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on me to do at last, to ask you to write to her!! She thinks of nothing but the hope of procuring this honor, and I positively think it has become a monomania. So now I have put myself into the category of bores,' but I have discharged my errand, and, after you have laughed at it, you will, I presume, think no more about it; still, if you took it into your head to gratify her, I should feel it as very condescending and important favor to myself. She is a high-spirited, romantic, fearless girl, téte montée, as you may suppose, but magnificently beautiful; and as she has a large fortune, and will probably travel the first year of her marriage, she would doubtless call on you soon in London, and present her thanks very eloquently. Her name is Miss Wof G - H---; and if you should write, if you will be kind enough to inclose the note to me, I will forward it.
“ I am in Ireland, picking up materials for one of Virtue's pictorial books, and next week I go to the Giants' Causeway, &c. I shall be in the country perhaps a fortnight, and in London probably in the course of a month.*
“N. P. Willis."
“Manor llouse, Lee, Kent., Monday, 18th. “ I inclose you a copy of a letter I have sent to Captain Marryatt, who is abroad. I don't know whether you have seen his attack, but I have been advised to print and send to my friends the letter you now receive, while I am waiting for his answer. It will eventually be published, but meantime his abuse rests on my reputation. I scarce regret his attack, since it gives me an opportunity, once for all, of meeting these matters in a tangible shape; and, once for all, I shall carry the point well through.
“I have written quietly, and given Marryatt an opportunity to explain, which I hope he will do; but an explanation I must have. Pray write inc your opinion of my document, for I am not much skilled in this kind of correspondence.
N. P. WILLIS."
* I had some conversation with Tom Campbell on the subject of the abovcmentioned undertaking of Willis “to do Ireland” for Mr. Virtue. Campbell workcd himself into one of his fits of red-hot wrath at the idea of an American making a run over to Dublin, and taking on him to enlighten an English public on so dark a subject as the history, antiquities, monuments, manners, and customs of the peo. ple of Ireland. “What could he know of Ireland ? How could any American know any thing about it?" On occasions of this sort, I was accustomed to add little fuel to the fire of the poet's amusing outbursts of anger, excited without any apparently sufficient provocation. I defended the undertaking of Mr. Willis, and the selection of an American for it, on the ground that he was naturally free from English prejudices, and a stranger to Irish feeling in general, and had actually been studying Ireland, politically, socially, and topographically, upward of fourteen days on the spot. “Fourteen days !” exclaimed Campbell; "all the knowledge he possesses of Ireland might have been acquired in fourteen hours.". R. R. M.
“ I send you a rough draught of my idea for Lady Buckingham's picture. If you think it will do, I will elaborate it before you want it; it is at present a little indistinct.
“ Fonblanque has written me a note, which, without giving me ground for a quarrel, is very unjustifiable, I think. Another friend of yours has written me too, and a more temperate, just (though severe), and gentlemanly letter I never read. He gives me no quarter; but I like him the better for having written it, and he makes me tenfold more ashamed of those silly and ill-starred letters.
“ I shall soon have the pleasure to see you, I trust, and remain, dear Lady Blessington, ever faithfully yours,
N. P. WILLIS.”
FREDERICK MANSELL REYNOLDS, ESQ. This gentleman, the son of a well-known dramatist, owes his principal literary celebrity to a remarkable work, which attracted a good deal of attention a few years ago, entitled “ Miserimus.”
Mr. Reynolds was rather an amateur in literature than a professor. In his hands “ The Keepsake” made its first appearance -the first and last of the tribe of Annuals--some thirty years ago. He continued to edit it till the year 1836, when Mrs. Norton became editress. In 1837, Lady E. S. Wortley became editress. For many years of his latter life Mr. Reynolds resided on the Continent, and for some time in Jersey. He died at Fontainebleau in 1850. A lady who was well acquainted with the friends of Lady Blessington thus speaks of Mr. Reynolds :
“He was a man of very kind heart and generous disposition, hospitable, obliging, and very true in his friendship, but extremely eccentric, and especially so during the latter years of his life. His extreme sensibility and nervous susceptibility had so augmented with years and ailments, that he lived latterly with his family, wholly retired from the world. His last illness was long, and of painful suffering. He was very highly educated, and well informed, and had a good knowledge and excellent taste in painting and music, though not a performer in either art. versified gracefully, but his prose writings partook much, in general, of a forced style and a fantastic humor.
He has left a young wife, who was one of the most perfect models I ever saw of conjugal affection, obedience, attention, patience, and devotion,
whom he had known from her childhood, and whose education he had superintended.”
LETTERS FROM MANSELL REYNOLDS, ESQ., TO LADY BLESSINGTON.
“Hillan House, St. Helen's, Jersey, March, 1847. “MY DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON,—After having so recently seen you, and being so powerfully and so painfully under the influence of a desire never again to place the sea between me and yourself and circle, I feel almost provoked to find how much this place suits me in every physical respect. But truth is truth, and certainly I feel that this place is made for me; for illness has effected greater inroads on my strength than all the doctors in the land' can ever repair.
“ You and Count D'Orsay speak kindly and cheerfully to me; but I am un malade imaginaire, for I do not fear death; on the contrary, I rather look to it as my only hope of secure and lasting tranquillity.
