcomed by the Viceroy, that good and charming man, Lord Carlisle, with great kindness and courtesy. “When dinner was announced he took Lady Emily Peel, and his aide-de-camp gave me to Baron Decies, who placed me on the other side of his Excellency, who had a great deal of conversation with me during the truly royal banquet.

“As Dr Banks had taken me that morning to see the Antiquarian Academy, the lunatic asylum and lunatic school, and the workhouse, I was at no loss when his lordship conversed on these topics. Indeed I considered the lunatic school a most interesting sight. When I admired the pyramids of beautiful flowers that adorned the table, he gave me his own bouquet from his button-hole, which I placed in my bosom. His sister, Lady Emma Lascelles, and her nice daughters, were very kind to me, and I was treated with great distinction by my Viceregal host and all his guests.” MALAHIDE AND ROSEMEADE.

Agnes Strickland quitted Dublin for a short visit to Malahide Castle, the baronial residence of Lord and Lady Talbot de Malahide, whose amiable and intellectual society was greatly appreciated by her. Their daughter-in-law, the Hon. Mrs Mostyn, was a dear young friend of hers, whom she had loved and petted when Miss Mary Monk, and the youthful matron had a baby—and of babies, we remember, Agnes was passionately fond. The country was lovely and the weather beautiful, nor could she leave her pleasant quarters without regret; but as she was engaged to visit Lord and Lady Vaux at Rosmeade, the parting was inevitable, and on September 25th she quitted Malahide for ever.

Agnes’s admiration for green Erin’s beautiful country did not extend to the cars, to which, after leaving the train, she was transferred, which she styles “the most miserable and inconvenient of all conveyances. However, we had good stout horses and good-natured drivers, and no rain, though there had been heavy showers in the morning.” After this bustling and rough journey, writes Agnes to her mother:—

“I had a warm welcome from dear Lord and Lady Vaux and their sweet family, and a nice cup of tea before Lady Vaux showed me into my luxurious chamber, with a bright peat-fire, which was truly acceptable. Kind Lord Vaux drove me and Mrs Mostyn to see the fine old abbey of Fer, and the deserted town with its massy gateways. He gave us a delightful round of eighteen or twenty miles in a glorious country of lakes and mountains. This is the kindest family in the world, and a remarkably handsome one. I go next to Mrs Howard’s, Shelton Abbey, Arklow, Wicklow.” MALAHIDE.


Malahide Castle, Sept. 22, 1861.

“I have only time, dearest mother, to write a hasty line to tell you that I leave this pleasant place on Wednesday, 25th, to stay a week at least with Lord and Lady Vaux, at Rosmeade, Delvin, County Westmeath. I shall leave Malahide with much regret. Lord and Lady Talbot de Malahide are so delightful, so clever, so good, and so kind to me. They have six children: Miss Talbot, the eldest, is a very sweet interesting girl of seventeen; the next, Fanny, very amiable and clever. There are four beautiful boys, the eldest fifteen, the youngest seven—a merry imp, with long curls, full of fun, but very gentlemanly, as they all are. It is very pretty to see them all fly into their father’s arms when he enters of a morning.

“There is much to interest in this fine old castle, with its rich carvings and beautiful pictures. The gardens, too, are lovely—such roses, though on the sea-coast. The cottages are all so clean and nice, and neither dirt nor drunkenness within. The Irish are far better behaved than I had anticipated; they are certainly a warm-hearted people.

“I do not go to Lady Monck’s after all, for I put off my visit, and she is obliged to go to England on the 3d of October. But I have so many invitations that I do not think of returning to England yet, for I never was made so much of in my life. I hope you keep well and take care of yourself, that we may have a happy meeting.—Ever affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”


My dear Jane,—I got your letter on my arrival, and am greatly obliged by all you have done for me. I left my kind friends Lord and Lady Vaux, and their sweet daughter-in-law, the Hon. Mrs Mostyn,[1] with ROSMEADE. regret. Her eldest boy, fifteen months old, is such a lovely intelligent darling, I doted on the sweet thing.”

“I was in the headquarters of Ribbonism at Rosmeade. The grand-master of the murderous league keeps a whisky-shop at Delvin. I guessed who he was among an awful rabble of his followers by his fiend-like expression. The league has nothing to do with religion, the people composing it being devoid of all priestly restraint—Lord Vaux, a Roman Catholic, being as likely to be shot as any other man. I felt a little nervous at Rosmeade; but Lord Vaux only laughed at me, and said, as I had neither tenants nor servants to offend them, they would not hurt me. It is revenge on masters and tenants that animates them. There is no distress, and it is a lovely smiling district.

“I started at eight yesterday morning, and had a magnificent journey, especially into Wicklow, among the mountains and by the sea-coast. I left the train by the sweet vale of Avoca, and had a warm welcome from Mrs Howard and her young daughters. She is sister-in-law to the Earl of Wicklow, in whose house she has a wing and suite of apartments. Her son is the heir-presumptive to the earldom.

“I am just returned with Mrs Howard from driving round the vales of Avoca and Wicklow. How glorious the scenery is! We went out in a car—her nice son, Cecil Howard, driving us. Some of the hills were so precipitous that we had to walk up and down them; but such views! I leave for Dublin on Wednesday, to go the route by the Seven Churches, among the Wicklow mountains; so direct to me at the Gresham Hotel. This is a beautiful country, and I like the people, who seem honester than those of the eastern counties of England.”



Shane’s Castle, Antrim, Oct. 22.

My dear Elizabeth,—I was glad to get your letter to-day, in my present happy though stately quarters. The old castle, which was burned down in 1818, stands, a giant ruin, on the verge of that inland sea, Lough Neagh, on a grand esplanade, surrounded with a battery of eighteen honeycombed guns, all hors de combat. This castle was formerly the palace of the kings of Ulster. Its present possessor, the Rev. Mr O’Neill, represents the Red Hand of Ireland, but is a most heavenly-minded clergyman, with a sweet wife and hopeful family. He will be Baron O’Neill when the Whigs are out of office. The kind O’Neills heard of my wish of seeing the Giant’s Causeway, and invited me to visit and rest in their castle. Unfortunately my state of health and the bad weather will not allow me to see that great wonder of Ireland—for my engagement for Oxford hampers my arrangements here. I return to Gresham Hotel, Dublin, on Wednesday next, and cross on Friday the 25th, weather permitting. It is only four hours at sea from Kingstown to Holyhead.

“I have not seen a good potato, even at the Viceroy’s table: the disease has got them. You are fortunate in your horticultural campaign.”


Chester, Oct. 26, 1861.

My dear Jane,—You and the dear mother will be glad to hear that I arrived here safely, after a smooth crossing last night, having nothing to regret during my pleasant visit to the Emerald Isle, excepting the impossibility of staying another fortnight to see the Lakes of Killarney and the Giant’s Causeway. But the dear kind O’Neills have invited me to visit them next August, that I may see all I have been obliged to leave unseen.

“I found Mr Kilner waiting to take me to his house; and to-day I have been over Chester Castle, which is RETURN FROM IRELAND. beautifully arranged.—With love to the dear Mus, affectionately,

Agnes Strickland.”


This brief announcement relieved the home anxiety of her mother and sister, and was quickly followed by a longer epistle to the dear ones at Reydon. She did not immediately return home. She was a few days with her sister Gwillym at Ulverstone, and took a pleasant tour with a party of friends to Ulleswater and Patterdale, driven by Mr Askew of Bardsea Priory, who had a fine house among the picturesque beauties of these romantic wilds. She ended the year very quietly at Reydon, in renovated health and spirits.

Mary Monk, the lovely daughter of the Bishop of Gloucester.



Agnes Strickland enjoyed the early spring at Reydon this year, and walked a great deal about the grounds alone, which was not usually her practice. In one of these solitary walks she met with an accident that might have had serious consequences, of which she gives the following account to her sister Sarah Gwillym:—

“I met yesterday, dear Thay, with an awkward accident, which might have been a tragical one. I walked through the plantation; but when I got to the gate opening into the free meadow, finding it locked, I attempted to climb over it, when my hoop caught the top bar, and I was thrown backwards to the ground, striking my head with great violence. Fortunately the grass was long, thick, and soft—no stumps nor stones being in the way—or I must have fractured my skull or broken my neck. After a few minutes I was able to sit up, put on my crushed hat, and walk home. How merciful was God to me! for if I had fractured a limb, I might have lain there all day, and perished for want of assistance, as no one knew in what direction I had walked—and this part of the grounds is so unfrequented.” THE FLETCHER GORDONS.

After this misadventure, Agnes Strickland was not suffered to walk alone without being accompanied by her sister or her own maid.

The second marriage of her distant cousin Mrs MacKan (née Strickland) to Major Fletcher Gordon, of the 1st Bombay Native Infantry, brought Agnes Strickland again into her society, as they frequently met in London; and she visited the newly married pair at their pretty villa in Yorkshire, called Brandsby Lodge. “She is a sweet creature,” writes Agnes to her sister Jane, “whom everybody must love. He is a fine, frank, noble-minded man, a distinguished officer, and delightful companion. He is justly proud of his charming wife, and is a kind father to her sweet girl, Catharine MacKan. They are Roman Catholics, like all the Sizergh family but ourselves.”

These far-away cousins were very much attached to Agnes. Indeed in most ancient families a spirit of clanship to those who bear their name and share their blood, however distant its channels may be from the original source, is generally found. Another distant kindred showed Agnes Strickland much kindness; for Mr Cottrell Dormer was descended from the same stock as her grandmother—and his very beautiful lady was a Strickland born, the cousin of Sir George Strickland. Miss Cottrell Dormer was a highly accomplished young lady, following the same pursuits as Agnes, and a warm friendship soon united these congenial minds. This family was Protestant; and at Rousham, Agnes found a pleasant home, where she was able to pursue her researches as closely as in her study at Reydon.

When in London, Agnes Strickland did not object to hearing Cardinal Wiseman speak on charity schools, as the Gordons offered her tickets, which feminine curiosity induced her to accept. But she was by no means struck by Cardinal Wiseman’s eloquence, who APPOSITION AT ST PAUL’S. in his ‘Fabiola’ appears to write better than he speaks, for she says: “He kept us waiting for an hour, and spoke very drily; after which we were entertained with some amateur theatricals, and I fell fast asleep—for, oh, how dull it was! All the wit of the performance seemingly consisted in men wearing the costume of George II. quarrelling and kicking each other indecorously. The Cardinal stopped to see this broad farce, and so did two merry priests who sat by me, and seemed to enjoy the fun mightily. All the Catholic nobility were in full dress, the ladies wearing their jewels. I drank tea with the dear Gordons, who kindly brought me home. The beautiful illuminations for the Queen’s birthday on our return, made, indeed, a splendid show.”

Her friends Dr and Mrs Kynaston invited Agnes to go to the Apposition at St Paul’s, and lunch with them after the business of the morning was over. As the Prince of Wales was to preside, Agnes thought it would be very interesting; and she gives the following account of it in one of her lively home letters:—

“I had a capital place near the Prince’s chair of state, so that I could observe him closely. He is most amiable in his appearance, not so pretty as he was as a mere youth, but more dignified and self-possessed.

“He paid great attention to the boys’ speeches, and to the Latin comedy performed by them; but when that affecting scene from Shakespeare’s ‘King John’ was acted, in which poor Arthur pleads so pathetically for his eyes, he showed considerable emotion. Indeed, beautiful and touching as it is, none but a prince could have felt it so closely, and it was a fine study to see its effect on him: his heart is all right. A scene from Sheridan’s ‘Rivals’ followed, at which he laughed heartily enough.

“I was to have gone up-stairs to Mrs Kynaston, but was forced by the crowd down-stairs. However, as I GENERAL WISEMAN’S ‘FABIOLA.’ stood in the doorway with some other ladies as the Prince of Wales was passing to his carriage, Dr Kynaston named me to him, whereupon he made me a very low bow and gave me a gracious smile of recognition, which of course I returned with as low a curtsey as I could conveniently make.”

As usual, Agnes Strickland went a great deal into society, being very much courted to appear at parties given by her own friends and their friends. She met at her cousin Mrs Gordon’s house, that lady’s brother William, who looked, she thought, more like a Cavalier colonel than a Jesuit missionary. “A Strickland, and not a Catholic!” was his way of noticing his introduction to her, and forthwith poured forth a flood of eloquence to induce her to become one; but in vain, for as her faith was founded on Scripture alone, his arguments had no effect upon her. His sister and the Major at length stopped and even reproved him for endeavouring to draw her into controversy, which, they said, was unfair. Agnes found a strong resemblance between the handsome Jesuit and her brother Colonel Strickland. He was probably aware of his great personal advantages, as his portrait was prefixed to the history of his mission in India.

The presence of Cardinal Wiseman in England, we remember, had made a great but unpleasant sensation. Now Lady Stourton had sent his pretty book ‘Fabiola’ to Agnes, who was much pleased with the volume. He had not intruded the peculiar tenets of his Church into that early age; so the work was candidly written, and was clever and interesting.

In August, Agnes quitted London for a tour of visitings; that to Sudeley Castle she describes in a letter to her sister Mrs Gwillym:—

“I enjoyed my visit to Mrs Dent at Sudeley Castle very much. You and dear Richard ought to see it; and ROUSHAM HALL. the beautiful chapel is so well restored, with its splendid tesselated pavement and exquisite reredos—marble font; and the tomb and effigies of Catherine Parr, who can now boast the grandest tomb of any queen of England, excepting Elizabeth. It is well worth a pilgrimage to see it and the beautiful Cotswold Hills. I came to Rousham Hall last Wednesday, and was warmly and affectionately received, though I had never seen Mrs Cottrell Dormer before. She was a Miss Strickland of Cokethorpe—a beautiful and charming woman. I loved her at first sight; and her daughter is one of the sweetest girls I ever met. Mr Cottrell Dormer is a very gentlemanly and kind person. They have one son, who is married, and settled in Devonshire.

“This is a beautiful place, something like Sizergh, only not older than Elizabeth’s time. The rooms are oak-panelled, and carved; the walls covered with family portraits of the Cottrells and Dormers. They have the best whole-length of Queen Elizabeth I ever saw. She is quite handsome—done at her first accession. Also a fine painting of Jane, Duchess of Feria, of whom Edward VI. was so fond when Jane Dormer. They have all sorts of historical relics and magnificent jewels. And I am very happy here.

“Mrs Cottrell Dormer took me to see Blenheim on Saturday; and being a friend of the Duchess, was able to give me a sight of the private apartments, which are not open to the public, and several precious cases of miniatures were unlocked and displayed. I suppose, dear Thay, you have seen Blenheim. It is a grand sight—so many fine works of art. Indeed, though I do not admire the architecture, still it is magnificent in its peculiar style.”

Agnes Strickland regretted the old palace of the first Plantagenet, with its romantic and historical associations, which Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, had taken RESEARCHES AT THE BODLEIAN. such pains to obliterate. What was the legend of fair Rosamond to an able, intriguing, and ambitious woman, to whom ruins only appeared incumbrances on the face of the earth? Unfortunately too many people in our own day follow her example, although they do not replace ancient halls and palaces with Blenheims. Nor has modern destructiveness been confined to England. In France the antiquaries lament the desecration of churches and chapels, to which a letter of Victor Hugo’s refers, with the indignation of an antiquary and the sensibility of a poet. The vicinity of Rousham to Oxford made her visit to her friends Mr and Mrs Cottrell Dormer very useful to Agnes Strickland. The society of Miss Cottrell Dormer was particularly delightful to her—the acquirements and extensive information of that accomplished young lady being serviceable even to an Agnes Strickland. To her sister Jane she writes:—

“I am much engaged in making further researches in the Bodleian Library, which I find full of important MSS., and where I am treated as reverentially as if I were a queen. I shall, I hope, be able to make a good volume of the Bishops.

“For the last four or five days this has been my routine: I rise at half-past six to be in time for the first train, and get to the Bodleian before the library is open, and amuse myself in the picture-gallery. Mrs Cottrell Dormer gives me a fine bunch of grapes every day to take with me, and her housekeeper provides me with sandwiches for luncheon, which enables me to work till past three. I find employment, too, for my transcriber. Then I drive down to the station, and my maid meets me at Heyford with the key of the grounds. So we return through a lovely green valley by the beautiful river, cool and shady, for about a mile—resting in the seven-arched alcove, or in some other YORK MINSTER. of the pretty pavilions in the grounds. We reach the Hall near five, where coffee and biscuits are ready for our refreshment, and dear Fanny to welcome me back; and then I dress for dinner, and enjoy the rest of the day. On Friday I was so delighted at meeting Dean Stanley and dear Lady Augusta at the station—a great and unexpected pleasure.”

From Rousham Hall Agnes went to Yorkshire on a visit to Major and Mrs Gordon.

“I am charmed with York,” writes Agnes Strickland to Mrs Gwillym. “Mrs Gordon got the historian of the cathedral, Mr Brown, to go over it with me. I wish you and dear Richard Gwillym had been there. There is a most curious crypt, the ground-plans of the early Saxon and Norman structures, which he showed me. No one seems to know anything about these interesting relics of the eighth and eleventh centuries, upon which the present stately structure has been raised.[1] Major and Mrs Gordon took me in their phaeton to show me the suburbs of York.”

Agnes was with Lady Campden some days, and saw there the portrait of the beautiful Lady Gainsborough, the Pamela of Richardson, who did not appear to much advantage in the costume of the period and powdered hair. Her ladyship was a great invalid, though patient CAMBRIDGE. and amiable. She had become a Roman Catholic, and had induced her husband to follow her example.

Agnes attended the Archæological meeting at Worcester, where she met her old friends Lord Talbot de Malahide, Dr Hastings, and other learned persons: from thence she travelled to Baroness Sempill at her seat Moreton Pinkney Manor. Nothing could exceed the kindness of her ladyship, who introduced her to Mrs Gage, the daughter of Sir Charles Knightley, by whom she was invited to Fawley, a fine old place full of ancient relics. Mrs Gage was a charming maîtresse du maison, and her father a delightful man. The heir, a very learned gentleman, afterwards married Miss Bowater, a young friend, daughter to Sir Edward and Lady Bowater—a very intelligent and amiable girl. Agnes could not prolong her stay at Fawley as her kind hostess wished her to do, as she had promised to be at Cambridge for the Archæological meeting there.

Agnes Strickland caught a bad cold at Cambridge, and was seriously ill. “Cambridge,” she remarks, “is a beautiful place, but my aching head was distracted with the sound of the bells.” She had the comfort of her sister and brother-in-law’s company, and when able to travel, went for kind nursing to St Ives, Bingley, Yorkshire; but the air was too sharp, though all that Mrs Ferrand and the charming family party could do to cheer her and restore her health and spirits was done. She had been under the care, at Cambridge, of a homœopathic physician, Dr Bayes, in whose prescriptions she had great faith; but time was required for her recovery.

“I am here,” she writes to her sister Jane, “in a land of Goshen with kind Mr and Mrs Ferrand, dear Lady Blantyre, and my darling friend Lady Buchanan, who is as sweet and loving as ever. I am so happy, but a wretched poor thing, though quite at home. SECOND VISIT TO LADY CAMPDEN. I have a splendid chamber, with sofa, good fire, and every comfort. However, my cough is certainly better; but poor Helen [her maid] is ill with the same cold.

“I am sorry you are suffering with influenza; but it goes, they tell me, through England. I hope our dear mother will escape, as it would be a serious thing at her age. There is a very nice party staying here, besides my friends Lady Buchanan and Lady Blantyre—whom I love dearly—Sir Andrew Buchanan, the Baron Bill-Brake, Lord and Lady Mountgarrett, Mr and Mrs Wickham, Miss Hope of Pinkie, the Hon. and Rev. Philip Saville, and others.”

Agnes, in her second visit to Lady Campden’s, found the profound quiet very conducive to the restoration of her health, which required absence from all excitement. “I had a loving welcome,” she continues, “from dear Lady Campden and sweet Blanche. Lady Campden being an invalid, we are quite alone; but I like it, as I shall not be obliged to appear in evening dress. My cough is better, and I am recovering my appetite, and sleep better.” Though the noble family with whom she was sojourning were Catholic, Agnes Strickland was enabled to attend the services of her own Church on the Sunday, Lady Campden sending her there in her carriage.

Her next removal was to Upper Clapton, to the house of a dear old friend, Miss Gooding. “I was much tired with the journey, but I had every comfort awaiting me, and found dear Mary just the same kind hospitable creature, as warm-hearted as ever, unspoiled by prosperity. She sends love to you, dear Jane, and to mamma. I hope to return home next week.”

It was pleasant for Agnes to be domiciled with Miss Gooding, with whom she had many chats about old times. The remembrance of their interchanged ‘LIVES OF THE SEVEN BISHOPS.’ visits between Reydon and Southwold, before Agnes acquired her fame or Miss Gooding her fortune, and their reunion in more prosperous days, were delightful to them both.

The new biographical work planned this year by Agnes Strickland and her sister Elizabeth was the ‘Lives of the Seven Bishops,’ whom James II., with his headstrong notions of arbitrary power, had so unwisely sent to the Tower. Now Agnes required some local information respecting the birthplace of Sancroft, the leader of these loyal men, “who, undeprived, their benefices forsook.” She was invited by the Rev. Mr Coltbeck, the rector of Fressinfield, to his parsonage, who gave her much hospitality, as well as every facility in his power to aid her researches.

