Audubon and His Journals/The European Journals
THE EUROPEAN JOURNALS
ON the 26th April, 1826, I left my beloved wife Lucy Audubon, and my son John Woodhouse with our friends the Percys at Bayou Sara. I remained at Doctor Pope's at St. Francisville till Wednesday at four o'clock P. M., when I took the steamboat "Red River," Captain Kemble, for New Orleans, which city I reached at noon on Wednesday, 27th. Visited many vessels for my passage to England, and concluded to go in the ship "Delos" of Kennebunk, Captain Joseph Hatch, bound to Liverpool, and loaded entirely with cotton. During my stay in New Orleans, I lived at G. L. Sapinot's, and saw many of my old friends and acquaintances, but the whole time of waiting was dull and heavy. I generally walked from morning till dusk. New Orleans, to a man who does not trade in dollars or other such stuff, is a miserable spot. Finally, discovering that the ship would not be ready for sea for several days longer, I ascended the Mississippi again in the "Red River," and arrived at Mrs. Percy's at three o'clock in the morning, having had a dark ride through the Magnolia woods. I remained two days, left at sunrise, and breakfasted with my good friend Augustin Bourgeat. Arrived at New Orleans, I called on the governor, who gave me a letter bearing the seal of the State, obviating the necessity of a passport. I received many letters of introduction from different persons which will be of use to me. Also I wrote to Charles Bonaparte, apprising him of the box of bird skins forwarded to him.
On the 17th of May, my baggage was put on board, I following, and the steamboat "Hercules" came alongside at seven P. M., and in ten hours put the "Delos" to sea. I was immediately affected with sea-sickness, which, however, lasted but a short time; I remained on deck constantly, forcing myself to exercise. We calculated our day of departure to be May 18, 1826, at noon, when we first made an observation. It is now the 28th; the weather has been generally fair with light winds. The first objects which diverted my thoughts from the dear ones left behind me, were the beautiful Dolphins that glided by the vessel like burnished gold by day, and bright meteors by night. Our captain and mate proved experts at alluring them with baited hooks, and dexterous at piercing them with a five-pronged instrument, generally called by seamen "grain." If hooked, the Dolphin flounces desperately, glides off with all its natural swiftness, rises perpendicularly out of the water several feet, and often shakes off the hook and escapes; if, however, he is well hooked, he is played about for a while, soon exhausted, and hauled into the ship. Their flesh is firm, dry, yet quite acceptable at sea. They differ much in their sizes, being, according to age, smaller or larger; I saw some four and a half feet long, but a fair average is three feet. The paunch of all we caught contained more or less small fishes of different varieties, amongst which the flying-fish is most prevalent. Dolphins move in companies of from four or five to twenty or more. They chase the flying-fish, that with astonishing rapidity, after having escaped their sharp pursuer a while in the water, emerge, and go through the air with the swiftness of an arrow, sometimes in a straight course, sometimes forming part of a circle; yet frequently the whole is unavailing, for the Dolphin bounds from the sea in leaps of fifteen or twenty feet, and so moves rapidly towards his prey, and the little fish falls, to be swallowed by his antagonist. You must not suppose, however, that the Dolphin moves through the seas without risk or danger; he, as well as others has vigilant and powerful enemies. One is the Barracouta, in shape much like a Pike, growing sometimes to a large size; one of these cut off upwards of a foot of a Dolphin's tail, as if done with an axe, as the Dolphin made for a baited hook; and I may say we about divided the bounty. There is a degree of sympathy existing between Dolphins quite remarkable; the moment one of them is hooked or grained, all those in company immediately make towards him, and remain close to him till the unfortunate is hauled on board, then they move off and will rarely bite. The skin of the fish is a tissue of small scales, softer in their substance than is generally the case in scaley fishes of such size; the skin is tough.
We also caught a Porpoise about seven feet in length. This was accomplished during the night, when the moon gave me a full view of all that happened. The fish, contrary to custom, was grained instead of harpooned, but grained in such a way and so effectually, through the forehead, that it was then held and suffered to flounce and beat about the bow of the ship, until the man who had first speared it gave the line holding the grain to our captain, slid along the bobstay with a rope, then, after some little time and perhaps some difficulty, the fish was secured immediately about its tail, and hoisted with that part upwards. Arrived at the deck it gave a deep groan, much like the last from a dying hog, flapped heavily once or twice, and died. I had never before examined one of these closely, and the duck-bill-like snout, and the curious disposition of the tail, with the body, were new and interesting matters of observation to me. The large, sleek, black body, the quantity of warm, black blood issuing from the wound, the blowing apertures placed over the forehead,—all attracted my attention. I requested it might be untouched till the next morning, and my wish was granted. On opening it the intestines were still warm (say eight hours after death), and resembled very much those of a hog. The paunch contained several cuttle-fish partly decayed. The flesh was removed from the skeleton and left the central bone supported on its sides by two horizontal, and one perpendicular bone, giving it the appearance of a four-edged cutting instrument; the lower jaw, or as I would prefer writing it, mandible, exceeds the upper about three-fourths of an inch. Both were furnished with single rows of divided conical teeth, about one-half an inch in length, so parted as to admit those of the upper jaw between each of those of the lower. The fish might weigh about two hundred pounds. The eyes were small in proportion to the size of the animal, and having a breathing aperture above, of course it had no gills. Porpoises move in large companies, and generally during spring and early summer go in pairs. I have seen a parcel of them leap perpendicularly about twenty feet, and fall with a heavy dash in the sea. Our captain told us that there were instances when small boats had been sunk by one of these heavy fish falling into them. Whilst I am engaged with the finny tribe (of which, however, I know little or nothing), I may as well tell you that one morning when moving gently, two miles per hour, the captain called me to show me some pretty little fishes just caught from the cabin window. These measured about three inches, were broad, and moved very quickly through the water. We had pin-hooks, and with these, in about two hours, three hundred and seventy were caught; they were sweet and good as food. They are known ordinarily as Rudderfish, and always keep on the lee side of the rudder, as it affords them a strong eddy to support them, and enable them to follow the vessel in that situation; when calm they disperse about the bow and sides, and then will not bite. The least breeze brings them all astern again in a compact body, when they seize the baited hook the moment it reaches the water.
We have also caught two Sharks, one a female about seven feet long, that had ten young, alive, and able to swim well; one of them was thrown overboard and made off as if well accustomed to take care of himself. Another was cut in two, and the head half swam off out of our sight. The remainder, as well as the parent, were cut in pieces for bait for Dolphins, which are extremely partial to that meat. The weather being calm and pleasant, I felt desirous to have a view of the ship from a distance and Captain Hatch politely took me in the yawl and had it rowed all round the "Delos." This was a sight I had not enjoyed for twenty years, and I was much pleased with it; afterwards having occasion to go out to try the bearings of the current, I again accompanied him, and bathed in the sea, not however without some fears as to Sharks. To try the bearings of the current we took an iron pot fastened to a line of one hundred and twenty fathoms, and made a log-board out of a barrel's head leaded on one side to make it sink perpendicularly on its edge, and tried the velocity of the current with it fixed to a line by the help of a second glass whilst our iron pot acted as an anchor.
Let me change my theme, and speak of birds awhile. Mother Carey's Chickens (Proccllaria) came about us, and I longed to have at least one in my possession. I had watched their evolutions, their gentle patting of the sea when on the wing, with the legs hanging and the web extended, seen them take large and long ranges in search of food, and return for bits of fat thrown overboard for them, I had often looked at different figures given by scientific men; but all this could not diminish for a moment the long-wished for pleasure of possessing one in the flesh. I fired, and dropped the first one that came alongside, and the captain most courteously sent for it with the yawl. I made two drawings of it; it proved to be a female with eggs, numerous, but not larger than grains of fine powder, inducing me to think that these birds must either breed earlier, or much later, than any in our southern latitude. I should be inclined to think that the specimen I inspected had not laid this season, though I am well satisfied that it was an old bird. During many succeeding weeks I discovered that numbers flew mated side by side, and occasionally, particularly on calm, pleasant days caressed each other as Ducks are known to do.
May 27, 1826. Five days ago we saw a small vessel with all sails set coming toward us; we were becalmed and the unknown had a light breeze. It approached gradually; suspicions were entertained that it might be a pirate, as we had heard that same day reports, which came undoubtedly from cannon, and from the very direction from which this vessel was coming. We were well manned, tolerably armed, and were all bent on resistance, knowing well that these gentry gave no quarter, to purses at least, and more or less uneasiness was perceptible on every face. Night arrived, a squally breeze struck us, and off we moved, and lost sight of the pursuing vessel in a short time. The next day a brig that had been in our wake came near us, was hailed, and found to be the "Gleaner," of Portland, commanded by an acquaintance of our commander, and bound also to Liverpool. This vessel had left New Orleans five days before us. We kept close together, and the next day Captain Hatch and myself boarded her, and were kindly received; after a short stay her captain, named Jefferson, came with us and remained the day. I opened my drawings and showed a few of them. Mr. Swift was anxious to see some, and I wanted to examine in what state they kept, and the weather being dry and clear I feared nothing. It was agreed the vessels should keep company until through the Gulf Stream, for security against pirates. So fine has the weather been so far, that all belonging to the cabin have constantly slept on deck; an awning has been extended to protect from the sun by day and the dampness by night. When full a hundred leagues at sea, a female Rice Bunting came on board, and remained with us one night, and part of a day. A Warbler also came, but remained only a few minutes, and then made for the land we had left. It moved while on board with great activity and sprightliness; the Bunting, on the contrary, was exhausted, panted, and I have no doubt died of inanition.
Many Sooty Terns were in sight during several days. I saw one Frigate Pelican high in air, and could only judge it to be such through the help of a telescope. Flocks of unknown birds were also about the ship during a whole day. They swam well, and preferred the water to the air. They resembled large Phalaropes, but I could not be certain. A small Alligator, that I had purchased for a dollar in New Orleans, died at the end of nine days, through my want of knowledge, or thought, that salt matter was poisonous to him. In two days he swelled to nearly double his natural size, breathed hard, and, as I have said, died.
In latitude 24°, 27', a Green Heron came on board, and remained until, becoming frightened, it flew towards the brig "Gleaner;" it did not appear in the least fatigued. The captain of the brig told me that on a former voyage from Europe to New Orleans, when about fifty leagues from the Balize, a fully grown Whooping Crane came on board his vessel during the night, passing over the length of his deck, close over his head, over the helmsman, and fell in the yawl; the next morning the bird was found there completely exhausted, when every one on board supposed it had passed on. A cage was made for it, but it refused food, lingered a few days, and then died. It was plucked and found free from any wound, and in good condition; a very singular case in birds of the kind, that are inured to extensive journeys, and, of course liable to spend much time without the assistance of food.
June 4. We are a few miles south of the Line, for the second time in my life. Since I wrote last we have parted from our companion the "Gleaner," and are yet in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been at sea three Sundays, and yet we have not made the shores of Cuba. Since my last date I have seen a large Sword-fish, but only saw it, two Gannets, caught a live Warbler, and killed a Great-footed Hawk. This bird, after having alighted several times on our yards, made a dash at a Warbler which was feeding on the flies about the vessel, seized it, and ate it in our sight, on the wing, much like a Mississippi Kite devouring the Red-throated Lizards. The warbler we caught was a nondescript, which I named "The Cape Florida Songster." We also saw two Frigate Pelicans at a great height, and a large species of Petrel, entirely unknown to me. I have read Byron's "Corsair" with much enjoyment.
June 17. A brig bound to Boston, called the "Andromache," came alongside, and my heart rejoiced at the idea that letters could be carried by her to America. I set to, and wrote to my wife and to Nicholas Berthoud. A sudden squall separated us till quite late, but we boarded her, I going with the captain; the sea ran high, and the tossing of our light yawl was extremely disagreeable to my feelings. The brig was loaded with cotton, extremely filthy, and I was glad to discover that with all our disagreeables we were comparatively comfortable on the "Delos." We have been in sight of Cuba four days; the heat excessive. I saw three beautiful White-headed Pigeons, or Doves, flying about our ship, but after several rounds they shaped their course towards the Floridas and disappeared. The Dolphins we catch here are said to be poisonous; to ascertain whether they are or not, a piece of fish is boiled with a silver dollar till quite cooked, when if the coin is not tarnished or green, the fish is safe eating. I find bathing in the sea water extremely refreshing, and enjoy this luxury every night and morning. Several vessels are in sight.
June 26. We have been becalmed many days, and I should be dull indeed were it not for the fishes and birds, and my pen and pencil. I have been much interested in the Dusky Petrels; the mate killed four at one shot, so plentiful were they about our vessel, and I have made several drawings from these, which were brought on board for that purpose. They skim over the sea in search of what is here called Gulf Weed, of which there are large patches, perhaps half an acre in extent. They flap the wings six or seven times, then soar for three or four seconds, the tail spread, the wings extended. Four or five of these birds, indeed sometimes as many as fifteen or twenty, will alight on this weed, dive, flutter, and swim with all the gayety of ducks on a pond, which they have reached after a weary journey. I heard no note from any of them. No sooner have the Petrels eaten or dispersed the fish than they rise and extend their wings for flight, in search of more. At times, probably to rest themselves, they alighted, swam lightly, dipping their bills frequently in the water as Mergansers and fishy Ducks do when trying, by tasting, if the water contains much fish. On inspection of the body, I found the wings powerfully muscular and strong for the size of the bird, a natural requisite for individuals that have such an extent of water to traverse, and frequently heavy squalls to encounter and fight against. The stomach, or pouch, resembled a leather purse of four inches in length and was much distended by the contents, which were a compound of fishes of different kinds, some almost entire, others more or less digested. The gullet was capable of great extension. Fishes two and a half inches by one inch were found nearly fresh. The flesh of these Petrels smelt strong, and was tough and not fit to eat. I tasted some, and found it to resemble the flesh of the Porpoise. There was no difference in the sexes, either in size or color; they are sooty black above, and snowy white below. The exact measurements are in my memorandum-book.
June 29. This morning we came up with the ship "Thalia," of Philadelphia, Captain John R. Butler, from Havana to Minorca up the Mediterranean, with many passengers, Spaniards, on board. The captain very politely offered us some fruit, which was gladly accepted, and in return we sent them a large Dolphin, they having caught none. I sent a Petrel, stuffed some days previously, as the captain asked for it for the Philadelphia Society of Sciences.
June 30, Whilst sailing under a gentle breeze last night, the bird commonly called by seamen "Noddy" alighted on the boom of the vessel, and was very soon caught by the mate. It then uttered a rough cry, not unlike that of a young crow when taken from the nest. It bit severely and with quickly renewed movement of the bill, which, when it missed the object in view, snapped like that of our larger Flycatchers. I found it one of the same species that hovered over the seaweeds in company with the large Petrel. Having kept it alive during the night, when I took it in hand to draw it it was dull looking and silent. I know nothing of this bird more than what our sailors say, that it is a Noddy, and that they often alight on vessels in this latitude, particularly in the neighborhood of the Florida Keys. The bird was in beautiful plumage, but poor. The gullet was capable of great extension, the paunch was empty, the heart large for the bird, and the liver uncommonly so.
A short time before the capture of the above bird, a vessel of war, a ship that we all supposed to be a South American Republican, or Columbian, came between us and the "Thalia," then distant from us about one and a half miles astern, fired a gun, and detained her for some time, the reason probably being that the passengers were Spaniards, and the cargo Spanish property; however, this morning both vessels were in view making different routes. The man-of-war deigned not to come to us, and none of us were much vexed at this mark of inattention. This day has been calm; my drawing finished, I caught four Dolphins; how much I have gazed at these beautiful creatures, watching their last moments of life, as they changed their hue in twenty varieties of richest arrangement of tints, from burnished gold to silver bright, mixed with touches of ultramarine, rose, green, bronze, royal purple, quivering to death on our hard, broiling deck. As I stood and watched them, I longed to restore them to their native element in all their original strength and vitality, and yet I felt but a few moments before a peculiar sense of pleasure in catching them with a hook to which they were allured by false pretences.
We have at last entered the Atlantic Ocean this morning and with a propitious breeze; the land birds have left us, and I—I leave my beloved America, my wife, my children, my friends. The purpose of this voyage is to visit not only England, but the continent of Europe, with the intention of publishing my work on the "Birds of America." If not sadly disappointed my return to these shores, these happy shores, will be the brightest day I have ever enjoyed. Oh! wife, children, friends, America, farewell! farewell!
July 9. At sea. My leaving America had for some time the feelings of a dream; I could scarce make up my mind fixedly on the subject. I thought continually I still saw my beloved friends, and my dear wife and children. I still felt every morning when I awoke that the land of America was beneath me, and that I would in a short time throw myself on the ground in her shady woods, and watch for, and listen to the many lovely warblers. But now that I have positively been at sea since fifty-one days, tossing to and fro, without the sight or the touch of those dear to me, I feel fully convinced, and look forward with an anxiety such as I never felt before, when I calculate that not less than four months, the third of a year, must elapse before my wife and children can receive any tidings of my arrival on the distant shores to which I am bound. When I think that many more months must run from the Life's sand-glass allotted to my existence before I can think of returning, and that my re-union with my friends and country is yet an unfolded and unknown event, I am filled with sudden apprehensions which I cannot describe nor dispel.
Our fourth of July was passed near the Grand Banks, and how differently from any that I can recollect. The weather was thick, foggy, and as dull as myself; not a sound of rejoicing reached my ears, not once did I hear "Hail Columbia! Happy land." My companion passengers lay about the deck and on the cotton-bales, basking like Crocodiles, while the sun occasionally peeped out of the smoky haze that surrounded us; yet the breeze was strong, the waves moved majestically, and thousands of large Petrels displayed their elegant, aerial movements. How much I envied their power of flight to enable me to be here, there, and all over the globe comparatively speaking, in a few moments, throwing themselves edgeways against the breeze, as if a well sharpened arrow shot with the strength and grace of one sprung from the bow of an Apollo. I had remarked a regular increase in the number of these Petrels ever since the capes of Florida were passed; but here they were so numerous, and for part of a day flew in such succession towards the west and southwest, that I concluded they were migrating to some well known shore to deposit their eggs, or perhaps leading their young. These very seldom alighted; they were full the size of a common gull, and as they flew they showed in quick alternations the whole upper and under part of their bodies, sometimes skimming low, sometimes taking immense curves, then dashing along the deep trough of the sea, going round our vessel (always out of gun-reach) as if she had been at anchor. Their lower parts are white, the head all white, and the upper part of the body and wings above sooty brown. I would imagine that one of these Petrels flies over as much distance in one hour, as one of the little black Petrels in our wake does in twelve. Since we have left the neighborhood of the Banks, these birds have gradually disappeared, and now in latitude 44°, 53' I see none. Our captain and sailors speak of them as companions in storms, as much as their little relations Mother Carey's chickens.
As suddenly as if we had just turned the summit of a mountain dividing a country south of the equator from Iceland, the weather altered in the present latitude and longitude. My light summer clothing was not sufficient, and the dews that fell at night rendered the deck, where I always slept, too damp to be comfortable. This, however, of two evils I preferred, for I could not endure the more disagreeable odors of the cabin, where now the captain, officers, and Mr. Swift, eat their meals daily. The length of the days has increased astonishingly; at nine o'clock I can easily read large print. Dawn comes shortly after 2 A. M., and a long day is before us.
At Sea—July, 1826. We had several days a stiff breeze that wafted us over the deep fully nine miles an hour. This was congenial to my wishes, but not to my feelings. The motion of the vessel caused violent headaches, far more distressing than any seasickness I had ever experienced. Now, for the third or fourth time, I read Thomson's "Seasons," and I believe enjoyed them better than ever.
Among our live stock on board, we had a large hen. This bird was very tame and quite familiar with the ins and outs of the vessel, and was allowed all the privileges of the deck. She had been hatched on board, and our cook, who claimed her as his property, was much attached to her, as was also the mate. One morning she imprudently flew overboard, while we were running three miles an hour. The yawl was immediately lowered, four men rowed her swiftly towards the floating bird that anxiously looked at her place of abode gliding from her; she was picked up, and her return on board seemed to please every one, and I was gratified to see such kind treatment to a bird; it assured me, had I needed that assurance, that the love of animals develops the better side of all natures. Our hen, however, ended her life most distressingly not long after this narrow escape; she again flew over the side, and the ship moving at nine knots, the sea very high and rough, the weather rainy and squally, the captain thought it imprudent to risk the men for the fowl; so, notwithstanding the pleadings of the cook, we lost sight of the adventurous bird in a few moments. We have our long boat as usual lashed to the deck; but instead of being filled with lumber as is usually the case, it now contained three passengers, all bound to Europe to visit friends, with the intention of returning to America in the autumn. One has a number of books which he politely offered me; he plays most sweetly on the flute, and is a man superior to his apparent situation. We have a tailor also; this personage is called a deck hand, but the fact is, that two thirds of his time is spent sleeping on the windlass. This man, however, like all others in the world, is useful in his way. He works whenever called on, and will most cheerfully put a button or a patch on any one's clothing; his name is Crow, and during the entire voyage, thus far, he has lived solely on biscuit and raw bacon. We now see no fish except now and then a shoal of porpoises. I frequently long for the beautiful Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico; Whales have been seen by the sailors, but not by me. During this tedious voyage I frequently sit and watch our captain at his work; I do not remember ever to have seen a man more industrious or more apt at doing nearly everything he needs himself. He is a skilful carpenter and turner, cooper, tin and black smith, and an excellent tailor; I saw him making a pair of pantaloons of fine cloth with all the neatness that a city brother of the cross-legged faculty could have used. He made a handsome patent swift for his wife, and a beautiful plane for his own use, manufactured out of a piece of beechwood that probably grew on the banks of the Ohio, as I perceived it had been part of a flat-boat, and brought on board to be used for fuel. He can plait straw in all sorts of ways, and make excellent bearded fishhooks out of common needles. He is an excellent sailor, and the more stormy it becomes, the gayer he is, even when drenched to the skin. I was desirous of understanding the means of ascertaining the latitude on land, and also to find the true rising of the sun whilst travelling in the uninhabited parts of America; this he showed me with pleasure, and I calculated our latitude and longitude from this time, though not usually fond of mathematics. To keep busy I go often about the deck pencil in hand, sketching the different attitudes of the sailors, and many a laugh is caused by these rough drawings. Both the mates have shown a kindness towards me that I cannot forget. The first mate is S. L. Bragdon from Wells, the second Wm. Hobart from Kennebunk.
To-day we came in with a new set and species of Petrels, resembling those in the Gulf of Mexico, but considerably larger; between fifty and sixty were at one time close to the vessel, catching small fish that we guessed to be herrings; the birds swam swiftly over the water, their wings raised, and now and then diving and dipping after the small fry; they flew heavily, and with apparent reluctance, and alighted as soon as we passed them. I was satisfied that several in our wake had followed us from the Gulf of Mexico; the sudden change in the weather must have been seriously felt by them.
July 12. I had a beautiful view of a Whale about five hundred yards from the vessel when we first perceived it; the water thrown from his spiracles had the appearance of a small, thick cloud, twelve or fourteen feet wide. Never have I felt the weather so cold in July. We are well wrapped up, and yet feel chilly in the drizzling rain.
July 15. Yesterday-night ended the ninth Sunday passed at sea; the weather continues cold, but the wind is propitious. We are approaching land, and indeed I thought I smelt the "land smell." We have had many Whales near us during the day, and an immense number of Porpoises; our captain, who prefers their flesh to the best of veal, beef, or mutton, said he would give five dollars for one; but our harpoon is broken, and although several handles were fastened for a while to the grain, the weapon proved too light, and the fish invariably made their escape after a few bounces, probably to go and die in misery. European Hawks were seen, and two Curlews; these gave me hope that we might see the long desired land shortly.
July 18, 1826. The sun is shining clear over Ireland; that land was seen at three o'clock this morning by the man at the helm, and the mate, with a stentorian voice, announced the news. As we approached the coast a small boat neared us, and came close under our lee; the boat looked somewhat like those employed in bringing in heavy loads to New Orleans, but her sails were more tattered, her men more fair in complexion. They hailed us and offered for sale fresh fish, new potatoes, fresh eggs. All were acceptable, I assure thee. They threw a light line to us most dexterously. Fish, potatoes, and eggs were passed to us, in exchange for whiskey, salt pork, and tobacco, which were, I trust, as acceptable to them as their wares were to us. I thought the exchange a fair one, but no!—they called for rum, brandy, whiskey, more of everything. Their expressions struck me with wonder; it was "Here's to your Honor,"—"Long life to your Honor,"—"God bless your Honor,"—Honors followed with such rapidity that I turned away in disgust. The breeze freshened and we proceeded fast on our way. Perhaps to-morrow may see me safe on land again perhaps to-morrow may see us all stranded, perishing where the beautiful "Albion" went ashore.
St. George's Channel, Thursday, July 20. I am approaching very fast the shores of England, indeed Wales is abreast of our ship, and we can plainly distinguish the hedges that divide the fields of grain; but what nakedness the country exhibits, scarce a patch of timber to be seen; our fine forests of pine, of oak, of heavy walnut-trees, of magnificent magnolias, of hickories or ash or maple, are represented here by a diminutive growth called "furze." But I must not criticise so soon! I have not seen the country, I have not visited any of the historic castles, or the renowned parks, for never have I been in England nor Scotland, that land made famous by the entrancing works of Walter Scott. We passed yesterday morning the Tuskar, a handsome light on a bare rock. This morning we saw Holyhead, and we are now not more than twenty-five miles from Liverpool; but I feel no pleasure, and were it not for the sake of my Lucy and my children, I would readily embark to-morrow to return to America's shores and all they hold for me. … The pilot boat that came to us this morning contained several men all dressed in blue, with overcoats of oiled linen,—all good, hearty, healthy-looking men. … I have been on deck, and from the bow the land of England is plainly distinguishable; the sight around us is a beautiful one, I have counted fifty-six vessels with spreading sails, and on our right are mountains fading into the horizon; my dull thoughts have all abandoned me, I am elated, my heart is filled with hope. To-morrow we shall land at the city of Liverpool, but when I think of Custom House officials, acceptancy of Bills, hunting up lodgings,—again my heart fails me; I must on deck.
Mersey River opposite Liverpool, 9.30 P.M. The night is cloudy, and we are at anchor! The lights of the city show brightly, for we are not more than two hundred yards distant from them.
Liverpool, July 21. This morning when I landed it was raining, yet the appearance of the city was agreeable; but no sooner had I entered it than the smoke became so oppressive to my lungs that I could hardly breathe; it affected my eyes also. All was new to me. After a breakfast at an inn with Mr. Swift for 2/6, we went to the Exchange Buildings, to the counting-house of Gordon and Forstall, as I was anxious to deliver my letters to Mr. Gordon from Mr. Briggs. I also presented during the morning my bill of exchange. The rest of the day was spent in going to the Museum, gazing about, and clearing my brains as much as possible; but how lonely I feel,—not a soul to speak to freely when Mr. Swift leaves me for Ireland. We took lodgings at the Commercial Inn not far from the Exchange Buildings; we are well fed, and well attended to, although, to my surprise, altogether by women, neatly dressed and modest. I found the persons of whom I enquired for different directions, remarkably kind and polite; I had been told this would not be the case, but I have met with only real politeness from all.