“ In the lull which has hitherto accompanied my return to this delicious climate, I have had time and opportunity for ample retrospection, and I find that we have both laid in a stock of regard for Count D'Orsay which is immeasurable: any body so good-natured and so kind-hearted I never before saw; it seems to me that it should be considered an inestimable privilege to live in his society. When you write to me, pray be good enough to acquaint me whether you have been told verbatim what a lady said on the subject; for praise so natural, hearty, and agrecable was never before uttered in a soliloquy, which her speech really was, though I was present at the time.
“At the risk of repeating, I really must tell it to you. After Count D'Orsay's departure from our house, there was a pause, when it was broken by exclaiming, 'What a very nice man!' I assented in my own mind, but I was pursuing also a chain of thought of my own, and I made no audible reply. Our ruminations then proceeded, when mine were once more interrupted by her saying, “In fact, he is the nicest man I ever saw.'
“This is a pleasant avowal to me, I thought, but still I could not refrain from admitting she was right. Then again, for a third time, the mental machinery of both went to work in silence, until that of the lady reached a ne plus ultra stage of admiration, and she ejaculated in an ecstasy, 'Indeed, he is the nicest man that can possibly be !
“The progress of this unconsciously expressed panegyric from the modest positive to the rhapsodical superlative struck me as extremely amusing, and I only now derive pleasure from repeating it to you because it is literally true, and utterly unembellished by me.
“I have written to Heath on the subject of the Royal Book of Beauty, to endeavor to dissuade him from the use of an epithet so vulgarized, and to induce him to substitute the word • Regal,' ever entirely putting aside your association with a title in such bad taste.
“With our kindest and most affectionate regards to yourself and Count
D'Orsay, and also to the Misses Power, believe me, my dear Lady Blessington, always most faithfully yours,
“St. Helen's, Jersey, March 30th, 1849. " What has been determined with regard to the Annuals? Will they be continued ? If they be, and you still think that I am capable of rendering you any assistance, it is scarcely necessary for me to state that I am now, as always, considerably at your service.
Only the other day I was re-reading one of your last biographies, and I repeat to you, what I previously stated, that the improvement you have made in the art and tone of composition since I first had the pleasure and honor of becoming acquainted with you is really wonderful.
DR. WILLIAM BEATTIE, M.D. One of the most valued friends of Lady Blessington, in whose worth, moral and intellectual, she placed the highest confidence, was the author of “ The Heliotrope,” Dr. William Beattie. I had the good fortune to be the means of making Lady Blessington acquainted with Dr. Beattie.
In 1833, on the occasion of a morning call at Gore House, while waiting for her ladyship, I found a volume lying on the drawing-room table of newly-published Poems, without the author's name, entitled “ The Heliotrope, or the Pilgrim in Search of Health, in Italy." The volume was a presentation copy to Lady Blessington, with these words on the fly-leaf : “I too have been in Arcadia.” I had time, before the appearance of Lady Blessington, to read several poems at the commencement of the volume, and was greatly struck with the harmony of the versification, the elegance of style, the evident kindliness of nature, and amiability of disposition manifested in them. I inquired of Lady Blessington if she knew any thing of the author, and was informed she had no knowledge of him whatever. Some days subsequently, I proceeded to the publishers in the Strand, and expressed a desire to know the author of "The Heliotrope." I was told the author had no intention of making his name known; he had intimated, in the Preface to the volume recent
ly published, his purpose, if the work was favorably received, of completing the poem in another volume; but as the work was not pushed on public attention, and did not sell, the author had given up all idea of continuing it. I obtained a loan of the volume from Lady Blessington, and perused the entire poem with attention. After that perusal, my impression was so strong as to the merits of this poem (over-modestly introduced to the public), that I addressed a letter to the author, to the care of his publisher, encouraging him to proceed with his performance to its completion, and counseling him, so far from being disheartened by the bad reception given to his first volume, to rest assured of ultimate success. In return, I had a gratifying letter from the author, and subsequently a visit, and was indebted to my communication for a friend, whose friendship from that time to the present has been to me a source of uninterrupted satisfaction.
“ The Heliotrope” was cast upon the waters by author and publisher without any apparent anxiety about its fate—to sink or swim on the stream of current literature, as it might please the stars of criticism : no effort was made for its success or safety. Two of the leading periodicals of the time, however, discerned the merits of this poem, and did justice to them.*
Dr. Beattie is a native of Scotland. While he was at school he had the misfortune to lose his father. That loss, the result of an accident, was the beginning of severe family trials ; " and from that hour," to use Dr. Beattie's words in reference to his own career,
“ the battle of life commenced, and has ever since continued.”
+ The “Metropolitan Magazine" said of it: “Every line in this book is written in the language of poetry; every expression is idiomatic of the Muses. Ca. dences can not be sweeter, nor verse more polished. The author has dipped his right hand in the waves of the Heliconian fount, and has drawn it forth strengthened with the waters glittering fresh upon it. He has caught the sweetest echo of the spirit of poetry, when she sings her most dulcet song in her secluded shades."
The “ Athenaeum” said of it: “The faults of this poem are few, and the beauties numerous; among the beauties are a manly vigor of sentiment, and an elevation and flow of language. The picture of the fallen condition of Genoa is mas. terly. The destruction of Pompeii is well described. The eye of the poet and the hand of the painter unite in these fine stanzas."