Mrs Hopper, the wife of the Rev. Mr Hopper, and one of the representatives of Sancroft, took her to Gaudy Hall, the seat of her mother, Mrs Holmes, where Agnes was shown a youthful portrait of the archbishop, his arm-chair, and timepiece. She regarded these relics with intense interest. This disinterested archbishop was one of her heroes, an Anglican saint in her eyes. To obtain every possible information respecting him in the place where he was born and died was a great point to his biographer, and the good rector was willing and able to assist her in the search. This was not so difficult, as Sancroft was a Suffolk man, and some of his collateral descendants lived in the neighbourhood.

In an extract from the following letter to her sister Mrs Gwillym, she gives an account of her visit to Fressinfield:—


“I am writing the Life of Sancroft, and last week I made a pilgrimage to his grave. The vicar, Mr Coltbeck, to whom our learned pastor, Mr Crowfoot, gave me a letter of introduction, was the tutor of Emmanuel RESEARCHES REGARDING SANCROFT. College, of which Sancroft was master. I left our poor old friend Mrs Garnham at Halesworth, and travelled sola through a lovely verdant country, and reached the pretty village of Fressinfield by one o’clock. Mr Coltbeck gave me a warm welcome, and introduced me to his wife and nine beautiful children. They made me partake of a delicious early dinner, after which the vicar took me to see his church and holy Sancroft’s tomb, which is in beautiful preservation. The church, too, is very interesting, the green churchyard hanging on the side of a lovely hill opposite the vicarage.

“Richard ought to go and see it, and the fine old register recording Sancroft’s death. When we came back Mr Coltbeck had his noble black horse put into my brougham, and took me to see Ufford Hall, where Sancroft was born, two miles and a half from the church. Such a beautiful old place! It had got so dark that we were obliged to have a candle to look at the fine old carvings. My hospitable hostess gave me a nice cup of coffee before starting for home. Mr Coltbeck lent me D’Oyley’s ‘Life of Sancroft,’ which will be of great use to me. At five I commenced my homeward journey by the light of a full moon, though I did feel rather nervous at being so late in the environs of Halesworth, where the poor policeman was murdered a few days ago. I am now getting on beautifully with ‘Sancroft,’ though I fear it will be too late for this month.

Christmas-day.—Many happy returns of the season to you and your Richard, my darling Thay. I have just returned from church with Jane, where we received the holy sacrament. I remember the Christmas I spent with you, and the sweet singing on the lawn. Mamma sends her blessing, and Jane love to you both.

“Adieu, darling.—With much love and best wishes for you and Richard for many coming years, ever affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”

It is said that the beautiful minster was built by wandering companies of Freemasons; and it is certain that some of the noblest churches in East Anglia were constructed by these mysterious architects, who have left their mystical marks on the foundation-stones of the sacred edifices they founded. They were then a very useful fraternity of accomplished architects, and did not confine their exertions to holding lodges and eating good suppers,—the Abbé Barruel’s disclosures have openly proclaimed their secret in good French to all capable of reading his curious volumes ‘Mémoirs pour servir à l’Histoire du Jacobinisme’—a startling title, which, however, has nothing to do with English Freemasonry beyond proclaiming the secret, for the author gives them a very good character for piety and loyalty.



Agnes, as usual, was in the whirl of society in London; but being obliged to study in the British Museum, was glad when she could get time for that purpose, not very easy for her to procure. She had a new work in hand to prepare for the press, the Cavalier romance afterwards published by Bentley. At Hyde Park Place she again met her friend Emma Mackinnon, long since happily married to a distinguished and amiable man, and in the autumn she had the great pleasure of being again domesticated with her as the Duchesse de Gramont at her father’s seat, Acrise Park in Kent. She was delighted to see her so happy as a wife and mother, with her distinguished husband and promising young family. Corisande, the only daughter, she found very amiable, and the Duc de Guiche a splendid youth, speaking several languages with ease and facility, and English, his mother tongue, like a native. Lady Dundonald and her children added interest to the family group, and Agnes was glad to renew her former friendship with her.

She compiled from her own works and arranged a pretty collection of poems gratuitously for the bazaar NEW EDITIONS OF THE ‘QUEENS' held at Southwold for the infant school founded by the learned vicar, the Rev. John Crowfoot, called the “Seaside Offering”—the printer, Mr Saville, handsomely giving the printing and covers as his part of the charity, and that, too, unasked.

Agnes was at Cheltenham with her friends the Claxtons, and was delighted with the preaching and conversation of Mr Close, though she writes: “I could not enter into his views. I admired his eloquence and fervour. I found Mrs Close a sweet woman.”

Agnes Strickland had repurchased the copyright of ‘The Queens of England,’ of which two separate editions were brought out: the illustrated work, in eight volumes, appearing from Longman’s house; that in six, in a cheaper form, from Messrs Bell & Daldy. As the last contained the final additions, she preferred it to its more showy brother, though the type was smaller and the portraits of every queen wanting. The copyrights of both editions were finally purchased by Mr Bell after the decease of the author.

Agnes had to lament the loss of many of her dear old friends during this and the last year—Dr Monk, the Bishop of Gloucester, Miss Sinclair, Mrs Craufurd, and others, whom she loved and valued; and the year was to close as sorrowfully as it began.

She was in London to complete her arrangements respecting her various works, and busy with the revises of the ‘Queens’ in its cheaper form, and had a great deal to do against its early publication. As she constantly attended the Drawing-rooms held by her Majesty or her daughter the Princess Alice, she was present at that in which the royal bride, the beautiful Princess of Wales,[1] presided, of which she gives an animated description DRAWING-ROOM. in the following letter to her sister. Her Majesty being in very delicate health, was unable to encounter the fatigue.

“I had,” writes Agnes to her sister Jane, “a capital view of the Princess of Wales while three ladies who preceded me were making their curtseys. She is very pretty, graceful, and intellectual in appearance, smaller than the Queen, but fairy-like and exquisitely proportioned. She wore a white silk skirt, with deep lace tunics, with red lilac areophane to set them out, a train of the same colour, and a diamond necklace and tiara. She looked very royal, and girlish too. She gave me a very gracious bow; so did the Prince of Wales, who is very handsome, though short in stature. He must have been proud of his beautiful wife. Prince Alfred, who stood by him, is a head taller, and dark. Princess Helena and Princess Mary of Cambridge were there, the latter not looking her best.

“I saw many of my friends at this Drawing-room. Miss Burdett Coutts shook hands with me, and was very friendly. Lord and Lady Belhaven, the kind Monks, and many others. I was glad to meet our neighbours Lord and Lady Stradbroke. She wore a glacé lavender train and tulle skirt, looped with bunches of lilies of the valley and white lilacs.”

Agnes, after she left Cheltenham, was some weeks with her sister Mrs Gwillym, examining the environs of Windermere and the different localities of places, afterwards described in her romance. She enjoyed her excursions in High Furness with her brother-in-law and dear sister, and the mountain air had a good effect upon her health and spirits.

Agnes Strickland’s admiration for Mary Queen of Scots amounted to an absolute passion. Of course every person had a right to exercise their judgment on the disputed point of her innocence—which she acknowledged, MR FROUDE’S ATTACK ON MARY STUART. though not without some reluctance, so completely had she identified herself with her heroine. She read a contemporary historian’s (Mr Froude’s) opinion of Mary Stuart with great displeasure; but his remarks upon the death-scene, the tragical close of her long imprisonment, caused her lively indignation. She wrote her comments upon his remarks to the ‘Times,’ to which letter she alludes in hers to her sister Elizabeth:—

“He seems to consider the courage of the victim as mere acting. Does he suppose that the dignified effort that illustrious victims make to appear composed, can be natural to them? They all play a part—a debt due to themselves and to public decorum. Who wishes for the opportunity of acting with fortitude on such occasions? But who does not admire those who die with dignity? The dress, even the grey hairs, of the female victim are denounced. Now all women, from the earliest period of their recollection, do endeavour to set themselves off to the best advantage; it is a natural propensity, and no crime.

“Mary came forth to die arrayed like a queen, not in her shroud, and acted according to her high birth and station, with fortitude and resignation.”

It is not female features convulsed with the sore agony of a violent death that usually draw from men and historians cruel and unfeeling remarks, nor from hair untimely blanched by sickness and sorrow a theme for ridicule. No wonder Agnes Strickland read Froude’s description of Mary’s death with feminine indignation.

However, her anger was short-lived; for when she was introduced to Mr Froude, he behaved with so much urbanity and discretion, that she could not retain her displeasure, as he appeared to have forgiven her public denouncement of his literary delinquencies in regard to Mary Stuart.

Of course she could not sympathise with his admiration LADY SUSAN RAMSAY. for Henry VIII., notwithstanding his defence of that tyrant and woman-killer. The author was certainly singular in his choice of a hero, though he was right enough in giving him credit for the remarkable talents he possessed, but of which he made such a bad use.

To Elizabeth she writes: “Have you seen my letter in the ‘Times’ of December the 2d? I could not allow Froude’s monstrous untruth to pass uncontradicted, or it would have been considered an established fact. In proof of my own Life of Mary, I have received from Lady Susan Bourke a valuable book, entitled ‘Queen Marie’s Wardrobe Inventories,’ printed by the Bannatyne Club. Lady Susan, whom I had formerly met at Dean Ramsay’s when she was only thirteen, was a daughter of the late Marquis of Dalhousie, and is just married, she tells me. I remembered her, as Lady Susan Ramsay, as a very sweet girl. She sends me the book in fulfilment of her late father’s intentions; it is a large quarto, sent by post prepaid. This gift is very gratifying to me.

“I have also had a most interesting work sent me from Paris by the author, ‘Marie Stuart et le Conte de Bothwell,’ being a luminous digest of evidences in which my Life of Mary is nobly dealt with. The book is accompanied by a deferential letter from the author. This was before I wrote to the ‘Times’ concerning Froude’s misstatements. The author, Monsieur Wiesoner, Professor of History, has written again to thank me for mentioning his work. He well deserved that I should do so.”

Agnes made a shorter stay in London than usual. She was with her sister Elizabeth in Surrey, and for a few days at Losely Park, the seat of J. More Molyneux, Esq.—a fine old place, with tapestried walls and mullioned windows, and a charming hostess, the niece of Sir George Strickland. The account of her sister Jane’s RETURN TO REYDON. increasing indisposition and depressed spirits made her shorten her visit. To the sufferer she writes: “I grieve, dear Jane, to hear how much your dutiful attendance on our aged mother has affected your health. You have indeed little to cheer you but the conviction that you are doing your duty nobly by your family, and will not lose your heavenly reward.”

On her way home Agnes kept a stall at the bazaar for increasing the funds of the Idiot Asylum at Ipswich, to which she had for some years been a subscriber. She found, upon her return to Reydon, the health of her sister in a much worse state than she had anticipated, for she was indeed so ill as to keep about with difficulty. There was a change, too, in her venerable parent that did not escape the anxious eyes of an affectionate daughter. It was, indeed, a sad home-greeting for Agnes, who was, however, a little comforted upon finding an attached old friend of her mother’s watching over her with affectionate care.

Her aged mother, who had entered her ninety-second year, was evidently approaching the close of her long career. She suffered no pain, but increasing debility warned those around her that the end was drawing near. She rarely showed any glimpse of consciousness, and had forgotten the faces of her friends. Even Agnes Strickland, in whom she felt so much pride, was rarely remembered. Her daughter Jane was the only unforgotten family-link; but she had not quitted her for many years, and was scarcely able to move from bronchitis and spasmodic asthma. A sudden return of her mother’s perceptive faculties revealed to her the dangerous state of her daughter. “You are dying, and before me! What will become of me?” she cried, wringing her hands in passionate distress, and giving way to an agony of weeping. The poor invalid consoled her as well as she was able, though she was aware of her own DEATH OF MRS STRICKLAND. dangerous state; and when she found herself unable to rise the next morning, was surprised and grieved that the agitation of her afflicted parent had affected her health so much that she had taken to her bed. An old friend of her mother’s, staying in the house, assured her that she would not survive many days. Dr Girdlestone thought it possible that the sick daughter might recover, but declared that the aged patient must die.

It was a sorrowful home for Agnes, who was very fond of her venerable mother, and upon whom the filial task of watching her ebbing life now lay. She lingered a month, but recovered her faculties a few days before her decease—her sick daughter being sufficiently recovered to see her for a few minutes daily, and was greeted fondly by the dying mother. Upon the 3d of September she fell asleep and died without a sigh or struggle, her beloved daughters Agnes and Jane holding her hands as she passed away. She had another morn than ours.[2]

Mr Gwillym, who had been detained by the reconsecration of his church, came with his dear wife to the funeral, which was attended by all the family then in England, and a numerous company of friends—the aged pilgrim being buried in the parish churchyard of Reydon, in the fulness of her years.

The death of her venerable mother made a great change to those of her family who remained in England. The old place where they had grown up, the scene of their earliest literary labours, must be left and another sought. Agnes, who had some furniture LEAVING REYDON. of her own and a fine library, decided upon fixing her abode at Southwold, in a house belonging to her sister Jane, of which she took a long building-lease—her sister resolving to occupy the adjoining cottage. The situation was very pleasant, warm, and sheltered from the east wind, with a garden in front, and the house commanded a fine view of the harbour and the ruined church of Dunwich. It was very quiet—a great desideratum to Agnes, who required complete stillness round her when occupied with the pen. The sad autumn of this year was chiefly employed by her in directing the requisite improvements in her new abode—Park Lane Cottage. She did not, however, build a coach-house or new-front the house till the following summer. Her sister Jane remained in a precarious state of health, which caused Agnes Strickland some anxiety. And thus closed this sorrowful year, with its painful regrets and troubles.

The following kind and sympathising letter was written by Lady Buchanan to Agnes Strickland when the author of the ‘Queens of England’ was quitting the family mansion of Reydon, after the death of her mother, for Park Lane Cottage—a pretty little seaside residence in Southwold, Suffolk:—

British Embassy,

St Petersburg, 10th May 1865.

Dearest Agnes,—I was so glad to hear of your having finished with all the painful scenes and thoughts in leaving your old home. Neither was I sorry to know how the first weeks had been passed in the new one—the worry at the time diverted your mind from sadder feelings, and forced you to look forward into the future instead of mournfully looking back into the past. Still I could have wished you to have chosen the milder climate of Devonshire or the Isle of Wight; but no doubt you had good reasons for your choice, and I hope with all my heart, dear friend, that you will LETTER FROM LADY BUCHANAN. spend many peaceful and happy hours in your cottage by the sea. You do not know what a longing your words ‘of the lark singing in the clear blue sky, and the glittering sea-cliffs,’ gave me to be again in England. The spring, which is worse than winter here, is so dreary. The ice indeed is gone from the river, which is very grand-looking, but great masses from the upper parts and from Lake Ladoga keep day by day floating past. The cold is still bitter—such cutting winds, and the sun with little strength. No place to walk on or drive, for the bridges are not yet put up; and till that is done, the long detour to get into the country, and the fearful pavement, makes it too great an undertaking. Not a bud yet, nor yet the promise of one, on the few dry wintry trees.

“The mourning too, for the poor young Grand Duke, has put an end to all society. It is a mourning from the heart among all classes, for all praised his intelligence and kindly heart. The last details, too, were very touching. His joy at seeing his affianced Princess Dagmar; his farewell to her, and her sitting by him the last long hours, holding his hand in hers, and refusing to leave him, saying ‘she was sure he knew her,’ though the clasp was only the involuntary contraction of the hand; her closing his eyes, and the despair of his mother, who blindly kept hoping on to the very last,—all this makes me take a deep interest in this prince, though I never saw him. What a terrible grief to meet that poor little princess on the threshold of life, that promised so much happiness as well as greatness! She will get over it. One is wounded to death; but at present her grief will not be less bitter because it cannot last through her whole life, as later sorrows do.

“All those accounts of the plague have been greatly exaggerated. There is no plague; but, as you say, malignant typhus is as bad. But it seems only to attack the poorer classes; and no wonder, for as to food, shelter, and every comfort, they are in a most wretched state. It does not come home to us, for we see nothing of it, and I fear do not think enough of what we are spared.

“We had hoped to come home the beginning of June; now it will be later—I cannot say when, for that will depend upon the Imperial funeral. And the fleet that brings LETTER FROM LADY BUCHANAN. home the body seems a very snail, for they calculate it will take a month; and then there will be various delays—the lying in state and other matters. So June may be near its ending, alas, before we come!

“There was a great Mass for the dead on Tuesday at St Isaac’s Church, to which we all went. It is a large dark church—richness itself as to gilding; and marble, malachite, and lapis-lazuli columns lit up with candelabra; the bishops and priests in black velvet and silver, and the singing quite exquisite (no instrumental music is allowed). All the great dukes and dignitaries were there in full dress, and we all held lighted tapers in our hands. Of course I did not understand a word; but I could not help feeling that there is as much mummery show without spirit as in the Church of Rome. It was dreadfully fatiguing, for we had to stand two hours and a half, with an interval of kneeling without anything to lean against. I was thankful when it was over. At the funeral it will be the same.

“I was indeed astonished at the Edmunds’s disclosures; but I am glad that it is proved that Lord Brougham had nothing to do with it, for though he has faults, and great ones, he is a man the country may be proud of, and we cannot afford another Lord Bacon.

“This is Florence Buchanan’s marriage-day. She writes to me so freely and happily, for it is a union on solid grounds of affection; and she is sure to be happy, and will make a thoroughly good and excellent wife, for she is good as gold.[3] I am glad the new Queenly edition has got far enough to be tangible; but, dearest Agnes, you shall not give it me. I have these royal Scotch volumes to remind me of you (if that were necessary); but I shall do myself the pleasure of investing in the English sisterhood—so please say no more about it. May you enjoy your visit to your Clapton friend! It would indeed be nice if I could get a peep of you. Sir Andrew, who is quite well, desires his best remembrances.—Ever your very affectionate

G. Buchanan.”

The minute descriptions given by Agnes of the dress and appearance of different members of the Royal Family will be very useful to their future biographers.

Are dying people conscious of things we know not? Are the loved and long lost actually present with them? The day before her death Mrs Strickland said to her daughter Jane, “My dear, I have seen my father. He sat by me on the bed some time, and smiled so sweetly upon me.” “Did he speak?” “No, my dear. But I was not dreaming, for it was daylight; and I was not afraid, but was glad and happy.”

Lady Buchanan’s step-daughter.



The sisters did not take possession of their new homes till the 31st of March 1865, remaining during the winter months at the old Hall, now to pass into the hands of strangers. Southwold was a pleasant little seaport, and they had friends in the place and its vicinity. The young Lady Stradbroke, Mrs Blois and her family, Miss Sheriffe, the vicar, and others, were within a few miles, so that Agnes Strickland would find a pleasant society within reach.

Agnes Strickland did not, however, leave Reydon without regret. She had grown up among the people, and the old house had been the scene of her literary labours. Each sister had her own establishment, though they were next-door neighbours. In March 1865 the removal, with all its bustle and excitement, took place. Agnes was cheerful and happy, her only drawback being the delicate health of her sister, over whom the shadow of death apparently impended. The change, however, proved beneficial to the invalid; so that Agnes, before she took her annual visit to London, could leave her in an improved state of health. OXFORD COMMEMORATION.

Agnes found the profound quiet of her home very suitable to her arduous labour in correcting proofs and revises for her romance, which she had called ‘Althea Woodville,’ but to which Mr Bentley gave the title of ‘How will it End?’ which did not at all agree with her own ideas. She received £250 for this work as soon as it was through the press.

She was engaged on her part of the ‘Seven Bishops,’ which was to come out the next year, a far more arduous task than the corrections for her Cavalier romance; but a holiday was absolutely necessary, and as she was invited to the Commemoration at Oxford, she was at that great seat of learning in June this year.

“I enjoyed the Oxford Commemoration very much,” she writes to her sister Mrs Gwillym. “I had a ticket for the inner semicircle, a place of honour. I breakfasted at Oriel with the Rev. Mr Burgon and a select party, and he escorted me to the theatre. Some of the undergraduates, whom I had met at Worcester and Merton Colleges, recognised and named me to their compatriots, and the moment I entered I was greeted with the cry, ‘The Queens! the Queens! three cheers for the Queens!’ with vociferous shouts following the announcement.” Of course Agnes Strickland was highly amused by this “reception.” Lady Anstruther was particularly kind to her; and as her reception was very gratifying in the great seat of learning, she did not leave it without regret for the busy scenes of London, and some hard work in the revises of the ‘Seven Bishops.’ She was in poor health when she left Southwold, having been overworked with the new edition of the ‘Queens’ from Longmans’ house; for she was continually adding fresh matter whenever she discovered any fact or anecdote that would give more interest to the work.