Liverpool, July 22. The Lark that sings so sweetly, and that now awakened me from happy dreams, is nearly opposite my table, prisoner in a cage hanging by a window where from time to time a young person comes to look on the world below; I think of the world of the West and but the Lark, delightful creature, sings sweetly, yet in a cage!
The Custom House suddenly entered my head, and after considerable delay there, my drawings went through a regular, strict, and complete examination. The officers were all of opinion that they were free of duty, but the law was looked at and I was obliged to pay two pence on each drawing, as they were water-colored. My books being American, I paid four pence per pound, and when all was settled, I took my baggage and drawings, and went to my lodgings. The noise of pattens on the sidewalk startles me very frequently; if the sound is behind me I often turn my head expecting to see a horse, but instead I observe a neat, plump-looking maid, tripping as briskly as a Killdeer. I received a polite note from Mr. Rathbone this morning, inviting me to dine next Wednesday with him and Mr. Roscoe. I shall not forget the appointment.
Sunday, July 23. Being Sunday I must expect a long and lonely day; I woke at dawn and lay for a few moments only, listening to the sweet-voiced Lark; the day was beautiful; thermometer in the sun 65°, in the shade 41°; I might say 40°, but I love odd numbers,—it is a foolish superstition with me. I spent my forenoon with Mr. Swift and a friend of his, Mr. R. Lyons, who was afterwards kind enough to introduce us to the Commercial Reading Room at the Exchange Buildings. In the afternoon we went across the Mersey. The country is somewhat dull; we returned to supper, sat chatting in the coffee room, and the day ended.
July 24, Monday. As early as I thought proper I turned my steps to No. 87 Duke Street, where the polite English gentleman, Mr. Richard Rathbone, resides. My locks blew freely from under my hat in the breeze, and nearly every lady I met looked at them with curiosity. Mr. Rathbone was not in, but was at his counting-house, where I soon found myself. A full dozen of clerks were at their separate desks, work was going on apace, letters were being thrown into an immense bag belonging to a packet that sailed this day for the shores where I hope my Lucy is happy—dearest friend! My name was taken to the special room of Mr. Rathbone, and in a moment I was met by one who acted towards me as a brother. He did not give his card to poor Audubon, he gave his hand, and a most cordial invitation to be at his house at two o'clock, which hour found me there. I was ushered into a handsome dining-room, and Mr. Rathbone almost immediately entered the same, with a most hearty greeting. I dined with this hospitable man, his charming wife and children. Mrs. Rathbone is not only an amiable woman, but a most intelligent and highly educated one. Mr. Rathbone took me to the Exchange Buildings in order to see the American consul, Mr. Maury, and others. Introduction followed introduction; then I was taken through the entire building, the mayor's public dining-hall, etc. I gazed on pictures of royalty by Sir Thomas Lawrence and others, mounted to the dome and looked over Liverpool and the harbor that Nature formed for her. It was past five when I went to keep my appointment with Mr. Swift.
July 25. The day has passed quickly. In the morning I made a crayon portrait of Mr. Swift—or rather began it—for his father, then took a walk, and on my return found a note from Mr. Richard Rathbone awaiting me. He desired me to come at once with one of my portfolios to Duke Street. I immediately took a hackney coach and found Mr. and Mrs. Rathbone with Mr. James Pyke awaiting me, to take me to the home of Mr. Rathbone, Sr., who lives some miles out of Liverpool. Their youngest boy, Basil, a sweet child, took a fancy to me and I to him, and we made friends during our drive. The country opened gradually to our view, and presently passing up an avenue of trees we entered the abode of the venerable pair, and I was heartily made welcome. I felt painfully awkward, as I always do in new company, but so much kindness and simplicity soon made me more at ease. I saw as I entered the house a full and beautiful collection of the birds of England, well prepared and arranged. What sensations I had whilst I helped to untie the fastenings of my portfolio! I knew by all around me that these good friends were possessed of both taste and judgment, and I did not know that I should please. I was panting like the winged Pheasant, but ah! these kind people praised my Birds, and I felt the praise to be honest; once more I breathed freely. My portfolio thoroughly examined, we returned to Liverpool, and later the Rev. Wm. Goddard, rector of Liverpool, and several ladies called on me, and saw some drawings; all praised them. Oh! what can I hope, my Lucy, for thee and for us all?
July 26. It is very late, and I am tired, but I will not omit writing on that account. The morning was beautiful, but for some reason I was greatly depressed, and it appeared to me as if I could not go on with the work before me. However, I recollected that the venerable Mr. Maury must not be forgotten. I saw him; Mr. Swift left for Dublin with his crayon portrait; I called at the post-office for news from America, but in vain. I wrote for some time, and then received a call from Mr. Rathbone with his brother William; the latter invited me to dine on Friday at his house, which I promised to do, and this evening I dined with Mr. Rd. Rathbone. I went at half-past six, my heart rather failing me, entered the corridor, my hat was taken, and going upstairs I entered Mr. Rathbone's drawing-room. I have frequently thought it strange that my observatory nerves never give way, no matter how much I am overcome by mauvaise honte, nor did they now. Many pictures embellished the walls, and helped, with Mr. Rathbone's lively mien, to remove the misery of the moment. Mr. Edward Roscoe came in immediately, tall, with a good eye under a well marked brow. Dinner announced, we descended to the room I had entered on my first acquaintance with this charming home, and I was conducted to the place of honor. Mr. Roscoe sat next, Mr. Barclay of London, and Mr. Melly opposite with Consul Maury; the dinner was enlivened with mirth and bon mots, and I found in such good company infinite pleasure. After we left the table Mrs. Rathbone joined us in the parlor, and I had now again to show my drawings. Mr. Roscoe, who had been talking to me about them at dinner, would not give me any hopes, and I felt unusually gloomy as one by one I slipped them from their case; but after looking at a few only, the great man said heartily: "Mr. Audubon, I am filled with surprise and admiration." On bidding me adieu he invited me to dine with him to-morrow, and to visit the Botanical Gardens. Later Mrs. Rathbone showed me some of her drawings, where talent has put an undeniable stamp on each touch.
July 27. I reached Mr. Roscoe's place, about one and a half miles distant from Liverpool, about three o'clock, and was at once shown into a little drawing-room where all was nature. Mr. Roscoe was drawing a very handsome plant most beautifully. The room was ornamented with many flowers, receiving from his hands the care and treatment they required; they were principally exotics from many distant and different climes. His three daughters were introduced to me, and we then started for the Gardens. Mr. Roscoe and I rode there in what he called his little car, drawn by a pony so small that I was amazed to see it pull us both with apparent ease. Mr. Roscoe is a come-at-able person, who makes me feel at home immediately, and we have much in common. I was shown the whole of the Gardens, which with the hot-house were in fine order. The ground is level, well laid out, and beautifully kept; but the season was, so Mr. Roscoe said, a little advanced for me to see the place to the best advantage. On our return to the charming laboratoire of Mr. Roscoe the large portfolio is again in sight. I will not weary you with the details of this. One of the daughters draws well, and I saw her look closely at me very often, and she finally made known her wish to take a sketch of my head, to which I gave reluctant consent for some future time. Mr. Roscoe is very anxious I should do well, and says he will try to introduce me to Lord Stanley, and assured me nothing should be left undone to meet my wishes; he told me that the honorable gentleman "is rather shy." It was nine o'clock when I said good-night, leaving my drawings with him at his request. On my return to Dale Street I found the following note: "Mr. Martin, of the Royal Institution of Liverpool, will do himself the pleasure to wait upon Mr. Ambro to-morrow at eleven o'clock." Why do people make such errors with my simple name?
July 28. A. full grown man with a scarlet vest and breeches, black stockings and shoes for the coloring of his front, and a long blue coat covering his shoulders and back reminds me somewhat of our summer red bird (Tanagra rubra). Both man and bird attract the eye, but the scientific appellation of the man is unknown to me. At eleven Mr. Martin (who I expect is secretary to the Royal Institution) called, and arranged with me a notice to the members of the Institution, announcing that I would exhibit my drawings for two hours on the mornings of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday following, at the Institution. Later, feeling lonely and sad, I called on Mrs. R. Rathbone, whom I found putting away in a little box, a dissected map, with which, Edgeworth-like, she had been transmitting knowledge with pleasure. She is so truly delightful a companion that had it been possible I should have made my call long instead of short, but I walked home by a roundabout way, and found a note from Mr. Wm. Rathbone reminding me of my promise to dine with him, and adding that he wished me to meet a brother-in-law of his from London who may be of use to me, so will I bring a few drawings? At the hour named I found myself in Abercrombie Street and in the parlor with two little daughters of my host, the elder about thirteen, extremely handsome. Mrs. Rathbone soon entered and greeted me as if she had known me all my life; her husband followed, and the guests, all gentlemen, collected. Mr. Hodgson, to whom I had a letter from Mr. Nolté was particularly kind to me, but every one seemed desirous I should succeed in England. A Swiss gentleman urged me not to waste time here, but proceed at once to Paris, but he was not allowed to continue his argument, and at ten I left with Mr. Pyke for my lodgings.
July 29. To-day I visited Mr. Hunt, the best landscape painter of this city. I examined much of his work and found some beautiful representations of the scenery of Wales. I went to the Royal Institution to judge of the light, for naturally I wish my work to have every possible advantage. I have not found the population of Liverpool as dense as I expected, and except during the evenings (that do not at this season commence before eight o'clock) I have not been at all annoyed by the elbowings of the crowd, as I remember to have been in my youth, in the large cities of France. Some shops here are beautifully supplied, and have many customers. The new market is in my opinion an object worth the attention of all travelers. It is the finest I have ever seen—it is a large, high and long building, divided into five spacious avenues, each containing its specific commodities. I saw here viands of all descriptions, fish, vegetables, game, fruits,—both indigenous and imported from all quarters of the globe,—bird sellers, with even little collections of stuffed specimens, cheeses of enormous size, butter in great abundance, immense crates of hen's-eggs packed in layers of oats imported from Ireland, twenty-five for one shilling. This market is so well lighted with gas that this evening at ten o'clock I could plainly see the colors of the irids of living pigeons in cages. The whole city is lighted with gas; each shop has many of these illuminating fires, and fine cambric can be looked at by good judges. Mr. A. Hodgson called on me, and I am to dine with him on Monday; he has written to Lord Stanley about me. He very kindly asked if my time passed heavily, gave me a note of admittance for the Athenæum, and told me he would do all in his power for me. I dined at the inn to-day for the second time only since my arrival.
July 30. It is Sunday again, but not a dull one; I have become better acquainted, and do not feel such an utter stranger. I went to the church of the Asylum for the Blind. A few steps of cut stone lead to an iron gate, and under a colonnade; at the inner gate you pay whatever you please over sixpence. Near the entrance is a large picture of Christ healing the blind. The general structure is a well proportioned oblong; ten light columns support the flat ceiling. A fine organ is placed over the entrance in a kind of upper lobby, which contains also the musicians, who are blind. All is silent, and the mind is filled with heavenly thoughts, when suddenly the sublime music glides into one's whole being, and the service has begun. Nowhere have I ever seen such devotion in a church. In the afternoon the Rev. Wm. Goddard took me to some institutions for children on the Lancastrian system; all appeared well dressed, clean, and contented. I dined with Mr. and Mrs. Gordon; Anne advised me to have my hair cut, and to buy a fashionable coat.
July 31. This day has been one of trial to me. At nine of the morning I was quite busy, arranging and disposing in sets my drawings, that they might be inspected by the public. The doors were thrown open at noon, and the ladies flocked in. I knew but one, Mrs. Richard Rathbone, but I had many glances to meet and questions to answer. The time passed, however, and at two the doors were closed. At half-past four I drove with Mr. Adam Hodgson to his cottage, where I was introduced to Mrs. Hodgson, a tall young woman with the freshness of spring, who greeted me most kindly; there were three other guests, and we passed a quiet evening after the usual excellent dinner. Soon after ten we retired to our rooms.
August 1. I arose to listen to the voice of an English Blackbird just as the day broke. It was a little after three, I dressed; and as silently as in my power moved downstairs carrying my boots in my hand, gently opened the door, and was off to the fields and meadows. I walked a good deal, went to the seashore, saw a Hare, and returned to breakfast, after which and many invitations to make my kind hosts frequent visits, I was driven back to town, and went immediately to the Institution, where I met Dr. Traill and many other persons of distinction. Several gentlemen attached to the Institution, wished me to be remunerated for exhibiting my pictures, but though I am poor enough, God knows, I do not think I should do that, as the room has been given to me gratis. Four hundred and thirteen persons were admitted to see my drawings.
August 2. I put up this day two hundred and twenty-five of my drawings; the coup d'œil was not bad, and the room was crowded. Old Mr. Roscoe did me the honor to present me to Mr. Jean Sismondi, of Geneva. Mr. and Mrs. Rathbone had gone to their country home, "Green Bank," but I sent a note telling them how many pictures I had added to the first day's exhibition. I have decided to collect what letters I can for London, and go there as soon as possible. I was introduced to Mr. Booth of Manchester, who promised me whatever aid he could in that city. After a call at Mr. Roscoe's, I went, with a gentleman from Charleston, S. C., to the theatre, as I was anxious to see the renowned Miss Foote. Miss Foote has been pretty, nay, handsome, nay, beautiful, but—she has been. The play was good, the playhouse bad, and the audience numerous and fashionable.
August 4. I had no time to write yesterday; my morning was spent at the Institution, the room was again crowded, I was wearied with bowing to the many to whom I was introduced. Some one was found copying one of the pictures, but the doorkeeper, an alert Scotchman, saw his attempt, turned him out, and tore his sketch. Mr. A. Hodgson invited me to dine with Lord Stanley to-morrow in company with Mr. Wm. Roscoe, Sr. Mr. Sismondi gave me a letter to Baron von Humboldt, and showed me a valuable collection of insects from Thibet, and after this I took tea with Mr. Roscoe.
This morning I breakfasted with Mr. Hodgson, and met Mrs. Wm. Rathbone somewhat later at the Institution; never was a woman better able to please, and more disposed to do so; a woman possessed of beauty, good sense, great intelligence, and rare manners, with a candor and sweetness not to be surpassed. Mr. William Roscoe sent his carriage for me, and I again went to his house, where quite a large company had assembled, among others two botanists who knew every plant and flower, and were most obliging in giving me much delightful information. Having to walk to "Green Bank," the home of Mr. William Rathbone, Sr., I left Mr. Roscoe's at sunset (which by the way was beautiful). The evening was calm and lovely, and I soon reached the avenue of trees leading to the house I sought Almost immediately I found myself on the lawn with a group of archers, and was interested in the sport; some of the ladies shot very well. Mr. Rathbone, Sr., asked me much about Indians, and American trees, the latter quite unknown here, and as yet I have seen none larger than the saplings of Louisiana. When the other guests had left, I was shown the new work on the Birds of England; I did not like it as well as I had hoped; I much prefer Thomas Bewick. Bewick is the Wilson of England.
August 5. Miss Hannah Rathbone drove me into Liverpool with great speed. Two little Welsh ponies, well matched, drew us beautifully in a carriage which is the young lady's special property. After she left me my head was full of Lord Stanley. I am a very poor fool, to be sure, to be troubled at the idea of meeting an English gentleman, when those I have met have been in kindness, manners, talents, all I could desire, far more than I expected. The Misses Roscoe were at the Institution, where they have been every day since my pictures were exhibited. Mrs. Wm. Rathbone, with her daughter—her younger self—at her side, was also there, and gave me a packet of letters from her husband. On opening this packet later I found the letters were contained in a handsome case, suitable for my pocket, and a card from Mr. Rathbone asking me to use it as a token of his affectionate regard. In the afternoon I drove with Mr. Hodgson to his cottage, and while chatting with his amiable wife the door opened to admit Lord Stanley. I have not the least doubt that if my head had been looked at, it would have been thought to be the body, globularly closed, of one of our largest porcupines; all my hair—and I have enough—stood straight on end, I am sure. He is tall, well formed, made for activity, simply but well dressed; he came to me at once, bowing to Mrs. Hodgson as he did so, and taking my hand in his, said: "Sir, I am glad to see you." Not the words only, but his manner put me at once at my ease. My drawings were soon brought out. Lord Stanley is a great naturalist, and in an instant he was exclaiming over my work, "Fine!" "Beautiful!" and when I saw him on his knees, having spread my drawings on the floor, the better to compare them, I forgot he was Lord Stanley, I knew only he too loved Nature. At dinner I looked at him closely; his manner reminded me of Thomas Sully, his forehead would have suited Dr. Harlan, his brow would have assured that same old friend of his great mental powers. He cordially invited me to call on him in Grosvenor Street in town (thus he called London), shook hands with me again, and mounting a splendid hunter rode off. I called to thank Mr. Rathbone for his letters and gift, but did so, I know, most awkwardly. Oh! that I had been flogged out of this miserable shyness and mauvaise honte when I was a youth.
August 6, Sunday. When I arrived in this city I felt dejected, miserably so; the uncertainty as to my reception, my doubts as to how my work would be received, all conspired to depress me. Now, how different are my sensations! I am well received everywhere, my works praised and admired, and my poor heart is at last relieved from the great anxiety that has for so many years agitated it, for I know now that I have not worked in vain. This morning I went to church; the sermon was not to my mind, but the young preacher may improve. This afternoon I packed up Harlan's "Fauna" for Mr. E. Roscoe, and went to the Institution, where Mr. Munro was to meet me and escort me to Mr. Wm. Roscoe, Jr., where I was to take tea. Mr. Munro was not on hand, so, after a weary waiting, I went alone to Mr. Roscoe's habitation. It was full of ladies and gentlemen, all his own family, and I knew almost every one. I was asked to imitate the calls of some of the wild birds, and though I did not wish to do so, consented to satisfy the curiosity of the company. I sat between Mr. Wm. Roscoe and his son Edward, and answered question after question. Finally, the good old gentleman and I retired to talk about my plans. He strongly advises me not to exhibit my works without remuneration. Later more guests came in, and more questions were asked; they appeared surprised that I have no wonderful tales to tell, that, for instance, I have not been devoured at least six times by tigers, bears, wolves, foxes; no, I never was troubled by any larger animals than ticks and mosquitoes, and that is quite enough. At last one after another took leave. The well bred society of England is the perfection of manners; such tone of voice I never heard in America. Indeed, thus far, I have great reason to like England. My plans now are to go to Manchester, to Derbyshire to visit Lord Stanley (Earl of Derby), Birmingham, London for three weeks, Edinburgh, back to London, and then to France, Paris, Nantes, to see my venerable stepmother, Brussels, and return to England. I am advised to do this by men of learning and excellent judgment, who say this will enable me to find where my work may be published with greatest advantage. I have letters given me to Baron Humboldt, General La Fayette, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Humphry Davy, Miss Hannah More, Miss Edgeworth, Sir Thomas Lawrence, etc., etc. How I wish Victor could be with me; what an opportunity to see the best of this island; few ordinary individuals ever enjoyed the same reception. Many persons of distinction have begged drawing lessons of me at a guinea an hour. I am astonished at the plainness of the ladies' dress; in the best society there are no furbelows and fandangoes.
August 7. I am just now from the society of the learned Dr. Traill, and have greatly enjoyed two hours of his interesting company; to what perfection men like him can rise in this island of instruction. I dined at Mr. Edward Roscoe's, whose wife wished me to draw something for her while she watched me. I drew a flower for her, and one for Miss Dale, a fine artist. I am grieved I could not reach "Green Bank" this evening to enjoy the company of my good friends, the Rathbones; they with the Roscoes and Hodgsons have done more for me in every way than I can express. I must have walked twenty miles to-day on these pavements; that is equal to forty-five in the woods, where there is so much to see.
August 8. Although I am extremely fatigued and it is past midnight, I will write. Mr. Roscoe spoke much of my exhibiting my drawings for an admission fee, and he, as well as Dr. Traill and others, have advised me so strongly to do so that I finally consented, though not quite agreeable to me, and Mr. Roscoe drew a draft of a notice to be inserted in the papers, after which we passed some charming hours together.
August 9. The Committee of the Royal Institution met to-day and requested me to exhibit my drawings by ticket of admission. This request must and will, I am sure, take off any discredit attached to the tormenting feeling of showing my work for money.
August 10. The morning was beautiful, and I was out very early; the watchmen have, however, ceased to look upon me with suspicion, and think, perhaps, I am a harmless lunatic. I walked to the "Mound " and saw the city and the country beyond the Mersey plainly; then I sat on the grass and watched four truant boys rolling marbles with great spirit; how much they brought before me my younger days. I would have liked them still better had they been clean; but they were not so, and as I gave them some money to buy marbles, I recommended that some of it be spent in soap. I begin to feel most powerfully the want of occupation at drawing and studying the habits of the birds that I see about me; and the little Sparrows that hop in the streets, although very sooty with coal smoke, attract my attention greatly; indeed, I watched one of them to-day in the dust of the street, with as much pleasure as in far different places I have watched the play of finer birds. All this induced me to begin. I bought water colors and brushes, for which I paid dearer than in New Orleans. I dined with Mr. Edward Roscoe. As you go to Park Place the view is extensive up and down the Mersey; it gives no extraordinary effects, but is a calming vision of repose to the eyes wearied with the bustle of the streets. There are plenty of steam vessels, but not to be compared to those on the Ohio; these look like smoky, dirty dungeons. Immediately opposite Mr. Roscoe's dwelling is a pond where I have not yet seen a living thing, not even a frog. No moccasin nor copper-headed snake is near its margin; no snowy Heron, no Rose-colored Ibis ever is seen here, wild and charming; no sprightly trout, nor waiting gar-fish, while above hovers no Vulture watching for the spoils of the hunt, nor Eagle perched on dreary cypress in a gloomy silence. No! I am in England, and I cannot but long with unutterable longing for America, charming as England is, and there is nothing in England more charming than the Roscoe family. Our dinner is simple, therefore healthful. Two ladies and a gentleman came in while we were at dessert, and almost as soon as we left the table tea was announced. It is a singular thing that in England dinner, dessert, wines, and tea drinking follow each other so quickly that if we did not remove to another room to partake of the last, it would be a constant repast. 1 walked back to Liverpool, and more than once my eyes were shocked whilst crossing the fields, to see signs with these words: "Any person trespassing on these grounds will be prosecuted with the rigor of the law." This must be a mistake, certainly; this cannot be English freedom and liberty, surely. Of this I intend to know more hereafter; but that I saw these words painted on boards there is really no doubt.
Sunday, August 13. I am greatly disappointed that not yet have I had letters from home, though several vessels have arrived; perhaps to-morrow may bring me what I long for inexpressibly. This morning I went again to the church for the blind, and spent the remainder of the day at my kind friend's, Mr. Wm. Roscoe.
August 14. This day I have passed with the delightful Rathbone family at Green Bank; I have been drawing for Mrs. Rathbone, and after dinner we went through the greenhouse and jardin potager. How charming is Green Bank and the true hospitality of these English friends. It is a cold night, the wind blowing like November; it has been the first day of my exhibition of pictures per card, and one hundred and sixty-four persons were admitted.
August 15. Green Bank, three miles from Liverpool. I am now at this quiet country home; the morning passed in drawing, and this afternoon I took a long walk with Miss Rathbone and her nephew; we were accompanied by a rare dog from Kamschatka. How I did wish I could have conducted them towards the beech woods where we could move wherever fancy led us; but no, it could not be, and we walked between dreary walls, without the privilege of advancing towards any particular object that might attract the eye. Is it not shocking that while in England all is hospitality within, all is so different without? No one dare trespass, as it is called. Signs of large dogs are put up; steel traps and spring guns are set up, and even eyes are kept out by high walls. Everywhere we meet beggars, for England though rich, has poverty gaping every way you look, and the beggars ask for bread,—yes, absolutely for food. I can only pray, May our Heavenly Father have mercy on them.August 17. Green Bank. This morning I lay on the grass a long time listening to the rough voice of a Magpie; it is not the same bird that we have in America. I drove to the Institution with the Queen Bee of Green Bank, and this afternoon began a painting of the Otter in a trap, with the intention to present it (if it is good) to my friend Mr. Roscoe's wife. This evening dined at Mr. Wm. Rathbone's, and there met a Quaker lady, Mrs. Abigail——, who talked much and well about the present condition of England, her poor, her institutions, etc. It is dreadful to know of the want of bread here; will it not lead to the horrors of another revolution? The children of the very poor are often forced by their parents to collect daily a certain
Flycatchers (Heretofore unpublished.)
From a drawing made by Audubon in 1826, and presented to Mrs. Rathbone of Green Bank, Liverpool. Still in the possession of the Rathbone family.
August 19. Dined with Mr. A. Melly in Grenville St. The dinner was quite à la française, all gayety, witticism, and good cheer. The game, however, was what I call highly tainted, the true flavor for the lords of England.
August 21. I painted many hours this day, finished my Otter; it was viewed by many and admired. I was again invited to remove to Green Bank, but declined until I have painted the Wild Turkey cock for the Royal Institution, say three days more.
September 4. Having been too busy to write for many days, I can only relate the principal facts that have taken place. I have been to two very notable suppers, one at Dr. Traill's in company with the French consul and two other French gentlemen; I was much encouraged, and urged to visit France at once. The other at the house of Mr. Molineux; there indeed my ears were feasted; such entertaining conversation, such delightful music; Mr. Clementi and Mr. Tomlinson from London were present. Many persons came to my painting room, they wonder at the rapidity of my work and that I can paint fourteen hours without fatigue. My Turkeys are now framed, and hung at the Institution which is open daily, and paying well. I have made many small drawings for different friends. All my Sundays are alike, breakfast with Mr. Melly, church with the blind, dinner with Mr. Roscoe. Every one is surprised at my habits of early rising, and at my rarely touching meat, except game.
Green Bank, September 6. When I reached this place I was told that Lady Isabella Douglass, the sister of Lord Selkirk, former governor of Canada, was here; she is unable to walk, and moves about in a rolling chair. At dinner I sat between her and Mrs. Rathbone, and I enjoyed the conversation of Lady Douglass much, her broad Scotch accent is agreeable to me; and I amused her by eating some tomatoes raw; neither she, nor any of the company had ever seen them on the table without being cooked.
September 9. Dr. Traill has ordered all my drawings to be packed by the curator of the Institution, so that has given me no trouble whatever. It is hard to say farewell to all those in town and country who have been so kind, so hospitable to me, but to-morrow I leave for Manchester, where Mr. Roscoe advises me to go next.
Manchester, County of Lancashire, September 10, 1826. I must write something of my coming here. After bidding adieu to many friends, I went to Dr. Traill, who most kindly insisted on my taking Mr. Munro with me for two days to assist me, and we left by coach with my portfolios, my trunk to follow by a slower conveyance. I paid one pound for our inside seats. I felt depressed at leaving all my good friends, yet Mr. Munro did all in his power to interest me. He made me remark Lord Stanley's domains, and I looked on the Hares, Partridges, and other game with a thought of apprehension that the apparent freedom and security they enjoyed was very transient. I thought it more cruel to permit them to grow tame and gentle, and then suddenly to turn and murder them by thousands, than to give them the fair show that our game has in our forests, to let them be free and as wild as nature made them, and to let the hunter pay for them by the pleasure and work of pursuing them. We stopped, I thought frequently, to renew the horses, and wherever we stopped a neatly dressed maid offered cakes, ale, or other refreshments for sale. I remarked little shrubs in many parts of the meadows that concealed traps for moles and served as beacons for the persons who caught them. The road was good, but narrow, the country in a high degree of cultivation. We crossed a canal conducting from Liverpool here; the sails moving through the meadows reminded me of Rochester, N. Y. I am, then, now at Manchester, thirty-eight miles from Liverpool, and nearly six thousand from Louisiana.