The Bishop of London and Mrs Tait were very QUEEN EMMA OF HONOLULU. friendly with Agnes Strickland, and she was often at Fulham, which she enjoyed very much. There she met a royal personage in the shape of Queen Emma, the ex-queen of Honolulu, a good Christian and very interesting woman, speaking English well. She was in close weeds, and had a pensive expression. She was the grand-daughter of an Englishman, and though plain, had pleasing manners. Agnes sent her a set of the ‘Queens of England’ through Lady Franklin, with whom she was staying, in return for which Queen Emma sent the following acknowledgment:—

My dear Madam,—Although the receipt of your kind present of your ‘Queens of England’ was acknowledged at the time, I cannot forego the pleasure of expressing for myself the gratification it afforded me by your polite attention. To say that I have always admired and taken pleasure in the work, is only to express a feeling in common with everybody else.

“But these volumes coming direct from the hands of the authoress, you may rest assured I shall always preserve with especial care.—I am, dear madam, yours faithfully,


July 31, 1865.

Her Honolulu Majesty certainly knew how to express herself courteously in English as well as any native lady could have done on a like occasion.

Agnes had the great pleasure of meeting Lady Buchanan, looking so well, she writes to her sister Jane, “and as great a darling as ever. I was so glad to meet her again.”

Agnes and Elizabeth had received from Colonel Whimper permission for a thorough examination of the Tower of London, which they had long wished to make. This exploration was particularly agreeable to Elizabeth, who was quite an antiquary. The account VISIT TO THE TOWER. of their visit may, by its minute description, be of use to other writers, and is therefore given here.

Those of our readers who are old enough to remember having laughed at the ridiculous blunders of the poor ignorant warden of the Tower, will not fail to be struck by the difference between his ciceronage and that of the highly educated lady who, in the absence of her husband Colonel Whimper, undertook to conduct the authors of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ through the various prison-rooms of the Tower of London, so deeply interesting from their connection with the tragic histories of the great and good.

“As we had not yet been able to avail ourselves of Colonel Whimper’s permission of examining particularly the antiquities of the Lieutenant’s residence at the Tower, the Wakefield and Portcullis or Bloody Towers, we resolved to take them this day, considering that Agnes and myself [it is Elizabeth that writes] might not again be quietly located together at this time of the year. So we took a fly, and were driven over the Byward Tower bridge, and asked for Colonel Whimper’s residence. Our man made various mistakes, till at last he found the way to the antique-gabled house that has witnessed so many tragedies, rather now too modern-looking; but then the broad beautiful gallery overhead, and the garden richly decorated with flowers, reigns over the whispering changing air of the river (a side view of which this most curious house commands), sighing round it, and stirring the branches of the lovely lime-trees umbrageously spreading in the old court.

“My sister sent in her card, when the warden brought us word that Colonel Whimper was unfortunately out, but that his lady was at home, and would supply his place by showing us over those parts of the Tower we particularly wished to see. We were much pleased with her courteous message, for it is quite delightful LIEUTENANT’S COUNCIL-ROOM. to meet a kind and amiable lady in these antiquarian and historical researches. Most agreeably did the fair deputy-Lieutenant receive us in her own drawing-room, in which the antiquities were veiled, not hidden, by modern taste, but so as not to disagree with the ancient grandeur of the place.

“Mrs Whimper led us directly into the Lieutenant’s council-room, an antique apartment in good repair, on one side of which stood a modern iron tent-bedstead, where Lord de Ros, the Constable of the Tower, sleeps when he comes there on business. This room is about thirty feet by twenty, the roof partially rounding like those of private picture-galleries—the top of the roof meeting the leaning points, but flat and ceiled at the top. It was the place where Guy Fawkes and his guilty coadjutors had been examined; but not racked, for that fearful ordeal awaited them in the Portcullis or Bloody Tower to the left—the Gate Tower being, as all historical students are well aware, the locality where the tortures of the rack or scourge were applied to the wretched prisoners in the Tower.

“Then Mrs Whimper showed us into an ancient groined tower, high and hollow like a very conical bell, jutting out into five very deep embrasures, three with a window in the immense wall. Exactly to the east was a fireplace with a stove, a modern innovation; whilst the deep window-recesses looked like the window chapels we constantly see in French ecclesiastical buildings. I could not help expressing my belief that we stood in the private chapel belonging to Master Lieutenant’s residence, where probably his lady prisoners in Catholic times were permitted to hear Mass. Connected with this curious structure were two closed private half-circular passages, to the right and left. In the latter we caught a view of the broad flashing waters of the Thames below bridge; while that to the right led THE TOWER. towards the Moat. The termination of each passage was closed up, but the materials used for that purpose were comparatively new. We were told that through these passages Master Lieutenant privately visited the prisoners,—by that on the right as far through the river-bank side as to the Portcullis or Bloody Tower, from thence to the private staircase, with the small newer room to the right of it leading between the Bloody Tower and the Wakefield—the communication between the leads of these fortresses being afterwards examined by us.

“Our business of examination led us then to the view of the newly laid-open Chapel of St John the Evangelist—within the palatial residence—and the lower apartments of the Bloody Tower; to examine very minutely the Wakefield Tower, to the middle of the last century a sealed mystery; to note its relative position with the Water Gate or Traitor’s Gate. For the sight of these precious antiquities Mrs Whimper left us in charge of the veteran and intelligent warden, who took us first to the chapel-stairs of the Palatial or White Tower. He pointed with his staff to a kind of bulk, with a sort of rough oakpost surmounting it, jutting outwards, at the commencement of the chapel-stairs on the left hand. ‘That marks out the place,’ he said,’where the bodies of the two young princes were found.’ We then wound up the staircase leading to the Norman Chapel of St John the Evangelist, restored and cleared from the surrounding litters of papers in racks, coarse as those used to contain fodder for cattle in Suffolk. This palatial chapel is built in apses, with the double row of noble Norman pillars forming a complete promenade from the entrance to the opposite issue. I learned while abroad the peculiar use of this pillared path which leads to the sacrarium. It should appear that if persons, hurried by business or not disposed to much devotion, passed along it during THE CHAPEL. Mass, that was thought to be beneficial to their souls, and was considered a good work.

“The view of this chapel, which is repeatedly called the Chapel of St John by our best authorities, cleared up to me the mystery regarding Richard III.’s first message to Brakenbury, which reached him while kneeling at the altar of the Virgin Mary in the Tower; and the conference took place in this retirement for devotion, when the murderous proposal was made, and indignantly refused by Brakenbury. From that time the keys were ordered by Richard to be surrendered by him to Sir James Tyrrel, his Master of Horse. The chapel or oratory of the Virgin was probably placed against the wall opposite to the altar, but not impeding the pillared pathway in which hasty officials of the palace took their ambulatory worship.

“The restorations and colouring of the Tower are well toned—the old castle being entirely lined and hung with arms. Our warlike veteran vainly endeavoured to awaken our interest in this hostile array. Yet all looked rich, and though bright, not sufficiently so as to injure the pictorial effect. At the extremity of all were the alcoves, which had once been royal dormitories; the windows, of small dimensions, had been broken, but repaired by modern glazing. We thought the White Tower had not been Gothic, from what appeared of the original plan—the small half-circular arch resembling those we saw in the most ancient structures in Paris.

“The dim and dusky Council Chamber is not now separated—the whole of the floor being thrown into one space; but the oaken steps may be traced by those who have seen that murderous locale in its state of hoar antiquity. This was the spot where Hastings was arrested.

“Our next station was the Bloody Tower, or Portcullis THE TOWER. Tower: it is better known by its more ominous name. In the two best rooms belonging to this gateway, in which the officer resided, the portcullis intruded itself, making, of course, a great din while rising or falling. In the spaces on each side, generally called the Gate Towers (here very narrow and confined), one abuts on each part of the lower floor—on the Lieutenant’s residence on the left, and on the Wakefield Tower on the right. From the Lieutenant’s residence his secret passage crossed through this important fastness into the neighbouring Wakefield Tower. In the wings or sides of the gateway it was usual for Mr Sergeant Porter to correct or confine any palace delinquents committed to his charge. Near, but not within the palace, people of low degree were flogged by his officials, called groom-porters.

“It seems almost incredible that Leslie, Bishop of Ross, Mary Queen of Scots’ accredited ambassador, should have been incarcerated in this place among common delinquents. Here, however, is his name firmly cut in the durable Caen stone, with that of his man Charles Bailie, and three or four others well known to the readers of the documents of the gloomy year of 1572—victims of the rack or gibbet. If five or six men were stowed within this dim dirty closet, it must have resembled the Black-hole of Calcutta in modern times. He may, however, have been shut up in one of the small Portcullis rooms close to the den where his name is still seen; for he complains ‘that the light was obscured by cockshut boards.’ These being placed slanting from above, did not allow much of the beams of day to penetrate his prison. “We then had to examine the localities of the royal murders. The warden of the Portcullis Tower showed us the hole in the wall, now closed up, where the bodies of the murdered princes were thrust. A winding stone THE BLOODY TOWER. staircase conducts to the leads of this fortress. You pass a small chamber, not more than eight feet square, which fills up an obscure angle between the Portcullis and Wakefield Towers. Here tradition says the princes were confined and murdered. On a little dismal-looking landing to the left is a corner or angle in the wall where their remains must have been thrown down. This, now closed with flagstones, must then have been open. It is large enough to admit the person of a small-sized man. The depth is unknown.

“Following the winding of the worn stone stairs, we gained the leaden roof of the Portcullis or Bloody Tower. We looked up from thence to the round massiveness of the Wakefield Tower. On stepping out upon the leads of the Bloody Tower, attention is arrested by a bricked-up doorway of about three centuries old, and a fragment of a chipped-away small arch. I ascended the steps to endeavour to discover if any connection existed between the Bloody Tower and the still more formidable Wakefield Tower. Northcote, in his terrible picture of the first interment of the bodies of the newly murdered princes in the unhallowed hole mentioned by Sir Thomas More, has followed the London tradition by placing the scene there. He has idealised the locality. The arrow-headed teeth of the portcullis gloom overhead. One of the murderers lowers in his arms the lifeless forms of the murdered princes to the ruffian below, whose naked brawny arms issue from the hole beneath, ready to stow them away in that dark secret lair. Torches gleam above, and show Tyrrel in the costume of a man-at-arms, leaning over to mark the manner in which his victims are hidden.

“In regard to the localities the beautiful picture is not correct. The recess into which the bodies of the princes were crammed, not thrown, is somewhat above the scene of the murder; neither could the portcullis THE WAKEFIELD TOWER. on either side have been seen. Yet the painting is finely conceived, and gains in picturesque beauty what it loses in the exactness of the locality.

“The Wakefield Tower, the scene of the murder of Henry VI., was our next study. Taylor, the warden, led us round outside the Portcullis Tower to a comparatively modern doorway with the royal arms. This door the warden unlocked, and pointing to the deep darkness below, invited us to enter. We were actually looking down the wide steps of the Water Gate or Traitor’s Gate, which is exactly opposite the entrance of the Wakefield Tower, leading to its dungeons, which Warden Taylor was preparing to show us, but desisted when he saw our attention was fixed on the river-steps. This afternoon the tide had fallen unusually low, so that we could not see the water. The flight of steps were wide enough to admit of twenty-four men marching up in line. About the length of twenty steps jutted out a stone to the left hand, forming a sort of seat; upon seeing which Agnes and I discussed the point whether this stone was the identical one upon which Elizabeth seated herself, resolutely refusing to proceed any further. Our warden, who was listening very attentively to our discourse, here remarked, ‘So she mutinied—would not go on; or maybe she seated herself there while the guard was forming.’ The incident is well known; but the veteran soldier, with his ideas of military etiquette, put, you see, a new construction upon it.

“The immediate vicinity of the grille leading up into the outer road circling the Tower to the Wakefield Tower, forcibly struck us. It is not above five-and-twenty steps across, and directly opposite the dungeon, to which it gives entrance. Taylor opened the door, and we, after descending some steps, found ourselves in a noisome den, paved and guttered with stone, and smelling earthy. A dim light from a slit of a window THE WAKEFIELD TOWER. showed a range of stone hummocks crossing the pavement. In the centre the massive fortress was supported by a thick pillar, built of brick and stone, having ten or twelve slender ones round it. The warden then repeated the local tradition that the Yorkist prisoners taken after the battle of Wakefield were imprisoned here, from which circumstance it derived the name of the Wakefield Tower, by which it is designated by Speed. It was probably the same structure formerly called the Water Tower; and the supposition may be correct, as it is near the Water or Traitor’s Gate. Two curious relics of the Wars of the Roses are seen in this dreary dungeon—two cannon-balls formed of hard York stone. These remain in the recess of the underground Gothic window, that scarcely lends an obscure light to this dismal scene. It has lately been discovered that this dungeon was an oubliette, into which the waters of the Thames could be admitted to drown the prisoners in their chains. I do not remember the authority from which this statement was derived, but the cruelty practised in those days of civic strife makes it only too probable.

“The leads of the Wakefield Tower, which tradition points out as the place used by the captive king, Henry VI., for exercise, we did not ascend; but there must still exist steps leading to it, since I discovered, as I stood on tiptoe and peeped over the rugged wall from the leads of the Bloody Tower, a colony of white rabbits, the prettiest of their gentle kind. We may remember that the royal Henry cherished a pet bird, and that a faithful spaniel was the companion of his solitude, and perhaps he kept other pets on the leads when he took his lonely walk thereon.

“It has been supposed that Henry occupied some of the state apartments in the White Tower, then a palace, till his second imprisonment in the Wakefield THE TOWER. Tower, the scene of his actual murder. There is a good-sized bed in the recess, where the death-struggle probably took place. I saw that the leads of the Wakefield Tower were deeply sunk below those of the Bloody Tower, so that a tall man could easily have dropped down to perpetrate the crime. The vicinity to the Water Gate would be convenient for the transfer of the king’s body to St Paul’s by the Thames, nor would it be less so for its interment at Chertsey.

“We left the Tower and its deeply interesting localities, with thanks to the courteous lady who had facilitated our researches with such ready kindness and goodwill, hoping to turn our visit to profitable historic uses.”

This antiquarian visit to the Tower of London of the sister historians appears in strong contrast to that paid by Agnes many years before, and narrated by herself with much comic humour in her journal of that day. Times had indeed changed for the better; ignorant persons no longer were chosen for wardens, and old extortionary customs had passed away. England at length has realised the value of her historic localities and documents. Many a handwriting on the dungeon walls of the Tower still tells its tale of woe, and points a gloomy reference to the history of our island in earlier less happy times. “That civil and religious liberty are not the work of a day,” is the acute remark of a gifted historian, our own countryman;[1] and never was a greater fact announced in one brief sentence. Let us bless God that in Great Britain we freely enjoy both.

The ‘Lives of the Queens of England’ continued to sell well, though in separate editions, with Longmans and Bell & Daldy—a fact noted in the following letter from Agnes to her sister:—

“I am still with dear Mary Gooding at Upper Clapton, COLONEL STRICKLAND. who makes me very comfortable, and sends me to town whenever business or pleasure inclines me to go. I went to St Paul’s service for the children, which was as usual deeply interesting, and the music divine. I had a south-door ticket, and heard every word of the Bishop of Bangor’s noble sermon. Dr and Mrs Kynaston had a choice party to meet me at luncheon, and I enjoyed myself very much.

“I have seen Longmans, and he tells me the cheap edition of the ‘Queens’ with Bell & Daldy has not injured the sale of the library edition, which goes on well; so does the cheaper one with Bell & Daldy.”

Agnes Strickland returned home in time to welcome her brother Lieutenant-Colonel Strickland, C.M., though much grieved to see him in a very precarious state of health. He was, however, in his usual charming spirits, and evidently rallied—though, alas! only to create delusive hopes respecting his ultimate recovery. Agnes nursed him with great tenderness and care during the absence of his wife, who was visiting her distant relatives. She indulged in flattering hopes that the improvement would be permanent, and enjoyed his intelligent and agreeable companionship exceedingly.

Colonel Strickland left his sister in improved health to rejoin his wife, with whom he was to return to Park Lane Cottage in a few weeks.

“I miss the dear Colonel,” she writes to Mrs Gwillym, “very much; but I shall get on better with my literary engagements now I have not him to attend to. Yet he was so cheerful, kind, and amiable, that I feel the loss of his society very much.” The work was too much for Agnes Strickland, and her health suffered from her intense application; but she did not forget religious duties:—

“I do so enjoy Mr Chapman’s sermons. He preaches extempore, but so beautifully and so truthfully, it is a SOCIETY AT SOUTHWOLD. great treat to hear him. Mrs Chapman, too, is a sweet affectionate creature. I went to the sailors’ reading-room the other evening, and when the entertainment was over, supped with the kind Chapmans. His mother is quite fond of me. She was sister to Sir William Macnaghten, who was murdered by the Afghans. Her single daughter Alice is very amiable, and Sir John Blois married her youngest. You see I am quite gay at Southwold. I hope you and Richard will come to me next summer, as I am getting my guest-chamber nicely fitted for you.

“I find Lady Blois a very sweet young woman; but she and all her family are going to leave Southwold. I shall miss them more than I can say. Her eldest sister, Mrs Gaussen, is a very amiable and intelligent lady, a widow with a young family, and one charming little girl.”

Dr Lingard. See the preface to his History of England.



Increasing years and continual literary work were beginning to try the constitution of Agnes Strickland, always delicate, though she enjoyed life, and was quite reconciled to the change from Reydon Hall to her own home. Her friends were faithful and true, and correspondence with them formed the delight of her leisure hours. She had also a good deal of correspondence with strangers, some of which afforded her very useful information on minute points with which she was previously unacquainted. It is true various of these points only related to the ancestry of the parties; the letters, nevertheless, received courteous answers from one who possessed the pen of a ready writer.

The return of Colonel Strickland from a tour of visits annihilated the hopes his sisters had formed of his ultimate recovery. They could not deceive themselves that he was gradually but surely passing away. Agnes became dejected; her suppressed sorrow and continual head-work told upon her, and she was at length confined to her bed.

She had a clever medical attendant in Dr Girdlestone, and able and attentive nurses in her sister Jane and faithful maid Vickery; but though soon out of ABRIDGMENT OF ‘THE QUEENS.’ danger, she was not so soon convalescent, and she had some pressing work in hand that required instant attention. Her literary engagements required her presence in London; and thither, though very unfit, she would go. She had, in fact, no faith in any medicine but homœopathy, nor in any professional medical men but those who practised it. However, she was better for the change of air, and, she fancied, for the change of treatment.

“You will be glad to hear, my dear Thay,” she writes, “that Dr Wilson’s magical teaspoonfuls have cured the toothache and melancholy, and that I begin to eat and go out, and am getting on much better.”

In justice to Dr Girdlestone, it must be acknowledged that he treated her judiciously and successfully; but she had so much business to do in town, that her slow convalescence troubled her. The illness had been dangerous and severe, and she was advanced in life—facts she did not in her anxiety sufficiently realise at the time.

She was with her old friend Miss Gooding at Upper Clapton, where she had a warm welcome, quiet, and good nursing. Her visits to London chiefly regarded business with her publishers. She, with her sisters Elizabeth and Jane, had prepared an abridgment of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ which was to be published by Messrs Bell & Daldy—the corrections for which seemed to be dreaded by her in consequence of her delicate state of health. “But you will help me,” she writes to her sister Jane, upon whom, indeed, the labour ultimately fell.

As her homœopathic physician interdicted late parties, Agnes, when she left Clapton, was compelled to give up a great deal of pleasure. She, however, did transgress his rules, as the following letter to her sister Jane, dated from Rousham Park, where she was pleasantly LETTER TO MISS JANE STRICKLAND. located with her friend Miss Cottrell Dormer, will prove:—

Rousham Park, July 5, 1866.

My dear Jane,—I arrived here yesterday after a safe and pleasant journey, though I have increased my cold owing to both windows of the carriage being kept open by my fellow-travellers; for though the sun was hot, the wind was cold. But you will want to know my proceedings in London.

“Last Saturday I was at Fulham, and the Bishop reproached me for having suffered three receptions to pass away without coming to any of them. However, as those days were cold and foggy, I was best away. I presented the Bishop with a copy of ‘The Seven Bishops,’ which he received very graciously, when the Bishop of Oxford said, ‘I am quite jealous that you have not favoured me with one, I should have valued a book from you so much.’ So I told him he should have one too, if he would read it. He replied, Nothing would delight him more. As I had not a presentation copy left, I wrote to Bell to send him one.

“I quite enjoyed my visit to the Dean of Westminster. My doctor had forbidden me to eat meat; but as I was really better, I ventured to break his rules, and ate a tender mutton-chop and took a glass of champagne, which did me infinite good. I would have left after luncheon, but dear Lady Augusta Stanley would not part with me so early, as she was to have an evening party and concert, which I must stop for, as Jenny Lind had promised to sing for it con amore. Well, I heard some wonderful music—a duet by two French boys on the violin, and two Italian songs from Jenny herself, whose voice is as fine as ever. Lady Augusta treated me not only with great tenderness, but as one of the stars of the evening. She told me that she had promised Emma, Queen of Honolulu, to bring me to DITCHLEY. her, as she wished to converse with me. I met many of my old friends, and Lady Lucy Grant and her sweet girls. I was not quite so well afterwards, though I went to Fulham the following day; but I am much better this morning.—Affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”

Agnes accepted a kind invitation from Lord and Lady Dillon, and the following letter is dated from Dytchley Park:—

Dytchley Park, July 14, 1866.