Manchester, September 12. Yesterday was spent in delivering my letters to the different persons to whom I was recommended. The American consul, Mr. J. S. Brookes, with whom I shall dine to-morrow, received me as an American gentleman receives another, most cordially. The principal banker here, Arthur Heywood, Esq., was equally kind; indeed everywhere I meet a most amiable reception. I procured, through these gentlemen, a good room to exhibit my pictures, in the Exchange buildings, had it cleared, cleaned, and made ready by night. At five this morning Mr. Munro (the curator of the Institution at Liverpool and a most competent help) with several assistants and myself began putting up, and by eleven all was ready. Manchester, as I have seen it in my walks, seems a miserably laid out place, and the smokiest I ever was in. I think I ought not to use the words "laid out" at all. It is composed of an astonishing number of small, dirty, narrow, crooked lanes, where one cart can scarce pass another. It is full of noise and tumult; I thought last night not one person could have enjoyed repose. The postilion's horns, joined to the cry of the watchmen, kept my eyelids asunder till daylight again gave me leave to issue from the King's Arms. The population appears denser and worse off than in Liverpool. The vast number of youth of both sexes, with sallow complexions, ragged apparel, and downcast looks, made me feel they were not as happy as the slaves of Louisiana. Trade is slowly improving, but the times are dull. I have heard the times abused ever since my earliest recollections. I saw to-day several members of the Gregg family.
September 13, Wednesday. I have visited the Academy of Sciences; my time here was largely spoiled by one of those busybodies who from time to time rise to the surface,—a dealer in stuffed specimens, and there ends his history. I wished him in Hanover, or Congo, or New Zealand, or Bombay, or in a bomb-shell en route to eternity. Mr. Munro left me to-day, and I removed from the hotel to the house of a Mrs. Edge, in King Street, who keeps a circulating library; here I have more quietness and a comfortable parlor and bedroom. I engaged a man named Crookes, well recommended, to attend as money receiver at the door of my exhibition room. I pay him fifteen shillings per week; he finds himself, and copies letters for me. Two men came to the exhibition room and inquired if I wished a band of music to entertain the visitors. I thanked them, but do not consider it necessary in the company of so many songsters. My pictures here must depend on their real value; in Liverpool I knew I was supported by my particular friends. … It is eleven o'clock, and I have just returnedfrom Consul Brookes' dinner. The company were all gentlemen, among whom were Mr. Lloyd, the wealthy banker, and Mr. Garnet. Our host is from Boston, a most intelligent and polite man. Judge of my surprise when, during the third course, I saw on the table a dish of Indian corn, purposely for me. To see me eat it buttered and salted, held as if I intended gagging myself, was a matter of much wonder to the English gentlemen, who did not like the vegetable. We had an English dinner Americanized, and the profusion of wines, and the quantity drank was uncomfortable to me; I was constantly obliged to say, "No." The gentleman next me was a good naturalist; much, of course, was said about my work and that of Charles Bonaparte. The conversation turned on politics, and Mr. Brookes and myself, the only Americans present, ranged ourselves and toasted "Our enemies in war, but our friends in peace." I am particularly fond of a man who speaks well of his country, and the peculiar warmth of Englishmen on this subject is admirable. I have had a note from Lord de Tabelay, who is anxious to see my drawings and me, and begs me to go to his domain fourteen miles distant, on my way to Birmingham. I observed that many persons who visited the exhibition room investigated my style more closely than at Liverpool. A Dr. Hulme spent several hours both yesterday and to-day looking at them, and I have been asked many times if they were for sale. I walked some four miles out of the town; the country is not so verdant, nor the country seats so clean-looking, as Green Bank for instance. The funnels raised from the manufactories to carry off the smoke appear in hundreds in every direction, and as you walk the street, the whirring sound of machinery is constantly in your ears. The changes in the weather are remarkable; at daylight it rained hard, at noon it was fair, this afternoon it rained again, at sunset was warm, and now looks like a severe frost.
September 14, Thursday. I have dined to-day at the home of Mr. George W. Wood, about two miles from the town. He drove me thither in company with four gentlemen, all from foreign countries, Mexico, Sumatra,Constantinople, and La Guayra; all were English and had been travelling for business or pleasure, not for scientific or literary purposes. Mrs. Wood was much interested in her gardens, which are very fine, and showed me one hundred bags of black gauze, which she had made to protect as many bunches of grapes from the wasps.
September 15. FROST. This morning the houses were covered with frost, and I felt uncommonly cold and shivery. My exhibition was poorly attended, but those who came seemed interested. Mr. Hoyle, the eminent chemist, came with four very pretty little daughters, in little gray satin bonnets, gray silk spencers, and white petticoats, as befitted them, being Quakers; also Mr. Heywood, the banker, who invited me to dine next Sunday. I spent the evening at the Rev. James I. Taylor's, in company with himself, his wife, and two gentlemen, one a Parisian. I cannot help expressing my surprise that the people of England, generally speaking, are so unacquainted with the customs and localities of our country. The principal conversation about it always turns to Indians and their ways, as if the land produced nothing else. Almost every lady in England draws in water-colors, many of them extremely well, very much better than I ever will do, yet few of them dare to show their productions. Somehow I do not like Manchester.
September 17, Sunday. I have been thinking over my stay in Liverpool; surely I can never express, much less hope to repay, my indebtedness to my many friends there, especially the Roscoes, the three families of Rathbone, and Dr. Thomas S. Traill. My drawings were exhibited for four weeks without a cent of expense to me, and brought me £100. I gave to the Institution a large piece, the wild Turkey Cock; to Mrs. Rathbone, Sr., the Otter in a trap, to Mr. Roscoe a Robin, and to many of my other friends some small drawing, as mementos of one who will always cherish their memories. I wrote a long letter to my son John Woodhouse urging him to spend much of his time at drawing from nature only, and to keep every drawing with the date, that he may trace improvement, if any, also to speak French constantly, that he may not forget a language in which he is now perfect. I have also written to the Governor of New York, his Excellency De Witt Clinton, to whose letters I am indebted for much of my cordial reception here. At two I started for Clermont, Mr. Heywood's residence, where I was to dine. The grounds are fine, and on a much larger scale than Green Bank, but the style is wholly different. The house is immense, but I was kindly received and felt at ease at once. After dinner the ladies left us early. We soon retired to the library to drink tea, and Miss Heywood showed me her portfolio of drawings, and not long after I took my leave.
September 18, Monday. Mr. Sergeant came for me at half-past three and escorted me to his house. I am delighted with him—his house—his pictures—his books—his guns—and his dogs, and very much so with a friend of his from London, who dined with us. The weather has been beautiful, and more persons than usual at my rooms.
September 19, Tuesday. I saw Mr. Melly this morning at the Exchange; he had not long arrived from Liverpool. He had been to my door-keeper, examined the Book of Income, and told me he was sorry and annoyed at my want of success, and advised me to go at once to London or Paris. He depressed me terribly, so that I felt really ill. He invited me to dine with him, but I told him I had already engaged to go to Mr. Samuel Gregg at Quarry Bank, fourteen miles distant, to pass the night. Mr. Gregg, who is the father of a large family, met me as if he had known me fifty years; with him came his brother William and his daughter, the carriage was ready, and off we drove. We crossed a river in the course of our journey nearly fifty feet wide. I was told it was a stream of great importance: the name I have forgotten, but I know it is seven miles from Manchester en route to Derbyshire. The land is highly improved, and grows wheat principally; the country is pretty, and many of the buildings are really beautiful. We turn down a declivity to Quarry Bank, a most enchanting spot, situated on the edge of the same river we had crossed,—the grounds truly picturesque, and cultivated to the greatest possible extent. In the drawing-room I met three ladies, the daughters of Mr. Gregg, and the second daughter of Mr. Wm. Rathbone. After tea I drew a dog in charcoal, and rubbed it with a cork to give an idea of the improvement over the common stumps ordinarily used. Afterwards I accompanied the two brothers to a debating club, instituted on their premises for the advancement of their workmen; on the way we passed a chapel and a long row of cottages for the work-people, and finally reached the schoolroom, where about thirty men had assembled. The question presented was "Which was the more advantageous, the discovery of the compass, or that of the art of printing?" I listened with interest, and later talked with the men on some of the wonders of my own country, in which they seemed to be much interested.
Quarry Bank, September 20. Though the weather was cloudy and somewhat rainy, I rose early, took an immense walk, up and down the river, through the gardens, along the road, and about the woods, fields, and meadows; saw a flock of Partridges, and at half-past eight had done this and daubed in a sketch of an Esquimau in a sledge, drawn by four dogs. The offer was made me to join a shooting party in the afternoon; all was arranged, and the pleasure augmented by the presence of Mr. Shaw, the principal game-keeper of Lord Stanford, who obligingly promised to show us many birds (so are Partridges called). Our guns are no longer than my arm, and we had two good dogs. Pheasants are not to be touched till the first of October, but an exception was made for me and one was shot, and I picked it up while his eye was yet all life, his feathers all brilliancy. We had a fine walk and saw the Derbyshire hills. Mr. Shaw pocketed five shillings, and we the game. This was my first hunting on English soil, on Lord Stanford's domain, where every tree—such as we should call saplings—was marked and numbered, and for all that I know pays either a tax to the government or a tithe to the parish. I am told that a Partridge which crosses the river, or a road, or a boundary, and alights on ground other than Lord Stanford's, is as safe from his gun as if in Guinea.
September 21. I returned to town this morning with my Pheasant. Reached my exhibition room and received miserable accounts. I see plainly that my expenses in Manchester will not be repaid, in which case I must move shortly. I called on Dr. Hulme and represented the situation, and he went to the Academy of Natural History and ordered a committee to meet on Saturday, to see if the Academy could give me a room. Later I mounted my pheasant, and all is ready for work to-morrow.
September 22. I have drawn all day and am fatigued. Only twenty people to see my birds; sad work this. The consul, Mr. Brookes, came to see me, and advised me to have a subscription book for my work. I am to dine with him at Mr. Lloyd's at one next Sunday.
September 23. My drawing this morning moved rapidly, and at eleven I walked to the Exchange and met Dr. Hulme and several other friends, who told me the Committee had voted unanimously to grant me a room gratis to exhibit my drawings. I thanked them most heartily, as this greatly lessens my expenses. More people than usual came to my rooms, and I dined with Mr. Samuel Gregg, Senior, in Fountain Street. I purchased some chalk, for which I paid more than four times as much as in Philadelphia, England is so overdone with duty. I visited the cotton mills of George Murray, Esq., where fifteen hundred souls are employed. These mills consist of a square area of about eight acres, built round with houses five, six, and seven stories high, having in the centre of the square a large basin of water from the canal. Two engines of forty and forty-five horse-power are kept going from 6 A. M. to 8 P. M. daily. Mr. Murray himself conducted me everywhere. This is the largest establishment owned by a single individual in Manchester. Some others, belonging to companies, have as many as twenty-five hundred hands, as poor, miserable, abject-looking wretches as ever worked in the mines of Golconda. I was asked to spend Monday night at Mr. Robert Hyde Gregg's place, Higher Ardwick, but I have a ticket for a fine concert, and I so love music that it is doubtful if I go. I took tea at Mr. Hartley's, and promised to write on his behalf for the bones of an alligator of a good size. Now we shall see if he gets one as quickly as did Dr. Harlan. I have concluded to have a "Book of Subscriptions " open to receive the names of all persons inclined to have the best illustrations of American birds yet published; but alas! I am but a beginner in depicting the beautiful works of God.
Sunday, September 24. I drew at my Pheasant till near eleven o'clock, the weather warm and cloudy. Then I went to church and then walked to Mr. Lloyd's. I left the city and proceeded two miles along the turnpike, having only an imperfect view of the country; I remarked, however, that the foliage was deeply colored with autumnal tints. I reached the home of Mr. Brookes, and together we proceeded to Mr. Lloyd's. This gentleman met us most kindly at the entrance, and we went with him through his garden and hot-houses. The grounds are on a declivity affording a far view of agreeable landscape, the gardens most beautifully provided with all this wonderful island affords, and the hot-houses contain abundant supplies of exotics, flower, fruit, and shrub. The coffee-tree was bearing, the banana ripening; here were juicy grapes from Spain and Italy, the sensitive plant shrunk at my touch, and all was growth, blossom, and perfume. Art here helps Nature to produce her richest treasures at will, and man in England, if rich, may be called the God of the present day. Flower after flower was plucked for me, and again I felt how perfectly an English gentleman makes a stranger feel at home. We were joined by Mr. Thomas Lloyd and Mr. Hindley as we moved towards the house, where we met Mrs. Lloyd, two daughters, and a lady whose name escapes me. We were, of course, surrounded by all that is rich, comfortable, pleasing to the eye. Three men servants in livery trimmed with red on a white ground moved quietly as Killdeers; everything was choice and abundant; the conversation was general and lively; but we sat at the table five hours, two after the ladies left us, and I grew restless; unless drawing or out of doors I like not these long periods of repose. After joining the ladies in the library, tea and coffee were served, and in another hour we were in a coach en route for Manchester.
September 25. Who should come to my room this morning about seven whilst I was busily finishing the ground of my Pheasant but a handsome Quaker, about thirty years of age and very neatly dressed, and thus he spoke: "My friends are going out of Manchester before thee opens thy exhibition rooms; can we see thy collection at nine o'clock?" I answer, "Yes," and show him my drawing. Now were all the people here Quakers, I might perhaps have some encouragement, but really, my Lucy, my times are dull, heavy, long, painful, and my mind much harassed. Five minutes before nine I was standing waiting for the Quaker and his friends in the lobby of the Exchange, when two persons came in and held the following discourse. "Pray, have you seen Mr. Audubon's collections of birds? I am told it is well worth a shilling; suppose we go now." "Pah! it is all a hoax; save your shilling for better use. I have seen them; the fellow ought to be drummed out of town." I dared not raise my head lest I might be known, but depend upon it I wished myself in America. The Quakers, however, restored my equilibrium, for they all praised my drawings so much that I blushed in spite of my old age. I took my drawing of the Pheasant to Mr. Fanetti's (?) shop and had it put in a good light. I have made arrangements to have my pictures in my new place in King Street, and hope to do better next week. At four I took down two hundred and forty drawings and packed them ready for removal. Now for the concert It was six o'clock and raining when I left for Fountain Street, where already carriages had accumulated to a great number. I presented my ticket, and was asked to write my name and residence, for this is not exactly a public affair, but most select; so I am told. The room is full of red, white, blue, and green turbans well fitted to the handsome heads of the ladies. I went to one side where my ear and my intellect might be well satisfied, and where I should not be noticed; but it would not do, my long hair and unfashionable garments were observed far more than was agreeable to me. But the music soon began, and I forgot all else for the time; still between the various performances I felt myself gazed at through lorgnettes, and was most ill at ease. I have passed many uncomfortable evenings in company, and this one may be added.
Quarry Bank, September 26. Whilst putting up my pictures in my newly granted "apartment" I received a note from Mrs. Gregg inviting me here for the night to meet Professor Smyth. He is a tall, fine-looking gentleman from Cambridge, full of knowledge, good taste, and kindness. At dinner the Professor sat opposite the Woodsman, and America was largely the topic of conversation. One evening spent with people such as these is worth a hundred fashionable ones.
Wednesday, September 27. It is a strange atmosphere, warm, damp, rainy, then fair again, all in less than two hours, which was the time consumed by my early walk. On my return soon after eight I found four of the ladies all drawing in the library; that in this country is generally the sitting-room. At about ten we had breakfast, when we talked much of duels, and of my friend Clay and crazy Randolph. Much is unknown about our country, and yet all are deeply interested in it. To-morrow I am off to Liverpool again; how much I shall enjoy being once again with the charming Rathbones.
Green Bank, near Liverpool, September 28. At five this morning I left Manchester and its smoke behind me; but I left there the labors of about ten years of my life, fully one half of my collection. The ride was a wet one, heavy rain falling continuously. I was warmly welcomed by my good Liverpool friends, and though completely drenched I felt it not, so glad was I to be in Liverpool again. My being here is soon explained. I felt it best to see Dr. Traill and Mr. Roscoe, and I dined with the latter; we talked of Manchester and our friends there, and Mr. Roscoe thought well of the subscription book. From here to Green Bank, where I am literally at home. Mr. Rathbone and Mr. Roscoe will both aid me in the drawing up of a prospectus for my work.
Green Bank, September 29. It rained during the night and all the early portion of the day. I breakfasted early, and at half-past nine Mr. Rathbone and I drove in the gig to Mrs. Wm. S. Roscoe. After a little conversation we decided nothing could be done about the prospectus without more definite knowledge of what the cost of publication would be, and I was again referred to Dr. Traill. It happened that here I met a Mr. Bohn, from London, not a publisher, but a bookseller with an immense establishment, two hundred thousand volumes as a regular stock. He advised me to proceed at once to London, meet the principal naturalists of the day, and through them to see the best engravers, colorists, printers, paper-merchants, etc., and thus form some idea of the cost; then to proceed to Paris, Brussels, and possibly Berlin, with proper letters, and follow the same course, thereby becoming able to judge of the advantages and disadvantages attached to each country and to determine myself when, where, and how the work should be undertaken; to be during this time, through the medium of friends, correspondence, and scientific societies, announced to the world in some of the most widely read periodical publications. "Then, Mr. Audubon, issue a prospectus, and bring forth one number of your work, and I think you will succeed and do well; but remember my observations on the size of your book, and be governed by this fact, that at present productions of taste are purchased with delight, by persons who receive much company particularly, and to have your book laid on the table as a pastime, or an evening's entertainment, will be the principal use made of it, and that if it needs so much room as to crowd out other things or encumber the table, it will not be purchased by the set of people who now are the very life of the trade. If large public institutions only and a few noblemen purchase, instead of a thousand copies that may be sold if small, not more than a hundred will find theirway out of the shops; the size must be suitable for the English market" (such was his expression), "and ought not to exceed that of double Wilson." This conversation took place in the presence of Dr. Traill, and both he and Mr. Roscoe are convinced it is my only plan. Mr. Bohn told Dr. Traill, as well as myself, that exhibiting my pictures would not do well; that I might be in London a year before I should be known at all, but that through the scientific periodicals I should be known over Europe in the same time, when probably my first number would be published. He strongly advised me to have the work printed and finished in Paris, bring over to England say two hundred and fifty copies, to have it bound and the titlepage printed, to be issued to the world of England as an English publication. This I will not do; no work of
FROM A PENCIL SKETCH OF AUDUBON.
DRAWN BY HIMSELF FOR MRS. RATHBONE.
Now in the possession of Mr. Richard R. Rathbone, Glan-y-Menai, Anglesey.
rest assured success would eventually be mine. This plan, therefore, I will pursue with the same perseverance that since twenty-five years has not wavered, and God's will be done. Having now determined on this I will return to Manchester after a few days, visit thy native place, gaze on the tombs of thy ancestors in Derby and Leicester, and then enter London with a head humbly bent, but with a heart intently determined to conquer. On returning to this abode of peace, I was overtaken by a gentleman in a gig, unknown to me quite, but who offered me a seat. I thanked him, accepted, and soon learned he was a Mr. Dearman. He left me at Green Bank, and the evening was truly delightful.
September 30, Woodcraft. I am now at Mr. Richard Rathbone's; I did not leave Green Bank this morning till nearly noon. The afternoon was spent with Dr. Traill, with whom I dined; there was only his own family, and I was much entertained by Dr. Traill and his son. A man of such extensive and well digested knowledge as Dr. Traill cannot fail to be agreeable. About eight his son drove me to Woodcroft, where were three other guests, Quakers. The remainder of the evening was spent with a beautiful microscope and a Diamond Beetle. Mr. Rathbone is enthusiastic over my publishing plans, and I will proceed with firm resolution to attempt the being an author. It is a terrible thing to me; far better am I fitted to study and delineate in the forest, than to arrange phrases with suitable grammatical skill. For the present the public exhibiting of my work will be laid aside,—I hope, forever. I now intend going to Matlock, and from there to my Lucy's native place, pass through Oxford, and so reach the great London, and once more become the man of business. From there to France, but, except to see my venerable mother, I shall not like France, I am sure, as I now do England; and I sincerely hope that this country may be preferred to that, on financial grounds, for the production of my work. Yet I love France most truly, and long to enter my old garden on the Loire and with rapid steps reach my mother,—yes, my mother! the only one I truly remember; and no son ever had a better, nor more loving one. Let no one speak of her as my "stepmother." I was ever to her as a son of her own flesh and blood, and she to me a true mother. I have written to Louisiana to have forwarded from Bayou Sara six segments of magnolia, yellow-poplar, beech, button-wood or sycamore, sassafras, and oak, each about seven or eight inches in thickness of the largest diameter that can be procured in the woods; to have each segment carefully handled so as not to mar the bark, and to have each name neatly painted on the face, with the height of the tree. These are for the Liverpool Royal Institution.
Green Bank, October 1. Though the morning was bright it was near four before I left my room and stepped into the fresh air, where I could watch the timid birds fly from bush to bush before me. I turned towards the Mersey reflecting the calm, serene skies, and listened to the voice of the Quail, here so shy. I walked to the tide-beaten beach and watched the Solan Goose in search of a retreat from the destroyer, man. Suddenly a poorly dressed man, in somewhat of a sailor garb, and carrying a large bag dashed past me; his movement suggested flight, and instinctively I called, "Stop thief!" and made towards him in a style that I am sure he had never seen used by the gentlemen of the customs, who at this hour are doubtless usually drowsy. I was not armed, but to my surprise he turned, fell at my feet, and with eyes starting from his head with apprehension, begged for mercy, said the bag only contained a few leaves of rotten tobacco, and it was the first time he had ever smuggled. This, then, was a smuggler! I told him to rise, and as he did so I perceived the boat that had landed him. There were five men in it, but instead of landing and defending their companion, they fled by rowing, like cowards, swiftly away. I was astonished at such conduct from Englishmen. I told the abject creature to bring his bag and open it; this he did. It was full of excellent tobacco, but the poor wretch looked ill and half starved, and I never saw a human being more terrified. He besought me to take the tobacco and let him go, that it was of the rarest quality. I assured him I never had smoked a single cigar, nor did I intend to, and told him to take care he did not offend a second time. One of my pockets was filled with the copper stuff the shop-keepers here give, which they call penny. I gave them all to him, and told him to go. He thanked me many times and disappeared through a thick hedge. The bag must have contained fifty pounds of fine tobacco and two pistols, which were not loaded, or so he said. I walked back to Green Bank thinking of the smuggler. When I told Mr. Rathbone of my adventure he said I had been extremely rash, and that I might have been shot dead on the spot, as these men are often desperadoes. Well! I suppose I might have thought of this, but dear me! one cannot always think over every action carefully before committing it. On my way back I passed a man digging potatoes; they were small and indifferently formed. The season has been uncommonly dry and hot so the English say; for my part I am almost freezing most of the time, and I have a bad cough.
October 2. This morning Mrs. Rathbone asked me if I would draw her a sketch of the Wild Turkey, about the size of my thumb-nail. I assured her I would with pleasure, but that I could perhaps do better did I know for what purpose. She colored slightly, and replied after a moment that it was for something she desired to have made; so after I had reached the Institution and finished my business there, I sat opposite my twenty-three hours' picture and made the diminutive sketch in less than twenty-three minutes. The evening was spent at Woodcroft, and Mr. Rathbone sent his servant to drive me in the gig to Green Bank, the night being cold and damp. The man was quite surprised I did not make use of a great coat which had been placed at my disposal. How little he knew how often I had lain down to rest, wet, hungry, harassed and full of sorrow, with millions of mosquitoes buzzing round me as I lay awake listening to the Chuck mill's Widow, the Horned Owl, and the hoarse Bull-frog, impatiently awaiting the return of day to enable me to hunt the forests and feast my eyes on their beautiful inhabitants. I thought of all this and then moved the scene to the hunter's cabin. Again wet, harassed, and hungry, I felt the sudden warmth of the "Welcome, stranger!" saw the busy wife unhook dry clothes from the side of the log hut, untie my moccasins, and take my deerskin coat; I saw the athletic husband wipe my gun, clean the locks, hang all over the bright fire; the eldest boy pile on more wood, whilst my ears were greeted with the sound of the handmill crushing the coffee, or the rye, for my evening drink; I saw the little ones, roused by the stranger's arrival, peeping from under the Buffalo robe, and then turn over on the Black Bear skin to resume their slumbers. I saw all this, and then arrived at Green Bank to meet the same hearty welcome. The squatter is rough, true, and hospitable; my friends here polished, true, and generous. Both give what they have, freely, and he who during the tough storms of life can be in such spots may well say he has known happiness.Green Bank, October 3. To-day I have visited the jail at Liverpool. The situation is fine, it is near the mouth of the estuary that is called the river Mersey, and from its
AUDUBON IN INDIAN DRESS.
From a pencil sketch drawn by himself for Miss Rathbone, 1826. Now in the possession of Mrs. Abraham
Dixon (ne'e Rathbone), London, England.
chapel, and yards in which the prisoners take exercise, kitchens, storerooms, etc., besides treadmills. The treadmills I consider infamous; conceive a wild Squirrel in a round cage constantly moving, without progressing. The labor is too severe, and the true motive of correction destroyed, as there are no mental resources attached to this laborious engine of shame. Why should not these criminals—if so they are—be taught different trades, enabling them when again thrown into the world to earn their living honestly? It would be more profitable to the government, and the principle would be more honorable. It is besides injurious to health; the wheel is only six feet in diameter, therefore the motion is rapid, and each step must be taken in quick succession, and I know a quick, short step is more fatiguing than a long one. The emaciated bodies of the poor fellows proved this to my eyes, as did my powers of calculation. The circulation of air was much needed; it was painful to me to breathe in the room where the mill was, and I left it saddened and depressed. The female department is even more lamentable, but I will say no more, except that my guide and companion was Miss Mary Hodgson, a Quakeress of great benevolence and solid understanding, whose labors among these poor unfortunates have been of immense benefit. I dined with her, her sister and brother, the latter a merchant of this busy city.
Manchester, October 6. This morning after four hours' rest I rose early. Again taking my boots in my hand, I turned the latch gently, and found myself alone in the early dawn. It was one of those mornings when not sufficiently cold for a frost; the dew lay in large drops on each object, weighing down the points of every leaf, every blade of grass. The heavens were cloudless, all breezes hushed, and the only sound the twitterings of the Red-breasted Warbler. I saw the Blackbird mounted on the slender larch, waiting to salute the morning sun, the Thrush on the grass by the mulberry tree, and the Lark unwilling to bid farewell to summer. The sun rose, the Rook's voice now joined with that of the Magpie. I saw a Stock Pigeon fly over me, and I started and walked swiftly into Liverpool. Here, arriving before six, no one was up, but by repeated knockings I aroused first Mr. Fillet, and then Mr. Melly. On my return to the country I encountered Mr. Wm. Roscoe, also out for an early walk. For several days past the last Swallows have flown toward the south, frosts have altered the tints of the foliage, and the mornings have been chilly; and I was rubbing my hands to warm them when I met Mr. Roscoe. "A fine, warm morning this, Mr. Audubon." "Yes," I replied, "the kind of morning I like a fire with half a cord of wood." He laughed and said I was too tropical in my tastes, but I was glad to keep warm by my rapid walking. At eleven I was on my way to Manchester, this time in a private carriage with Mrs. Rathbone and Miss Hannah. We changed horses twelve miles from Green Bank; it was done in a moment, up went a new postilion, and off we went. Our luncheon had been brought with us, and was really well served as we rolled swiftly along. After plenty of substantials, our dessert consisted of grapes, pears, and a melon, this last by no means so frequently seen here as in Louisiana. We reached smoky Manchester and I was left at the door of the Academy of Natural History, where I found the man I had left in charge much intoxicated. Seldom in my life have I felt more vexed. When he is sober I shall give him the opportunity of immediately finding a new situation.
Quarry Bank, October 7, Saturday. From Green Bank to Quarry Bank from one pleasure to another, is not like the butterfly that skips from flower to flower and merely sees their beauties, but more, I hope, as a bee gathering honeyed stores for future use. My cold was still quite troublesome, and many remedies were offered me, but I never take physic, and will not, even for kind Mrs. Gregg.
Sunday, October 8. I went to church at Mr. Gregg's chapel; the sermon was good, and the service being over, took Miss Helen a long ramble through the gardens, in which even now there is much of beauty.
October 9. As soon as possible a male Chaffinch was procured, and I sat to draw it to give an idea of what Mrs. Gregg calls "my style." The Chaffinch was outlined, daubed with water-colors, and nearly finished when we were interrupted by callers, Dr. Holland among them, with whom I was much pleased and interested, though I am neither a craniologist nor a physiognomist. Lord Stanford's gamekeeper again came for us, and we had a long walk, and I killed a Pheasant and a Hare.
October 10. To-day I returned to Manchester to meet Mr. Bohn. We went to the Academy together, and examined my drawings. Mr. Bohn was at first simply surprised, then became enthusiastic, and finally said they must be published the full size of life, and he was sure they would pay. God grant it! He strongly advised me to leave Manchester, and go to London, where he knew I should at once be recognized. I dined at the good Quaker's, Mr. Dockray, where my friends Mrs. and Miss Rathbone are visiting; there is a large and interesting family. I sketched an Egret for one, a Wild Turkey for another, a Wood Thrush for a third.
Bakewell, October 11. I am at last, my Lucy, at the spot which has been honored with thy ancestor's name. Though dark and rainy I have just returned from a walk in the churchyard of the village, where I went with Miss Hannah Rathbone, she and her mother having most kindly accompanied me hither. It was perhaps a strange place to go first, but we were attracted by the ancient Gothic edifice. It seemed to me a sort of illusion that made me doubt whether I lived or dreamed. When I think how frequently our plans have been laid to come here, and how frequently defeated, it is no great wonder that I find it hard to believe I am here at last. This morning at breakfast, Lady Rathbone spoke of coming to Matlock, and in a few moments all was arranged. She, with her niece, Mrs. Dockray, and Miss Hannah, with several of the children and myself, should leave in two chaises at noon. I spent the time till then in going over Mr. Dockray's wool mill. He procures the wool rough from the sheep, and it is cloth when he disposes of it; he employs about seventy weavers, and many other people in the various departments. I was much interested in the dyeing apparatus. I packed up a few of my drawings to take with me. We started, seven of us, in two chaises; all was new, and therefore interesting. We reached Stockport, a manufacturing town lying between two elongated hillsides, where we changed horses, and again at Chapel En-La-Frith, thirty miles from the point of departure. I saw a good deal of England that I admired very much. The railways were new to me, but the approach of the mountains dampened my spirits; the aridity of the soil, the want of hedges, and of course of birds, the scarcity of cattle, and the superabundance of stone walls cutting the hills in all sorts of distorted ways, made me a very unsocial companion, but the comfortable inn, and our lively evening has quite restored my cheerfulness.
Matlock, October 12. This morning I was out soon after sunrise; again I walked round the church, remarked its decaying state, and that of all the thatched roofs of the humble cottages. I ascended the summit of the hill, crossing a bridge which spanned a winding stream, and had a lovely view of the country just lighted by the sun's first beams, and returned to the inn, the Rutland Arms, in time for the hour of departure, seven. The weather was now somewhat fitful, but the road good, and the valley charming. We passed the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, and Matlock opened to our eyes in all its beauty, the hills dotted with cottages and gentlemen's seats, the autumnal tints diversifying the landscape and enriching beautiful nature; the scenery reminds me of that part of America on the river called the Clear Juniata. All is remarkably clean; we rise slowly to more elevated ground, leave the river and approach the New Baths Hotel, where our host, Mr. Saxton, has breakfast ready. After this we took a long walk, turning many times to view the delightful scenery, though the weather had become quite rainy. We visited the celebrated cave, each carrying a lighted candle, and saw the different chambers containing rich minerals and spars; the walls in many places shone like burnished steel. On our return, which was down-hill, I heard with much pleasure the repeated note of the Jackdaws that constantly flew from hole to hole along the rocky declivities about us. After dinner, notwithstanding the rain, we rowed in a boat down the stream, to a dam and a waterfall, where we landed, walked through the woods, gathered some beautiful mosses, and saw some Hares, heard a Kestrell just as if in America, returned to our boat and again rowed, but this time up-stream, and so left the Derwent River.
Matlock, October 13. Still rainy, but I found a sheltered spot, and made this sketch. We entered part of the grounds of Sir Thomas Arkwright, saw his castle, his church, and his meadows. The Rooks and Jackdaws were over our heads by hundreds. The steep banks of the Derwent were pleasantly covered with shrubby trees; the castle on the left bank, on a fine elevation, is too regular to be called (by me) well adapted to the rich natural scenery about it. We passed along a canal, by a large manufactory, and a coal-yard to the inn, the Crumford, and the rest of the day was employed in drawing. The sketch I took was from "The Heights of Abraham," and I copied it for Miss Hannah. About sunset we visited the Rutland Cave, which surpassed all my expectations; the natural chambers sparkled with brilliancy, and lights were placed everywhere. I saw there some little fishes which had not seen the daylight for three years, and yet were quite sprightly. A certain portion of the roof represented a very good head of a large tiger. I imitated, at Mrs. Rathbone's request, the Owl's cry, and the Indian yell. This latter music never pleased my fancy much, and I well know the effects it produces previous to and during an attack whilst the scalping knife is at work. We had a pleasant walk back to the inn, for the evening was calm and clear, and the moon shone brightly; so after a hasty tea we all made for the river, took a boat, and seated ourselves to contemplate the peace around us. I rowed, and sung many of the river songs which I learned in scenes far from quiet Matlock.
Manchester, October 14, Mr. Dockray's House, Hardwick. By five o'clock this morning I was running by the Derwent; everything was covered with sparkling congealed dew. The fog arising from the little stream only permitted us to see its waters when they made a ripple against some rock. The vale was all mist, and had I not known where I was, and heard the notes of the Jackdaws above my head, I might have conceived myself walking through a subterraneous passage. But the sun soon began to dispel the mist, and gradually the tops of the trees, the turrets of the castle, and the church pierced through, and stood as if suspended above all objects below. All was calm till a bell struck my ear, when I soon saw the long files of women and little girls moving towards Arkwright's Mills. Almost immediately we started for Bakewell, and breakfasted at the Rutland Arms. Proceeding we changed our route, and made for the well known watering place, Buxton, still in Derbyshire. The country here is barren, rocky, but so picturesque that the want of trees is almost atoned for. The road winds along a very narrow valley for several miles, bringing a vast variety of detached views before us, all extremely agreeable to the sight. The scantiness of vegetable growth forces the cattle to risk much to obtain food, and now and then when seeing a bull, on bent knee with outstretched neck, putting out his tongue to seize the few grasses hanging over the precipices, I was alarmed for his safety. The Hawk here soars in vain; after repeated rounds he is forced to abandon the dreary steep, having espied only a swift Kingfisher. Suddenly the view was closed, a high wall of rock seemed to put an end to our journey, yet the chaise ran swiftly down-hill, and turning a sharp angle afforded delight to our eyes. Here we alighted and walked to view the beauties around at our leisure, and we reached the large inn, the Crescent, where I met the American consul, my friend Mr. Maury, who has visited this place regularly for twenty-five years. We had what my friends called a luncheon; I considered it an excellent dinner, but the English eat heartily. On our resuming our journey a fine drizzle set in, and as we neared Manchester the air became thick with coal smoke, the carts, coaches, and horsemen gradually filled the road, faces became less clean and rosy, and the children had none of the liveliness found amongst those in the Derbyshire Hills. I dreaded returning to the town, yet these days among the beauties of England in such delightful society are enough to refresh one after years of labor.
Manchester, October 15, Sunday. I went to the Unitarian Chapel to hear a sermon from the Rev. John Taylor, but to my regret he had gone to preach elsewhere, and I was obliged to content myself with another,—not quite so practical a sermon as I care for. I dined and spent the night at Mr. Bentley's; after retiring to my room I was surprised at a knock; I opened my door and there stood Mr. Bentley, who said he thought he heard me asking for something as he passed by. I told him I prayed aloud every night, as had been my habit from a child at my mother's knees in Nantes. He said nothing for a moment, then again wished me good-night, and was gone.
October 18. This evening I was to dine with Dr. Hulme and (as he said) "a few friends;" so when at four o'clock I entered his sitting-room, I was surprised to find it filled with ladies and gentlemen, and felt awkward for a moment. Some of my drawings were asked for, and at five we went to dinner; after the ladies had retired, wine and wit flowed till a late hour.
Quarry Bank, 12 miles from Manchester, October 19. At five, my cane in hand, I made my way from Manchester, bound on foot for Quarry Bank; the morning was pleasant and I enjoyed my walk very much, but found myself quite out of the right road; therefore, instead of twelve miles, I measured sixteen, and was hungry enough when I reached my destination. I was soon put at my drawing, and drew the whole day; in the afternoon I began a sketch of Mr. Gregg, and felt quite satisfied with my work, but not so everybody else. Faults were found, suggestions made, and I enjoyed the criticisms very much, especially those of an Irish nephew of Mr. Gregg's, who, after several comments, drew me confidentially aside, and asked who it was intended to represent; after this, amid hearty laughter, I concluded to finish it next day. Later we took a walk and I entered a cottage where dwelt a silk weaver; all was clean and well arranged, and I saw the weaving going on for the first time since I left France.
October 20. Drawing again all morning, and a walk later. I was taken to a cottage, where to my great surprise I saw two cases of well stuffed birds, the work of the weaver who lived in the cottage. I was taken to the dairy, where I saw the finest cattle I have yet met with in England.
October 21. This has been a busy day. On my return from Quarry Bank I saw Mr. Bentley, Mr. Heywood, and other friends. Mr. H. gave me a letter to Professor Jameson, of Edinburgh. Called on Dr. Hulme; paid, in all, twenty visits, and dined with Mr. Bentley, and with his assistance packed up my birds safe and snug, though much fatigued; it was late when we parted; he is a brother Mason and has been most kind to me. I wrote down for Mrs. Rathbone a brief memorandum of the flight of birds, with a few little pencil sketches to make my figures more interesting: Swallows, two and a half miles a minute; Wild Pigeons, when travelling, two miles per minute; Swans, ditto two miles, Wild Turkeys, one mile and three quarters. Manchester, October 23, 1826, Monday. This day was absolutely all spent packing and making ready for my start for Edinburgh; my seat in the coach taken and paid for, three pounds fifteen shillings. I spent my last evening with Mr. Bentley and his family. As the coach leaves at 5 A. M., I am sleeping at the inn to be ready when called. I am leaving Manchester much poorer than I was when I entered it.
Carlisle, Tuesday, October 24. The morning was clear and beautiful, and at five I left Manchester; but as no dependence can be placed on the weather in this country, I prepared for rain later. I was alone in the coach, and had been regretting I had no companion, when a very tall gentleman entered, but after a few words, he said he was much fatigued and wished to sleep; he composed himself therefore and soon slept soundly. How I envied him! We rolled on, however, and arrived at the village of Preston, where we breakfasted as quickly as if we had been Kentuckians. The coaches were exchanged, packages transferred, and I entered the conveyance and met two new gentlemen whose appearance I liked; we soon commenced to chat, and before long were wandering all over America, part of India, and the Atlantic Ocean. We discussed the emancipation of the slaves, and the starvation of the poor in England, the Corn Law, and many other topics, the while I looked frequently from the windows. The approach to Lancaster is beautiful; the view of the well placed castle is commanding, and the sea view bounded by picturesque shores. We dined at Kendal, having passed through Bolton and Burton, but before this my two interesting companions had been left behind at a place where we stopped to change horses, and only caught up with the coach by running across some fields. This caused much altercation between them, the driver, and the guard; one of the proprietors of the coach who was on board interfered, and being very drunk made matters worse, and a complaint was lodged against driver and guard. The tall gentleman was now wide awake; he introduced himself as a Mr. Walton, and knew the other gentlemen, who were father and son, the Messrs. Patison from Cornwall; all were extremely polite to me, a stranger in their land, but so have I ever found the true English gentleman.
We now entered a most dreary country, poor beyond description, immense rolling hills in constant succession, dotted here and there with miserable cots, the residences of poor shepherds. No game was seen, the weather was bleak and rainy, and I cannot say that I now enjoyed the ride beyond the society of my companions. We passed through Penrith and arrived at Carlisle at half-past nine, having ridden one hundred and twenty-two miles. I was told that in hard winters the road became impassable, so choked with snow, and that when not entirely obstructed it was customary to see posts painted black at the top, every hundred yards or so, to point out the road surely. We had a miserable supper, but good beds, and I enjoyed mine, for I felt very wearied, my cold and cough having been much increased from my having ridden outside the coach some thirty miles, to see the country.
Edinburgh, Scotland, October 35, Wednesday. We breakfasted at Carlisle, left there at eight, but I was sadly vexed at having to pay twelve shillings for my trunk and portfolio, as I had been positively assured at Manchester that no further charge would be made. For perhaps ten miles we passed through an uncommonly flat country, meandering awhile along a river, passed through a village called Longtown, and entered Scotland at ten minutes before ten. I was then just six miles from the spot where runaway matches are rendered lawful. The country changed its aspect, and became suddenly quite woody; we ran along, and four times crossed a beautiful little stream like a miniature Mohawk; many little rapids were seen in its windings. The foliage was about to fall, and looked much as it does with us about our majestic western streams, only much less brilliant. This scenery, however, lasted only one stage of perhaps twelve miles, and again we entered country of the same dreariness as yesterday, mere burnt mountains, which were not interesting. The number of sheep grazing on these hills was very great, and they all looked well, though of a very small species; many of them had black heads and legs, the body white, with no horns; others with horns, and still others very small, called here "Cheviots." The shepherds were poor, wrapped up in a thin piece of plaid, and did not seem of that noble race so well painted by Sir Walter Scott. I saw the sea again to-day. We dined at Hawick on excellent sea fish, and for the first time in my life, I tasted Scotch whiskey. It appeared very potent, so after a few sips I put it down, and told Mr. Patison I suspected his son of wishing to make me tipsy; to which he replied that probably it was to try if I would in such a case be as good-natured as I was before. I took this as quite a compliment and forgave the son. The conversation at dinner was very agreeable, several Scotch gentlemen having joined us; some of them drank their native whiskey pure, as if water, but I found it both smoky and fiery; so much for habit. We passed through Selkirk, having driven nearly the whole day through the estates of the young Duke of ——, a young fellow of twenty who passes his days just now shooting Black-cock; he has something like two hundred thousand pounds per annum. Some of the shepherds on this astonishing estate have not probably more than two hundred pounds of oatmeal, a terrible contrast. We passed so near Sir Walter Scott's seat that I stood up and stretched my neck some inches to see it, but in vain, and who knows if I shall ever see the home of the man to whom I am indebted for so much pleasure? We passed a few miles from Melrose; I had a great wish to see the old abbey, and the gentleman to whom Dr. Rutter had given me a letter, but the coach rolled on, and at ten o'clock I entered this splendid city. I have seen yet but a very small portion of it, and that by gaslight, yet I call it a splendid city! The coach stopped at the Black Bull Hotel, but it was so full no room could be procured, so we had our baggage taken to the Star. The clerk, the guard, the driver, all swore at my baggage, and said that had I not paid at Carlisle, I would have been charged more here. Now it is true that my trunk is large and heavy, and so is the portfolio I carry with me, but to give an idea of the charges and impositions connected with these coaches (or their owners) and the attendants, remark the price I paid; to begin with,—
at Manchester, £3 15 00,
at Carlisle, 12 00,
and during the two days to drivers and guards, 18 06,
£5 5 06,
nearly twenty-seven dollars in our money for two days' travelling from Manchester to Edinburgh. It is not so much the general amount, although I am sure it is quite enough for two hundred and twelve miles, but the beggarly manners used to obtain about one half of it; to see a fellow with a decent coat on, who calls himself an independent free-born Englishman, open the door of the coach every ten or twelve miles, and beg for a shilling each time, is detestable, and quite an abuse; but this is not all: they never are satisfied, and if you have the appearance of wealth about you, they hang on and ask for more. The porters here were porters indeed, carrying all on their backs, the first I have seen in this island. At the Star we had a good supper, and chatted a long time, and it was near one before the Messrs. Patison and I parted; Mr. Walton had gone on another course. I thought so much of the multitude of learned men that abound in this place, that I dreaded the delivery of my letters to-morrow.
George St., Edinburgh, October 26. It was ten o'clock when I breakfasted, because I wished to do so with the Patisons, being so much pleased with their company. I was much interested in the different people in the room, which was quite full, and the waiters were kept skipping about with the nimbleness of Squirrels. My companions, who knew Edinburgh well, offered to accompany me in search of lodgings, and we soon entered the second door in George Street, and in a few minutes made an arrangement with Mrs. Dickie for a fine bedroom and a well furnished sitting-room. I am to pay her one guinea per week, which I considered low, as the situation is fine, and the rooms clean and comfortable. I can see, from where I am now writing, the Frith, and the boats plying on it. I had my baggage brought by a man with a tremendous beard, who imposed on me most impudently by bringing a brass shilling, which he said he would swear I had given him. I gave him another, threw the counterfeit in the fire, and promised to myself to pay some little attention hereafter to what kind of money I give or receive. I walked to Professor Jameson's in the Circus,—not at home; to James Hall, Advocate, 128 George St.,—absent in the country. Dr. Charles Henry of the Royal Infirmary was sought in vain, Dr. Thompson was out also, and Professor Duncan could not be seen until six o'clock. I only saw Dr. Knox in Surgeon's Square, and Professor Jameson at the college. This latter received me, I thought, rather coolly; said that Sir Walter Scott was now quite a recluse, and was busy with a novel and the Life of Napoleon, and that probably I should not see him. "Not see Walter Scott?" thought I; "I shall, if I have to crawl on all-fours for a mile!" But I was a good deal surprised when he added it would be several days before he could pay me a visit, that his business was large, and must be attended to; but I could not complain, as I am bent on doing the same towards myself; and besides, why should I expect any other line of conduct? I have been spoiled by the ever-to-be-remembered families of Roscoes and Rathbones. Dr. Knox came at once to see me, dressed in an overgown and with bloody fingers. He bowed, washed his hands, read Dr. Traili's letter, and promised me at once to do all in his power for me and my drawings, and said he would bring some scientific friends to meet me, and to examine my drawings. Dr. Knox is a distinguished anatomist, and a great student; Professor Jameson's special science is mineralogy. I walked a good deal and admired the city very much, the great breadth of the streets, the good pavements and footways, the beautiful buildings, their natural gray coloring, and wonderful cleanliness; perhaps all was more powerfully felt, coming direct from dirty Manchester, but the picturesqueness of the toute ensemble is wonderful. A high castle here, another there, on to a bridge whence one looks at a second city below, here a rugged mountain, and there beautiful public grounds, monuments, the sea, the landscape around, all wonderfully put together indeed; it would require fifty different views at least to give a true idea, but I will try from day to day to describe what I may see, either in the old or new part of the town. I unpacked my birds and looked at them with pleasure, and yet with a considerable degree of fear that they would never be published. I felt very much alone, and many dark thoughts came across my mind; I felt one of those terrible attacks of depression to which I so often fall a prey overtaking me, and I forced myself to go out to destroy the painful gloom that I dread at all times, and of which I am sometimes absolutely afraid. After a good walk I returned more at ease, and looked at a pair of stuffed pheasants on a large buffet in my present sitting-room, at the sweetly scented geraniums opposite to them, the black hair-cloth sofa and chairs, the little cherubs on the mantelpiece, the painted landscape on my right hand, and the mirror on my left, in which I saw not only my own face, but such strong resemblance to that of my venerated father that I almost imagined it was he that I saw; the thoughts of my mother came to me, my sister, my young days, all was at hand, yet how far away. Ah! how far is even the last moment, that is never to return again.
Edinburgh, October 27, 1826. I visited the market this morning, but to go to it I first crossed the New Town into the Old, over the north bridge, went down many flights of winding steps, and when at the desired spot was positively under the bridge that has been built to save the trouble of descending and mounting from one side of Edinburgh to the other, the city being mostly built on the slopes of two long ranges of high, broken hills. The vegetable market was well arranged, and looked, as did the sections for
meats and fruits, attractive; but the situation, and the narrow booths in which the articles were exhibited, was, compared with the Liverpool market, nothing. I ascended the stairs leading to the New Town, and after turning to the right, saw before me the monument in honor of Nelson, to which I walked. Its elevated situation, the broken, rocky way along which I went, made it very picturesque; but a tremendous shower of rain accompanied by a heavy gust of cold wind made me hurry from the spot before I had satisfied myself, and I returned home to breakfast. I was struck with the resemblance of the women of the lower classes to our Indian squaws. Their walk is precisely the same, and their mode of carrying burdens also; they have a leather strap passed over the forehead attached to large baskets without covers, and waddle through the streets, just like the Shawanees, for instance. Their complexion, if fair, is beyond rosy, partaking, indeed, of purple—dull, and disagreeable. If dark, they are dark indeed. Many of the men wear long whiskers and beards, and are extremely uncouth in manners, and still more so in language. I had finished breakfast when Messrs. Patison came to see my drawings, and brought with them a Miss Ewart, who was said to draw beautifully. She looked at one drawing after another, but remained mute till I came to the doves; she exclaimed at this, and then told me she knew Sir Walter Scott well, "and," she added, "he will be delighted to see your magnificent collection." Later I called again at Dr. Thompson's, but as he was not at home, left the letter and my card; the same at Professor Duncan's. I then walked to the fish market, where I found Patrick Neill, Esq., at his desk, after having passed between two long files of printers at their work. Mr. Neill shook hands cordially, gave me his home address, promised to come and see me, and accompanied me to the street, begging me not to visit the Museum until Professor Jameson had sent me a general ticket of admission. I went then to the Port of Leith, distant not quite three miles, but missing my way, reached the Frith of Forth at Trinity, a small village on the bay, from whence I could see the waters of the German Ocean; the shore opposite was distant about seven miles, and looked naked and hilly. During my walk I frequently turned to view the beautiful city behind me, rising in gradual amphitheatre, most sublimely backed by mountainous clouds that greatly improved the whole. The wind was high, the waters beat the shore violently, the vessels at anchor pitched,—all was grand. On inquiry I found this was no longer an admiral's station, and that in a few more weeks the steamboats that ply between this and London, and other parts of the north of this island, would stop their voyages, the ocean being too rough during the winter season. I followed along the shores, and reached Leith in about twenty minutes. I saw a very pretty iron jetty with three arches, at the extremity of which vessels land passengers and freight. Leith is a large village apparently, mostly connected with Hamburg and the seaports of Holland. Much business is going on. I saw here great numbers of herring-boats and the nets for capturing these fishes; also some curious drags for oysters, clams, and other shellfish. The docks are small, and contain mostly Dutch vessels, none of them large. An old one is fitted up as a chapel for mariners. I waited till after sunset before returning to my lodgings, when I told my landlady I was going to the theatre, that I might not be locked out, and went off to see "Rob Roy." The theatre not opening till half-past six, I spent some little time in a bookseller's shop, reading an account of the Palace and Chapel of Holyrood. The pit, where I sat, was crowded with gentlemen and ladies; for ladies of the second class go to the pit, the superior classes to the boxes, and those of neither class way above. The house is small but well lighted. "God save the King " was the overture, and every one rose uncovered. "Rob Roy" was represented as if positively in the Highlands; the characters were natural, the scenery perfectly adapted, the dress and manners quite true to the story. I may truthfully say that I saw a good picture of the great outlaw, his Ellen, and the unrelenting Dougal. I would, were it possible, always see "Rob Roy" in Edinburgh, "Le Tartuffe " in Paris, and "She Stoops to Conquer" in England. "Rob Roy," as exhibited in America, is a burlesque; we do not even know how the hardy mountaineer of this rigid country throws on his plaid, or wears his cap or his front piece, beautifully made of several tails of the red deer; neither can we render the shrill tone of the horn bugle that hangs at his side, the merry bagpipe is wanted, also the scenery. I would just as soon see "Le Tartuffe" in broken French, by a strolling company, as to see "Rob Roy" again as I have seen it in Kentucky. It is almost to be regretted that each country does not keep to its own productions; to do otherwise only leads to fill our minds with ideas far different from the truth. I did not stay to see "Rosina;" though I liked Miss Stephens pretty well, yet she is by no means equal to Miss Foote.
Edinburgh, October 28, 1826. To-day I have visited the Royal Palace of Holyrood; it is both interesting and curious, especially the chapel and the rooms where the present King of France resided during his exile. I find Professor Jameson is engaged with Mr. Selby and others in a large ornithological publication, and Mr. Ed. Roscoe has written, suggesting that I try to connect myself with them; but my independent spirit does not turn to the idea with any pleasure, and I think if my work deserves the attention of the public, it must stand on its own legs, not on the reputation of men superior in education and literary acquirements, but possibly not so in the actual observation of Nature at her best, in the wilds, as I certainly have seen her.