My dear Jane,—I am enjoying my sojourn in this delightful place, though I have not lost my cough. I am revelling in the rich collection of Stuart letters all the morning, and driving about the country with Lord and Lady Dillon all the afternoon to see the beauties of this fine county. I want you to call on Lord Dillon’s niece, Mrs Goodenough, who with her husband, Captain Goodenough, is coming to Southwold on Monday the 16th. Her mother, the Hon. Mrs Hamilton, is Lord Dillon’s sister, and was formerly maid-of-honour to Queen Victoria. She has been staying at Dytchley, and I promised you should call on her daughter, as she knows nobody at Southwold.

“Eliza wished you to look over her proofs, but the publishers will not wait for your doing so; but when I come back, I shall be very glad of your help.

“Lord and Lady Dillon are the nicest people in the world—good, kind dears, and very elegant. They have been married ten years, but at present have no family. He succeeded to the title only three months ago, upon the death of his brother. No one can help loving them, they are so amiable. They would not let me fulfil my promise of attending Alice Skinner’s wedding, but insisted on my giving them my company a few days longer, which I was quite willing to do, for IMPROVED HEATH. they were so truly kind, and treated me with such distinction.

“Lord Dillon always took me in to dinner, even when there were dinner-parties, and would have done so when a Sicilian lady, the daughter of a deceased duke, came to visit them, only I told him he must take a person of her high rank instead of me. I shall find correcting the proofs for the abridgment a sad bore, but you will help me when I come back.”

Agnes returned home much improved in health and spirits. She was now comfortably settled in her pretty cottage, which she took pleasure in ornamenting. All her literary business went on prosperously—the ‘Bishops’ were published; the maids good, useful, and very attentive; her sister Jane quite well; her only drawback being severe toothache—but she writes to Mrs Gwillym:—

“I must be patient, for when the bad weather changes I may hope to be better. If my life is spared this winter, I have every prospect of being comfortable.

“Your lovely banner screen is up, and the work looks beautifully. I bought a bracket for Mrs Thornycroft’s bust of the Princess of Wales, given me by dear Lady Beauchamp, which is now set up. Then I could not resist buying a lovely enamelled oval China dish, with two birds of paradise and several butterflies upon it. I gave 25s. for it, and I know it is worth £5, and it matches my lovely Sevres clock. My garden is very pretty. I wish you and Richard would come to me. I think you would enjoy it.”

These pleasing domestic affairs, though a positive relief from literature, could not engross Agnes Strickland long, for she adds: “I am overwhelmed with proofs, and shall be till the middle of October—first with the broken stereotypes of the library edition of the ABRIDGMENT OF ‘QUEENS.’ ‘Queens,’ and then with the abridgment, which is very hard work.”

Her sister Jane took the greater part of the labour, which was a great relief to Agnes and Elizabeth, both in the abridgment itself and the corrections of the press.



The year opened sadly for Agnes, who lost her beloved brother Lieutenant-Colonel Strickland, C.M., on the 3d of January, to her great regret. The event, indeed, had been long expected, but it was not less painful to his sisters, to whom his amiable qualities had greatly endeared him. As a public man he was greatly missed in the colony, and his work on Canada[1] had given an immense mass of useful information in a brief form, so that the new colonist would be at no loss to know what he ought to do, and what ought not to be done.

Agnes Strickland, who was much attached to her brother, though fully aware that the nature of his complaint must end fatally, was deeply grieved as the event drew nearer. He had returned with his wife to Canada, and for a time had rallied; but the improvement was not lasting. Agnes alludes to his state in her letter to Mrs Gwillym:—

“My letter was too late, but I feel much sadder than when I wrote it. I enclose the touching account of the DEATH OF COLONEL STRICKLAND. poor Colonel’s reception of the Holy Communion with his sorrowful family, for the last time, poor fellow.

“It is, however, consoling that he was in such a happy state of mind. He has done much good, and been a promoter of the service of God in giving his assistance in building churches and parsonages, and has been most kind and helpful to those that needed it. He is deeply regretted in Canada.

“I had a note from Mr Chapman last night informing me that the Duke of Devonshire had presented him with the living of Doveridge, in Derbyshire. He will be a great loss to Southwold and to me, for he is a fine and luminous preacher, and I listen to him with unspeakable pleasure, and gained far more benefit from his earnest and truthful eloquence than from any other clergyman. He is a very kind, good, hard-working minister of the Gospel, both in the Church and out of it. He works with the sailors in getting off the lifeboat like one of the crew; yet he is of a slight elegant figure, and I fear is not long for this world. I knew we should not be able to keep such an able person long here, but hoped it would not be so early a loss.”

As the Rev. Mr Chapman was of the Evangelical party, Agnes Strickland’s attachment to his ministry was a sufficient refutation of the erroneous report that she was a Roman Catholic.

In another letter she thanks her brother-in-law for his Christmas presents of wine and other good things, and says, “I followed, dear Richard, your good example in asking some persons to partake of my roast-beef and plum-puddings who could not requite me, and made them very happy.”

Lady Augusta Stanley to Agnes Strickland.

Dear Miss Strickland,—Could you let my husband know where he could have a sight of the curious anonymous MS. History of Westminster Abbey quoted by you at p. 106 of the ‘Bachelor Kings of England’? He would be much obliged.

“I hope you are well, and have borne this trying winter without suffering. We are flourishing, and have good accounts of all our dear ones.

“With affectionate remembrances.—In haste, yours most sincerely,

A. Stanley.


“I have been much interested in the restoration of Ulverstone church. With kind regards to the vicar and his dear wife.”


The Dean of Westminster sent Agnes Strickland a copy of his History of the Abbey when completed, with which she was much pleased. She had a great regard for him and his excellent wife, and, indeed, for the whole house of Elgin, of which Lady Augusta was a worthy member.

Business called Agnes to London, from whence she writes to her sister an account of the Drawing-room at which the Princess Alice presided:—

My own dear Thay,—I came hither on Tuesday the 25th, but have been too much engaged to write earlier to you, for I had to order my dress for the Drawing-room, besides other matters that required my attention. Mr Mackinnon lent me his carriage and servants, and Lady Dundonald behaved beautifully to me, and made me drink a glass of port at luncheon before I went out. It was the thinnest Drawing-room I was ever at; but so much the better for me, who am in delicate health, for all was over by half-past three o’clock. The Princess Alice did the honours very gracefully and sweetly. I had some pleasant chats with Lady Mary Nisbet Hamilton and other friends, and took no cold. On Friday I was invited by Lady Augusta Stanley to her DINNER AT MR MACKINNON’S. ‘at home’ and the meeting for the exhibition of the Westminster Flower-pot Garden Show. This is for the encouragement of the poor to train plants in their windows, which it is thought will refine their taste. It was so cold, that after I had seen the plants I went into the drawing-room for a hot cup of tea and a spongecake. In short, I made myself warm and comfortable, and was chatting with Mrs Vaughan and Madame Molé, intending to remain where I was; but Lady Augusta sent for me to see the prizes given away and to hear the speeches. So I went into the Deanery Square, and was obliged to consign myself to the care of a policeman, who gave me his arm and took me to Lady Augusta, for without his help I should never have got through the crowd. My amiable hostess placed me at her right hand; on her left she had her sister Lady Frances, whom I did not remember, who inquired very affectionately for you, and so did Lady Augusta. Farewell, darling.—With love to Richard, ever your own


August 3, 1867.

My darling Thay,—Yesterday I dined at Mr Mackinnon’s to meet the Duchesse de Gramont, her daughter Corisande, Lady Dundonald, her son Lord Cochrane—the most beautiful boy I ever saw—Lady Louisa and Captain Mackinnon. Emma is as sweet and kind as in old times, and her daughter also. They all left London to-day for Broadstairs. I am not well, for I took cold at the Royal Academy soirée (a very brilliant affair), while waiting for the coming up of Lady Henrietta Allen’s carriage. Upon our first arrival there, while Wilfred Allen and I were leaving our wraps with the officials appointed to take charge of them, Lord Houghton claimed my acquaintance, and introduced me to his pretty young daughter, such a fair DYTCHLEY. Annot-Lyle girl of fourteen, who whispered to him, ‘Papa, is that lady the real Miss Agnes Strickland?’ but she was too timid to talk. He insisted on giving me his arm and taking me into the room, where Sir Francis Grant greeted us very courteously. We remained half an hour to hear all the great people announced; and then looked at the pictures, chatted with our friends, and partook of the good things provided for us. I enjoyed the evening exceedingly.

“I have another invitation to stay at Dytchley, the ancient home of the chivalric Sir Henry Lee in the days of Queen Elizabeth, now the residence of Lord Dillon. Miss Cottrell Dormer is to be there at the same time.

“I met Queen Emma at a concert the other day, who said she hoped to come and chat with me when it was over; and so she did. She has thrown off her weeds, and looked very noble in full dress—like an English lady. She shook hands with me, and said she was grieved to find me out of town when she was desirous to thank me in person for my valuable present of the ‘Queens of England,’ which she prized so much. She then presented me to her ladies-in-waiting—it was quite a scene.”

After she left London, Agnes was for a short time at Dytchley with Lord and Lady Dillon, a very delightful visit; from thence to the Honourable Mrs Herbert’s (Llanarth Court, Herefordshire), a magnificent place in Wales, full of portraits and works of art. From the amiable daughter she went to the gifted mother Lady Llanover’s noble seat at Llanover, from whence she drew her title. Agnes enjoyed her sojourn with that accomplished lady in her Welsh home more even than when her ladyship was presiding over her brilliant fêtes in London. From Wales our traveller proceeded to DEATH OF CANON GWILLYM. Elizabeth’s cottage at Tilford, where she was fully employed with her on the Tudor princesses and those who were the immediate ancestresses of our own Royal Family. Elizabeth made her work very hard while in Surrey with her.

Lady Augusta Stanley wrote to thank her in the name of the Dean for many useful hints and interesting quotations for his work on Westminster Abbey, which he was preparing for a second edition. It was very gratifying to Agnes to think she had been useful to friends long known and beloved. She returned to Southwold, which she found cold after her pilgrimages to warmer parts of England, and expressed some regret that she had not chosen a milder air. However, she had no cause of complaint, for the bracing sea-breezes did her a great deal of good, and quite renovated her health.

Time was doing this year its cruel work by lessening the number of her family ties. The loss of her worthy brother-in-law, Canon Gwillym, was deeply felt by Agnes Strickland, to whom he had proved an affectionate relation and warm friend. She sympathised deeply with her sister, who, after twenty years’ residence with her beloved husband, was compelled to seek a new home. Mrs Gwillym chose Hollow Oak, in Lancashire, for her residence, which she hired of an old friend.

To her widowed sister Mrs Gwillym, who had been in great danger on her way to her new home from the blasting of the rocks at Greenodd, the swerving of her horses only saving her from being killed by the falling fragments, she writes thus:—

My own beloved Thay,—What a wonderful Providence preserved your precious life from that awful accident! What a dreadful thing it would have been if the rock had fallen on your carriage, or the poor horses had taken fright and plunged into the deep waters! I shudder when I think of it. God has been very gracious in preserving your precious life and those of your faithful servants. What a tragedy it might have been!”


Agnes was both surprised and gratified by receiving the following request by letter from the celebrated French author and antiquary, Victor Hugo:—


Madam,—I read in your interesting history of Queen Elizabeth this passage: ‘A few days after, the Lord Chamberlain’s players acted before him Sir John Oldcastle or the Merry Wives of Windsor, to his great contentment’ (ed. 1844, p. 247). In a note at the bottom of the page you mention the Sidney papers as the source from whence you have drawn this curious information. Would you have the goodness to give me a copy of the original extract of which you have made use? This copy would assist in clearing up a problem in historical literature which has hitherto appeared inexplicable.

“Excuse, madam, my importunity, and accept the homage of my profound respect.

François Victor Hugo.

Hauteville House,


The direction was as follows:—

“Madame Agnes Strickland,

    Authoress of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England.’ ”

Notwithstanding its singular address, this letter came safely and quickly to hand.

Agnes Strickland received a card for the fête at Holland House, being personally acquainted with Lady Holland’s amiable son, a clergyman, whose brief abode in Southwold, Suffolk, with his sweet wife, had left HOLLAND HOUSE. pleasing memories of social virtues and charity to the sick poor.

In a letter to her sister Sarah Gwillym, she gives a brief account of her visit, which apparently afforded her much pleasure:—

“I was nicely dressed for the occasion, dear Thay, in a grey Japan silk and a new bonnet; not, however, in the absurd fashion in which bonnets are now worn, with a front and no back.

“I spent half an hour with dear Mrs Gordon on my way to 33 Cumberland Place, from whence Miss Elizabeth Powys was to convey me to Holland House. She received me very kindly, though I was personally a stranger to her. I found the carriage in waiting, and we drove to Holland House, Kensington, a beautiful old palace in a park, with the finest gardens and conservatories, of which I had often heard, but never seen till this morning. Miss Elizabeth Powys presented me to her aunt Lady Holland, and then we sat in the garden to see the company arrive. St Swithin being very propitious, has only given us a few tears during our drive.

“I met Lady Beecher, and was introduced to Lady Mostyn, who was very pleasant and sociable. I had the pleasure of meeting my friends Lady Ashbrook and Lord Houghton, and many other nice people. I was informed that the Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Mary of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Mecklenburg were expected. Miss Powys took me into the conservatory, where tea and ices were served; then she conducted me to the lovely gardens, and introduced me to Colonel Fox—such a charming old man, of whom you have often heard our brother-in-law Moodie speak with great praise. He told me the royal party were come, and where they were to be found. As I had a wish to see them, I took a chair on the lawn near, but LETTER FROM MR THOMAS WRIGHT. not within the circle. Lady Holland, who is a very sweet woman, came to me and told me the Duchess of Cambridge had learned who I was, and wished me to be presented to her. So she brought me up, and I made my curtsey; and the Duchess and sweet Princess Mary made much of me, and thanked me ‘for all the pleasure’ they said ‘they had enjoyed in reading my works,’ and asked ‘what I was then about?’ I told them I was writing the lives of the Tudor princesses, and they said ‘it would be a treat for every one.’ Of course I was much pleased with my reception. At eight, sweet Miss Powys took me home to my lodgings, after my delightful day at Holland House was over.”

Thomas Wright, Esq., to Agnes Strickland.

“18 Gilbert Street,

Grosvenor Square, July 24.

Dear Miss Strickland,—I am quite ashamed at having been so long in answering your kind note and in acknowledging your kind present. I have been put out of my way a good deal the last few days by a Chancery suit in which I am concerned as evidence, and every two or three days, when I hope to be quiet and tranquil, I get all of a sudden a summons to be present in Court.

“I was also desirous of looking through your nice volumes a little before I thanked you for them. I think they are very interesting, and value them very much, although, as you know, we differ in opinion on some points of history. But I am always glad to read the opinions of those who have studied history in the original documents on all sides of every question, and I am quite as likely to be wrong as another person. Queen Elizabeth is more a favourite of mine than Mary Stuart.

“For ‘La Mothe Fénélon,’ which has come safe to hand, I hope you had quite done with it. I am thinking of writing something on this period myself, when I shall tumble him over again, and then I will have him bound, which was always my intention. If I can be of any use to you for your future volumes, either here or in Paris, pray do not be afraid to use me, for I assure you it will give me the greatest pleasure.—I am, dear Miss Strickland, very sincerely yours,

Thomas Wright.”

A very kind offer from such a learned and distinguished man.



“To her sister Jane, who had been dangerously ill, but who was recovering, she writes:—

My dear Jane,—I am glad you are able to take the air, which will do you a great deal of good. The weather here is fearfully hot, but it agrees with me, and is beautiful for the harvest. Our darling Thay is resigned and placid, and looks really lovely in her deep weeds. She has been much annoyed by the behaviour of the new incumbent. However, there is no help for that.

“You will like to hear how I came on with the excursion. I breakfasted at seven, and got to Carnforth in time for the special train from Lancaster. I had a letter from Dr Barber, one of the committee, to Mr Bart, the secretary of the Institute. Mr Bart came to the carriage in which I was, gave me a ticket, and received payment for my subscription. We started a new line to Borwick, but had to walk from the terminus to the fine ancient Elizabethan hall, where we heard a lecture from Mr Sharpe. Then we started for Milnthorpe, and were all stowed into twelve carriages, waggonettes, and omnibuses. I was packed into a large waggonette with a very agreeable party. We drove to Levens, where General Upton greeted me as if I had been an old friend; but he knew that Mrs Howard valued me, and that was enough with him. After the lecture, he gave me his arm and led me to the head of the table, placed in a marquee in the beautiful garden. LEVENS AND SIZERGH. After he had done the honours to me and his guests, he resigned his seat to another gentleman. We all had to drink the far-famed Morocco ale, a hundred years old, and to drink luck to Levens as long as the Kent flows; but it was as strong as brandy, and I could only taste it.

“Dear Mrs Howard’s health was drunk with enthusiasm; but she was not present, her advanced age of eighty-three preventing her from being at Levens for this occasion. Then we all stowed into our carriages and started for Sizergh, where I was quite at home.

“Just as I was going away, Mr Strickland made his appearance, and a very pretty fellow he is. He desired to be presented to me, which he was by General Upton, who joined us. He greeted me with cousinly regard. ‘At last,’ said he, ‘we meet; but I hope you will do us the honour of a visit, to pass some time at Sizergh;’ and I promised to do so at some other time. I wished to see the baby, but she was out with her nurse; her name is Ida Matilda. I did not see the lady, who was not well, but was shown her portrait, in the same frame with that of her husband and daughter. The little Ida apparently is a most lovely babe, and her father was pleased that I admired her picture.

“We were not above an hour at Sizergh, being bound for Kendal, where we went to see the grand old church, and was introduced to Archdeacon Cocker, who gave a lecture; and then we all adjourned to the Town Hall, where a bountiful tea was provided us by the mayor, who read a nice lecture on Sizergh Castle and its possessors—the Strickland family. We all did ample justice to his hospitality, for it was late. We were very hungry, though we had been feasted at two o’clock at Levens.”

Agnes received great attention from the Mayor of Kendal, who expedited her late journey to Ulverstone; WESTMORELAND. and as she travelled in an open carriage, provided her with a warm travelling-blanket, while his daughter furnished her with her own suit of furs, as the evening would be cold. The mayor telegraphed to Ulverstone, that her sister might not be alarmed at not seeing her, which could not be before eleven o’clock. These kind attentions were gratefully received by Agnes Strickland.

“I did not reach Ulverstone,” continues Agnes, “till half-past eleven, and did not rise till noon the following day, but was able to go to church in the evening. On Monday I took the train to Skipton, to meet the Institute. I travelled with six nice people, who fed me with sandwiches and cakes. We did not return to Skipton, where we dined, till past four, when we visited the grand old castle and church; but were so hurried, that I must make an expedition solus to see all I want to make out.

“Lady Blois has sent me an exquisite copy in water-colours of Lady Catherine Gray’s portrait at Cockfield Hall. I have sent it to Longmans, who is much pleased with it.

“I grieve for Miss Harrison, but yet ought rather to rejoice that her painful warfare is accomplished, and that she has entered into her rest. I am glad to hear that you are better.—Affectionately yours,

Agnes Strickland.”

Twenty-seven Years in Canada. Published by Bentley.



Agnes Strickland’s second Continental tour took place this year—her first destination being Holland. Like her former one to France, it wholly regarded her literary business.

For her new undertaking, the ‘Lives of the Stuart Princesses,’ she required information which she could not obtain in England. This was her last work, without which she considered her former ones would be incomplete. The biography of Mary Princess of Orange, the eldest daughter of Charles I., could not be completed, after her departure from England, without a visit to Holland, which she accordingly fixed to take place this summer.

The ‘Tudor Princesses’ had already appeared from Longmans’ house, and comprised a very interesting addition to English historical biography. Elizabeth’s portion, which included the larger part of the volume, had, by her express desire, been corrected for the press by her sister Jane, who also assisted Agnes by overlooking her revises. She took pleasure LETTER FROM MR WAYLAND KERSHAW. in doing this, as she found these lives very interesting, and fully equal to the popular ones of the ‘Queens of England,’ though her task was performed while confined to a sick-bed. The Tudors were certainly a highly gifted race, and their great learning must have tended to the civilisation of England far more than the warlike Plantagenets. But the age was in advance, and could boast fine writers, though the arts and sciences were, it must be owned, yet in their infancy.

Agnes, always enthusiastic for the Stuarts, had determined to conclude her series of royal female biographies with those of the Stuart princesses. Elizabeth disapproved of her plan, and would not assist her in the proposed work, which was throughout wholly written by her popular sister, who was also the sole corrector of the proofs—a serious labour to her. However, she undertook her arduous task with cheerfulness and hope. Hope formed always a striking part in her spiritual temperament. The phrenologists said her head indicated that quality in a remarkable manner, in which they were justified by the fact.

From Wayland Kershaw, Esq., librarian to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Agnes Strickland received much useful assistance, for which she was truly grateful to this learned and able scholar, and his letters were much valued by her:—

Library, 18th March 1869.