October 29, Sunday. With the exception of the short walk to the post-office with my letters, I have been as busy as a bee all day, for I have written much. Yesterday at ten Messrs. Patison brought twelve ladies and the Messrs. Thomas and John Todd of this city to see my drawings; they remained full two hours. Professor Duncan came in and was truly a kind friend. After my company had left, and I had been promised several letters for Sir Walter Scott, I took a walk, and entered a public garden, where I soon found myself a prisoner, and where, had I not found a pretty maid who took pity on my étourderic, I certainly would have felt very awkward, as I had neither letter nor pocket-book to show for my identification. I then went in search of a Scotch pebble; one attracted me, but a boy in the shop said his father could make one still handsomer. I wanted not pebbles made by man, I wanted them the result of nature, but I enquired of the lad how they were made. Without hesitation the boy answered: "by fire-heat, and whilst the pores of the pebbles are open colored infusions are impregnated." Now what will not man do to deceive his brother? I called on Mr. Jeffrey, who was not in; he comes from his Hall, two and a half miles off, every day for two hours, from two to four o'clock; therefore I entered his sanctum sanctorum, sealed the letter, and wrote on my card that I would be happy to see him. What a mass of books, papers, portfolios, dirt, beautiful paintings, engravings, casts, with such parcels of unopened packages all directed "Francis Jeffrey, Esq." Whilst I looked at this mass I thought, What have I done, compared with what this man has done, and has to do? I much long to see the famous critic. As I came away my thoughts reverted to Holyrood Palace. What a variety of causes has brought king after king to that spot; what horrors have been committed there! The general structure is not of a defensive nature; it lies in a valley, and has simply its walls to guard it. I was surprised that the narrow stairs which led to the small chamber where the murder was committed, communicated at once with the open country, and I was also astonished to see that the mirrors were positively much superior to those of the present day in point of intrinsic purity of reflection; the plates cannot be less than three-fourths of an inch in thickness. The furniture is all decaying fast, as well as the paintings which are set into the walls. The great room for the King's audience contains a throne by no means corresponding with the ideas de luxe that I had formed. The room, however, being hung in scarlet cloth, had a very warm effect, and I remember it with pleasure. I also recall the view I then had from a high hill, of the whole city of Edinburgh and the country around the sea; the more I look on Edinburgh the better I like it. To-day, as I have said, I have been in my rooms constantly, and after much writing received Dr. Knox and a friend of his. The former pronounced my drawings the finest of their kind in the world. No light praise this. They promised to see that I was presented to the Wernerian Society, and talked very scientifically, indeed quite too much so for the poor man of the woods. They assured me the ornithological work now about being published by Messrs. "Selby, Jameson, and Sir Somebody and Co.," was a "job book." It is both amusing and distressing to see how inimical to each other men of science are; and why are they so?
October 30. Mr. Neill took me to a Mr. Lizars, in St. James Square, the engraver for Mr. Selby, who came with us to see my work. As we walked along under an umbrella he talked of nothing else than the astonishing talent of his employer, how quickly he drew and how well, until we reached my lodgings. I lost hope at every step, and I doubt if I opened my lips. I slowly unbuckled my portfolio, placed a chair for him, and with my heart like a stone held up a drawing. Mr. Lizars rose from his seat, exclaiming: "My God! I never saw anything like this before." He continued to be delighted and astonished, and said Sir William Jardine must see them, and that he would write to him; that Mr. Selby must see them; and when he left at dark he went immediately to Mr. Wm. Heath, an artist from London, who came at once to see me. I had gone out and missed him; but he left a note. Not knowing who he might be, I went to see him, up three pairs of stairs, a Partisan; met a brunette who was Mrs. Heath, and a moment after the gentleman himself. We talked together, he showed me some of his work and will call on me to-morrow.
October 31. So at last Professor Jameson has called on me! That warm-hearted Mr. Lizars brought him this morning, just as I was finishing a letter to Victor. He was kind to me, very kind, and yet I do not understand the man clearly; he has a look quite above my reach, I must acknowledge, but I am to breakfast with him to-morrow at nine. He says he will, with my permission, announce my work to the world, and I doubt not I shall find him an excellent friend. Dr. Thompson's sons came in, tall, slender, and well-looking, made an apology for their father, and invited me to breakfast on Thursday; and young Dr. Henry called and also invited me to breakfast. Mr. Patrick Symes, a learned Scotchman, was with me a long time, and my morning was a very agreeable one within, though outside it was cold and rained. Edinburgh even in the rain, for I took a walk, is surprisingly beautiful, picturesque, romantic; I am delighted with it. Mr. Lizars has invited me to call at nine to spend the evening with him; now I call it much more as if going to spend the night. I met Mrs. Lizars when I stopped at his house for a moment to-day; she is the first lady to whom I have been introduced here, and is a very beautiful one. Eleven and a half o'clock and I have just returned from Mr. Lizars, where my evening has been extremely pleasant. I have seen some of Mr. Selby's original drawings, and some of Sir William Jardine's, and I no longer feel afraid. But I must to rest, for I hate late hours and love to be up before daylight.
November 1. I breakfasted at Professor Jameson's. A most splendid house, splendid everything, breakfast to boot. The professor wears his hair in three distinct, different courses; when he sits fronting the south, for instance, the hair on his forehead bends westwardly, the hair behind eastwardly, and the very short hair on top mounts directly upward, perhaps somewhat like the quills of the "fretful porcupine." But never mind the ornamental, external appendages of his skull, the sense within is great, and full of the nobleness which comes from a kind, generous heart. Professor Jameson to-day is no more the man I took him to be when I first met him. He showed me an uncommon degree of cordiality, and promised me his powerful assistance so forcibly that I am sure I can depend upon him. I left him and his sister at ten, as we both have much to do besides talking, and drinking hot, well creamed coffee; but our separation was not long, for at noon he entered my room with several gentlemen to see my drawings. Till four I was occupied showing one picture after another, holding each one at arm's-length, and was very tired, and my left arm once I thought had an idea of revolutionizing. When my guests had gone I walked out, took plenty of needed exercise, often hearing remarks about myself such as "That's a German physician;" "There's a French nobleman." I ended my walk at Mr. Lizars', and while with him expressed a wish to secure some views of beautiful Edinburgh; he went to another room and brought in a book of views for me to look at, which I did with interest. He then asked me to draw something for him, and as I finished a vignette he pushed the book of superb Edinburgh towards me; on the first leaf he had written, "To John J. Audubon, as a very imperfect expression of the regard entertained for his abilities as an artist, and for his worth as a friend, by William H. Lizars, engraver of the 'Views of Edinburgh'" I saw —though by gas-light—some of Mr. Lizars' work, printing from copper, coloring with water-color and oils, etc., on the same, for the first time in my life. How little I know! how ignorant I am! but I will learn. I went to bed after reading Sir Walter's last novel till I was so pleased with the book that I put it under my pillow to dream about, as children do at Christmas time; but my dreams all went another way and I dreamed of the beech woods in my own dear land.
November 2, Thursday. I drew the bell at the door of No. 80 George Street, where lives Dr. Thompson, just as the great bell of St. Andrews struck nine, and we soon sat down to breakfast. Dr. Thompson is a good, and good-looking man, and extremely kind; at the table were also his wife, daughter, son, and another young gentleman; and just as my second cup of coffee was handed to me a certain Dr. Fox entered with the air of an old friend, and at once sat down. He had been seventeen years in France, and speaks the language perfectly, of course. After having spoken somewhat about the scrubbiness of the timber here, and the lofty and majestic trees of my country dear, I rose to welcome Mrs. Lizars, who came in with her husband and some friends. Mr. Lizars had not seen one of my largest drawings; he had been enamoured with the Mocking-birds and Rattle-snake, but, Lucy, the Turkeys—her brood, the pose of the Cock Turkey—the Hawk pouncing on seventeen Partridges, the Whooping Crane devouring alligators newly born—at these he exclaimed again and again. All were, he said, wonderful productions; he wished to engrave the Partridges; but when the Great-footed Hawks came with bloody rags at their beaks' ends, and cruel delight in the glance of their daring eyes, he stopped mute an instant, then said, "That I will engrave and publish." We were too numerous a party to transact business then, and the subject was adjourned. Fatigued and excited by this, I wrote for some hours, and at four walked out and paid my respects to young Dr. Henry at the Infirmary,—a nice young man,—and at five I found myself at Mr. Lizars', who at once began on the topic of my drawings, and asked why I did not publicly exhibit them. I told him how kind and generous the Institution at Liverpool had been, as well as Manchester, and that I had a letter of thanks from the Committees. He returned with me to my lodgings, read the letter, and we marched arm in arm from Mrs. Dickie's to Professor Jameson, who kept the letter, so he said, to make good use of it; I showed Mr. Lizars other letters of recommendation, and as he laid down the last he said: "Mr. Audubon, the people here don't know who you are at all, but depend upon it they shall know." We then talked of the engraving of the Hawks, and it seems that it will be done. Perhaps even yet fame may be mine, and enable me to provide all that is needful for my Lucy and my children. Wealth I do not crave, but comfort; and for my boys I have the most ardent desire that they may receive the best of education, far above any that I possess; and day by day science advances, new thoughts and new ideas crowd onward, there is always fresh food for enjoyment, study, improvement, and I must place them where all this may be a possession to them.
November 3, Friday. My birds were visited by many persons this day, among whom were some ladies, artists, of both ability and taste, and with the numerous gentlemen came Professor James Wilson, a naturalist, an agreeable man, who invited me to dine at his cottage next week. Mr. Lizars, who is certainly mon bon cheval de bataille, is exerting himself greatly in my behalf. At half-past three good Mr. Neill came, and together we walked towards his little hermitage, a sweet spot, quite out of town; nice garden, hot-house filled with exotics, and house-walls peopled by thousands of sparrows secure in the luxuriant masses of ivy that only here and there suffer the eye to see that the habitat is of stone. The Heron's sharp lance lay on his downy breast while he balanced on one leg, silent and motionless; the Kittiwake Gull screamed for food; the Cormorant greedily swallowed it; whilst the waddling Gannet welcomed her master by biting his foot, the little Bantams and the great rooster leaped for the bread held out, the faithful Pigeon cooed to his timid mate, and the huge watch-dog rubbed against the owner's legs with joy. We entered the house, other guests were there, and full of gayety we sat down to a sumptuous dinner. Eyes sparkled with wit, sense, knowledge. Mr. Combe who was present has a head quite like our Henry Clay. My neighbor, Mr. Bridges, is all life; but after a few observations concerning the birds of our woods he retired to let the world know that many of them are arrived in Scotland. It is unanimously agreed that I must sit for my portrait to Mr. Syme, and that friend Lizars must engrave it to be distributed abroad. On my return to my lodgings I was presented with some pears and apples of native growth, somewhat bigger than green peas; but ah! this is both ungrateful and discourteous. To-morrow I am to meet Lord Somebody, and Miss Stephens; she was called "that delicious actress" so fervently and so frequently by my learned friends that I reverse my judgment, or will at least suspend it, until I see more of her.
November 4, Saturday. Now had I the faculties of my good friend Mr. Bridges, I should be able to write all that I feel towards him and the good people of this romantic Edina's Academic Halls; I would set to, and write long accounts of all I have enjoyed this day. But, alas! poor me! I can only scratch a few words next to unintelligible, and simply say that my little room has been full all day of individuals good, great, and friendly, and I am very wearied to-night; it is now past one. I dined at Mr. Lizars', where were beauties, music, conviviality, and wit. I am working hard withal; I do with four hours' sleep, keep up a great correspondence, keep up my journal, and write many hours on the letter-press for my "Birds," which is almost done.
November 5, Sunday. At ten o'clock my room was filled with visitors. Friend Bridges came, and stayed a long time. Miss Stephens the actress and her brother also paid me a visit. Mr. Bridges insisted on my going home to dine with him at four, and I never perceived I was in my slippers till I reached the port of destination. A Mr. Hovey dined with us. Mrs. Bridges is a stately, handsome lady, and the diner en famille pleased me exceedingly. I saw quite a stock of pictures and engravings, well selected by my knowing friend. I returned home early and found a note from Mr. John Gregg, who came himself later bringing me a scrubby letter from Charles Waterton, and a sweet little sketch from fair Ellen of Quarry Bank. I was delighted to see him; it seemed like old times to me. With all this I am by no means in spirits to write, I am so alone in this strange land, so far from those I love the best, and the future rises ofttimes dark before me.
Monday, November 6. The same sad heart to-day, and but little work and much company. I was glad, however, to see those who came, among others my coach companion from Manchester, Mr. Walton, who invited me in a very friendly manner to see him often. It snowed this morning, and was quite a new sight to me, for I have not seen any for about five years—I think. The papers give such accounts of my drawings and of myself that I am quite ashamed to walk the streets; but I am dispirited and melancholy.
Sunday, November 19. I do not know when I have thus pitilessly put away my journal for nearly two weeks. My head and heart would not permit me to write, so I must try to memorandum now all I have seen. What I have felt is too much for me to write down, for when these attacks of depression overwhelm me life is almost unendurable. Every day I exhibited my drawings to those who came to see them. I had many noblemen, among whom I especially liked Sir Patrick Walker and his lady; but I welcomed all ladies, gentlemen, artists, and, I dare say, critics. At last the Committee of the Royal Institution invited me to exhibit publicly in their rooms; I owe this invitation, I know, to the astonishing perseverance of some unknown friends. When my pictures were removed there I was no longer "At Home." I painted from dawn to dark, closely, and perhaps more attentively than I ever have done before. The picture was large, contained a Turkey Cock, a hen, and nine young, all the size of life. Mr. Lizars and his amiable wife visited me often; often I spent the evenings with them. Mr. David Bridges, Mr. Cameron, and several others had regular admittance, and they all saw the regular progress of my work; all, apparently, admired it. I dined at many houses, was always kindly received, and as far as my isolated condition and unfortunate melancholy permitted, enjoyed myself. It was settled by Mr. Lizars that he would undertake the publication of the first number of the "Birds of America," and that was enough to put all my powers of acting and thinking at fever heat. The papers also began to be more eulogistic of the merits of myself and my productions, and I felt bewildered with alternate uncertainties of hope and fear. I have received many letters from my dear Liverpool friends, and one, most precious of all, from the wonderful "Queen Bee" of Green Bank, with a most beautiful seal of the Wild Turkey and the motto "America, my country." When my drawings were exhibited to the public, professors, students, artists, spoke well of them. I forwarded by post seventy-five tickets to the principal persons who had been kind to me, and to all the artists in Edinburgh. I sat once for my portrait, but my picture kept me at home ever since. I saw, and dined, and dined again with Sir William Jardine, and like him very much. He visited me frequently, and sat and stood watching me painting during his stay in the city. The famous phrenologist George Combe visited me also; spoke much of the truth of his theory as exhibited and verified by my poor skill; begged I would allow a cast of my head to be taken, etc., etc., and sent me a card of admission to his lectures this winter. The famous Professor Wilson of "Blackwood" fame, I might almost say the author of "Blackwood's Magazine," visited me also, and was very friendly; indeed, every one is kind, most truly so. How proud I feel that in Edinburgh, the seat of learning, science, and solidity of judgment, I am liked, and am received so kindly. How much I wish my Lucy could also enjoy it, that our sons might have partaken of it, this would have rendered each moment an age of pleasure. I have now determined to remain here till my first number is published, when I shall go to Liverpool again, with proofs in hand. I will forward some of this number to the friends at home as well as abroad, and will continue painting here the while, and watch the progress of the engravers and colorists; two drawings are now under the hand of the engraver, and God grant me success. I am going to try to find time to spend a week at Jardine Hall, and some days at Mrs. Fletcher's; it will remove me from the pressure and excitement to which I am hourly subjected, and be a complete change for me in every way.
November 20. Whilst my breakfast was preparing, and daylight improving, I sat at my little table to write a notice of descriptive import about my painting of the Wild Turkeys that now leaned against the wall of my room, finished. My breakfast came in, but my pen carried me along the Arkansas River, and so much did I long for my beloved country that not a morsel could I swallow. While writing, Mr. Bridges, who usually pays me a daily visit, happened to come in. I read my description and told him it was my intention to have it printed, or written out in a clear hand, to lay on the table of the exhibition room, for the use of the public. He advised me to go to Professor Wilson for criticism; so I went at once to his residence, and reached "Blackwood's" door about ten o'clock. I did not even ask if Professor Wilson was in; no, I simply told the man to say Mr. Audubon from America wished to speak with him. In a moment I was conducted to a room where I wished that all that had been written in it was my own to remember, to enjoy, to profit by; but I had not been here many minutes before a sweet child, a happy daughter of this great man, asked me to go upstairs, saying, "Papa will be there in a minute;" and truly, almost at once the Professor came in, with freedom and kindness of manner, life in his eye, and benevolence in his heart. My case was soon explained; he took my paper, read it, and said if I would allow him to keep it, he would make one or two alterations and return it in good time. Back to my lodgings and hungry by this time, and cooled off, my mind relieved, my painting finished, I dressed more carefully and walked to the Royal Institution, and was pleased at seeing there a good deal of company. But the disagreeable part of my day is yet to come. I had to dine at Professor Graham's, it was five o'clock when I reached there, a large assembly of ladies and gentlemen were there, and I was introduced to Mrs. Graham only, by some oversight I am sure, but none the less was my position awkward. There I stood, motionless as a Heron, and when I dared, gazed about me at my surroundings, but no one came near me. There I stood and thought of the concert at Manchester; but there was this difference: there I was looked at rudely, here I was with polite company; so I waited patiently for a change of situation, and the change came. A woman, aye, an angel, spoke to me in such a quiet, easy way that in a few moments my mal aise was gone; then the ringing of a bell summoned us to the dining-room; I sat near the blue satin lady (for her name I do not know) who came to my rescue, and a charming young lady, Miss M——, was my companion. But the sumptuous dinners of this country are too much for me. They are so long, so long, that I recall briefer meals that I have had, with much more enjoyment than I eat the bountiful fare before me. This is not a goûter with friend Bourgeat on the Flat Lake, roasting the orange-fleshed Ibis, and a few sun-perch; neither is it on the heated banks of Thompson's Creek, on the Fourth of July, swallowing the roasted eggs of a large Soft-shelled Turtle; neither was I at Henderson, at good Dr. Rankin's, listening to the bowlings of the Wolves, while sitting in security, eating well roasted and jellied venison,—no, alas! it was far from all these dear spots, in Great King Street, No. 62, at Dr. Graham's, a distinguished professor of botany, with a dinner of so many rich dishes that I cannot remember them.
November 24. I have just finished a long letter to Mr. Wm. Rathbone, telling him of my reception in beautiful Edinburgh, and my present plans, which are to publish one number at my own expense and risk, and with it under my arm, make my way. If I can procure three hundred good substantial names of persons or associations or institutions, I cannot fail doing well for my family; but, to do this, I must abandon my life to its success, and undergo many sad perplexities, and perhaps never again—certainly not for some years—see my beloved America. The work, from what I have seen of Mr. Lizars' execution, will be equal to anything in the world at present, and of the rest the world must judge for itself. I shall superintend both engraving and coloring personally, and I pray my courage may not fail; my industry I know will not. It is true the work will be procured only at a great expense, but then, a number of years must elapse before it is completed, so that renders payment an easier task. This is what I shall try; if I do not succeed I can return to my woods and there in peace and quiet live and die. I am sorry that some of my friends, particularly Dr. Traill, are against the pictures being the size of life, and I must acknowledge it renders the work rather bulky, but my heart was always bent on it, and I cannot refrain from attempting it. I shall publish the letter-press in a separate book, at the same time with the illustrations, and shall accompany the descriptions of the birds with many anecdotes and accounts of localities connected with the birds themselves, and with my travels in search of them. I miss my "Wild Turkeys," on which I worked steadily and from dawn to dark, a long time here,—for sixteen days. It would be impossible for me to write down all my feelings and thoughts about my work, or my life here; it may be that in time I shall be reconciled or habituated to the life I now lead, but I can scarce believe this, and often think the woods the only place in which I truly live.
November 25, 1826. I have been drawing all day at some Wood Pigeons, as they are emphatically called here, though woods there are none. The day was cold, wet, and snowy. Mr. Lizars, however, called with Dr. Brewster, an eminent and entertaining man. I received a note from Geo. Combe, Esq., the phrenologist, who wishes to plaster my poor head to take an impression of the bumps, ordinary and extraordinary; he also invited me to sup with him on Monday next. I was to dine at Dr. Monroe's, Craiglockhart, near Slateford, so I dressed and sent for a coach that took me two and a half miles for twelve shillings, and I had to pay one shilling toll,—a dear dinner this. I arrived and entered a house richly furnished, and was presented to three ladies, and four gentlemen. The ladies were Mrs. Monroe, Miss Maria Monroe, and Mrs. Murray; amongst the gentlemen I at once recognized the amiable and learned Staff-Surgeon Lyons. Mrs. Monroe I found a woman of most extraordinary powers, a brilliant conversationalist, highly educated, and most attractive. She sat by me, and entertained me most charmingly, and the rest of her company as well. I need not say the dinner was sumptuous, for I find no other kind in hospitable Edinburgh. After dinner we had music from Miss Monroe, a skilled songstress, and her rich voice, with the pathetic Scotch ballads which she sang so unaffectedly, brought tears to my eyes. My return to my lodgings was very cold, for snow lies all about the hills that surround this enchanting city.
Sunday, November 26. I went to a Scotch church this morning, but it was cold and the services seemed to me cold also, but it may have been that I was unaccustomed to them. Snow lay thick on the ground and my lodgings looked cheerless, all but my picture, at which I worked on my return. I had put my work on the floor, and was standing on a chair to see the effect at a good distance, when Mrs. Lizars entered with her husband; they had come to invite me to dine with them on roasted sheep's-head (a Scotch dish), and I was glad to accept, for I was on the verge of a fit of depression, one of those severe ones when I am almost afraid to be alone in my lodgings; alone indeed I am, without one soul to whom I can open my heart. True, I have been alone before, but that was in beloved America, where the ocean did not roll between me and my wife and sons. At four, therefore, I reached James' Square and dined with these good people without pomp or ostentation; it is the only true way to live. Found the sheep's-head delicious, and spent the evening most agreeably. I was shown many beautiful sketches, and two plates of my birds well advanced. Mr. Lizars walked home with me; the weather was intensely cold, and the wind blew a gale; on turning a corner it almost threw me down, and although warmly dressed I felt the chill keenly. This morning seems a long way off, so many things have I thought of this day.
Monday, November 27. As soon as it dawned I was up and at work, and quite finished my drawing before breakfast. Mr. Syme came to see me, and was surprised to find it done. I had also outlined my favorite subject, the Otter in a trap. At twelve I went to stand up for my picture, and sick enough I was of it by two; at the request of Mr. Lizars I wear my wolf-skin coat, and if the head is not a strong likeness, perhaps the coat may be; but this is discourteous of me, even to my journal. Mr. Lizars brought a Mr. Key, an artist, to throw a sky over my drawing, and the gentleman did it in handsome style, giving me some hints about this kind of work for which I am grateful. I dined at home on herrings, mutton-chops, cabbage, and fritters. As I am now going to sup with Mr. George Combe, I will write to-morrow what I may hear to-night. A kind note from Professor Jameson, whom I have not seen for some time, for he is a busy man, with a card of admittance to the Museum.
Tuesday, 28th. After writing thus far I left my room and went to watch the engravers at work on my birds. I was delighted to see how faithfully copied they were, and scarcely able to conceive the great "adroit" required to form all the lines exactly contrary to the model before them. I took a cup of coffee with Mr. and Mrs. Lizars, went home to dress, and at nine was again with Mr. Lizars, who was to accompany me to Mr. Combe's, and reaching Brower Square we entered the dwelling of Phrenology! Mr. Scot, the president of that society, Mr. D. Stewart, Mr. McNalahan, and many others were there, and also a German named Charles N. Weiss, a great musician. Mr. George Combe immediately asked this gentleman and myself if we had any objection to have our heads looked at by the president, who had not yet arrived. We both signified our willingness, and were seated side by side on a sofa. When the president entered Mr. Combe said: "I have here two gentlemen of talent; will you please tell us in what their natural powers consist?" Mr. Scot came up, bowed, looked at Mr. Weiss, felt his head carefully all over, and pronounced him possessed of musical faculty in a great degree; I then underwent the same process, and he said: "There cannot exist a moment of doubt that this gentleman is a painter, colorist, and compositor, and I would add an amiable, though quick-tempered man." Much conversation ensued, we had supper, Miss Scot and Miss Combe were present, the only ladies. Afterwards Mr. Weiss played most sweetly on the flute, Mr. Scot sang Scotch airs, glees and madrigals followed, and it was after one o'clock when "Music and Painting" left the company arm in arm. I soon reached my lodgings. Mr. Weiss gave me a ticket to his concert, and Mrs. Dickie, who kindly sat up for me, gave me a ship letter. I hoped it was from my Lucy, but no, it was from Governor De Witt Clinton; it was dated thirty days previous to my receiving it.
Tuesday, 28th. The fog was so dense this morning that at nine o'clock I could hardly see to write. I put the drawing of the Stock Pigeons in the Institution, framed superbly, and it looked well, I thought, even though so dark a day. I again stood for my picture, two dreadfully long hours, and I am sure I hope it may prove a good resemblance to my poor self. Whilst yet in my hunting-dress, I received word that Sir Walter Scott was in the Institution and wished to see me; you may depend I was not long in measuring the distance, and reached the building quite out of breath, but to no purpose. Sir Walter had been compelled to go to preside at a meeting upstairs, and left an apology for me, and a request that unless too dark for him to see my work I would wait; but it very soon became quite dark, and I therefore abandoned all thought of meeting him this time. I dined at Mr. Lizars', and saw the first-proof impression of one of my drawings. It looked pretty well, and as I had procured one subscriber, Dr. Meikleham of Trinidad, I felt well contented.
Wednesday, 29th. The day was cloudy, and sitting for my portrait has become quite an arduous piece of business. I was positively in "durance vile" for two and a half hours. Just as I was finishing my dinner, Mrs. F——, the cousin of Mr. Gregg, called; ladies having the right to command, I went immediately, and found a woman whose features had more force and character than women generally show in their lineaments. Her eyes were very penetrating, and I was struck with the strength of all she said, though nothing seemed to be studied. She showed the effects of a long, well learned round of general information. She, of course, praised my work, but I scarce thought her candid. Her eyes seemed to reach my very soul; I knew that at one glance she had discovered my inferiority. The group of children she had with her were all fine-looking, but not so gracefully obedient as those of the beautiful Mrs. Rathbone of Woodcroft. She invited me to her home, near Roslyn, and I shall, of course, accept this courtesy, though I felt, and feel now, that she asked me from politeness more than because she liked me, and I must say the more I realized her intelligence the more stupid did I become. Afterwards I went to Mr. Lizars' to meet Dr. Meikleham, who wishes me to go with him to Trinidad, where I shall draw, so he says, four hundred birds for him, for a publication of "Birds of the West Indies." On Friday I go to Mrs. Isabella Murray's, to see her and some fine engravings. I have omitted to say that the first impression of the beautiful seal sent me by Mrs. Rathbone was sent to my beloved wife; the seal itself is much admired, and the workmanship highly praised. Mr. Combe has been to see me, and says my poor skull is a greater exemplification of the evidences of the truth of his system than any he has seen, except those of one or two whose great names only are familiar to me; and positively I have been so tormented about the shape of my head that my brains are quite out of sorts. Nor is this all; my eyes will have to be closed for about one hour, my face and hair oiled over, and plaster of Paris poured over my nose (a greased quill in each nostril), and a bust will be made. On the other hand, an artist quite as crazy and foolishly inclined, has said that my head was a perfect Vandyke's, and to establish this fact, my portrait is now growing under the pencil of the ablest artist of the science here. It is a strange-looking figure, with gun, strap, and buckles, and eyes that to me are more those of an enraged Eagle than mine. Yet it is to be engraved. Sir Walter Scott saw my drawings for a few moments yesterday, and I hope to meet him to-morrow when I dine with the Antiquarian Society at the Waterloo Hotel, where an annual feast is given. My work is proceeding in very good style, and in a couple of days colored plates will be at the exhibition rooms, and at the different booksellers; but with all this bustle, and my hopes of success, my heart is heavy, for hopes are not facts. The weather is dull, moist, and disagreeably cold at times, and just now the short duration of the daylight here is shocking; the lamps are lighted in the streets at half-past three o'clock p. m., and are yet burning at half-past seven a. m.