Dear Madam,—Since I had the pleasure of seeing you, I have investigated the libraries of Belgium and Holland, which interested me very much. Should you have occasion to write about any state or royal papers, I have transcribed the names of such gentlemen as are official—some of whose acquaintance I made—and others to whom you need no introduction. It may facilitate your researches on your PROJECT OF VISITING HOLLAND. new works to have their names. I trust you will favour Lambeth Library with a copy of your work, and tell the world that some of the extracts are from that archiepiscopal source of learning.

“Mr Müller, the renowned bookseller of Amsterdam, was very sorry not to have been at home when you called, and apologised that only his assistants could wait on you. Mr Campbell, the Director of the Royal Library, Hague, is a most kind man, whose friendship I shall ever hope to secure. He is very much interested in Lambeth Library.

“You will be grieved to hear my sister has been very ill, but is now recovering. She begs to unite with me in the pleasure she had in making your acquaintance, and in the esteem in which we both hold that privilege.—Believe me, with respectful compliments, faithfully yours,

S. Wayland Kershaw.”

After she had planned the work which was to conclude her series of historical biographies, Agnes consulted Lady Buchanan about her visiting Holland, as it would be impossible to write the life of Mary, the daughter of Charles I. and Princess of Orange, without examining authorities and documents only to be met with in that country, and she questioned her accomplished friend upon many points concerning her going thither, who replied in the following letter:—

Paris, May 9th.

Dearest Agnes,—I got your letter to-day, and write directly, as you seem to be thinking of going off directly on your Dutch tour, which I think you will find enjoyable.

“Almost every one speaks English, and are so accustomed to English travellers that I don’t think you will find any difficulty. When we were at the Hague last, we went to Paulley’s Hotel—every one there knows where it is—and it is considered the best; and Baroness van Doorne (one of the daughters of the deceased Count Schimmelpenninck) lives nearly opposite, and is charming. Entre nous, I do not think the Queen likes the way you have mauled the Dutch PREPARATIONS FOR VISIT TO HOLLAND. hero William III., so I doubt her being very anxious to promote any further revelations about him; but you cannot apply to better people than the Van Doornes—they are so charming and kind, and must of course know where you could get the best information.

“I write in great haste, as every moment is taken up here, but thought you might want this information directly. —Ever affectionately,

G. Buchanan.”

London, July 9, 1869.

“I am very sorry to hear, my dear Jane, that you continue so ill, notwithstanding the fine weather; but I am persuaded homœopathy would cure you, if you would but give it a trial.[1]

“I feel very low as the hour of my departure draws near, though all things have progressed favourably for me.

“I have had a second charming letter from Admiral Harris, telling me that his wife and himself will be happy to pay me every attention in their power. He is our chargé d’affaires at this Court. So, with the kind Archbishop’s recommendations, and that of his librarian, to Mr Müller of Amsterdam, and others, I shall be well off. The Queen of Holland, the envoy tells me, has given permission for my having the portrait of the Princess Royal (Mary, daughter of Charles I.) copied, in the Palace of the Wood. I shall get it photographed. I do not suppose I shall stay more than a fortnight in Holland, and shall on my return land at Harwich.

“If I should die abroad, I do not wish my mortal remains to be brought to England. Where the tree falls, there let it lie; and the Lord have mercy on my soul.”[2]


Agnes Strickland then proceeds to give her sister some information regarding her banker’s book and other documents respecting her property, her will, and other matters, in case of her demise.

Agnes Strickland had a pleasant voyage to Rotterdam, rendered more agreeable by the attentions of a gentleman of the name of Harding, who was of great service to her in doing the honours of Rotterdam, which she found very like Yarmouth. She went with him to see the cathedral, and was generally pleased with the appearance of the people. She was struck with the cleanliness of the Dutch towns, and the neat maids in their quilted caps. As a further stay at Rotterdam was of no use to the object she had in view, Agnes proceeded to the Hague at once—Mr Harding escorting her and her maid Vickery to the terminus at half-past nine. She went through Schiedam and Delft, and arrived at the Hague, where she got nice rooms and comfortable beds.[3]

Agnes Strickland’s new friends in Holland were very kind, and proved most useful to her. Mrs Harris in particular was always ready to assist her with her bright intelligence and local information:—

Mrs Harris to Agnes Strickland.

Dear Miss Strickland,—The picture you are in search of at the Musée d’Amsterdam is by B. van der Heist, and is described, p. 59 of the Catalogue: ‘No. 120—Portrait de la Princesse Marie Henriette Stuart, veuve de Prince Guillaume II., un portrait en pied. Elle est assise dans un fauteuil, sous un dais de velours pourpre, et a dans la main droite une orange.’

“The other picture, by Vandyk, p. 40: ‘No. 82—Portraits du Prince de Galles et de sa sœur la Princesse Marie Henriette Stuart, infantes de roi Charles I.’

“You will find, on the second étage, the first room turning to the left, this pretty picture; I fancied it was of the two younger children.

“Admiral Harris desires his compliments. We have had such pleasure in making your acquaintance. I trust that you will not be disappointed in the object of your visit to Amsterdam.—Believe me to be very sincerely yours,

Emma Harris.”


Agnes Strickland was presented to the Queen of the Netherlands by the Baroness van Doorne. This intelligent and amiable princess gave her a very gracious reception, and kindly advised her to examine the ‘Annals of the House of Orange,’ a work which she thought would be of use to her in her memoir of Mary Stuart, Princess of Orange, and daughter of Charles I. The interview took place at the Palace of the Wood, and lasted about an hour, leaving on the mind of Agnes Strickland a very pleasing remembrance of this very interesting queen.

In common with many English persons, Agnes Strickland had imbibed some unfounded prejudices respecting the Dutch people. She was agreeably undeceived during her short sojourn with them. She generally found them kind, intelligent, and enlightened, and was astonished at their extreme cleanliness and quiet domestic manners, and would willingly have remained longer in Holland if she could have spared the time. However, her return being imperative, she could not follow her inclinations, for she had other researches to make in our own royal archives respecting COBLENZ. the biographies to be contained in this her last historical work, having, in truth, a long winter’s labour before her.

The Hague.

My own beloved Thay,—I shall leave this pretty pleasant town to-morrow for Amsterdam, where I am to see some pictures. I have had great kindness from Admiral Harris (our Minister Plenipotentiary) and his lady, the Baroness van Doorne and the Baron, the king’s chamberlain, and Mr Sippenstein, the member for the Hague. The Baroness van Doorne took me in her carriage to church, and I sat with her in the Ambassadors’ chapel. We had a beautiful sermon from Mr Turnour. I went again in the evening, and Mrs Harris and her Rose opened their pew for me; so I sat very grandly in a velvet chair, and heard another beautiful sermon from Mr Turnour—Mr Brine, the chaplain, being unwell. After service, Mrs Harris and Rose walked home with me, and we parted like old friends. In the evening Mr Harding came and told me he would see me safe to Amsterdam if I would wait till Tuesday; so as I wanted to see the monument of William the Silent, the first Prince of Orange, at Delft, I agreed to remain.

“I went to Delft in an open carriage called a vigilante, and enjoyed the excursion. The country is very different from anything I ever saw—the churches like two very grand barns.”

Coblenz, July 24, 1869.

My beloved Thay,—I left the Hague, and have been up the Rhine to Mayence. I slept here last night, and shall go back to Cologne to-day, and go to England by Rotterdam, and to London and to you on Wednesday next, sleeping at the North Euston Hotel.

“I am tired, but the weather divine—all but one fog, RETURN TO ENGLAND. which caused the Emmeric boat to turn us adrift at Düsseldorf; but we had charming quarters at the Prince Charles Hotel, Cologne, and cheaper than we had had anywhere else.

“I hope, dearest, you are well, and poor Jane better. I was treated at Coblenz like a queen.

“I think, dearest, if you will send this letter to Eliza or Jane, it will save me the trouble of writing to tell my whereabouts.”

Aix-la-Chapelle, Monday,

July 26, 1869.

Beloved Thay,—I have now my plans pretty clear. “We came yesterday from Cologne, and took our tickets there for this lovely town. “We go to Antwerp this morning, and Rotterdam for Wednesday, Harwich on Friday, and by Peterborough to you, dearest creature. We have had lovely weather and very few mishaps, but are tired of travelling, and shall be very glad to rest with you. Of all I have seen I like Aix-la-Chapelle the best. Yesterday was a fête, and the town was dressed with flags throughout.

“I hope, dearest, you are well. With much love.—In great haste, yours ever,

Agnes Strickland.”

After her safe return to England, Agnes brought Mrs Gwillym with her to Southwold. This meeting between the three sisters was a pleasant interlude in the midst of sharp literary work.

After her return from Holland, Agnes Strickland’s autumn and winter’s work was upon the Stuart princesses, the last and unaided production of her pen, for Elizabeth did not like the subject, and would not join her in the composition. She had, however, much original matter gleaned from the Hague; and Mary Stuart, the first Princess of Orange, was little known DEATH OF MISS SHERIFFE. till Agnes Strickland gave a memoir of her to the reading public.

The loss of a lady of considerable talent, great amiability, and real worth, greatly afflicted Agnes Strickland and her sister Jane, with whom for many years she had been on warm terms of friendship. She was missed by all classes—the friends to whom her companionship was dear, and the poor to whom she was a bountiful benefactress. Agnes Strickland expresses her deep regret to Mrs Gwillym in the following manner: “You will be grieved to hear that we lost very suddenly dear Miss Sheriffe yesterday. On Sunday she was at morning church, looking well as usual; but she was taken ill the next morning, and died at three in the afternoon—a sad, sad loss to this town. But if ever a good woman entered into the joy of her Lord, she was that one. She was spared the pains and trials of a deathbed, and from the shadow that hung over her deepening into a deadly blight. God has been merciful to her through life; and after being a benefactress to the poor, and most hospitable to her neighbours, a gentle departure has been granted to her, and she is now, I doubt not, an angel with God.”


Agnes Strickland’s last poem was composed on the loss of this sweet Christian lady; and as it may interest the reader, it will be inserted here with this letter. But dear Harriet Sheriffe was not the only friend whose loss is noticed in her letter to her sister: “I don’t think I told you of the awfully sudden death of Mr Bruce, about three days after we left Southwold. He fell down in Montagu Square in a fit of apoplexy, and never spoke again.”[4]

On the Death of Miss Harriet Sheriffe, the Benefactress of Southwold.

By her Friend Agnes Strickland.

Sweet spirit, thou hast gently left

  A world of sin and care,

To dwell, of human ills bereft,

  Where God’s bright angels are.


Farewell! we must not weep for thee,

  Though all lament in vain

That we no more on earth may see

  Thy face on earth again.


Accomplished, holy, and refined,

  Meek, humble, good, and pure,

The graces of thy spotless mind

  Must evermore endure.


The tender heart that soothed each grief,

  Sad poverty could know—

The bounteous hand which gave relief

  To sickness, want, and woe.


So modestly ineffable

  Was thy retiring worth,

That only God the sum could tell

  Of thy bless’d deeds on earth.


And He who witnessed from on high

  Thy walk of faith and love,

And secret acts of charity,

  Hath noted them above;


And graciously hath spared thee all

  That suffering age might bring,

For with a Father’s loving call

  He bade thy soul take wing.


Not thine were deathbed agonies,

  And partings worse than death

From friends beloved with weeping eyes

  And sob-suspended breath.

But peaceful, as the setting sun

  Declineth to the west,

Thou slept’st—thy work on earth was done,

  Thy home is with the blest.



Blest are the dead in the Lord who repose,

For their labours are ended, they rest from their woes;

Yea, saith the Spirit, they rest from the strife,

They have ’scaped from the cares and temptations of life.


Their days of probation and trial are done,

Their warfare is o’er, and their battle is won;

Through the portals of death they in triumph have trod,

And have entered their joy in the presence of God.


Agnes Strickland accompanied the remains of this amiable and gifted lady to their resting-place in Uggeshall churchyard, Suffolk, where the late rector, her father, and dead kindred, lay.


She was surprised and pleased, some months later, to find that a beautiful portrait of Lord Strafford, the unfortunate Minister of Charles I., painted by Harriet Sheriffe, had been bequeathed to her. She valued this gift exceedingly, not only for the sake of the victim of the rebellious Parliament, in whose fate she, though not blind to his faults as a politician and a man, took great interest, but as being painted by the skilful hand of a dear lamented friend.

Agnes Strickland had too much on her hands to be idle, and in the ‘Stuart Princesses’ she missed Elizabeth’s help. Jane was confined to her chamber with severe asthma, so she was wholly thrown upon her own resources. Her health was very good at this time; and she took pleasure in her garden, for which Lady Stradbroke had given her some hardy evergreens.

The restoration of her beautiful parish church, St HISTORY OF ST EDMUND. Edmund’s,[5] Southwold, Suffolk, interested Agnes Strickland so much that she immediately acceded to the request of the vicar to write a short history of the royal Anglo-Saxon martyr to whom the stately temple was dedicated. She had met at Lord Stradbroke’s, Henham Hall, Sir Edward Kerrison, whose lands had been the scene of the martyrdom of the young king of East Anglia in old times. The tradition of his betrayal is still as current at Hoxney, on the Waveney, as at the time of the tragedy. The King’s meadow is still shown, and the King’s oak, till it fell a few years since, with one bright arrow buried in its trunk, to prove the truth of the king’s martyrdom.

Sir Edward was willing to give Agnes Strickland all the information in his power on so interesting a subject:—

Sir Edward Kerrison to Miss Agnes Strickland.

Oakley Park, Scole, Suffolk,

Jan. 29, 1870.

Dear Miss Strickland,—You must have thought me very remiss for not sooner answering your letter; but I have been endeavouring to get a small book for you, which I now send, also a photograph of the Gold Brook or Gold Spur Bridge.

“The oak was only about 1500 yards from the bridge—a very fine tree indeed. There is no chapel. The wood I promised to you I could not get at the time, for my father gave it up to a cabinetmaker who was to make something of it; but I have not had a bit out of his shop since I saw LETTER FROM MRS HARRIS. you. One day I may be able to send you some. There is no drawing of the oak that you asked for. I have given you now all the information I know about it, beyond what is to be found in the county books.—Yours sincerely,

Edward Kerrison.”

Mrs Harris to Agnes Strickland.

The Hague, March 22, 1870.

My dear Miss Strickland,—The book [Lives of the Stuart Princesses] arrived yesterday, and I immediately forwarded the copy to the Queen, also the one to Madame van Doorne. I have just received a note from the Dame d’Honneur—to whom, according to etiquette, I enclosed it for transmission to her Majesty—with one addressed to yourself, which she requests me to forward to you, not knowing your address.

“Thanks many times for your book, which I am sure, like the ‘Queens of England,’ I shall find most interesting. I have had only time to dip into it at present. It is a shame the publisher did not give a better photograph for the title-page. I expect to see the Queen this evening, and shall tell her what you say of it.

“Imagine, after our warm winter, we have now snow on the ground. I am afraid it will cut off the young buds terribly. I must finish in haste to save the mid-day post to England, as there will be none again till Sunday. Admiral Harris desires his most kind regards. I have gummed the autographs into the books. Thanks for your kind compliance with my request.—Believe me ever sincerely yours,

Emma Harris.”

Mrs Harris encloses the note of the Dame d’Honneur of her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, of which the following is a translation from the French:—

To Mademoiselle Agnes Strickland.

Mademoiselle,—In the name of the Queen, I have the honour of thanking you for the interesting book I transmitted to her Majesty from you through Madame Harris. Accept, mademoiselle, my compliments and great esteem.

Elise Bhe de Zinglov de Engwelt.

Dame d’Honneur de la Reine.”


The death of her old friend Mr Mackinnon was a great loss to society, as well as to his family and friends. Agnes sincerely lamented him, and immediately wrote to the Duchesse de Gramont to express her deep sympathy in her grief.

The Duchesse de Gramont to Agnes Strickland.

My dear Agnes Strickland,—I thank you very much for your kind letter, only just received on account of my absence from London. Your amiable expressions of sympathy on the sad loss we have sustained, are, like yourself, sincere and warm-hearted, and I feel deeply your great kindness and appreciation of my dear lamented father’s worth and wonderful benevolence of disposition.

“I am in London for a few days, having just come from Vienna, where I return to make arrangements for our final departure. I regretted much saying adieu to Austria.

“I am glad to hear that you are well, and I have no doubt much occupied at present.

“Good-bye, dearest Agnes. Thanking you again and again for your friendly expressions and heartfelt testimonies to my poor dear father’s memory, I remain, always yours affectionately,

Emma de Gramont.

Hyde Park Place,

28th of June 1870.”


The following letter, in return for the ‘Stuart Princesses,’ gave the author much pleasure:—

Lieut.-General F. H. Seymour to Agnes Strickland.

Osborne, Feb. 8, 1869.

Dear Miss Strickland,—Your letter and book reached me here yesterday, and I hasten to thank you much for so interesting a work, and for remembering that we are descendants of those whose lives for the first time brought it before the world so prominently. After reading it, I shall of course send it to Lady Emily, and then to my father, who, in spite of his years, reads as much as ever, and recollects and reflects upon it far more than the generality of men, young or old. I hope that you have been in the enjoyment of good health since I had the pleasure of hearing of you, and are still able to go through the labours of authorship without fatigue or overtasking the mind.

“Lady Emily and my children would, I know, unite in good wishes and thanks were they here; and she will herself express her sentiments after reading your book.—Believe me, my dear madam, very truly yours,

Francis H. Seymour.

P.S.—You rate me far too highly in thinking I have done anything to deserve the Queen’s sword should have been laid over my shoulders. It is my namesake who is C.B., and I remain, as before, plain Lieut.-General, hoping that he will neither overtake me too quickly, nor find a Lady Emily Anybody to make our identity still more difficult to distinguish. You will be glad to hear that the Queen is much better.”

Some horticultural and domestic employments were this spring a relief to the mental occupations that often injured Agnes Strickland’s health.

In another letter to Mrs Gwillym she gives an account of her visit to Lady Stradbroke at Henham Hall:—

“It was a lovely March day for our drive. Mrs VISIT TO HENHAM HALL. Blois went with me in my carriage, and her manservant on the box to open the gates. Lady Stradbroke gave us a warm welcome and delicious luncheon, or rather a handsome early dinner. After dinner she took us into the garden and grounds, showed us the dairy, and made her dairymaid give us some delicious cream, and ordered two bottles to be put up for us. We had cakes and coffee, and delicious bread and butter, on our return to the house. She provided us also with magnificent bouquets.

“The children behaved beautifully, and Lady Adela and Lady Hilda sang two little songs very prettily. They are lovely bright creatures. The baby is pretty, but looks delicate. They are to come and see me while their parents are at Torquay.

“I have had a visit from Lady Blois and her charming young family. The nurses came to keep them in good order, and very nicely they all behaved. Their aunts Lucy and Clara Blois came with them, and I made the little ones very happy by cutting out paper for them in various shapes. Lady Blois is clever and amiable, and her family very lovely and promising.

“I have just concluded my purchase of the piece of land adjoining my garden. It costs me £100; so I hope, as I have now plenty of room, you will send me some of your beautiful anemones, or anything you can spare. I sent Lady Stradbroke some of my Dutch bulbs, for she has been so bountiful to me in giving me choice shrubs.

“Some weeks ago I got a fall on the beach, by slipping down a high bank of stones thrown up by the late storm, and was picked up by a young man, whom from his dress I took for a coast-guardsman. To-day I had an elegantly written letter, dated from Canterbury, inquiring after my health and requesting my autograph. I know you will laugh at this amusing piece of gallantry—quite romantic, you will think. Of course I sent him one, after the service he had performed for me.

“I spent a pleasant morning,” she says, writing to Mrs Gwillym, “with the Whitakers, and met a nice party. I went to Kessingland church to see the effigy of St Edmund on the ancient font. While in the church, I remembered that our good cousin Admiral Hawtayne and his last wife were buried in the churchyard, and visited their graves. God bless you, my darling Thay.—Affectionately your



It was during a period of sickness and trial, and of pecuniary loss, that Agnes Strickland received the welcome information of a pension of £100 per annum, granted by her Majesty for her literary services, in the following letter:—

Downing Street, Whitehall,

July 11, 1870.

Madam,—Mr Gladstone desires me to inform you that the Queen has been pleased to approve of the grant to you of a pension of £100 per annum on the civil list.

“I have therefore to request that you will furnish me at your earliest convenience with your name and address in full, and also with the names and addresses in full of the two trustees to whom the pension may be made payable.—I am, madam, your obedient servant,

W. B. Gordon.”

The royal gift was received by Agnes with deep gratitude, her loyal feelings towards her Majesty, always warm, enhancing the donation, so welcome at a trying period, and when years were stealing on to SUCCESS OF ‘THE STUART PRINCESSES.’ deaden the energy of the author and weaken her powers.

Agnes Strickland was pleased with her publishers’ approbation of her new work.

“Bell & Daldy,” she writes to Mrs Gwillym, “have sent me a cheque for the ‘Stuart Princesses,’ and Bell says he has read it with great applause at home, and that his auditors preferred it to any novel. I am glad it is appreciated by his young people.”