November 30. My portrait was finished to-day. I cannot say that I think it a very good resemblance, but it is a fine picture, and the public must judge of the rest. I had a bad headache this morning, which has now passed; to be ill far from home would be dreadful, away from my Lucy, who would do more for me in a day than all the doctors in Christendom in a twelvemonth. I visited the exhibition rooms for a few minutes; I would like to go there oftener, but really to be gazed at by a crowd is, of all things, most detestable to me. Mr. Gregg called about four, also Mr. Bridges and an acquaintance of the famous "Alligator Rider," and I was told that Mr. Waterton said that Joseph Bonaparte imitated the manners and habits of his brother Napoleon; that is much more than I know or saw. But St. Andrew's Day and my invitation to dine with the Antiquarians was not forgotten. At five I was at Mr. Lizars', where I found Mr. Moule and we proceeded to the Waterloo Hotel. The sitting-room was soon filled; I met many that I knew, and a few minutes after the Earl of Elgin made his entrée, I was presented to him by Mr. Innes of Stow; he shook hands with me and spoke in a very kind and truly complimentary manner about my pencil's productions. At six we walked in couples to the dining-room; I had the arm of my good friend Patrick Neill, Mr. Lizars sat on my other side, and there was a sumptuous dinner indeed. It at first consisted entirely of Scotch messes of old fashion, such as marrow-bones, codfish-heads stuffed with oatmeal and garlic, black puddings, sheep's-heads smelling of singed wool, and I do not know what else. Then a second dinner was served quite à l’anglaise. I finished with a bit of grouse. Then came on the toasts. Lord Elgin, being president and provided with an auctioneer's mallet, brought all the company to order by rapping smartly on the table with the instrument. He then rose, and simply said: "The King! four times four! " Every one rose to drink to the monarch's health, and the president saying, "Ip, ip, ip," sixteen cheers were loudly given. The Dukes of York, Argyle, and many others had their healths drunk, then Sir Walter Scott (who, to my great regret, was not able to be present), and so on and on, one and another, until mine was proposed by Mr. Skene, the first secretary of the society. Whilst he was engaged in a handsome panegyric the perspiration poured from me, I thought I should faint; and I was seated in this wretched condition when everybody rose, and the Earl called out: "Mr. Audubon." I had seen each individual when toasted, rise, and deliver a speech; that being the case, could I remain speechless like a fool? No! I summoned all my resolution, and for the first time in my life spoke to a large assembly, saying these few words: "Gentlemen, my command of words in which to reply to your kindness is almost as humble as that of the birds hanging on the walls of your institution. I am truly obliged for your favors. Permit me to say, May God bless you all, and may this society prosper." I felt my hands wet with perspiration. Mr. Lizars poured me out a glass of wine and said: "Bravo! take this," which I gladly did. More toasts were given, and then a delightful old Scotch song was sung by Mr. Innes; the refrain was "Put on thy cloak about thee." Then Mr. McDonald sang. Wm. Allan Esq., the famous painter, told a beautiful story, then rose, and imitated the buzzing of a bumble-bee confined in a room, and followed the bee (apparently) as if flying from him, beating it down with his handkerchief; a droll performance most admirably done. At ten, the Earl rose, and bid us farewell, and at half-past ten I proposed to Mr. Lizars to go, and we did. I was much pleased at having been a guest at this entertainment, particularly as Lord Elgin expressed a wish to see me again. I went to Mr. Lizars', where we sat chatting for an hour, when I returned to my lodgings and took myself to bed.
December 1. My portrait was hung up in the exhibition room; I prefer it to be gazed at rather than the original from which it was taken. The day was shockingly bad, wet, slippery, cold. I had to visit Lord Clancarty and his lady at noon, therefore I went. I met Mrs. M—— and her children and the eldest daughter of Mr. Monroe. Mrs. M—— began a long speech, telling me of her father, Lord S——, and his loyalty to the Stuarts; the details not only of that royal family but all the kings of England were being poured out, and I should probably be there yet, merely saying "Yes" from time to time, if a lucky interruption had not come in the form of a message from Lord Elgin, to say he desired to see me at the Institution. I soon reached that place, where I met Lord Elgin, in company with Secretary Skene and Mr. Hall the advocate, in the art room. Mr. Hall is nephew to Lady Douglas, and this gave me an opportunity to hand him her letter. But the best thing to relate is my breakfast with that wonderful man David Bridges. I was at his house at a quarter before nine; a daughter was practising the piano, the son reading, his wife, well-dressed, was sewing. I conversed with her and looked at the pictures till the door opened and my friend came in, attired in his robe de chambre, shook my hand warmly, and taking his handkerchief from his pocket, he began whisking and wiping chimney mantel, tables, chairs, desk, etc., to my utter annoyance, for I felt for the wife whose poor housewifery was thus exposed. After breakfast we walked to see my portrait and to criticise it, for both Mr. Lizars and Mr. Bridges are connoisseurs. In the evening I visited Mr. Howe, the editor of the "Courant" and then to the theatre with Mr. Bridges to see Wairner (?) perform "Tyke" in "The School of Reform." We met at the Rainbow Tavern, and soon entered the theatre, which was thinly attended; but I was delighted with the piece, and the performance of it, though we left before it was concluded to attend Mr. Weiss's concert in the Assembly Rooms in George Street. The flute playing was admirable both in execution and tone; Mr. Bridges supped with me. It is now again one o'clock, and I am quite worn out.
December 2, Saturday. The weather was a sharp frost till evening, when it rained. I was busy painting all day, and did not put foot out of doors till I went to dine with Dr. Brown, the professor of theology. Mr. Bridges went with me, and told me that Professor Wilson had prepared a notice for "Blackwood's Magazine" respecting myself and my work. I think the servant who called out my name at Dr. Brown's must have received a most capital lesson in pronunciation, for seldom in my travels did I hear my name so clearly and well pronounced. Several other guests were present, Professor Jameson among them, and we passed a most agreeable evening. I must not forget that Sir James Hall and his brother called to receive information respecting the comfort that may be expected in travelling through my dear country.
Sunday, December 8. My good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Lizars came in as usual after church; they like the Otter better than the Turkeys. It was nearly finished, to the great astonishment of Mr. Syme and Mr. Cameron, who came to announce that the rooms at the Institution were mine till the 2Oth inst. Mr. Cameron looked long at the picture and said: "No man in either England or Scotland could paint that picture in so short a time." Now to me this is all truly wonderful; I came to this Europe fearful, humble, dreading all, scarce able to hold up my head and meet the glance of the learned, and I am praised so highly! It is quite unaccountable, and I still fear it will not last; these good people certainly give me more merit than I am entitled to; it can only be a glance of astonishment or surprise operating on them because my style is new, and somewhat different from those who have preceded me. Mr. Bridges, who knows everybody, and goes everywhere, went with me to dine with Mr. Witham of Yorkshire. We dined—had coffee—supped at eleven. At twelve the ladies left us; I wished to leave, but it was impossible. Dr. Knox said he wished to propose me as an honorary member of the Wernerian Society; our host said he would second the motion; my health was drunk, and I finally retired with Dr. Knox, leaving Mr. Bridges and the other gentlemen making whiskey toddy from that potent Scotch liquor which as yet I cannot swallow. It was now half-past two; what hours do I keep! Am I to lead this life long? If I do I must receive from my Maker a new supply of strength, for even my strong constitution cannot stand it.
Monday, December 4. I gave early orders to Mrs. Dickie to have a particularly good breakfast ready by nine o'clock because Mr. Witham had offered last night to come and partake of it with me; I then took to my brushes and finished my Otter entirely. I had been just thirteen hours at it, and had I labored for thirteen weeks, I do not think I should have bettered it. Nine o'clock—ten o'clock—and no Mr. Witham. I was to accompany him to Dr. Knox, whose lecture on Anatomy he was to hear. At last he came with many apologies, having already breakfasted, and giving me but ten minutes for my morning meal. We then hurried off, the weather beautiful, but extremely cold. We ascended the stairs and opened the door of the lecture room, where were seated probably one hundred and fifty students; a beating of feet and clapping of hands took place that quite shocked me. We seated ourselves and each person who entered the room was saluted as we had been, and during the intervals a low beating was kept up resembling in its regularity the footsteps of a regiment on a flat pavement. Dr. Knox entered, and all was as hushed as if silence had been the principal study of all present. I am not an anatomist. Unfortunately, no! I know almost less than nothing, but I was much interested in the lecture, which lasted three quarters of an hour, when the Dr. took us through the anatomical Museum, and his dissecting-room. The sights were extremely disagreeable, many of them shocking beyond all I ever thought could be. I was glad to leave this charnel house and breathe again the salubrious atmosphere of the streets of "Fair Edina." I was engaged most certainly to dine out, but could not recollect where, and was seated trying to remember, when the Rev. W. J. Bakewell, my wife's first cousin, and the son of Robert Bakewell the famous grazier and zoölogist of Derbyshire, came in to see me. He asked many questions about the family in America, gave me his card and invited me to dine with him next Monday week, which is my first unengaged day. I had a letter from Mr. Monroe at Liverpool telling me I had been elected a member of the Literary and Philosophical Societies of that city. Not being able to recall where I was to dine, I was guilty of what must seem great rudeness to my intended hosts, and which is truly most careless on my part; so I went to Mr. Lizars, where I am always happy. The wild Turkey-cock is to be the large bird of my first number, to prove the necessity of the size of the work. I am glad to be able to retire at an early hour. It seems to me an extraordinary thing, my present situation in Edinburgh; looked upon with respect, receiving the attentions of the most distinguished people, and supported by men of science and learning. It is wonderful to me; ami, or is my work, deserving of all this?
Tuesday, December 5. After I had put my Otter in the exhibition room, I met Mr. Syme and with him visited Mr. Wm. Nicholson, a portrait painter, and there saw, independent of his own work, a picture from the far-famed Snyders, intended for a Bear beset with dogs of all sorts. The picture had great effect, fine coloring, and still finer finishing, but the Bear was no Bear at all, and the dogs were so badly drawn, distorted caricatures that I am sure Snyders did not draw from specimens put in real postures, in my way. I was quite disappointed, so much had I heard of this man's pictures of quadrupeds, and I thought of Dr. Traill, who, although well acquainted with birds scientifically, told me he had an engraving of birds where both legs of each individual were put on the same side, and that he never noticed the defect till it was pointed out to him. This made me reflect how easily man can be impressed by general effect and beauty. I returned to the Institution and had the pleasure of meeting Captain Basil Hall, of the Royal Navy, his wife, and Lady Hunter. They were extremely kind to me, and spoke of my dear friends the Rathbones and Greggs in terms which delighted me. The captain asked if I did not intend to exhibit by gaslight, and when I replied that the Institution had granted me so much favor already that I could not take it upon myself to speak of that, said that he should do so at once, and would let me know the answer from Mr. Skene, the secretary. I wrote the history of my picture of the Otter, and sent with a note to Professor Wilson, who had asked for it.
Wednesday, December 6. After breakfast I called on Professor Jameson, and as the Wild Turkey is to be in my first number, proposed to give him the account of the habits of the Turkey Buzzard instead; he appeared anxious to have any I would give. I spoke to him about the presentation of my name to the Wernerian Society; he said it was desirable for me to join it as it would attach me to the country, and he would give his aid gladly. I visited Captain Basil Hall of the Royal Navy; as I ascended the stairs to his parlor I heard the sweet sounds of a piano, and found Mrs. Hall was the performer. Few women have ever attracted me more at first sight; her youth and her fair face are in unison with her manners; and her husband also received me most kindly, especially when I recalled our previous slight acquaintance. I spent here a most agreeable hour. They spoke of visiting the States, and I urged them to do so. Captain Hall, a man of extraordinary talents, a great traveller, and a rich man, has made the most of all, and I found him the best of company. From thence to friend Neill's establishment in the Old Town to see at what time my memoranda must be ready for the press; to my astonishment I was told that to-morrow was my last day, and I ran home to scribble. Professor Monroe called on me with a friend and asked me what I would take to draw skulls, etc., for him; then Mr. Syme brought an engraver to consult with me on the subject of my portrait being immortalized. Young Gregg paid me a visit, and at last I dressed in a hurry and ran to Mr. Lizars' to know the way to Mr. Ritchie's, where I was to dine. Mr. Lizars sent a young man to show me the way, and I arrived at the appointed spot just one hour too late. I dined however, and dined well. Miss Scott was there, Miss Combe, Mr. Weiss, and several others; but when dinner was over and we ascended to the tea room, a crowd of ladies and gentlemen not before seen were in waiting to see the "Woodsman from America." We had music and dancing, and I did not leave till a late hour and must now write more for the printers. I must tell thee that someone gave a false note of one pound at my exhibition rooms, and therefore I paid him well to see my birds. A man who met me to-day at the door of the Institution asked me if they were very well worth seeing. Dost thou think I said "Yes"? Not I! I positively said "No" and off he went; but a few yards off I saw him stop to talk to another man, when he returned and went in.
Thursday, December 7. I wrote as hard as I could till early this morning, and finished the paper for Professor Jameson, who sent me a note desiring me to put down the University of Edinburgh as a subscriber to my work. I was highly pleased with this, being a powerful leader. I saw in this day's paper that Charles Bonaparte had arrived at Liverpool in the "Canada" from New York. How I longed to see him! Had I been sure of his remaining at Liverpool a few days, I positively would have gone there by the evening mail-coach. I saw to-day two ofmy drawings in proof; I was well pleased with them; indeed one of them I liked better than the first that were done. My dinner was at Mr. Howe's, the editor of the "Courant." Mr. Allan the artist came in at nine, when his lessons were just ended at the Academy of Arts, an extremely agreeable man, full of gayety, wit, and good sense, a great traveller in Russia, Greece, and Turkey.
Friday, December 8, 1826. Men and their lives are very like the different growths of our woods; the noble magnolia, all odoriferous, has frequently the teasing nettle growing so near its large trunk as to sometimes be touched by it. Edinburgh contains a Walter Scott, a Wilson, a Jameson, but it contains also many nettles of the genus Mammalia, amongst which men hold a very prominent station. Now I have run into one of these latter gentry. To speak out at once, one of my drawings was gently purloined last evening from the rooms of the Institution. So runs the fact; perhaps a few minutes before the doors closed a somebody in a large cloak paid his shilling, entered the hall and made his round, and with great caution took a drawing from the wall, rolled it up, and walked off. The porter and men in attendance missed it almost immediately, and this morning I was asked if I or Mr. Lizars had taken it to be engraved. I immediately told Mr. Lizars; we went to Mr. Bridges, and by his advice to the court, where Captain Robeson—who, by the way, was at the battle of New Orleans—issued a warrant against a young man of the name of I——, deaf and dumb, who was strongly suspected. Gladly would I have painted a bird for the poor fellow, and I certainly did not want him arrested, but the Institution guards were greatly annoyed at the occurrence. However, I induced Mr. Lizars to call on the family of the youth, which is a very good one and well known in Edinburgh. I returned to my lodgings and on the stairs met a beggar woman with a child in her arms, but passed her without much notice beyond pitying her in her youth and poverty, reached my door, where I saw a roll of paper; I picked it up, walked in, opened it, and found my drawing of the Black-poll Warbler! Is not this a curious story? The thief—whoever he may be, God pardon him—had, we conceived, been terror-struck on hearing of the steps we had taken, and had resorted to this method of restoring the drawing before he was arrested. I was in time to stop the warrant, and the affair was silenced. During the afternoon I was called on twice by Capt. Basil Hall, who was so polite as to present me with a copy of his work, two volumes, on South America, with a kind note, and an invitation to dine with him on Thursday next at eight o'clock. The weather is miserable.
Saturday, December 9. I wrote closely all morning from six to twelve, only half dressed, and not stopping for breakfast beyond a cup of coffee, and while thus busily employed Mr. Hall came in and handed me a note from Lady Hunter, requesting the honor of my company on Saturday next to dine at six; he looked at me with surprise and doubtless thought me the strangest-looking man in the town. I had much running about with Professor Jameson to the printer, and with my manuscript to Mr. Lizars, who took it to Professor Brewster. We visited the Museum together, called on a Mr. Wilson, where I saw a most beautiful dead Pheasant that I longed to have to paint. Then to Dr. Lizars' lecture on anatomy, and with him to the dissecting-rooms, but one glance was enough for me, and I hastily, and I hope forever, made my escape. The day was extremely wet, and I was glad to be in my room. I hear Mr. Selby is expected next Monday night.
December 10, Sunday. My situation in Edinburgh borders almost on the miraculous. With scarce one of those qualities necessary to render a man able to pass through the throng of the learned people here, I am positively looked on by all the professors and many of the principal persons here as a very extraordinary man. I cannot comprehend this in the least. Indeed I have received here so much kindness and attention that I look forward with regret to my removal to Glasgow, fifty miles hence, where I expect to go the last of this month. Sir William Jardine has been spending a few days here purposely to see me, and I am to meet Mr. Selby, and with these two gentlemen discuss the question of a joint publication, which may possibly be arranged. It is now a month since my work was begun by Mr. Lizars; the paper is of unusual size, called "double elephant," and the plates are to be finished in such superb style as to eclipse all of the same kind in existence. The price of each number, which will contain five prints, is two guineas, and all individuals have the privilege of subscribing for the whole, or any portion of it. The two plates now finished are truly beautiful. This number consists of the Turkeycock, the Cuckoos on the pawpaws, and three small drawings, which in the centre of the large sheet have a fine effect, and an air of richness, that I think must ensure success, though I do not yet feel assured that all will go well. Yet on the other hand, all things bear a better aspect than I expected to see for many months, if ever. I think that if my work takes in Edinburgh, it will anywhere. I have strong friends here who interest themselves in me, but I must wait patiently till the first number is finished. Mr. Jameson, the first professor of this place, and the conductor of the "Philosophical Journal," gives a beautiful announcement of my work in the present number, with an account, by me, of the Turkey Buzzard. Dr. Brewster also announces it, with the introductory letter to my work, and Professor Wilson also, in "Blackwood's Magazine." These three journals print upwards of thirty thousand copies, so that my name will spread quickly enough. I am to deliver lectures on Natural History at the Wernerian Society at each of the meetings while I am here, and Professor Jameson told me I should soon be made a member of all the other societies here, and that would give my work a good standing throughout Europe. Much as I find here to enjoy, the great round of company I am thrown in has become fatiguing to me in the extreme, nor does it agree with my early habits. I go out to dine at six, seven, or even eight o'clock in the evening, and it is often one or two when the party breaks up; then painting all day, with my immense correspondence which increases daily, makes my head feel like an immense hornet's-nest, and my body wearied beyond all calculation; yet it has to be done; those who have my interests at heart tell me I must not refuse a single invitation.
December 11, Monday. Though I awoke feeling much depressed, my dull feelings were soon dissipated by letters from my sweet wife and sons. What joy to know them well and happy on the 14th and 27th of September. My day was a busy one, and at seven I went to Mr. Lizars', having engaged to go with him to the Antiquarian Society, where I met many of my friends, saw a gun-barrel and other things that had belonged to the Spanish Armada, and heard a curious and interesting account of that vast fleet read by Dr. Hibbert, and saw the Scottish antiquities belonging to the society.
Tuesday, December 12. This morning at ten I went to the house of Dr. Brewster, whom I found writing in a large room with several fine pictures on the walls. He received me very kindly, and in a few minutes I began reading my paper on the habits of the Carrion Crow, Vultur atratus. About midway my nervousness affected my respiration; I paused a moment, and he was good enough to say it was highly interesting. I resumed, and went on to the end, much to my relief. He who has been brought up an auctioneer, or on the boards of some theatre, with all the knowledge of the proper usage of the voice, and all the aplomb such a life would give, knows nothing of the feelings of bashfulness which agitated me, a man who never looked into an English grammar and who has forgotten most of what he learned in French and Spanish ones — a man who has always felt awkward and shy in the presence of a stranger — a man habituated to ramble alone, with his thoughts usually bent on the beauties of Nature herself —this man, me, to be seated opposite Dr. Brewster in Edinburgh, reading one of my puny efforts at describing habits of birds that none but an Almighty Creator can ever know, was ridiculously absurd in my estimation, during all the time; besides, I also felt the penetrating looks and keen observation of the learned man before me, so that the cold sweat started from me. As I wiped my forehead on finishing my paper, a large black dog came in, caressed his master, and made a merciful diversion, and as my agitation gradually subsided I was able to talk with Dr. Brewster and was afterwards introduced to his lady, who put me soon at my ease, and told me I was to be introduced to Sir Walter Scott on Monday next at the Royal Academy. Poor me!—far from Sir Walter I could talk to him; hundreds of times have I spoken to him quite loudly in the woods, as I looked on the silvery streamlets, or the dense swamps, or the noble Ohio, or on mountains losing their peaks in gray mists. How many times have I longed for him to come to my beloved country, that he might describe, as no one else ever can, the stream, the swamp, the river, the mountain, for the sake of future ages. A century hence they will not be here as I see them, Nature will have been robbed of many brilliant charms, the rivers will be tormented and turned astray from their primitive courses, the hills will be levelled with the swamps, and perhaps the swamps will have become a mound surmounted by a fortress of a thousand guns. Scarce a magnolia will Louisiana possess, the timid Deer will exist nowhere, fish will no longer abound in the rivers, the Eagle scarce ever alight, and these millions of lovely songsters be driven away or slain by man. Without Sir Walter Scott these beauties must perish unknown to the world. To the great and good man himself I can never say this, therefore he can never know it, or my feelings towards him—but if he did? What have I to say more than a world of others who all admire him, perhaps are better able to do so, because more enlightened. Ah! Walter Scott! when I am presented to thee my head will droop, my heart will swell, my limbs will tremble, my lips will quiver, my tongue congeal; nevertheless I shall feel elevated if I am permitted to touch the hand to which the world owes so much.
December 13, Wednesday. I have spent the greater portion of this day in the company of Mr. Selby the ornithologist, who, in appearance is well formed, and in manners clever and polite, yet plain and unassuming. We were together some hours at the Institution,—he was greatly pleased with my drawings,—and we then dined at Mr. Lizars' in company with Dr. Lizars, and we all talked ornithology. I wish I possessed the scientific knowledge of the subject that Mr. Selby does. He wished to hear my paper on the "Buzzard," and after doing so, took it with him to read to Sir Wm. Jardine, to whom he goes to-morrow, but will return on Monday. Later Dr. Brewster came to my room with the proof of the paper on the "Carrion Crow." He read it, and we both corrected. He told me it was a question whether or no I could be made a member of the Royal Academy, for only thirty foreigners were allowed by law, and the number was already complete; still he hoped an exception would be made in my case. He thanked me very cordially for my paper, and said Sir Walter Scott wished to meet me, and would do so on Monday at the Royal Academy. Mr. Bridges gave me a very fine notice in the Scotsman, and has again invited me to dine with him to meet some distinguished Germans, and before that I must call at Lord Clancarty's to see Mrs. Murray.
Thursday, December 14. I paid my visit to Mrs. Murray this forenoon, but the lady was out; so I handed my card to the slender youth who had opened the door and who stood before me looking at my hair like an ass at a fine thistle, and then made off quickly to Dr. Brewster. My business was before him in an instant; I wished not to be introduced to Sir Walter in a crowd, and he promised me not to do so. Much relieved I went to the University to see Dr. Andrew Brown, Professor of Rhetoric. I found him a very polished man, and after some conversation he asked me to write him a paper on the manners and customs of Indians. But I must promise less writing of this kind, for I am too busy otherwise; however, immediately on my return home I sat down to write a long list of memoranda for a journey in America which I had promised Captain Basil Hall, and I wrote till my head ached. Mr. Daniel Lizars has invited me to dine with him on Friday at three, and has procured two cats, which he wishes me to paint. Now this suits me to a "T"—a long morning's work, a short meal, and some hours more of work; very different from to-day, for it was five minutes of seven when I reached Captain Hall's. We dined delightfully with just the company he had promised me, and I was not compelled to ask any one to take wine with me, a thing in my opinion detestable quite, a foppish art I cannot bear. I wish everybody was permitted to drink when he is thirsty, or at least only when he likes, and not when he dislikes it. The ladies having left us, the map of my native land was put on the table; I read my notes, the Captain followed the course with his pencil from New York to New Orleans, visiting besides Niagara, St. Louis, and a hundred other places. We talked of nothing but his journey in my dear country, and Mrs. Hall is delighted at the prospect. The Captain wishes to write a book, and he spoke of it with as little concern as I should say, "I will draw a duck;" is it not surprising? He said to me, "Why do not you write a little book telling what you have seen?" I cannot write at all, but if I could how could I make a little book, when I have seen enough to make a dozen large books? I will not write at all.
Friday, December 15. I have just returned from the theatre, where I saw for the first time "The Beggars' Opera" and "The Lord of the Manor." They were both badly represented, most certainly. Only one lady could sing, or act her part at all well. It was most truly a Beggars' Opera; I went with Mr. Daniel Lizars and his wife and brother-in-law. They were all desirous to see a certain Mr. St. Clair perform; but I truly think that the gentleman in question had drank too much brandy this day, or was it of the smoky whiskey which these Scots relish? I did little work this day, but walked much to refresh myself after all the hard work and constant writing I have lately done. The weather was most inviting, and as pleasant as Louisiana at this season. Upwards of two hundred people were at my exhibition, and to-morrow it closes. Baron Stokoe called whilst I was absent and left word he wished to see me, that he had heard from a friend of mine, whom I suppose to be Charles Bonaparte. Baron Stokoe was formerly a physician of eminence in the British service; when Dr. O'Meara was taken away from St. Helena, where he was physician to Napoleon, this gentleman was put in his place, but did not suit the peculiar ideas of his barbarous governor, and was also dismissed, not only from the island, but from the service, with a trifling pension. He had become acceptable to Napoleon even in the short time they were together, and when he returned from that lonely rock was employed by Joseph Bonaparte to attend his daughters from Rome to Philadelphia. I met him with Charles Bonaparte during his stay in America. So pleased was Joseph Bonaparte with his conduct that he is now one of his pensionnaires, and his general agent in Europe.
Saturday, December 16. I have really done much today. At half-past nine I faced the inclement weather, crossed the bridge, passed the college regretting such a curious and valuable monument was quite buried among the antiquated, narrow streets, and dismal houses that surround it, then rang the bell, and was admitted to Baron S——'s parlor. He was still snug asleep; so that I had enjoyed four and a half hours of life while he slept. He saw me at once in his bedroom and told me that if I wrote to the Prince of Musignano at London this morning, the letter would probably reach him. I returned home, wrote my letter, or rather began it, when I received several pages from my good friend Mr. Rathbone which quite depressed me. He feared my work would not succeed on account of the unusual size; and Mrs. Rathbone, Senior, refused me the pleasure of naming a bird after her, on account of the publicity, she said; yet I longed to do so, for what greater compliment could I pay any lady than to give her name to one of the most exquisite creations of the Almighty? The whole made me most dismal, but yet not in the least discouraged or disheartened about my work. If Napoleon by perseverance and energy rose from the ranks to be an emperor, why should not Audubon with perseverance and energy be able to leave the woods of America for a time and publish and sell a book?—always supposing that Audubon has some knowledge of his work, as Napoleon had great knowledge of his. No, no, I shall not cease to work for this end till old age incapacitates me. I thought long over Mr. Rathbone's letter, then finished mine to Charles and put it in the post-office. I then purchased a Pigeon, killed it, packed up my wires and hammer, and at one o'clock took these things with my "position board," called a coach, and went to the meeting of the Wernerian Society at the University. Lady Morton had joined me, hence my need for the coach. Mr. Skene met me at the door, where I parted from Lady Morton, who made me promise to visit her at Dalmahoy. She is a small, handsome woman, who speaks most excellent French. Mr. Lizars joined me, and we all entered the room of the Wernerian Society of Edinburgh! The room is a plain one; two tables, one fireplace, many long benches or seats, and a chair for the president were all the furniture I saw, except a stuffed sword-fish, which lay on one of the tables for examination that day. Many persons were already present, and I unrolled the drawing of the Buzzard for them to see. Professor Jameson came in, and the meeting began. My paper on the Buzzard was the first thing, read by Patrick Neill,—not very well, as my writing was not easy reading for him. Professor Jameson then rose, and gave quite a eulogy upon it, my works, and lastly—myself. I then had the thanks of the society, and showed them my manner of putting up my specimens for drawing birds, etc.; this they thought uncommonly ingenious. Professor Jameson then offered me as an honorary member, when arose a great clapping of hands and stamping of feet, as a mark of approbation. Then Professor Jameson desired that the usual law requiring a delay of some months between the nomination and the election be laid aside on this occasion; and again the same acclamations took place, and it was decided I should be elected at the next meeting; after which the meeting was ended, I having promised to read a paper on the habits of the Alligator at the following assembly of the society. Then came my dinner at Lady Hunter's.
At precisely six I found myself at No. 16 Hope St. I was shown upstairs, and presented to Lady Mary Clark, who knew both General Wolfe and General Montgomery, a most amiable English lady eighty-two years of age. Many other interesting people were present, and I had the pleasure of taking Mrs. Basil Hall to dinner, and was seated next her mother, Lady Hunter, and almost opposite Lady Mary Clark. I did not feel so uncomfortable as usual; all were so kind, affable, and truly well-bred. At nine the ladies left us, and Captain Basil Hall again attacked me about America, and hundreds of questions were put to me by all, which I answered as plainly and briefly as I could.
At eleven we joined the ladies, and tea and coffee were handed round; other guests had come in, card-tables were prepared, and we had some music. Portfolios of prints were ready for those interested in them. I sat watching all, but listening to Mrs. Hall's sweet music. This bustle does not suit me, I am not fitted for it, I prefer more solitude in the woods. I left at last with young Gregg, but I was the first to go, and we stepped out into the rainy Sunday morning, for it was long, long past midnight, and I hastened to my lodgings to commit murder,—yes, to commit murder; for the cats Mr. Daniel Lizars wished me to paint had been sent, and good Mrs. Dickie much objected to them in my rooms; her son helped me, and in two minutes the poor animals were painlessly killed. I at once put them up in fighting attitude, ready for painting when daylight appeared, which would not be long. Good-night, or good-morning; it is now nearly three o'clock.
Sunday, December 17. I painted all day, that is, during all the time I could see, and I was up at six this morning writing by candle-light, which I was compelled to use till nearly nine. Mr. Bridges called, and I dined at home on fried oysters and stewed Scotch herrings, then went to Mr. Lizars', where I nearly fell asleep; but a cup of coffee thoroughly awakened me, and I looked at some drawings of birds, which I thought miserable, by Mr. Pelletier. Mr. Lizars walked home with me to see my cats.
Monday, December 18. My painting of two cats fighting like two devils over a dead Squirrel was finished at three o'clock. I had been ten hours at it, but should not call it by the dignified title of "painting," for it is too rapidly done for the more finished work I prefer; but I cannot give more time to it now, and the drawing is good. I dressed, and took the painting—so I continue to call it—to Mrs. Lizars', who wished to see it, and it had rained so hard all day she had not been able to come to my rooms. At five I dined with George Combe, the conversation chiefly phrenology. George Combe is a delightful host, and had gathered a most agreeable company. At seven Mr. Lizars called for me, and we went to the meeting of the Royal Academy. Two of my plates were laid on the table. Dr. Brewster and Mr. Allan wished the Academy to subscribe for my work, and the committee retired to act on this and other business. The meeting was very numerous and no doubt very learned; Sir William Jardine and Mr. Selby arrived a little before the society was seated. The door of the hall was thrown open and we all marched in and seated ourselves on most slippery haircloth seats. The room is rich and beautiful; it is a large oblong, the walls covered with brilliant scarlet paper in imitation of morocco. The ceiling is painted to represent oak panels. The windows are immensely large, framed to correspond with the ceiling, and with green jalousies; large chandeliers, with gas, light every corner brilliantly. The president sat in a large arm-chair lined with red morocco, and after the minutes of the last meeting had been read, Professor—— gave us a long, tedious, and labored lecture on the origin of languages, their formation, etc. It seemed a very poor mess to me, though that was probably because I did not understand it. My friend Ord would have doubtless swallowed it whole, but I could make neither head nor tail of it. A few fossil bones were then exhibited, and then, thank heaven! it was over. Sir William Jardine brought some birds with him from Jardine Hall, and to-morrow will see my style of posing them for painting. As I had promised to go to supper with Dr. Russell, I left soon after ten, without knowing what decision the committee had reached as to subscribing to my work. I met several of the Academicians at Dr. Russell's, as well as others whom I knew; but I am more and more surprised to find how little these men, learned as they are, know of America beyond the situation of her principal cities. We sat down to supper at eleven,—everything magnificent; but I was greatly fatigued, for I had been at work since before five this morning, either painting or writing or thinking hard. We left the table about one, and I was glad to come home and shall now soon be asleep.
Tuesday, December 19. My writing takes me full two hours every morning, and soon as finished to-day, I dressed to go to breakfast with Sir William Jardine and Mr. Selby at Barry's Hotel. It was just nine, the morning fine and beautiful, the sun just above the line of the Old Town, the horizon like burnished gold, the walls of the Castle white in the light and almost black in the shade. All this made a beautiful scene, and I dwelt on the power of the great Creator who formed all, with a thought of all man had done and was doing, when a child, barefooted, ragged, and apparently on the verge of starvation, altered my whole train of ideas. The poor child complained of want, and, had I dared, I would have taken him to Sir William Jardine, and given him breakfast at the hotel; but the world is so strange I feared this might appear odd, so I gave the lad a shilling, and then bid him return with me to my lodgings. I looked over all my garments, gave him a large bundle of all that were at all worn, added five shillings, and went my way feeling as if God smiled on me through the face of the poor boy. The hotel was soon reached, and I was with my friends; they had brought Ducks, Hawks, and small birds for me to draw. After breakfast we all went to my room, and I showed these gentlemen how I set up my specimens, squared my paper, and soon had them both at work drawing a Squirrel. They called this a lesson. It was to me like a dream, that I, merely a woodsman, should teach men so much my superiors. They worked very well indeed, although I perceived at once that Mr. Selby was more enthusiastic, and therefore worked faster than Sir William; but he finished more closely, so that it was hard to give either the supremacy. They were delighted, especially Mr. Selby, who exclaimed, "I will paint all our quadrupeds for my own house." They both remained with me till we could see no more. At their request I read them my letter on the "Carrion Crow;" but Dr. Brewster had altered it so much that I was quite shocked at it, it made me quite sick. He had, beyond question, greatly improved the style (for I have none), but he had destroyed the matter.
I dined at Major Dodd's with a complete set of military gentry, generals, colonels, captains, majors, and, to my surprise, young Pattison, my companion in the coach from Manchester; he was Mrs. Dodd's cousin. I retired rather early, for I did not care for the blustering talk of all these warriors. Sir William Jardine and Mr. Lizars came to my lodgings and announced that I was elected by universal acclamation a member of the Society of Arts of the city of Edinburgh.
Wednesday, December 20. Phrenology was the order of the morning. I was at Brown Square, at the house of George Combe by nine o'clock, and breakfasted most heartily on mutton, ham, and good coffee, after which we walked upstairs to his sanctum sanctorum. A beautiful silver box containing the instruments for measuring the cranium, was now opened, the box and contents were a present from the ladies who have attended Mr. Combe's lectures during the past two years, and I was seated fronting the light. Dr. Combe acted as secretary and George Combe, thrusting his fingers under my hair, began searching for miraculous bumps. My skull was measured as minutely and accurately as I measure the bill or legs of a new bird, and all was duly noted by the scribe. Then with most exquisite touch each protuberance was found as numbered by phrenologists, and also put down according to the respective size. I was astounded when they both gave me the results of their labors in writing, and agreed in saying I was a strong and constant lover, an affectionate father, had great veneration for talent, would have made a brave general, that music did not equal painting in my estimation, that I was generous, quick-tempered, forgiving, and much else which I know to be true, though how they discovered these facts is quite a puzzle to me. They asked my permission to read the notes at their next meeting, to which I consented. I then went to court to meet Mr. Simpson the advocate, who was to introduce me to Francis Jeffrey. I found Mr. Simpson and a hundred others in their raven gowns, and powdered, curled wigs, but Mr. Jeffrey was not there. After doing many things and writing much, I went this evening to Mr. Lizars', and with him to Dr. Greville, the botanist. He rarely leaves his house in winter and suffers much from asthma; I found him wearing a green silk night-cap, and we sat and talked of plants till 2 a. m. When I entered my rooms I found Mr. Selby had sent me three most beautiful Pheasants, and to-morrow I begin a painting of these birds attacked by a Fox for the Exhibition in London next March. Also I had a note from the Earl of Morton to spend a day and night at his home at Dalmahoy, saying he would send his carriage for me next Wednesday, one week hence.
Thursday, December 21. To-day I received letters from De Witt Clinton and Thomas Sully in answer to mine in forty-two days; it seems absolutely impossible the distance should have been covered so rapidly; yet it is so, as I see by my memorandum book. I have written already in reply to Thomas Sully, promising him a copy of my first number when finished, say a month hence, with the request that he forward it, in my name, to that Institution which thought me unworthy to be a member. There is no malice in my heart, and I wish no return or acknowledgment from them. I am now determined never to be a member of that Philadelphia Society, but I still think talents, no matter how humble, should be fostered in one's own country. The weather is clear, with a sharp frost. What a number of Wild Ducks could I shoot on a morning like this, with a little powder and plenty of shot; but I had other fish to fry. I put up a beautiful male Pheasant, and outlined it on coarse gray paper to pounce it in proper position on my canvas. Sir Wm. Jardine and Mr. Selby were here drawing under my direction most of the day. My time is so taken up, and daylight so short, that though four hours is all I allow for sleep, I am behindhand, and have engaged an amanuensis. I go out so much that I frequently dress three times a day, the greatest bore in the world to me; why I cannot dine in my blue coat as well as a black one, I cannot say, but so it seems. Mrs. Lizars came with a friend, Mr. Simpson, to invite me to a phrenological supper, Dr. Charles Fox, looking very ill, and two friends of Mr. Selby; the whole morning passed away, no canvas came for me, and I could not have left my guests to work, if it had. I looked often at the beautiful Pheasant, with longing eyes, but when the canvas came and my guests had gone, daylight went with them, so I had lost a most precious day; that is a vast deal in a man's life-glass. The supper was really a phrenological party; my head and Mr. Selby's were compared, and at twelve o'clock he and I went home together. I was glad to feel the frosty air and to see the stars. I think Mr. Selby one of those rare men that are seldom met with, and when one is found it proves how good some of our species may be. Never before did I so long for a glimpse of our rich magnolia woods; I never before felt the want of a glance at our forests as I do now; could I be there but a moment, hear the mellow Mock-bird, or the Wood-thrush, to me always so pleasing, how happy should I be; but alas! I am far from those scenes. I seem, in a measure, to have gone back to my early days of society and fine dressing, silk stockings and pumps, and all the finery with which I made a popinjay of myself in my youth.
December 22, Friday. I painted a good portion to-day though it was quite dark by three of the afternoon; how I long for the fair days of summer. My room to-day was a perfect levee; it is Mr. Audubon here, and Mr. Audubon there; I only hope they will not make a conceited fool of Mr. Audubon at last. I received every one as politely as I could, palette and brushes in hand, and conducted each in his turn to the door. I was called from my work twenty-five times, but I was nevertheless glad to see one and all. I supped with Sir William Jardine, Mr. Lizars, and Mr. Moule, Sir William's uncle, at Barry's Hotel; we talked much of fish and fishing, for we were all sportsmen. I left at midnight and found at my room a long letter from Charles Bonaparte.
Saturday, December 23. I had to grind up my own colors this morning; I detest it, it makes me hot, fretful, moody, and I am convinced has a bad effect on my mind. However, I worked closely, but the day was shockingly short; I cannot see before half-past nine, and am forced to stop at three. …
The 24th and 25th I remained closely at my work painting; on the 24th my drawings were all taken down and my paintings also. I wrote to the president of the Royal Institution and presented that society with my large painting of the "Wild Turkeys." I should have hesitated about offering it had I not been assured it had some value, as Gaily, the picture dealer, offered me a hundred guineas for it the previous day; and I was glad to return some acknowledgment of the politeness of the Institution in a handsome manner. My steady work brought on a bad headache, but I rose early, took a walk of many miles, and it has gone.
December 26. My steady painting, my many thoughts, and my brief nights, bring on me now every evening a weariness that I cannot surmount on command. This is, I think, the first time in my life when, if needed, I could not rouse myself from sleepiness, shake myself and be ready for action in an instant; but now I cannot do that, and I have difficulty often in keeping awake as evening comes on; this evening I had to excuse myself from a gathering at Lady Hunter's, and came home intending to go at once to bed; but I lay down on my sofa for a moment, fell asleep, and did not wake till after midnight, when I found myself both cold and hungry. I have taken some food and now will rest, though no longer sleepy, for to-morrow I go to Earl Morton's, where I wish, at least, to keep awake.
Dalmakoy, eight miles from Edinburgh, December 27, Wednesday. I am now seated at a little table in the Yellow Bedchamber at Earl Morton's, and will give an account of my day. After my breakfast, not anxious to begin another Pheasant, I did some writing and paid some visits, returned to my lodgings and packed a box for America with various gifts, some mementos I had received, and several newspapers, when Lord Morton's carriage was announced. My porte-feuille and valise were carried down, and I followed them and entered a large carriage lined with purple morocco; never was I in so comfortable a conveyance before; the ship that under easy sail glides slowly on an even sea has a more fatiguing motion; I might have been in a swinging hammock. We passed the castle, through Charlotte Square, and out on the Glasgow road for eight miles, all so swiftly that my watch had barely changed the time from one hour to another when the porter pushed open the gate of Dalmahoy. I now began to think of my meeting with the man who had been great Chamberlain to the late Queen Charlotte. I did not so much mind meeting the Countess, for I had become assured of her sweetness of disposition when we had met on previous occasions, but the Chamberlain I could not help dreading to encounter. This, however, did not prevent the carriage from proceeding smoothly round a great circle, neither did it prevent me from seeing a large, square, half Gothic building with two turrets, ornamented with great lions, and all the signs of heraldry belonging to Lord Morton. The carriage stopped, a man in livery opened the door, and I walked in, giving him my hat and gloves and my American stick (that, by the bye, never leaves me unless I leave it). Upstairs I went and into the drawing-room. The Countess rose at once and came to greet me, and then presented Lord Morton to me—yes, really not me to him; for the moment I was taken aback, I had expected something so different. I had formed an idea that the Earl was a man of great physical strength and size; instead I saw a small, slender man, tottering on his feet, weaker than a newly hatched Partridge; he welcomed me with tears in his eyes, held one of my hands and attempted speaking, which was difficult to him, the Countess meanwhile rubbing his other hand. I saw at a glance his situation and begged he would be seated, after which I was introduced to the mother of the Countess, Lady Boulcar, and I took a seat on a sofa that I thought would swallow me up, so much down swelled around me. It was a vast room, at least sixty feet long, and wide in proportion, let me say thirty feet, all hung with immense paintings on a rich purple ground; all was purple about me. The large tables were covered with books, instruments, drawing apparatus, and a telescope, with hundreds of ornaments. As I glanced at the pictures I could see the Queen of England fronting Mary of Scotland, a chamberlain here, a duke there, and in another place a beautiful head by Rembrandt. Van Dyke had not been forgotten; Claude Lorraine had some landscapes here also; while the celebrated Titian gave a lustre to the whole. I rose to take a closer view, the Countess explaining all to me, but conceive my surprise when, looking from the middle window, I saw at the horizon the castle and city of Edinburgh, a complete miniature eight miles off, a landscape of fields, water, and country between us and it. Luncheon was announced; I am sure if my friends complain that I eat but little, they must allow that I eat often; never were such lands for constant meals as England and Scotland. The Countess of Boulcar rolled Lord Morton in his castored chair, I gave my arm to Lady Morton, we crossed a large antechamber, into a dining-room quite rich in paintings, and at present with a sumptuous repast. Three gentlemen, also visitors, entered by another door,—Messrs. Hays, Ramsay, and a young clergyman whose name I forget. After luncheon my drawings were produced, the Earl was rolled into a good position for light, and my "Book of Nature" was unbuckled. I am not going to repeat praises again. The drawings seen, we adjourned to the drawing-room and the Countess begged me to give her a lesson to-morrow, which I shall most gladly do. The Countess is not exactly beautiful, but she is good-looking, with fine eyes, a brilliant complexion, and a good figure; she is a woman of superior intellect and conversation, and I should think about forty years of age; she was dressed in a rich crimson gown, and her mother in black satin. At six I re-entered the house, having taken a short walk with the gentlemen, and was shown to my room. "The yellow room," I heard the Countess say to the lackey who showed me the way. My valise had been unpacked, and all was most comfortable, and truly yellow in this superb apartment. The bed was hung with yellow of some rich material, and ornamented with yellow crowns, and was big enough for four of my size; a large sofa and large arm-chairs, all yellow, the curtains, dressing-table, all indeed was yellow, intensified by the glow of a bright wood fire. My evening toilet is never a very lengthy matter,—for in my opinion it is a vile loss of time to spend as many minutes in arranging a cravat as a hangman does in tying his knot,—and I was ready long before seven, when I again gave the Countess my arm, and Lord Morton was again rolled in, in his chair. The waiters, I think there were four, were powdered and dressed in deep red, almost maroon liveries, except the butler, who was in black, and who appeared to me to hand fresh plates continuously. After a dinner of somewhat more than an hour, the ladies retired with the Earl, and I remained with the three gentlemen to talk and drink wine. The conversation was entirely of antiquities. Mr. Hays is a deeply learned and interesting man, besides being quite an original. At the hour of ten we joined the Countess, the Earl having retired, and I have been much interested looking at the signatures of the kings of old, as well as that of Marie, Queen of Scots, and those of many other celebrated men and women, while two of the gentlemen were examining a cabinet of antique coins. The Countess looked very brilliant, being attired in white satin with a crimson turban. At midnight (coffee having been served about eleven), the ladies bid us good-night, and we sat down to talk, and drink, if we wished to, Madeira wine. What a life! I could not stand this ceremony daily, I long for the woods; but I hope this life will enable me to enjoy them more than ever at a future period, so I must bear it patiently. After a few moments I left the gentlemen, and came to my yellow room.
Thursday, December 28. Daylight came and I opened all my yellow curtains, and explored my room by daylight; and I have forgotten to tell thee that the dressing-room, with its large porcelain tub and abundance of clear water, opened from it, and was warm with crimson of the color of the Countess's turban. The chimney-piece was decorated with choice shells, and above it a painting representing Queen Mary in her youth. The house seemed very still, but after dressing I decided to go down, for the morning was clear and the air delightful. As I entered the drawing-room I saw two housemaids busily cleaning; the younger saw me first, and I heard her say, "The American gentleman is down already," when they both vanished. I went out to look about the grounds, and in about an hour was joined by the young clergyman, and a walk was immediately undertaken. The Hares started before our dogs, and passing through various woods, we came by a turn to the stables, where I saw four superbly formed Abyssinian horses, with tails reaching to the earth, and the legs of one no larger than those of an Elk. The riding-room was yet lighted, and the animals had been exercised that morning. The game-keeper was unkennelling his dogs; he showed me a large tame Fox.
Then through other woods we proceeded to the Manor, now the habitat of the great falconer John Anderson and his Hawks. He had already received orders to come to the Hall at eleven to show me these birds in their full dress. We visited next the hot-houses, where roses were blooming most sweetly, and then following a brook reached the Hall about ten. The ladies were in the drawing-room, and the Earl came in, when we went to breakfast. Neither at this meal nor at luncheon are seen any waiters. The meal over, all was bustle in the drawing-room; chalks, crayons, papers, all required was before me in a few minutes, and I began to give the Countess a most unnecessary lesson, for she drew much better than I did; but I taught her how to rub with cork, and prepare for water-color. The Earl sat by watching us, and then asked to see my drawings again. The falconer came, and I saw the Falcons ready for the chase. He held the birds on his gloved hands, with bells and hoods and crests; but the morning was not fit for a flight, so I lost that pleasure. The Countess asked for my subscription book and wrote with a steel pen, "The Countess of Morton;" she wished to pay for the first number now, but this I declined. She promised me letters for England, with which offer I was much pleased. Desiring some fresh Pheasants for my work, she immediately ordered some killed for me. After luncheon I walked out to see a herd of over a hundred brown Deer, that like sheep were feeding within a few hundred paces of the Hall. I approached quite close to them, and saw that many had shed their horns; they scampered off when they sighted me, knowing perhaps what a hunter I was! Lady Morton wished me to remain longer, but as I had promised to dine with Captain Hall I could not do so; it was therefore decided that I should return next week to spend another night and give another lesson. My ride to Edinburgh was soon over, and a letter and a book from Charles Bonaparte were at my lodgings. Captain Hall told me at dinner that he was a midshipman on board the Leander when Pierce was killed off New York, and when I was on my way from France, when our captain, seeing the British vessel, wore about round Long Island and reached New York by Hell Gate. There is a curious notice about me by Professor Wilson in " Blackwood's Magazine."
Friday, December 29. I painted all day, and did this most happily and cheerfully, for I had received two long letters from my Lucy, of October 14 and 23. The evening was spent with Captain Hall, Mr. Lizars, and his brother.
Saturday, December 30. So stormy a day that I have not been disturbed by visitors, nor have I been out, but painted all day.
Sunday, December 31. This evening I dined at Captain Hall's, especially for the purpose of being introduced to Francis Jeffrey, the principal writer in the "Edinburgh Review." Following the advice given me I did not take my watch, lest it should be stolen from me on my return, for I am told this is always a turbulent night in Edinburgh. Captain Hall and his wife received me with their usual cordiality, and we were soon joined by Mr. McCulloch, a writer on Political Economy and a plain, agreeable man. Then Francis Jeffrey and his wife entered; he is a small (not to say tiny) being, with a woman under one arm and a hat under the other. He bowed very seriously indeed, so much so that I conceived him to be fully aware of his weight in society. His looks were shrewd, but I thought his eyes almost cunning. He talked a great deal and very well, yet I did not like him; but he may prove better than I think, for this is only my first impression. Mrs. Jeffrey was nervous and very much dressed. If I mistake not Jeffrey was shy of me, and I of him, for he has used me very cavalierly. When I came I brought a letter of introduction to him; I called on him, and, as he was absent, left the letter and my card. When my exhibition opened I enclosed a card of admittance to him, with another of my own cards. He never came near me, and I never went near him; for if he was Jeffrey, I was Audubon, and felt quite independent of all the tribe of Jeffreys in England, Scotland, and Ireland, put together. This evening, however, he thanked me for my card politely. At dinner he sat opposite to me and the conversation was on various topics. America, however, was hardly alluded to, as whenever Captain Hall tried to bring that country into our talk, Mr. Jeffrey most skilfully brought up something else. After coffee had been served Mr. Jeffrey made some inquiries about my work, and at ten I took my leave, having positively seen the little man whose fame is so great both in Scotland and abroad. I walked home briskly; this was the eve of a New Year, and in Edinburgh they tell me it is rather a dangerous thing to be late in the streets, for many vagabonds are abroad at this time, and murders and other fearful deeds take place. To prevent these as far as possible, the watch is doubled, and an unusual quantity of gas-lights are afforded. I reached my room, sat down and outlined a Pheasant, to save daylight to-morrow, and was about going to bed, when Mrs. Dickie came in and begged I would wait till twelve o'clock to take some toddy with her and Miss Campbell, my American boarding companion, to wish all a happy New Year. I did so, of course, and had I sat up all night, and written, or drawn, or sat thinking by my fire, I should have done as well, for the noise kept increasing in the streets, and the confusion was such that until morning I never closed my eyes. At early morning this first day of January, 1827, I received from Captain Hall three volumes of his voyages, and from the Countess of Morton four beautiful Pheasants and a basket of rare hot-house flowers.
Edinburgh, January 1, 1827, Monday. A Happy New Year to you, my book. Bless me! how fair you look this very cold day. Which way, pray, are you travelling? Travelling wherever chance or circumstance may lead you? Well, I will take you for my companion, and we will talk together on all kinds of subjects, and you will help me to remember, for my memory is bad, very bad. I never can recollect the name of an enemy, for instance; it is only my friends whom I can remember, and to write down somewhat of their kind treatment of me is a delight I love to enjoy.
January 6, Saturday. Ever since the first day of this month I have been most closely engaged at my painting of the "Pheasants Attacked by a Fox." I have, however, spent another day and night at Dalmahoy. I have written a long paper for the Wernerian Society on the habits of Alligators, and am always very weary at night.
January 7. I keep at my painting closely, and for a wonder was visited by Dr. Bridges. I have labored hard, but my work is bad; some inward feeling tells me when it is good. No one, I think, paints in my method; I, who have never studied but by piecemeal, form my pictures according to my ways of study. For instance, I am now working on a Fox; I take one neatly killed, put him up with wires, and when satisfied of the truth of the position, I take my palette and work as rapidly as possible; the same with my birds. If practicable, I finish the bird at one sitting,—often, it is true, of fourteen hours,—so that I think they are correct, both in detail and composition.
Monday, 8th. I rose this morning two and a half hours before day, and wrote much before breakfast. Thanks to my good spirit not a soul called upon me this day, and I brushed away without losing a moment of the precious light of these short days. This evening I saw my plate of the Wild Turkey, and went to hear Captain Basil Hall lecture at the Royal Society on the Trade Winds. The practical as well as theoretical knowledge of this learned man rendered this a most valuable evening to me. I was introduced to Mr. Perceval, the son of the King of England's Secretary of State, who was shamefully and barbarously murdered some years since.