Agnes was right; young people are sound critics in one respect—they hear with distaste a dull book read, and never will read one unless by compulsion.

The ‘Stuart Princesses’ had come out this year, and proved a valuable addition to all historical libraries—the life of the first English Princess of Orange, Mary, the daughter of Charles I., being almost unknown to the general reader. It is not, however, to the memories of the two royal English Marys that the Dutch fondly cling, but to that of Anne, the daughter of George II., whom they still name as the good Princess of Orange—an affecting tribute of esteem to a royal lady given by the descendants of a grateful people.

After the publication of the new volume, Agnes Strickland sat close to the heavy work of reducing ‘Mary Stuart,’ giving herself no rest beyond occasional visits to her country friends.


Agnes Strickland’s last visit to Scotland was made on account of the National Festival held in honour of Sir Walter Scott, for which she received the following invitation, accompanied by a ticket for the centenary commemoration of the birth of that great genius and worthy man:—

“Mr Usher, Secretary for the Scott Celebration, begs leave, at the request of the Committee, respectfully to enclose a ticket for the Festival to Miss Agnes Strickland, and trusts that she will do them the honour of being present.”

It was not possible for such an admirer of Sir Walter Scott’s poetical and prose works to refuse to be present at a Festival designed to honour his memory. Yet Agnes Strickland rather dreaded the fatigue incidental to a long journey, though Scotland’s hospitable and warm-hearted sons and daughters were justly dear to her. She found her friends the Homes, in their new residence of Bellsyde, as kind and affectionate as ever.

“We are going to start for Edinburgh this afternoon; but I return here on Thursday, and go to Mrs Skene’s on Saturday. The Sheriff has a ticket for the Commemoration, not far from my place, and will see me in and take care of me. Anne, Mary, and Harriet Home send love to you. Dear Anne is, I am sorry to say, looking very delicate. Nothing is talked of in Edinburgh town but the Commemoration, and there is a great crowd for the meeting of the British Association.

“The great day, my dear Thay, is over. We lunched at Miss Craig’s, in George Street, where I was to dress; but the Sheriff was in a great hurry, and wanted me to start before my maid, ticket, and gloves arrived. As soon as my arrangements were completed, the Sheriff took me and Miss Craig in a fly; but the fly broke down, and we had to get down while the Sheriff went in search of a cab, and my Indian burnoose was too smart for the crowded street. However, an open carriage was procured, and, in spite of the accident, we were much too early. I was in the Vice-Chamberlain’s gallery, which was so narrow that only four people could pass me, so I was forced to go higher up. We were very near the speakers, and after waiting more than an hour, they came in. The Earl of Dalkeith BALL AT HENHAM. was in the chair. Sir William Stirling-Maxwell of Keir spoke for an hour very well. The Dean of Westminster made a speech, which the noise unfortunately prevented me from hearing. There was a refection of cake, wine, and fruit set out on the long narrow tables. I sat by Adam Black, formerly Provost and member for Edinburgh, who was very polite to me. The Hall was crowded, and the heat so great that I was forced to leave before it was half over. I saw no one I knew, and upon the whole it was very disappointing.”

Agnes Strickland had the great pleasure of seeing her dear friend Lady Lucy Grant at Kilgraston—whom she loved and valued so much—Mrs Skene of Pitfour, and other friends. After some brief visits she returned to the Homes at Bellsyde for a few days, and then returned to her sister Gwillym’s at Hollow Oak.

Southwold, January 19, 1872.

My own beloved Thay,—You will like to hear about the Henham ball, and how I got on. Why, quite well, and it cost me nothing but the horse for my carriage. Mrs Blois did not go with me as she intended, as she had to chaperon Miss Wade Browne, so I took her Lucy with me. I wore moire antique trimmed with blonde, a Honiton-lace jacket, and my pearl tiara, with lappets; and Jane, who came in to see me dressed, said it was a most successful parure. I encountered the Earl on the staircase, who shook hands with me, and told me Lady Stradbroke was with her children; so I went into the drawing-room, and remarked to him that little Lady Hilda resembled her aunt Lady Frances Hotham. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘she does.’ Then I inquired for the beautiful Mrs Mills, and he told me that she had lost all her beauty before her death, and that Mr Mills was dead also, leaving two sons. I was BALL AT HENHAM. sorry and surprised to hear of their decease. Mrs Micklethwaite, I was glad to hear, was well. Then Miss Petre came in and made love to me, and she is a very nice creature. Presently the company arrived, and we went down into the ball-room; and I was pressed to dance, but said my dancing days were over. It was a nice ball, and the ices and refreshments excellent, and the company pleasant. Lady Mahon came and introduced herself to me, and thanked me for my kindness to her husband, which was being grateful for very little. He called upon me about a year ago, and sent up his card. Of course I received him very courteously, and promised him my interest for the county, for which he was canvassing as the Tory member, and, I am happy to say, got his seat. He is the eldest son of Lord Stanhope, and is a very distinguished young man. I liked him and his lady much, and shall be glad to renew my acquaintance with them both in London.

“Then Miss Arnold came to tell me that Lady Constance Barne wished me to be pointed out to her, as I had stayed with her parents, and that she intended to call upon me soon. I met Mrs Johnson, formerly of Benacre Hall, the Milner Gibsons, and many other county people.

“I was in a little trouble, for I not only lost my best handkerchief, but one of my pearl and diamond brooches. Kind Mr Gooch found the handkerchief, but the brooch was still missing. I told the maids in the cloaking room of my loss, but could hear nothing of it that night. We had an elegant supper; but I did not get away till three the next morning, but slept well, though a little tired.

“The following day Lady Stradbroke came to Southwold and brought me my brooch. Mrs Musgrave and Miss Petre were with her, and they all behaved so sweetly. You may be sure I was glad to recover my ornament, which I had given up for lost.

“With love and best wishes for the year 1872, ever lovingly yours,

Agnes Strickland.”


From the learned antiquarian, the librarian of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s library at Lambeth, Agnes Strickland had received very valuable assistance in her last work, ‘Princesses of the House of Stuart.’ He had taken incredible pains in deciphering for her the letters of Henrietta Anne, the youngest daughter of our Charles I.—sad proofs of the neglected education of a young princess who possessed diplomatic talent, but who could not write either French or English correctly, both grammar and orthography being dreadfully defective, and the writing very difficult to make out. In fact, Father Gamache, her preceptor, had taken no pains in her education, but had confined his instructions wholly to religion.

In acknowledging her obligations to Mr Kershaw, Agnes had made a mistake in writing his name, which in the following letter he is anxious she should correct:—

The Library, Lambeth Palace.

My dear Madam,—Allow me with much gratitude to thank you for mentioning my name in your book just published, ‘Lives of the Stuart Princesses.’ There is, however, one mistake—viz., ‘Kershaw Wayland’ for ‘Wayland Kershaw.’ In a future edition may I ask you kindly to see that this palpable error is corrected.

“The Archbishop and Mrs Tait are here, and I told Mrs Tait last Friday that your work was published. It rejoices me to see that so many of your extracts were from our MSS., which just makes the use of the library the Archbishop would desire.

“I am sure I cannot sufficiently express my thanks for your valuable and kind remarks as to what little assistance I did afford.

“I would, should circumstances permit, beg the honour of a copy, which I can place in the library for a time, and afterwards perhaps keep for my own use.

“We have obtained the book from Mudie’s Library.—I beg to remain, dear madam, with grateful respect, faithfully yours,

S. Wayland Kershaw.”

Though Mr Kershaw rates his services so lightly, they were gratefully appreciated by the author; but real merit is generally accompanied, as in his case, by modesty.

The complaint was severe spasmodic asthma, and the sufferer was under skilful treatment, and had no faith in the remedies proposed by her sister.

This request was implicitly followed by her sorrowful sisters and executors, Sarah Gwillym and Jane Strickland, who buried their beloved relative at Southwold, and not at Reydon by her mother, though the distance was only two miles.

It was unfortunate for her that her father’s first cousin Thomas Strickland was dead, as he had formerly invited her to stay with him, considering her, as he said, an honour to the family. Mynheer Strickland had formerly been fined by Bernadotte very heavily for concealing two English gentlemen in his house and sending them to a place of safety. He could stand the exaction, being one of the wealthiest merchants in Rotterdam.

John Bruce, Esq., was a man of talent, well known in the literary world as an antiquary and author.

Over the noble west window are the interesting, though to us Protestants vain words, in flint-work, in the fine old ecclesiastical character, “Sanctus Edmundus. Ora pro nobis.” In one of the panels of the great door may still be seen the head of St Edmund with a radiated crown; behind him a hoof appears lifted as in act to strike. The fine black oak door ought to be restored; it is much mutilated.



As soon as Agnes Strickland had completed the reduction of ‘Mary Stuart,’ she determined to leave Southwold for London, to arrange for its publication with Messrs Bell & Daldy. She left the MSS. in their hands; and having accepted an invitation from Mrs and the Rev. Mr Fleming of Crouch End, near town, went thither apparently for a few days only, as the termination of her visit was fixed for the beginning of the next week. She enjoyed her sojourn with this amiable and pious family very much, and had made preparations for her departure on the following Monday, when an unfortunate and unforeseen accident caused her to remain a guest at the vicarage for many succeeding weeks.

Upon the Sunday morning, as Agnes Strickland, ready dressed for church, was coming down-stairs, Miss Fish, the sister of her hostess Mrs Fleming, spoke to her from the top of the staircase, when, upon turning her head to reply to her remark, she let go the balustrade, and missing the last step, fell with her right leg doubled under her, breaking the large and small bones above the ankle. Though unable to rise, she had no SERIOUS ACCIDENT. idea of the serious nature of the accident that had befallen her. Her maid was not so sanguine as herself, for she ran to call the family surgeon to the assistance of her mistress, when the sufferer, by his help and that of Mr Fleming, was quickly conveyed to her apartment and consigned to her bed. She felt so little pain, that she was greatly surprised when informed of the nature of the injury by the surgeon.

The next day the limb was set, and the sufferer was able to write a brief notice to her sister Elizabeth in Surrey, of the misfortune that had occurred to her, in a few hurried lines, as soon as the setting was completed.

However, the accident that had befallen her sister, and the manner in which it had occurred, were communicated to Elizabeth Strickland by Vickery in a less abrupt form than its announcement by the sufferer in the following brief lines:—

My dear Elizabeth,—Both bones of the right leg are fractured, but were set this morning by two doctors with less pain than I expected. I am confined to my bed, with leg bound up in splints, and fear I shall be a month before I travel. The Flemings are very kind.

“I quite agree with your letter to Bell, which I have sent with a scrawl to him. I have the letter at home from Lady Lennox. My address is—The Rev. W. Fleming, The Vicarage, Crouch End, near Hornsey, London.”

Her sister Elizabeth, immediately upon the receipt of the second note, came to see her, bringing with her Jessie, a trained hospital nurse, sister to the faithful Vickery, who found all things done so well by that good creature that her own services were not required; but she decided that the poor sufferer could not be moved for six weeks. RESULTS OF ACCIDENT.

Elizabeth found her sister not only patient but cheerful, and more anxious about the inconvenience of her confinement to bed to the family, who were about to move, than for her own pain and weariness. Indeed, as Mr Fleming was to leave Crouch End for another living at midsummer, nothing could be more unfortunate. Under these circumstances, Agnes wished to be conveyed to a lodging; but the good Christians with whom she was sojourning would not permit her to do so.

As the sufferer’s own maid was able to attend to her mistress without adding to the kind family the inconvenience of another inmate, Elizabeth, at the request of her sister, and being fully alive to this fact, returned to her own home. Jane remained at Southwold, being too weak from her long illness to attend her suffering sister, who received every tender and Christian solace from the family with whom she was compelled to make such a long and inconvenient sojourn. The weather was very hot, and the confinement of course irksome; but Agnes bore it with invincible patience. Her only anxiety was for the delay and trouble she was occasioning to her host and hostess. Their kindness would not allow her to perceive any annoyance of the sort; yet they must have felt it, not only on their own account, but on that of the gentleman who was appointed to the living. They were Christian people, and proved themselves to be so in their loving care for the poor disabled Agnes, who after six weeks was pronounced capable of returning to her own home.


Though disabled by her sad accident, Agnes was obliged to attend to the negotiation for the publication of ‘Mary Stuart’ in the condensed edition of two volumes, as the following brief note to her sister Elizabeth will show:—

Still in my bed, June 22, 1872.

My dear Elizabeth,—Here is Bell’s letter enclosing yours. I shall wait for his answer to that. The portrait of Mary will not do. I have published a much finer in Blackwoods’ edition. I proposed my miniature of Mary from Sir John Maxwell’s authentic portrait. I am not well enough to write to Bell about his terms.

“The doctor says I am going on well, but I am sick of bed.”

No wonder—for the weather was intensely hot, and the poor prisoner was used to take a great deal of daily walking exercise.

In another note she thanks her sister for her kind invitation to come to her in Surrey as soon as she could be safely moved. “But I must go home when able to stir, for I feel anxious and fearful now; but thank you much for your great kindness.

“I had a beautiful French paper forwarded to me from Southwold, ‘La Presse,’ with such a noble review of my life of ‘Mary Stuart.’ I sent it to Bell, charging him to take great care of it.

“I am going on well with my broken leg; it is only a simple fracture, thank God, whose mercy is abundantly shown to me. My two medical men are kind and skilful. The setting did not pain me so much as I had expected; and Vickery [her faithful maid] is very good to me, for I am quite helpless. About my ‘Mary Stuart,’ I think her picture when Queen of France will do. The family are very kind.”

Neither of her sisters, Mrs Gwillym nor Jane Strickland, was well enough to come to her; but after her return and dangerous illness, both were in constant attendance upon her. But, happily for her, the coming CONVALESCENCE. event that effectually severed her from society and literary employment had not yet befallen her, and she was hopefully turning her eyes towards recovery from her accident, and returning to her own peaceful home and winter’s work.

To Mrs Gwillym she expressed her warm thanks for the tender sympathy of that beloved sister, and for her generous offer of pecuniary assistance, which she declines, but tells her “that she is going on favourably, and hopes to be able to travel home in a short time,” which she was very anxious to do.

The place from which Agnes Strickland dates her letter struck a sad chord in the fond bosom of that loving sister and faithful friend to whom it was addressed:—

Crouch End Vicarage, London,

Still in bed, July 24, 1872.

My own beloved Thay,—Though I cannot put my foot to the ground, it has been arranged for me, at my own earnest request, to travel to-morrow. Mr Fleming and Dr Hall accompany me to Shoreditch, and put me and my maid into an invalid carriage, which has been ordered for me.

“Jane has arranged that Mr Virtue, the surgeon who is to attend me, meets me at Darsham Station, to see me transferred to the carriage he comes in, and I am to sleep on the sofa in the dining-room till I can get up-stairs. So, as I cannot come to you, dearest, I hope you will come to see me hopping on my crutches.—Ever, dearest, your affectionate and grateful

Agnes Strickland.”


The following kind and sympathising letter from a noble friend gave the invalid much pleasure:—

Lady Ashbrook to Agnes Strickland.

“26 Queen’s Gate Terrace, Hyde Park,

August 7, 1872.

My dear Miss Strickland,—I am so grieved to hear you have met with an accident and hurt your ankle;[1] but I hope soon to receive a good bulletin of your health and recovery. I met with a similar accident from getting my foot under a mat. I fell with great force, and though much shaken and bruised, I had no bones broken, and I am now quite recovered.

“I have been ever since May in great affliction for the loss of dear Lord Camden. I had a great regard for him, he was so kind and good, such a devoted husband that the loss to my dear granddaughter is irreparable—a young widow left with two infant children, the little Marquis only five months old.

“I scarcely know where to direct this letter, but the last tells me you are at the vicarage, Hornsey; and I hope this may reach you.—And with every good wish for your speedy recovery, believe me always yours sincerely,

E. Ashbrook.”

Agnes Strickland bore the homeward journey better than might have been expected. A careful surgeon had been despatched by her sister Jane to attend to her transfer from the invalid carriage to her own, and when she arrived at her cottage she looked up sweetly and brightly as she was welcomed once more to her own loved home. Yes, once more! Yet how unlike the Agnes who had quitted it in health and strength! crippled, never more to be as she had been—on the eve, too, of a change to which the fracture of a limb was of minor importance. As far as the accident was concerned, nothing could do better than the fractured PARALYTIC SEIZURE. limb; but the shock to the system, the length of the journey, and its consequent fatigue, produced in the course of a few days a sad reaction. She was able to sit up, and nothing but timidity, the surgeon thought, prevented her from making use of her right leg, for the bones were not only united but firm. She appeared unusually dull one morning, answered her sister Jane’s inquiries quite at random, or did not speak at all, who, becoming alarmed, sent for the medical man, who found that she was suffering from the effects of a paralytic and apoplectic seizure. He thought it had occurred during her sleep. The left side of the face and eye appeared to be affected; but the eye quickly recovered its sight, the mouth its usual form, though her speech was interrupted and broken, and her mind wandering and confused. She was very ill for some days, but gradually amended, and recovered partially the use of the affected side, so as to walk with a stick, supported by her patient and devoted maid Vickery, who never quitted her beloved mistress night or day, always the kindest and tenderest of nurses. There are some services money cannot repay nor purchase. This young woman’s were of this character; they flowed not only from duty, but from affection—her care of her afflicted mistress was a labour of love.

But though the cloud hung over the brilliant intellect of Agnes Strickland, the sunshine would still break out at intervals: her temper became, as her maid said, truly lamb-like. In the sacred pages she found hope and consolation. She had been always charitable according to her means; but now she seemed to feel for the woes of poverty and age more deeply, and as one of her aged pensioners died off she was careful to replace the void with some other helpless creature.

The visits of her widowed sister, Sarah Gwillym, cheered her spirits, and sometimes the Agnes of old CORRESPONDENCE. would come forth bright as in happier days. Yet why should we say happier? for never was Agnes Strickland more amiable or contented, though her affliction kept her from the gay scenes and intellectual circles of which she had once formed the great attraction.

She would fain have resumed her authorship, but that was no longer possible. Her sister Jane saw ‘Mary Stuart’ through the press, and left her nothing to do beyond her own private correspondence. She still wrote to her friends the Duchess of Gramont (the beloved Emma Mackinnon of earlier days) and Lady Buchanan (the dear Georgina Stuart), of whom much mention has been made in her home letters. The answers of these distinguished ladies always gave her lively pleasure. Her countenance had recovered its usual serene expression, and the change appeared more in her handwriting than in her manner of expressing herself on paper. The following brief note to her beloved sister Sarah Gwillym will serve as a proof of this assertion:—

My own darling Thay,—I am so rejoiced at the thought of seeing you so soon, that I would go to meet you with joy, but am still too lame and delicate; so, not to alarm you, Jane will meet you at Darsham Station with a Southwold fly, which will be more comfortable than the omnibus, though that is free of cost; but your luggage can come by it very safely.

“You will find a nice fire and tea waiting for you, and me full of joy to welcome you, darling, to my nice cottage in Park Lane.”

There is only one slight inaccuracy in this note—written in haste to a beloved sister—and such seldom occurred in her correspondence with friends; but her sister Jane always looked over her business letters and LETTER TO MRS GWILLYM. examined her accounts with her clever maid Vickery, but rarely had occasion to alter any sentence, unless some slight omission occurred. Her eyes, though apparently bright as ever, had unquestionably lost their accuracy, for her writing was very difficult to read, and the words wandered into each other, though the sense was perfect when made out.

Her beloved sister Sarah Gwillym’s visit had done much to cheer and calm the mind of Agnes Strickland, whose speech, though imperfect in sound, was connected, and expressed her ideas without wandering from the sense. Yet, however difficult to decipher, her letters, though short, were fluently expressed. She writes clearly enough to her dear and absent sister:—

My own beloved Thay,—Many thanks for your kind letter of Saturday. I had been longing for one, and am so rejoiced to find you settled comfortably in your home with your nice nephew [the Rev. Atherton Rawstone][2] and his amiable Cecilia. I am sorely grieved for poor Mary [Miss Rawstone]. God alone can help her; and I am confident He will, for she is one of His blessed ones. I fear you are full of grief for her, but you must not fret. She is in the hands of her heavenly Father, and He will have mercy upon her.

“We have had terrible cold nights and days; the weather is more inclement than I ever remember. I hope it will soon be milder. I am pretty well, and have walked to-day and yesterday. Jane is very well, and sends love to you; but we both miss you so much.

“Our friend Mr Gooch sometimes comes in for a chat, and he praises you very much, and says you are the most perfect of gentlewomen—which gives me pleasure to hear. The good old gentleman is very kind to me, and often comes to see how I am going on. LETTER TO MRS GWILLYM. Pray give my kind regards to your dear nephew and Cecilia, also to poor dear Mary Rawstone when you see her.—Ever, darling Thay, yours most lovingly,

Agnes Strickland.”

There is not much appearance of intellectual decay in Agnes Strickland’s letters to her sister after recovery from her dangerous illness. They are shorter, because she is physically weaker, and the writing more illegible, as if the sight of the writer were affected. To Mrs Gwillym, some months afterwards, she gives a favourable account of her health:—

My own dear Thay,—Many thanks for your dear letter the day before yesterday, giving so comfortable an account of your health and safe return home. I am much as I have been for the last two months, and walk every fine day with my staff and the help of Vickery’s shoulder.

“Milly goes to London for a fortnight’s holiday; and I hope she will have fine weather, for it will be a great disappointment to her if it should be bad. She has been so attentive to me during the last five months, that I could not refuse the holiday.

“Every one has left Southwold now but dear Mrs Lillingston, who wished me to dine with her; but I do not visit at present, nor will run any risks, though I am getting better of my lameness, but the weather is too stormy for me to walk out as usual.

“Everything goes on well with me. I am in comfortable circumstances, having a quarter untouched in hand.

“Farewell, darling! Best wishes and much love.—Ever yours, with much sympathy for poor Mary [Mrs Gwillym’s niece]—ever yours most lovingly,

Agnes Strickland.

Park Lane Cottage, Southwold,

Dec. 24, 1872.”


From Sir George Cholmley, from whom she had not heard for a considerable time, Agnes Strickland received the following letter—a remarkable one, indeed, from a man of ninety years, who appeared still to retain the vigour of his intellectual powers undimmed by age:—

Howsham Hall, near York,

May 11, 1873.

Dear Agnes Strickland,—You perhaps do not know that there is still such a person as myself left in the world. I have outlived all my early and old friends—and about two generations since.

“I am now ninety years old, with some of the infirmities of that age. I have been for many years lame from an accident from a horse falling when I was riding.

“Many changes have taken place. I have changed my name from Strickland to Cholmley.

“Part of my family history is—that a Sir Hugh Cholmley defended Scarbro’ Castle against Oliver Cromwell. That Sir Hugh possessed Whitley Abbey—not Howsham, where I now usually live. The date of it is Queen Elizabeth. It came to me by an heiress of the name of Wentworth.

“My object in writing to you is to express the pleasure I have in reading your ‘Old Friends and New Acquaintances’—tales which are told with great liveliness and strong feelings of truth, and I trust that your book may meet with the approbation which it well deserves.

“I have said that I am ninety years old. I believe that I have lived so long beyond the period usually assigned to man from my having been nearly all my life a real water-drinker, resolutely rejecting all indulgence in wine, tobacco, and all such poisons; and I still read without spectacles.

“I should be glad to hear from you that you are well.—Believe me, yours very truly,

George Cholmley.

“My direction is—Sir George Cholmley, Bart., Howsham Hall, York.”

This letter gave Agnes some pleasure. Alas! it was only from the dear old friends who still remembered RICHARD STRICKLAND. her that she could be compensated for the loss of their society, which, from the cloud that hung over her fine mental powers, she could never hope to share again.

Yet she was still cheerful and lamb-like in manner and temper. Sometimes she looked into the historical books she used to study, but the effort appeared fatiguing. The Bible alone seemed to awake and fix her attention for a time.

There was little variation in the quiet life now led by Agnes Strickland. She still corresponded with her friends and sisters; but though her health improved, she was incapable of literary composition.

The visit of her deceased brother Colonel Strickland’s youngest son gave her some pleasure, for his likeness to her beloved sister Gwillym interested her as soon as she saw him. He was in ill health, but had improved under the maternal care of his aunt Gwillym, with whom he had been staying at Hollow Oak. “I am delighted with Richard Strickland,” she writes to her sister; “he is so like you, and, though dark-complexioned, resembles his poor father. I am really glad of his company, and will try to make him very comfortable. I have taken him to see Blythborough church and Covehithe, and he has been to a dinner-party with Jane, and seems to enjoy his visit to me very much, and to be very grateful to you for your cherishing care of him.” The aunt and nephew parted well pleased with each other—never, alas! in this world to meet again.

In the following spring Agnes appeared to improve greatly in health and strength, walked some time daily with her stick and the help of the faithful maid—who never left her mistress by night or day—drove out frequently, and began to hope that she yet might be able to attend the services of her Church, of which she had been a punctual observer from early childhood. The church was too draughty and the service too long for a person CONTINUED FAILING HEALTH. so situated; but she read the Holy Scriptures daily, and drew comfort and consolation from its inspired pages. She never recovered her speech, so that it was not easy to understand what she said, unless some of her own family or servants could explain her meaning. Her power of expressing her thoughts and feelings in writing, strange to say, never quitted her; but she wrote awry, and evidently found the use of the pen laborious.

In her failing health and the gradual eclipse of her brilliant intellect, her old and valued friends the Duchesse de Gramont and Lady Buchanan did not forget her: their correspondence cheered her spirits, and a souvenir from the first gave her great pleasure—for she writes to Mrs Gwillym: “I was expecting a letter from Emma de Gramont, but was surprised at the arrival of a box from Paris containing a splendid china vase, a real Sèvres, very beautiful and costly, so nicely packed, not a chip. I hope, darling Thay, you will come and stay all the autumn with me, and then you will see it.” And so Sarah did, cheering with her company her poor invalid sister. Yet her affectionate heart was pained by seeing her so different from what she had been—the imperfect utterance, the enfeebled mind. There was, however, much to love in the lamb-like meekness, the patience with which she bore her confinement to the house and sofa. Her affections were still warm and lively, and she had long ceased to regret the brilliant phases of her former active life. Nothing could exceed the care with which her sister, and the faithful Vickery and Milly, watched over her, anticipating her every wish or movement. The marriage of the last was a trial to her, Amelia Fenn having lived with her mother and herself all her young life; but Marianne Vickery loved her afflicted mistress with love strong as death. Nothing but that would have separated her from Agnes Strickland. LETTER FROM LADY BUCHANAN.

Agnes Strickland’s ‘Life of Mary Stuart,’ in two volumes, was to issue from the press of Messrs Bell & Co.; but the sad accident that had had such painful results, compelled her to consign the proofs and revises of the new work to the careful revision of her sister Jane, Elizabeth putting in the dates. It is true she had often availed herself of their assistance; but now it was an absolute necessity, which she at first felt deeply—as it was natural she should do. But she soon got reconciled to the change—sooner, indeed, than her loving helpers had anticipated. She had much pleasure in sending the new volumes to her attached and gifted friend Lady Buchanan, who acknowledged the gift in the following letter. Her ladyship was not aware that Agnes Strickland’s literary labours were over for ever.

Lennoxlove, Nov. 25th.

Dearest Agnes,—How you go on working like the bee! Your two deep-blue volumes and your letter gladdened me, and I thank you many times. I have begun to dip in them, and to refresh my memory with the incidents of that bright stormy career which has a fascination like that of Marie Antoinette; they never pall upon one. I fear your accident has much weakened and shaken you, and that writing is an exertion to you. I wish your faithful maid would be kind enough to give me an account of you, for it is dreary writing of one’s self in the dark days of weakness. Dear mother too, though very well, says she begins to feel old.

“The Queen of the Netherlands, your acquaintance, was at Vienna for a fortnight to visit the Exhibition—which attracted royal people from the most remote ends of the earth—and we saw a great deal of her.

“Dear mother joins me in much love.—Ever, dear friend, believe me, your very affectionate

G. Buchanan.”

This letter cheered the poor delicate Agnes. It was sweet and soothing to her feelings that this gifted and warm-hearted friend kept her in her heart and memory, LETTER FROM LADY BUCHANAN. and she had much pleasure in sending her the ‘Stuart Princesses.’

Lady Buchanan to Agnes Strickland.

Vienna, April 9th.

Dearest Agnes,—Your new volume has arrived, and I have read it with great interest. What short sad lives, yet how eventful! I had known little or nothing of the Princess of Orange, and so was glad to read about her; but she cannot really have been pretty with that great nose. The Princess Elizabeth is a lovely character—she and Princess Louisa must have resembled each other; and after all, they were the least to be pitied of their race, for they gained early their immortal crowns.

“I am truly grateful to you, dear Agnes, for this valuable present, which completes so delightfully the monument you have raised to our royal fallen house. I am so glad you put in your preface that well-deserved eulogium on the Queen of Holland; she is indeed one in a thousand, but suffers the penalty usual to those too talented and superior for their surroundings.

“My accounts of my dear invalid sister continue to speak of much pain. She is very patient; but oh, what a contrast to the active overworking life of former years! My dearest mother writes in good spirits, but I do not think she will leave Lennoxlove this year. Spring is beginning to shed a green tinge on the trees, but the wind is still cold and the dust horrid. We have the dreadful annoyance before us of looking out for a house, as this is sold, and we had to expend so much in doing it up before we could get into it.—With much love and grateful thanks, ever affectionately yours,

G. Buchanan.”

The opening year seemed to promise better things for Agnes Strickland. She was stronger, and her speech was more distinct. Her mental faculties were apparently reviving, and she moved with less difficulty.

She remained cheerful and hopeful, her health improved, and seemed to promise amendment; but she RECOVERED HEALTH. still was compelled to occupy the ground-floor. She had ceased to wish for the gay world in which her society had been so courted and appreciated. “My garden is pretty, and gay with daffodils, tulips, violets, and the beautiful Ribes,” she writes to her sister Sarah; “but the weather is cold, so that I have not been beyond it for some days. I have not yet been to church since my accident.” Agnes felt this as a great deprivation; but there was no help for it, and she was compelled to submit to the stern law of necessity.

In June she writes still more hopefully of recovering her strength. She took airings in her carriage, and called upon some of her friends. “I have walked,” she writes to her sister, “four times round the garden, and go about the house all alone by myself; and I have had a sweet letter from dear Lady Buchanan, expressing a hope that we may yet meet again at Lennoxlove with dear Lady Blantyre. I have been up-stairs with considerable help, yet the change was pleasant. Lady Dillon too, kind, amiable dear, has invited me to stay with her. I know not yet how that can be, but I certainly feel stronger every day.”

To all appearance she was so, for she not only made flesh, but took short walks every day, and became more collected, and her speech improved. She was eagerly anticipating the promised visit of her sister Mrs Gwillym, that beloved friend and sister whom in this world she was to see no more. The hot weather of July seemed to give her additional strength; she was much in the air, and enjoyed the favourable change in the weather. She surprised her sister Jane by paying her daily visits, she not being well enough to see her twice a-day, according to her usual custom. She did not find correspondence easy to her—her letters were short, and very illegibly written; but she did not wander from the subject before her, as she had done soon after her dangerous ABLE TO TAKE EXERCISE. illness. The warm weather had restored her sister Jane to health; but Agnes continued her visits, which gave her great pleasure, and made her remember “that, nothing being impossible with God, she might yet hope for her complete restoration.” Alas! it was only the brightening up of the taper before its extinction; for the fiat had already gone forth, that for the gifted and beloved Agnes Strickland “there should be time no longer.” Yet these last days were so pleasant, so hopeful, her cheerful temper seemed to brighten everything round her; and very dear will their remembrance always be to her friends and domestics. No gloomy anticipations overshadowed the present hours, or spoke of sudden bereavement and separation, though the end of a long and prosperous life was on the eve of its conclusion.

She felt very happy, and went abroad frequently in an invalid chair, and appeared to gather strength from being much in the open air. She seemed to enjoy the company of her friends, and the prospect of seeing her sister Gwillym was anticipated by her with extreme pleasure; and she was pleased that her friends and neighbours were not forgetful—the kind Lord and Lady Dillon, and Lord and Lady Stradbroke, sending every Christmas supplies of game.

Lady Stradbroke paid her kind attention, and Mrs Blois and her amiable daughters often visited her, and sometimes prevailed upon her to visit them. Time passed on, and this year 1874 found her in better health, and more able to move about. She would take short walks, with a stick, and one arm round her maid; and would come and sit with her sister Jane, to whom she expressed her cheerful hope that she should soon be able to walk about, and come to church again. Her sister hoped she might—the rally, strange and almost miraculous as it appeared, seemed so complete. RELAPSE.

One morning in July she took a longer walk than customary, and visited her sister in high spirits. She had not felt so strong or well since her first attack; and she sat a long time with her, and seemed full of life and hope. Her sister, whose cottage adjoined her house, when she came in the evening found her in bed at eight o’clock—a very unusual circumstance. Agnes was not well; she had retching fits, but felt no pain, imputing her indisposition to the heat of the weather—considered it of no consequence, and thought it might even do her good. At twelve that night her sister was called up—the retching fits continued. Should Mr Virtue be sent for? Miss Jane Strickland immediately rose, and half dressing herself, hurried to her sister, and remained with her all night till the symptoms abated—her medical man not thinking there was any danger. She was better the following day, and on the Sunday rallied so much that she would not suffer her sister to keep from morning church, wished to rise, and was in good spirits. In the dead of night a sad summons came to her sister—a change had taken place, and the doctor was with her. At a glance she realised the sad fact.

“Oh, my poor sister is dying!” was her murmured remark to him.

“I am grieved to say there can be no doubt of that,” was his reply.

The sufferer looked up brightly and serenely on her sister and attached maid. She had recovered her speech, so that she spoke more distinctly than for two years and a half before, and stated where her will would be found.

“Shall I pray with you, dear Agnes?” asked her sorrowful sister, stifling her emotion, in the hope of giving the dying Agnes consolation in her last hours.

“Do,” was the brief but emphatic reply; and her DEATH OF AGNES STRICKLAND. sister Jane knelt down and gave her the beautiful office of the Church for the dying, and from time to time repeated such portions of Scripture as might support her during the last trial. Nothing could be calmer or apparently more hopeful than the dying Agnes, whose intelligence seemed to brighten as the spirit was loosening the bonds of its earthly tabernacle. She embraced her sister and faithful maid frequently, and suffered little till the last hour, when she was seized with intense pain, and said, “Oh, what pain—what agony!”

“You must think, dear Agnes, of the agonies your Saviour suffered for you,” was the reply of her sister, who, though deeply sympathising with her sufferings, wished to direct the last thoughts of the dying Agnes to her Lord and Saviour.

“I do—I do!” was her hopeful answer; and these were her last words, for Agnes Strickland never spoke again.

Hopeful words, that seemed to promise a happy eternity. She was convulsed for a few minutes, when her breath became softer; and she passed away at six o’clock on the morning of the 13th of July.

The last hour’s painful warfare had left its traces on the face of the dead, when her sister closed those beautiful dark eyes she was to see no more in this life. She retired to her own house, not to give way to her grief for her sudden bereavement, but to send the necessary but sad tidings of her sister’s decease to her family at home and abroad. To telegraph to Mrs Gwillym, who loved Agnes so dearly, gave her intense pain, as well as to give directions for the funeral and orders for the mourning.

At nine she saw again what had lately been Agnes Strickland; but a change had again taken place—a strange and wonderful one. The dark shadow of death FUNERAL. had disappeared. It was her sister as she had often seen her, sleeping, calm, serene, and more beautiful than she had ever beheld her in life. Years and years had been cast off. It was indeed the realisation of those exquisite lines:—

“He who hath bent him o’er the dead

Ere the first day of death hath fled,

And marked the mild angelic air,

The rapture of repose that’s there,

Some moments—ay, one treacherous hour—

He still might doubt the tyrant’s power,

So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,

The first last look by death revealed.”

Her sister hoped and trusted that she was sleeping in Jesus—upon whose sufferings her dying thoughts had rested during her last painful struggle till her earthly warfare was accomplished.

In the evening of that sad day her sister had another painful duty to perform—that of choosing the last resting-place for the beloved remains. A kind female friend lent her a supporting arm, that she might choose the spot in the parish churchyard.

As Agnes Strickland had always expressed her opinion that “where the tree fell, there it ought to lie”—founding her wish upon that Scriptural declaration, she was not buried at Reydon, by her own dear mother, but in the churchyard of the parish where she died.

Her sister, who had received the kindest offers of assistance from various friends, and from her kinsman the Rev. William Hawtayne, was soon joined by her sisters and fellow-mourners; and on the Friday following they attended the funeral, and saw the remains of Agnes Strickland consigned to their last earthly resting-place. She had nearly completed her seventy-eighth year. PERSONAL APPEARANCE.

With the exception of some early trials, the life of Agnes Strickland had been a long and happy one. Few female authors have realised such a brilliant and successful career. Of her it might be truly said, she made many friends and lost none. She was indeed much beloved in life and deeply lamented in death.

In person she was attractive, though not to be called beautiful. In stature she was tall, and remarkably upright. Her bust and arms were very fine; her hair black as ebony, glossy and silky in texture, as well as abundant; her complexion somewhat pale, unless brightened by exercise or excitement, when it became roseate. If she were seen writing, working, or sitting, it would have been difficult to find a more graceful figure. In short, take her for all in all, “the like of Agnes Strickland may never be seen again.”

Her peculiar position carried her more frequently into society and exposed her to more temptations than fall to the lot of most women. She was made a complete idol of—surrounded by the great and gay, and overwhelmed with adulation or praise, in whatever circles she appeared. The heavy affliction of the last years of her life, by detaching her from the world, led her to look beyond it, and to realise that peace which only the believer can experience in the closing scenes of life.

A simple monument of Sicilian marble, with the dates of her birth and death and a Scriptural text, marks the last resting-place of Agnes Strickland, the historian, whose works alone form her only epitaph; and she needs no other.

Among various letters of condolence received by her sisters, those two of her most beloved surviving friend are inserted by her biographer as a testimonial gratifying to her surviving relatives:— LETTERS TO MISS JANE STRICKLAND.

Lady Buchanan to Miss Jane Strickland.

British Legation, Vienna,

July 19th.

Dear Madam,—With sad surprise I read yesterday in the paper the death of my dear kind old friend Agnes Strickland. I venture to write to you, hoping you will be so very kind as to give me some details of her last hours. Was she long ill, was it a suffering death, and was she spared her consciousness to the last? All and every particular will be precious to me.

“I had not seen her for many years, but we always wrote, and she never failed to send me her valuable works and to think of me. Our last communication was when I was in Scotland last December. I wrote as usual to tell her all about myself, and to ask the same from her. Her answer struck me painfully; it was short, and made no complaint of ill health, yet was difficult to read, and the lines so repeated and blurred sometimes, that a painful dread that her sight was failing seized me, and I wrote to beg her maid would write and give me all particulars of her health, as I feared the exertion of writing must be bad for her. She nevertheless wrote a few affectionate lines, though without confirming my fears, and I have heard no more, till now I find the affectionate heart is cold for ever. She was a true affectionate friend, and every year the number of such true companions diminishes. You will feel her loss more in such a near and dear relationship to her. I must offer you my deep and heartfelt sympathy—all the more heartfelt as I know what the pain of losing a dear sister is.—I remain, dear madam, hoping you will forgive my intrusion upon sorrow, yours truly,

G. Buchanan.”

Lady Buchanan to Miss Jane Strickland.

Vienna, July 29th.

“I will not lose a post in thanking you most gratefully, dear madam, for your interesting letter, with all its touching details of our dear Agnes’s last days of suffering. I had never heard of the paralysis, which accounts so sadly for LETTER FROM LADY BUCHANAN. the shaking hand. She only spoke of her accident, and was always so uncomplaining, so busied and absorbed in her useful works, so interested in others, that there was no space left in her heart or letters for self-pity. I am thankful that you were there to soothe the last hours, and to fix the dying gaze ‘on Him who is able to save to the uttermost,’ and who can be the only staff in those terrible moments when all the known is fading away, and one must enter the unknown eternity alone. My dear sister’s was a long, lingering, hopeless illness of two years and a half, but the last came so suddenly that only the nurse was there; but I heard that with her too, afterwards, all traces of pain and weariness were wiped out, and that the lovely peaceful face was that of youth again. May it be an emblem of the peace, the endless unalterable peace and joy, they are both resting in now. I shall send your precious letter to my dear mother and loving sister Mrs Ferrand, for I know their deep interest in the dear Agnes.

“Please give my affectionate sympathy to Mrs Gwillym, of whom Agnes used to speak so often that I feel as if I knew her well.—Again thanking you earnestly for the kindness that in the midst of all your melancholy occupations spared so much time for me, believe me, dear madam, very truly yours,

G. Buchanan.”

These letters form a touching close to those that gave so much pleasure to poor Agnes. Her ladyship was so kind as to comply with the request of her sister to publish the interesting correspondence between the friends, which stamps a value upon this simple record of Agnes Strickland’s life. None of her dear friends, indeed, was more dearly loved or prized than Lady Buchanan.

The accident, we have seen, was of a far more serious character—and its after-consequences were more serious still—than the kind and noble writer had apprehended.

The nephew of the late Rev. Canon Gwillym.


The ‘Life of Agnes Strickland’ would be incomplete without a short biographical notice of her not less gifted elder sister Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Strickland was born on the 17th of November 1794, her birth being followed by that of Agnes in rather less than two years. She was a child of great promise, who had acquired the knowledge of the alphabet before she had completed her second year. She could not remember learning to read, so precocious were her infantine faculties. Although a child, there was nothing childish in her ways. Her perceptions were, her parents remarked, always reflective and womanly. Faults of temper she had, but she was never mischievous like her more vivacious sister Agnes. Her affections were strong, and her love to Agnes amounted to a passion. She possessed fine artistic talents, and became, under the instruction of her father, a perfect arithmetician. It was his wish to make her a mathematician; but though skilled in figures, she had no wish to acquire the difficult science in which he desired her to excel. Elizabeth Strickland had no preceptors but her own parents, but she had profited so well by their instructions that she was able and willing to teach the younger part of the family. She was well qualified to do so, being a very accomplished girl. Nature had bestowed upon her an elegant ELIZABETH STRICKLAND. person; she was tall, but scarcely appeared so from the symmetry of her form. Her features were small and delicate, her teeth beautiful, her hair dark chestnut, and so profuse that it reached her knees; her eyes were hazel, the complexion of her face that of a warm brunette, blanching to snowy whiteness on her neck and shoulders. Her bust, hands, and feet were remarkable for their beauty; her conversation was lively and intelligent, her disposition generous, her temper warm to faultiness; but she was very unselfish, and willing to help all who needed her assistance. She was a fine dancer, an excellent botanist and florist, drew well in many styles, was well versed in heraldry, and found great pleasure in antiquarian research. Unlike Agnes, whose health was often delicate, she possessed a fine constitution, and though so sylph-like in appearance, was personally strong.

Well skilled in business of every kind, it was to her application was made in any case of difficulty occurring in the family, which, in fact, she ruled, possessing the governing powers in no ordinary degree, and perhaps exercising them not always to the liking of the governed.

Elizabeth and Agnes being the eldest of the family, had given a tone to their younger sisters, who naturally imbibed their literary tastes, their love for poetry, and fondness for the study of history.

Elizabeth and Agnes were joint authors in some juvenile works; but while Elizabeth edited for some years the ‘Court Magazine,’ Agnes only occasionally furnished stories upon English history for that periodical. Elizabeth provided for it some capital biographical memoirs, and wrote able reviews which excited attention and effectually raised the character of the magazine. When she commenced with Agnes the popular series of royal biographies, the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ JOINT WORKS OF AGNES AND ELIZABETH. she gave up the editorship of that periodical, and devoted her talents exclusively to that work. As she would not allow her name to be placed on the title-page by the side of her sister, it may be useful to the readers of those volumes to append the names of the writers to each biography.

Volume I.
Agnes.Preface. Introduction.
Life of Matilda of Flanders.
Life of Matilda of Scotland.
Life of Matilda of Boulogne.
Elizabeth.Adelicia of Louvaine.
Eleanora of Aquitaine.
Volume II.
Elizabeth.Berengaria of Navarre.
Isabella of Angoulême.
Marguerite of France.
Philippa of Hainault.
Anne of Bohemia.
Eleanora of Castile.
Agnes.Eleanora of Provence.
Isabella of France, surnamed the Fair.
Volume III.
Elizabeth.Isabella of Valois.
Katharine of Valois, the Fair.
Elizabeth Woodville.
Anne of Warwick.
Agnes.Joanna of Navarre.
Margaret of Anjou.
Volume IV.
Elizabeth.Elizabeth of York.
Katharine of Arragon.
Jane Seymour.
Agnes.Anne Boleyn.
Anne of Cleves.
Katharine Howard.
Volume V.
Agnes.Catherine Parr.
Elizabeth.Mary Tudor, Regnant Queen.
Volume VI.
Elizabeth.Sequel of Mary Tudor, Regnant Queen.
Agnes.Queen Elizabeth.
Volume VII.
Agnes.Sequel to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth.Anne of Denmark.
Volume VIII.
Elizabeth.Henrietta Maria.
Agnes.Catharine of Braganza.
Volume IX.
Agnes.Mary Beatrice.
Volume X.
Agnes.Sequel to Mary Beatrice.
Elizabeth.Mary II., Queen Regnant.
Volume XI.
Elizabeth.Sequel to Mary II., Queen Regnant.
Anne, Queen Regnant.
Volume XII.
Elizabeth.Sequel to Anne, Queen Regnant.

The most popular of these volumes owed their chief attraction to Agnes, who rarely drew down the rage of party, with the exception of her life of Mary Beatrice, which, as a matter of course, provoked the bigotry of those critics who could not forgive Mary Beatrice for being the wife of the intolerant James II. There was a marked difference in the style of the two sister authors; that of Agnes was more flowing, and she was the complete mistress of pathos. Few could read the lives of the erring Anne Boleyn or frail Katharine Howard JOINT WORKS. without emotion, nor yet the trials and sorrows of the virtuous Mary Beatrice without sympathy. Elizabeth’s style was more masculine and nervous: no readers would have imagined that the lives of Mary Tudor, Mary of Orange, and Anne had been written by a woman, unless a female name had appeared on the title-page. Her Majesty Queen Victoria, with critical acumen, had, it is said, decided that the ‘Queens of England’ were by two different authors—a fact that she alone appears to have discovered.

To the ‘Queens of Scotland’ and ‘Tudor Princesses’ Elizabeth contributed Margaret Tudor, the Countess of Lennox; the lives of Magdalen of France, Mary of Lorraine, and Mary Stuart were wholly the work of Agnes.

Volume VIII.
Elizabeth.English Princesses connected with the Succession.
Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia.
Sophia, Electress of Hanover.
‘Tudor Princesses.’
Elizabeth.Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk.
Lady Jane Gray.
Lady Katharine Gray.
Lady Mary Gray.
Agnes.Lady Eleanor Brandon.
Lady Margaret Clifford.
Lady Arabella Stuart.

‘Stuart Princesses.’

This volume is wholly by Agnes Strickland, and was her last work.

‘The Seven Bishops.’

This work contains only two lives by Elizabeth Strickland, those of Lloyd and Trelawney.



Elizabeth possessed poetical talents as well as Agnes and her younger sister Susanna, but she rarely exercised them. After she left Reydon, she resided for some years at a pretty cottage at Bayswater, near Kensington Gardens. When the lease was out, she purchased a small property, Abbot’s Lodge, at Tilford, in the county of Surrey, on which she resided till her death, which took place upon the 30th of April 1875, having completed her eightieth year, surviving her sister author Agnes Strickland about nine months, deeply lamented by her surviving friends and relatives.


Aberdeen, meeting of British Association at, 257.

Aldershot camp, visit to, 235.

Alford, Dean, 236.

Alison, Sir Archibald, meeting with, 170

  —presentation of ‘Historic Scenes to, 189

  —letter from, 201.

Althorp, visit to, 264

  —volunteer fête at, 266

  —lines on, 268.

Ambleside, incident during stay at, 77.

Ashbrook, Lady, letter from, 365.

‘Athenæum,’ unfavourable criticism in the, 48.


‘Bachelor Kings of England,’ publication of the, 249, 263, 270

  —copy presented to Prince of Wales, 272.

Bailey, the sculptor, bust by, 179.

Balmacaan, residence at, 241.

Barrow, Sir John, lines on, 256.

Bayeux tapestry, the, 47.

Begging letters, a shoal of, 23, 145.

Benacre Hall, fête at, 223.

“Black Drawing-Room,” the, 271.

Blackwood, Messrs, become publishers of the ‘Queens of Scotland,’ 187

  —friendship of, 195, 220.

Bodleian Library, researches in, 289.

Boleyn, Anne, popularity of the Life of, 49

  —tradition regarding, 177.

Bolton Castle, visit to, 208.

Bothwell, Earl, in Denmark, 250

  —supposed remains of, 251.

Bourke, Lady Susan, valuable gift from, 299.

British Association, the, at Cheltenham, 237

  —at Carlisle, 254

  —at Aberdeen, 257.

Brougham Castle, visit to, 254.

Brougham, Lord, at home, 255.

Brunswick queens, refusal to write the lives of the, 149.


Campbell, Lord, plagiarisms by, 167

  —apology from, 168.

Campden, Lady, visit to, 292.

Canino, the Prince of, 189.

Canterbury, visit to, 236.

Carlisle, meeting of British Association at, 254.

“Casket Letters,” the, 209, 210 note.

Catholic queens, biographies of the, reception of, 85.

Chatsworth, visit to, 181.

Cheltenham, meeting of British Association at, 237.

Cholmley, Sir George, letter from, 370.

Clare, the peasant poet, 265, 267.

Colburn, Mr, publishing difficulties with, 20

  —arrangements with, 179, 187

  —fresh troubles with, 205.

Corby Castle, visits to, 59, 254.

Court, presentation at, 34.

Craufurdland Castle, visits to, 152, 171

  —wedding at, 153.


Dalton, visit to, 75.

‘Demetrius,’ unfavourable reception of the poem of, 18.

Derwentwater peerage, curious letter regarding the, 202.

Devonshire, Duke of, visit to the, 146.

Diane of Poitiers, 99.

Don Miguel, of Portugal, introduction to, 143.

Dublin, visit to, 275.

Duddon sands, crossing the, 73.

Dytchley Park, visits to, 322, 329.


Eastlake, Lady, meeting with, 150.

Edinburgh, the mystic Babylon, 193

  —Scott Centenary at, 354.

‘Edinburgh Review,’ the, on the ‘Queens of England,’ 165.

Elgin, Countess of, in Paris, 129

  —letter from, 132.


Father Mathew, notice of, 67.

Fletcher Gordons, the, 285.

‘Floral Sketches,’ piracy of the, 273.

France, visit to, 89 et seq.

French Archives, researches in, 114.

French Revolution, a relic of the, 131.

Froude, Mr, on Mary Stuart, 298

  —introduction to, ib.

Furness Abbey, visit to, 76.


Goblin’s Cave, the, 211.

Graburn, Mr Nelson, his collection of historical portraits, 224.

Gramont, Duchesse de (née Emma Mackinnon), letter from, 350.

Grassini, Madame, interview with, 128.

Greystoke Castle, visit to, 254.

Guizot, M., letters from, 45, 113

  —interview with, 112, 134.

Gwillym, Canon, 74

  —marriage of, to Sarah Strickland, 86

  —death of, 330.


Hague, visit to the, 341.

Hammersmith Convent, visit to, 36.

Hardwick, visit to, 182.

Harris, Mrs, letters from, 341, 349.

Havre, description of, 92.

Hawtayne, Admiral, visit to, 176

  —death of, 242.

Henham Hall, visit to, 351

  —ball at, 356.

Hinds, Dr, Bishop of Norwich, 197.

‘Historic Scenes,’ publication of, 187.

Holland, preparations for visit to, 329

  —departure for, 341

  —impressions of people, 342.

Holland House, fête at, 331.

Honolulu, Queen Emma of, meetings with, 307, 329

  —letter from, 307.

‘How will it End?’ the scene of, 77

  —publication of, 306.

Howard, Catherine, portraiture of, 50.

Hugo, Victor, letter from, 331.


Ireland, visit to, 275 et seq.

Italian language, study of the, 15.


Jamieson, Mrs, letter from, 83.

Jenny Lind, the singing of, 169, 321.

Jermyn, Lady Katharine, as Queen Berengaria, 148.

Joint works of Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland, list of, 385.

Juvenile theatricals, 6.


Kershaw, Mr S. Wayland, letters from, 338, 358.


Lake country, tour in the, 77 et seq.

Lawson, Henry, the astronomer, 178

  —letter from, 231

  —death of, 232.

Lennoxlove, visits to, 210 et seq., 226.

Leven, Lord and Lady, visit to, 262.

‘Life of Mary Tudor,’ attacks following publication of, 229.

Lindsay, Lord, presentation volume from, 163.

Lingard, Dr, letter from, 47.

‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ commencement of the, 18

  —dedication of, to her Majesty, ib.

  —joint authorship of, ib. et seq.

  —plagiarisms of, 24, 167

  —completion of, 164

  —reception of, ib., 185

  —new editions of, 196, 296

  —abridgment of, 207 note, 296, 320

  —continued success of, 317.

‘Lives of the Queens of Scotland,’ plans of, 172

  —publication of first volume of, 189

  —succeeding volumes of, 216.

‘Lives of the Seven Bishops,’ the, 293

  —presentation of, to the Bishops of London and Oxford, 321.

‘Lives of the Stuart Princesses,’ plan of, 337

  —success of, 354.

Loch Katrine, a row over, 159.

Loch Leven, visit to, 260.

Loch Lomond, impressions of, 156.

Louis de Brezé, monument to, 99.

Louis Philippe, unpopularity of, 125.


Macaulay, Lord, introduction to, 223

  —impressions of, ib.

Mackinnon, Miss Emma (Duchesse de Gramont), residence with, 173

  —correspondence with, 244

  —letter from, 350.

Macleod, Rev. Dr Norman, notice of, 82.

Malahide Castle, visit to, 279.

Mansion House, grand soiree at, 209.

Mary of Modena, the Life of, 144.

Mary Queen of Scots, translation of the letters of, 71

  —relics of, 173, 191, 231

  —collecting material for life of, 209

  —publication of life of, 216, 233

  —prison-houses of, 218

  —discovery of documents regarding, 243

  —Froude’s attack on, 298

  —abridgment of life of, 354

  —publication of abridged edition of life of, 360.

‘Matilda,’ a metrical romance, 11.

Matilda of Flanders, portrait of, 106.

Maxwell, Lady Matilda, 226

  —suggests abridged ‘Life of Mary Queen of Scots,’ 227

  —letter from, 228

  —death of, 241.

Michelet, M., letter from, 46

  —interview with, 119.

Montalembert, Count, letter from, 38.

Montemolin, Count, 141.

Morton, Lord and Lady, visit to, 191.

Mount Stuart, visit to, 216.


Napier, Mark, friendship with, 226.

National records, care of, 27.

‘New Monthly Magazine,’ contributions to the, 16.

Newburgh, Countess of, 217

  —death of, 222.

Newcastle, Asiatic cholera in, 61.

‘Norwich Mercury,’ verses in, 8.

Notre Dame de Normandie, antiquities of, 102.


Observatoire, visit to Parisian, 129.

‘Old Friends and New Acquaintances,’ publication of, 249, 263.

Oxford, Commemoration at, 306.


Park Lane Cottage, takes up residence at, 302.

Parliament, New Houses of, 66.

Parr, Queen Catherine, relics of, 232.

Pellew, Dean, of Norwich, visit to, 221.

Pichot, Amédée, letter from, 128.

‘Pilgrims of Walsingham,’ the, publication of, 18

  —scene of, 221.

Pitfour, visit to, 259.

Place de la Pucelle, the, 106.

Pope, attempt to convert the, 193.

Popular juvenile works, impression made by, 17.

“Porridge-making,” a harvest, 212.

Porter, Miss Jane, letters to, 34, 48, 183

  —visit to, 179.

Prince Albert, presentation to, 35

  —lays foundation-stone of National Gallery, Edinburgh, 192

  —address at British Association meeting in Aberdeen, 258.

Prince of Wales, acceptance of ‘Bachelor Kings’ by, 272

  —ball in honour of, at Dublin, 275

  —presentation to, 277

  —at St Paul’s Cathedral, 286.

Princess Alice, Drawing-room held by, 327.

Princess Charlotte of Wales, Monody on the death of, 9.

Princess of Wales, Drawing-room held by, 296.


Queen-Dowager, presentation of ‘Queens of England’ to, 34.

Queen Elizabeth, life of, 69

  —alteration in new edition of, ib.

  —reception of work, 70.

Queen of the Netherlands, presentation to the, 342

  —the ‘Stuart Princesses’ accepted by, 349.

Queen Victoria, dedication of ‘English Queens’ to, 18

  —coronation of, 29

  —verses on, 31

  —presentation of first volumes of the ‘Queens’ to, 33

  —opening of Parliament by, 39, 87

  —marriage of, 42

  —reception at Holyrood, 191

  —at Crystal Palace, 230

  —grants Agnes Strickland a pension on the civil list, 353.


Rachel, Madame, in ‘Emilie,’ 127.

Rawlinson, Sir Henry, on his Assyrian researches, 237

  —meeting with, 238.

Register House, Edinburgh, discovery of documents in, respecting Mary Stuart, 243.

Reydon Hall, residence at, 1 et seq. passim

  —theatricals at, 6

  —quitting the family mansion of, 302.

Robespierre, unedited papers of, 114.

Rollo of Normandy, monument of, 101.

Rosmeade, visit to, 279.

Rossie Priory, visit to, 216.

Rothesay, visit to, 170.

Rouen, description of, 96.

Rousham Hall, visits to, 288, 321.


Sancroft, Archbishop, relics of, 293.

Scotland, fondness for, 214.

Scots College, Paris, description of, 120.

Scott, Sir Walter, meeting with, 16

  —National Festival in honour of, 354.

Scottish Highlands, tour in the, 156 et seq.

‘Seaside Offering,’ the, 295.

Seine, a voyage up the, 95.

‘Seven Ages of Woman,’ publication of the, 15.

Seymour, Lieutenant-General, letter from, 351.

Sheriffe, Miss, death of, 345

  —lines on, 346.

Sizergh Castle, visits to, 51 et seq., 335

  —portraits of the exiled royal Stuarts at, 59.

‘Spectator,’ attack by the, 270.

Spencer, Lord and Lady, visit to, 265.

St Germains, visits to, 109, 115.

‘St James’s Chronicle,’ apology from the, 233.

St Margaret’s Convent, Edinburgh, visit to, 192.

St Ouen, church of, in Rouen, 104.

St Paul’s, the Apposition at, 286

  —children’s service in, 317.

Stanhope, Lord, introduction to, 167.

Stanley, Dean, visits to, 321, 327

  —presentation of work by, 327.

Stanley, Dr, Bishop of Norwich, on the ‘Queens of England,’ 164, 171

  —meeting with, 165

  —letter from, 172

  —his character, 198.

Stanley, Lady Augusta, letters from, 132, 326.

State Paper Office, labours in the, 26, 49.

Stephens, Archibald, legal consultation with, 20

  —letter to, on publishing difficulties, 205

  —friendly assistance of, 274.

Stirling Castle, visit to, 160.

Stradbroke, Lady, death of, 234.

Strafford, Lord, portrait of, 347.

Strickland, Agnes, birth of, 1

  —her early training, ib. et seq.

  —her first literary work, 4

  —poems by, published, 14

  —prose juvenile works by, 17

  —portraits of, 16, 174

  —cast of, 16

  —conception by, of the ‘Lives of the Queens of England,’ 18

  —presentation of first volume of the ‘Lives’ to Queen Victoria, 33

  —visit to Scotland, 81

  —visit to France, 89 et seq.

  —again in Scotland, 151

  —completion of the ‘Queens of England,’ 164

  —plan of the ‘Queens of Scotland,’ 172

  —bust of, 180

  —publication of the ‘Lives’ by Messrs Blackwood, 187

  —visits in Scotland, 189 et seq.

  —meeting with Macaulay, 222

  —publication of the ‘Bachelor Kings,’ 249, 263

  —visit to Ireland, 275

  —the ‘Lives of the Seven Bishops,’ 293

  —second Continental tour, 337 et seq.

  —receives a pension on the Civil list, 353

  —serious accident to, 360

  —last illness, and death of, 378

  —personal appearance of, 380.

Strickland, Catherine Parr, 85.

Strickland, Elizabeth, early studies of, 3, 383

  —editor of ‘Court Journal,’ 18, 384

  —joint author of ‘Queens of England,’ 18, 385

  —of ‘Queens of Scotland,’ 172, 387

  —refuses to help in writing of ‘Stuart Princesses,’ 338

  —personal appearance of, 384

  —death of, 388.

Strickland, Jane, letters to, 156, 173, 210, 225

  —editor of ‘Historic Scenes,’ 187.

Strickland, Major, 198

  —his ‘Twenty-seven Years in Canada,’ 199, 217, 325

  —marriage of, 228

  —illness of, 317, 319

  —his death, 325.

Strickland, Mrs, is left a widow, 13

  —letters to, 52, 78, 86 et seq. passim

  —death of, 301.

Strickland, Sarah, brief courtship of, 74

  —marriage of, 86

  —letters to, 136, 147, 158, 161 et seq. passim

  —becomes a widow, 330.

Strickland, Susanna, 85, 192.

Strickland, Thomas, Esq. of Reydon Hall, 1

  —takes up his residence in Norwich, 7

  —his death, 13.

Stricklands of Sizergh, the, 55.

Stuart, Hon. Georgina, excursions with, 210

  —letters to, 233, 237

  —becomes Lady Buchanan, 239

  —letters from, 302, 373, 374, 381.

Stuart, Sobieski, correspondence with, 151.

Sudeley Castle, visits to, 238, 269, 287.


Tower of London, explorations in the, 308 et seq.

‘Tudor Princesses,’ the, publication of, 337.

Tutbury, the castle of, 219.

‘Twenty-seven Years in Canada,’ by Major Strickland, 199, 217, 325.


‘Victoria, from her Birth to her Bridal,’ publication of, 44.


Wales, a tour in, 245 et seq.

Walsingham Chapel, visit to the ruins of, 220.

Wellington, Duke of, introduction to the, 138.

Westminster Abbey, a lighted service at, 166.

Wiesoner, M., letter and presentation volume from, 299.

Winchester, visit to, 235.

Windsor Castle, visit to, 269.

Wiseman, Cardinal, on charity schools, 285

—his ‘Fabiola,’ 286.

Wolff, Dr, 185.

‘Worcester Field; or, The Cavalier,’ publication of, 14.

Wright, Thomas, letter from, 333.


York Minster, relics in, 290.



Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

Page headings have been rendered in this edition as sidenotes, approximately at the same locations as the headings.

[The end of Life of Agnes Strickland by Jane Margaret Strickland]