Tuesday, 9th. Mr. Hays, the Dalmahoy antiquarian, called on me, and brought me a copy of Bewick's "Quadrupeds." At eight this evening I went to the Society of Arts, of which I have been elected a member. Here I saw a capital air-gun, and a steam-carriage in full motion; but "I" had to operate, and showed my manner of putting up my birds with wires, and I positively shook so that I feared I should not be able to proceed to the termination; this bashfulness is dreadful, how am I ever to overcome it?
January 10. The weather has been most strange, at times so dark that I could not see to paint, and suddenly the sun shone so brightly that I was dazzled. It rained, it blew, it snowed; we have had all seasons. A Mr. Buchanan from London came to see my work, and Professor Wilson at the same time; both liked my painting, and strangely enough the two had known each other twenty years ago. I went to the theatre to see Miss Foote and Mr. Murray; both were much applauded, and the house was crowded. I am very fond of the theatre; I think it the best of all ways to spend an evening for délassement. I often find myself when there laughing or crying like a child.
January 11. Scarce daylight at half-past seven, but I was up and away with a coal porter and his cart into the country. I wanted some large, rough stones for my foreground; this was my reason for my excursion. I passed a small, dirty, and almost lost building, where the union between Scotland and England was ratified. At one o'clock Professor Russell called in his carriage with Mr. Lizars, then we went to see a picture of the famous Hondekoeter. To me the picture was destitute of life; the animals seemed to me to be drawn from poorly stuffed specimens, but the coloring, the finish, the manner, the effect, was most beautiful, and but for the lack of Nature in the animals was a picture which commanded admiration and attention. Would that I could paint like Hondekoeter! At eight I went to the Phrenological Society, and may safely say that never before was I in such company; the deepest philosophers in this city of learning were there, and George Combe read an essay on the mental powers of man, as illustrated by phrenological researches, that astounded me; it lasted one and a half hours, and will remain in my mind all my life.
January 12. My painting has now arrived at the difficult point. To finish highly without destroying the general effect, or to give the general effect and care not about the finishing? I am quite puzzled. Sometimes I like the picture, then a heat rises to my face and I think it a miserable daub. This is the largest piece I have ever done; as to the birds, as far as they are concerned I am quite satisfied, but the ground, the foliage, the sky, the distance are dreadful. To-day I was so troubled about this that at two o'clock, when yet a good hour of daylight remained, I left it in disgust, and walked off to Dr. Bridges. I passed on my way the place where a man was murdered the night before last; a great multitude of people were looking at the spot, gazing like fools, for there was nothing to be seen. How is it that our sages tell us our species is much improved? If we murder now in cool blood, and in a most terrifying way, our brother, we are not a jot forward since the time of Cain.
January 13. Painted five hours, and at two o'clock accompanied by Mr. Lizars, reached the University and entered the rooms of the Wernerian Society with a paper on the habits of Alligators in my pocket, to be read to the members and visitors present. This I read after the business of the meeting had been transacted, and, thank God, after the effort of once beginning, I went on unfalteringly to the end. In the evening I went with Mr. Lizars to see "As You Like It." Miss Foote performed and also Mr. Murray, but the house was so crowded that I could scarce see.
January 14. Could not work on my picture, for I have no white Pheasant for a key-stone of light, but Professor Jameson called and said he would write for one for me to the Duke of Buccleugh. After receiving many callers I went to Mr. O'Neill's to have a cast taken of my head. My coat and neckcloth were taken off, my shirt collar turned down, I was told to close my eyes; Mr. O'Neill took a large brush and oiled my whole face, the almost liquid plaster of Paris was poured over it, as I sat uprightly till the whole was covered; my nostrils only were exempt. In a few moments the plaster had acquired the needful consistency, when it was taken off by pulling it down gently. The whole operation lasted hardly five minutes; the only inconvenience felt was the weight of the material pulling downward over my sinews and flesh. On my return from the Antiquarian Society that evening, I found my face on the table, an excellent cast.
January 17 to Sunday, 21st. John Syme, the artist, asked me if I did not wish to become an associate member of the Scottish Artists. I answered, "Yes." I have promised to paint a picture of Black Cock for their exhibition, and with that view went to market, where for fifteen shillings I purchased two superb males and one female. I have been painting pretty much all day and every day. Among my visitors I have had the son of Smollett, the great writer, a handsome young gentleman. Several noblemen came to see my Pheasants, and all promised me a white one. Professor Russell called and read me a letter from Lord——, giving me leave to see the pictures at his hall, but I, poor Audubon, go nowhere without an invitation.
January 22, Monday. I was painting diligently when Captain Hall came in, and said: "Put on your coat, and come with me to Sir Walter Scott; he wishes to see you now." In a moment I was ready, for I really believe my coat and hat came to me instead of my going to them. My heart trembled; I longed for the meeting, yet wished it over. Had not his wondrous pen penetrated my soul with the consciousness that here was a genius from God's hand? I felt overwhelmed at the thought of meeting Sir Walter, the Great Unknown. We reached the house, and a powdered waiter was asked if Sir Walter were in. We were shown forward at once, and entering a very small room Captain Hall said: "Sir Walter, I have brought Mr. Audubon." Sir Walter came forward, pressed my hand warmly, and said he was "glad to have the honor of meeting me." His long, loose, silvery locks struck me; he looked like Franklin at his best. He also reminded me of
From the portrait by Henry Inraan. Now in the possession of the family.
January 23, Tuesday. My first visitor was Mr. Hays the antiquarian, who needed my assistance, or rather my knowledge of French in the translation of a passage relating to "le droit du seigneur." Dr. Combe called later and begged me to go to Mr. Joseph, the sculptor, with him, and through a great fall of snow we went through Windsor Street, one of the handsomest in this beautiful city. Mr. Joseph was in, and I saw an uncommonly good bust of Sir Walter, one of Lord Morton, and several others. I have powerfully in my mind to give my picture of the "Trapped Otter" to Mrs. Basil Hall, and, by Washington, I will. No one deserves it more, and I cannot receive so many favors without trying to make some return.
January 24. My second visit to Sir Walter Scott was much more agreeable than my first. My portfolio and its contents were matters on which I could speak substantially, and I found him so willing to level himself with me for a while that the time spent at his home was agreeable and valuable. His daughter improved in looks the moment she spoke, having both vivacity and good sense.
January 28. Yesterday I had so many visitors that I was quite fatigued; my rooms were full all the time, yet I work away as if they were so many cabbages, except for a short time taken to show them a few drawings, give them chairs, and other civil attentions. In the evening I went to the theatre to see the "Merchant of Venice;" the night was violently stormy, the worst I remember for years. I thought of the poor sailors, what hard lives they have.
January 30, Tuesday. The days begin to show a valuable augmentation. I could this morning begin work at eight, and was still at my easel at four. A man may do a good deal on a painting in eight hours provided he has the power of laying the true tints at once, and does not muddy his colors or need glazing afterwards. Now a query arises. Did the ancient artists and colorists ever glaze their work? I sometimes think they did not, and I am inclined to think thus because their work is of great strength of standing, and extremely solid and confirmed on the canvas—a proof with me that they painted clean and bright at once, but that this once they repeated, perhaps, as often as three times. Glazing certainly is a beautiful way of effecting transparency, particularly over shadowy parts, but I frequently fear the coating being so thin, and that time preys on these parts more powerfully than on those unglazed, so that the work is sooner destroyed by its application than without it. I am confident Sir Joshua Reynolds' pictures fade so much in consequence of his constant glazing. Lord Hay, who has only one arm, called this morning, and promised me White Pheasants by Saturday morning. So many people have called that I have not put a foot out to-day.
January 31, Wednesday. I had the delight of receiving letters from home to-day; how every word carried me to my beloved America. Oh, that I could be with you and see those magnificent forests, ad listen to sweet Wood Thrushes and the Mock-Birds so gay!
February 1. I have just finished a picture of Black Cock sunning and dusting themselves, with a view in the background of Loch Lomond, nine feet by six, for which I am offered two hundred guineas. It will be exhibited at the Royal Institute rooms next week, and the picture of the Pheasants, the same size, at the Scottish Society of Artists, of which I am now an associate member.
February 5. None of my promised White Pheasants have come, but I have determined the picture shall be finished if I have to paint in a black Crow instead. Dr. Brewster spoke to me of a camera lucida to enable me to outline birds with great rapidity. I would like such an instrument if merely to save time in hot weather, when outlining correctly is more than half the work. At eight o'clock I entered the rooms of the Royal Society. I opened my large sheets and laid them on the table; the astonishment of every one was great, and I saw with pleasure many eyes look from them to me. The business of the society was then done behind closed doors; but when these were opened and we were called into the great room, Captain Hall, taking my hand, led me to a seat immediately opposite to Sir Walter Scott; then, Lucy, I had a perfect view of that great man, and I studied from Nature Nature's noblest work. After a lecture on the introduction of the Greek language into England, the president, Sir Walter, rose and we all followed his example. Sir Walter came to me, shook my hand cordially, and asked me how the cold weather of Edinburgh agreed with me. This mark of attention was observed by other members, who looked at me as if I had been a distinguished stranger.
February 9. I have been, and am yet, greatly depressed, yet why I am so it is impossible for me to conceive, unless it be that slight vexations, trifling in themselves, are trying to me, because, alas! I am only a very, very common man. I dined to-night at Professor Jameson's, and as my note said "with a few friends," was surprised to find thirty besides myself. The engineer, Mr. S——, was here, and many other noted men, including the famous Professor Leslie, an enormous mass of flesh and an extremely agreeable man, who had been in Virginia many years ago, but recollects those days well.
February 10. I visited the Royal Institution this morning, and saw my Black Cocks over the first of the first-room doors. I know well that the birds are drawn as well as any birds ever have been; but what a difference exists between drawing one bird or a dozen and amalgamating them with a sky, a landscape, and a well adapted foreground. Who has not felt a sense of fear while trying to combine all this? I looked at my work long, then walked round the room, when my eyes soon reached a picture by Landseer, the death of a stag. I saw much in it of the style of those men who know how to handle a brush and carry a good effect; but Nature was not there, although a Stag, three dogs, and a Highlander were introduced on the canvas. The Stag had his tongue out and his mouth shut! The principal dog, a greyhound, held the Deer by one ear just as if a loving friend; the young hunter has laced the Deer by one horn very prettily, and in the attitude of a ballet-dancer was about to cast the noose over the head of the animal. To me, or to my friends Dr. Pope or Mr. Bourgeat such a picture is quite a farce; not so here however. Many other pictures drew my attention, and still more so the different artists who came in with brushes and palettes to tickle their pictures. I was to read a paper at the Wernerian Society on the Rattlesnake, but had not had time to finish it; nevertheless I went to the society rooms, which were crowded. I was sorry I was not prepared to read to those assembled that a Rattlesnake rattled his tail, not to give knowledge to man of his presence, but because he never strikes without rattling, and that destitute of that appendage he cannot strike at all. The wind blows a doleful tune and I feel utterly alone.
Monday, February 12. Mr. Lizars insisted on my going to the Antiquarian Society, saying it was usual for a member newly elected to be present on the first occasion possible. I went, of course, but felt very sheepish withal. We had an excellent paper by Mr. Hays respecting a bell found in Argyle, of very ancient date.
Tuesday, February 13. This was the grand, long promised, and much wished-for day of the opening of the Exhibition at the rooms of the Royal Institution. At one o'clock I went, the doors were just opened, and in a few minutes the rooms were crowded. Sir Walter Scott was present; he came towards me, shook my hand cordially, and pointing to Landseer's picture said: "Many such scenes, Mr. Audubon, have I witnesssd in my younger days." We talked much of all about us, and I would gladly have joined him in a glass of wine, but my foolish habits prevented me, and after inquiring of his daughter's health, I left him, and shortly afterwards the rooms; for I had a great appetite, and although there were tables loaded with delicacies, and I saw the ladies particularly eating freely, I must say to my shame I dared not lay my fingers on a single thing. In the evening I went to the theatre where I was much amused by "The Comedy of Errors," and afterwards "The Green Room." I admire Miss Neville's singing very much; and her manners also; there is none of the actress about her, but much of the lady.
Tuesday, 20th. A week has passed without writing here because I have done nothing else but write many letters for Captain Hall, and at his request a paper to be read at the Natural History Society. I pitched on the "Habits of the Wild Pigeon." I began on Wednesday, and it took me until half-past three of the morning, and after a few hours' sleep I rose to correct it, which was needed, I can assure thee. Were it not for the facts it contains, I would not give a cent for it, nor anybody else, I dare say. I positively brought myself so much among the Pigeons and in the woods of America that my ears were as if really filled with the noise of their wings; I was tired and my eyes ached. I dined at a Mr. Tytler's and met among the guests Mr. Cruden, brother of the compiler of the famous concordance. On Sunday I made for the seashore, and walked eight miles; the weather was extremely cold, my ears and nose I thought would drop off, yet I went on. Monday Captain Hall called to speak to me about my paper on Pigeons; he complained that I expressed the belief that Pigeons were possessed of affection and tenderest love, and that this raised the brute species to a level with man. O man! misled, self-conceited being, when wilt thou keep within the sphere of humility that, with all thy vices and wickedness about thee, should be thine. At the exhibition rooms I put up my drawing of the Wild Pigeons and Captain Hall read my paper. I was struck with the silence and attention of the audience. The president invited me to supper with him, but I was too excited, so excused myself.
February 21. I wrote again nearly all day, and in the evening went to the theatre to see "The School for Grown Children."
February 23. Young Hutchinson came about the middle of the day, and I proposed we should have an early dinner and a long walk after for the sake of exercise, that I now find much needed. We proceeded towards the village of Portobello, distant three miles, the weather delightful, the shore dotted with gentlemen on horseback galloping over the sand in all directions. The sea calm and smooth, had many fishing-boats. The village is a summer resort, built handsomely of white stone, and all was quietness. From here we proceeded across country to Duddingston, about a mile and a half, to see the skaters on the lake, a mere duck puddle; but the ice was too thin, and no skaters were there. We gradually ascended the hill called Arthur's Seat, and all of a sudden came in full view of the fair city. We entered in the Old Town and reached my lodgings by the North Bridge. I was quite tired, and yet I had not walked more than ten miles. I thought this strange, and wondered if it could be the same body that travelled over one hundred and sixty-five miles in four days without a shade of fatigue. The cities do not tempt me to walk, and so I lose the habit.
February 24. To the Wernerian Society at two o'clock, my drawing of the Mocking-Bird with me. The room was completely filled, and a paper on the rhubarb of commerce was read; it was short, and then Professor Jameson called my name. I rose, and read as distinctly as I could my paper on Rattlesnakes, a job of three quarters of an hour. Having finished I was cheered by all, and the thanks of the Assembly unanimously voted. My cheeks burned, and after a few questions had been put me by the president and some of the gentlemen present, I handed my manuscript to Professor Jameson, and was glad to be gone. Young Murray, the son of the London publisher, accompanied me to the Scottish Society Exhibition, but I soon left him as so many eyes were directed to me that I was miserable.
February 27. It blew and rained tremendously, and this morning I parted from Captain Hall, who goes to London. His leaving Edinburgh affects me considerably; he is a kind, substantial friend, and when we finally shook hands, I doubt not he knew the feeling in my heart. This evening was spent at Mr. Joseph's the sculptor. There were a number of guests, and music and dancing was proposed. My fame as a dancer produced, I am sure, false expectations; nevertheless I found myself on the floor with Mrs. Joseph, a lively, agreeable little lady, much my junior, and about my Lucy's age. After much dancing, during which light refreshments were served, we sat down to supper at twelve o'clock, and we did not leave till three.
February 28. I have been reading Captain Hall's "Voyages and Travels," and going much about to rest my eyes and head; but these few days of idleness have completely sickened me, and have given me what is named the Blue Devils so effectually that the sooner I drive them off the better.
March 1. Mr. Kidd, the landscape artist, breakfasted with me, and we talked painting a long time. I admired him for his talents at so early a period of life, he being only nineteen. What would I have been now if equally gifted by nature at that age? But, sad reflection, I have been forced constantly to hammer and stammer as if in opposition to God's will, and so therefore am nothing now but poor Audubon. I asked him to come to me daily to eat, drink, and give me the pleasure of his company and advice. I told him my wish was so intense to improve in the delightful art of painting that I should begin a new picture to-morrow, and took down my portfolio to look for one of my drawings to copy in oil. He had never seen my work, and his bright eyes gazed eagerly on what he saw with admiration.
March 2. Mr. Kidd breakfasted with me, and we painted the whole day.
March 3. I painted as constantly to-day, as it snowed and blew hard outside my walls. I thought frequently that the devils must be at the handles of Æolus' bellows, and turned the cold blasts into the Scotch mists to freeze them into snow. It is full twenty years since I saw the like before. I dined at Mr. Ritchie's, reaching his house safely through more than two feet of snow.
March 4. The weather tolerably fair, but the snow lay deep. The mails from all quarters were stopped, and the few people that moved along the streets gave a fuller idea of winter in a northern clime than anything I have seen for many years. Mr. Hays called for me, and we went to breakfast with the Rev. Mr. Newbold, immediately across the street. I was trundled into a sedan chair to church. I had never been in a sedan chair before, and I like to try, as well as see, all things on the face of this strange world of ours; but so long as I have two legs and feet below them, never will I again enter one of these machines, with their quick, short, up-and-down, swinging motion, resembling the sensations felt during the great earthquake in Kentucky. But Sydney Smith preached. Oh! what a soul there must be in the body of that great man. What sweet yet energetic thoughts, what goodness he must possess. It was a sermon to me. He made me smile, and he made me think deeply. He pleased me at times by painting my foibles with due care, and again I felt the color come to my cheeks as he portrayed my sins. I left the church full of veneration not only towards God, but towards the wonderful man who so beautifully illustrates his noblest handiwork. After lunch Mr. Hays and I took a walk towards Portobello, tumbling and pitching in the deep snow. I saw Sky-Larks, poor things, caught in snares as easily—as men are caught. For a wonder I have done no work to-day.
March 5. As a lad I had a great aversion to anything English or Scotch, and I remember when travelling with my father to Rochefort in January, 1800, I mentioned this to him, for to him, thank God, I always told all my thoughts and expressed all my ideas. How well I remember his reply: "Laforest, thy blood will cool in time, and thou wilt be surprised to see how gradually prejudices are obliterated, and friendships acquired, towards those that at one time we held in contempt. Thou hast not been in England; I have, and it is a fine country." What has since taken place? I have admired and esteemed many English and Scotch, and therefore do I feel proud to tell thee that I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. My day has been rather dull, though I painted assiduously. This evening I went to the Society of Arts, where beautiful experiments were shown by the inventors themselves; a steam coach moved with incomprehensible regularity. I am undetermined whether to go to Glasgow on my way to Dublin, or proceed overland to Newcastle, Liverpool, Oxford, Cambridge, and so on to London, but I shall move soon.
March 7. This evening I was introduced to Sydney Smith, the famous preacher of last Sunday, and his fair daughters, and heard them sing most sweetly. I offered to show them some of my drawings and they appointed Saturday at one o'clock. The wind is blowing as if intent to destroy the fair city of Edinburgh.
March 8. The weather was dreadful last night and still continues so; the snow is six feet deep in some parts of the great roads, and I was told at the Post Office that horsemen sent with the mail to London had been obliged to abandon their horses, and proceed on foot. Wrote a letter to Sir Walter Scott requesting a letter of introduction, or shall I say endorsement, and his servant brought me a gratifying reply at eight of the evening. At one Dr. Spence came with Miss Neville, the delightful singer at the theatre, her mother, and Miss Hamilton. They sat with me some time, and I was glad to see near-by the same Miss Neville whom I admire so much at the play. I found her possessed of good sense and modesty, and like her much; her mother asked me to spend the evening of next Saturday with them, and said her daughter would sing for me with pleasure. Had a note from Sydney Smith; the man should study economy; he would destroy more paper in a day than Franklin in a week; but all great men are more or less eccentric. Walter Scott writes a diminutive hand, very difficult to read, Napoleon a large, scrawling one, still more difficult, and Sydney Smith goes up-hill all the way with large strides.
March 9. My first work this day was to send as a present to Miss Anne Scott a copy of my first number. Professor Wilson called and promised to come again on Monday.
March 10. I visited Mr. James B. Fraser, a great traveller in Asia and Africa, and saw there a large collection of drawings and views in water-colors of the scenery of these countries. The lecture at the Wernerian Society was very interesting; it was on the uses of cotton in Egypt, and the origin of the name in the English language. I dined at Mr. Neill's; among the guests was a Mr. Blair, the superintendent of the Botanical Gardens here; he has been in different parts of America frequently. There were several other gentlemen present interested in like subjects, and we talked of little else than trees and exotic plants, birds and beasts; in fact it was a naturalists' dinner, but a much better one than naturalists generally have who study in the woods. I was obliged to leave early, as I had an engagement at Miss Neville's. Tea was served, after which Miss Neville rose, and said she would open the concert. I was glad to see her simply but beautifully dressed in a plain white gown of fine muslin, with naught but her fine auburn hair loose in large curls about her neck, and a plain scarf of a light-rose color. She sang and played most sweetly; the gentlemen present were all more or less musical, and we had fine glees, duets, trios. The young lady scarcely left off singing, for no sooner was a song finished than some one asked for another; she immediately replied, "Oh, yes," and in a moment the room was filled with melody. I thought she must be fatigued, and told her so, but she replied: "Mr. Audubon, singing is like painting; it never fatigues if one is fond of it, and I am." After a handsome supper we had more singing, and it was past two o'clock when I rose, shook hands with Miss Neville, bowed to the company, and made my exit.
March 12. I can scarcely believe that this day, there is in many places six feet of snow, yet with all this no invitation is ever laid aside, and last evening I went to dinner in a coach drawn by four horses. At noon to-day I went with Mr. Lizars to the Assembly Rooms, to see the fencing. About a thousand persons, all in full dress, gathered in a few minutes, and a circle being formed, eight young men came in, and went through the first principles of fencing; we had fine martial music and a succession of fencing turns till two o'clock, when the assault began between the two best scholars. Five hits were required to win the prize—a fine sword—and it was presented to the conqueror, a Mr. Webster. At half-past six I dined at Mr. Hamilton's, where a numerous and agreeable party was assembled. At ten Miss Neville and her mother came with still others. We had dancing and singing, and here I am, quite wearied at half-past three; but I must be up early to-morrow morning.
March 13. The little I slept had a bad effect on me, for I rose cross of mind and temper. I took a long walk on the London road, returned and reached Brae House, and breakfasted with the famous Mrs. Grant, an old lady very deaf, but very agreeable withal. Her son and daughter and another lady formed our party. We talked of nothing but America; Mrs. Grant is positively the only person I have met here who knows anything true about my country. I promised to call again soon. This evening I dined at Sir James Riddell's, and I do not know when I have spent a more uncomfortable evening; the company were all too high for me, though Sir James and his lady did all they could for me. The ton here surpassed that at the Earl of Morton's; five gentlemen waited on us while at table, and two of these put my cloak about my shoulders, notwithstanding all I could say to the contrary. Several of these men were quite as well dressed as their master. What will that sweet lady, Mrs. Basil Hall think of a squatter's hut in Mississippi in contrast with this? No matter! whatever may be lacking, there is usually a hearty welcome. Oh! my America, how dearly I love thy plain, simple manners.
March 14. I have been drawing all day, two Cat-birds and some blackberries for the Countess of Morton, and would have finished it had I not been disturbed by visitors. Mr. Hays came with his son; he asked me if it would not be good policy for me to cut my hair and have a fashionable coat made before I reached London. I laughed, and he laughed, and my hair is yet as God made it.March 17. I had long wished to visit Roslyn Castle and the weather being beautiful I applied to Mrs. Dickie for a guide, and she sent her son with me. We passed over the North Bridge and followed the turnpike road, passing along the foot of the Pentland Hills, looking back frequently to view Edinburgh under its cloud of smoke, until we had passed a small eminence that completely hid it afterwards from our sight. Not an object of interest lay in our way until we suddenly turned southeast and entered the little village of Roslyn. I say little, because not more than twenty houses are there, and these are all small except one. It is high, however, so much so that from it we looked down on the ruined castle, although the elevation of the castle above the country around is very great. On inquiry, we were assured that the chapel was the only remaining edifice worthy of attention. We walked down to it and entered an enclosure, when before us stood the remains of the once magnificent Chapel of Roslyn. What volumes of thoughts rushed into my mind. I, who had read of the place years before, who knew by tradition the horrors of the times subsequent to the founding of the edifice, now confronted reality. I saw the marks of sacrilegious outrage on objects silent themselves and which had been raised in adoration to God. Strange that times which produced such beautiful works of art should allow the thief and the murderer to go almost unpunished. This Gothic chapel is a superb relic; each stone is beautifully carved, and each differs from all the others. The ten pillars and five arches are covered with the finest fret-work, and all round are seen the pedestals that once supported the images that Knox's party were wont to destroy without thought or reason. I went down some mouldering steps into the Sacristy, but found only bare walls, decaying very fast; yet here a curious plant was growing, of a verdigris color. To reach the castle we went down and along a narrow ridge, on each side of which the ground went abruptly to the bottom of a narrow, steep valley, through which a small, petulant stream rushed with great rapidity over a rocky bed. This guards three sides of the promontory on which Roslyn Castle once was; for now only a few masses of rubbish were to be seen, and a house of modern structure occupies nearly the original site. In its day it must have been a powerful structure, but now, were it existing, cannon could destroy
Facsimile of entry in journal.
March 19, 1827. This day my hair was sacrificed, and the will of God usurped by the wishes of man. As the barber clipped my locks rapidly, it reminded me of the horrible times of the French Revolution when the same operation was performed upon all the victims murdered at the guillotine; my heart sank low.
JOHN J. AUDUBON.
Shortly after breakfast I received a note from Captain Hall, and another from his brother, both filled with entreaties couched in strong terms that I should alter my hair before I went to London. Good God! if Thy works are hated by man it must be with Thy permission. I sent for a barber, and my hair was mowed off in a trice. I knew I was acting weakly, but rather than render my good friend miserable about it, I suffered the loss patiently.
March 20. I visited Mr. Hays at his office, and had the pleasure of seeing all the curious ancient manuscripts, letters, mandates, Acts of Parliament, etc., connected with the official events of Scotland with England for upwards of three hundred years past. Large volumes are written on parchment, by hand, and must have been works of immense labor. The volumes containing the mere transfers of landed estates filed within the last forty years amounted to almost three thousand, and the parcels of ancient papers filled many rooms in bundles and in bags of leather, covered with dust, and mouldering with age. The learned antiquarian, Mr. Thompson, has been at great pains to put in order all these valuable and curious documents. The edifice of the Registry is immense, and the long, narrow passages proved a labyrinth to me. Mr. Hays' allotted portion of curiosities consists of Heraldry, and I saw the greatest display of coats of arms of all sorts, emblazoned in richest style on sleek vellum and parchment.
March 21. Called on Miss D——, the fair American. To my surprise I saw the prints she had received the evening before quite abused and tumbled. This, however, was not my concern, and I regretted it only on her account, that so little care should be taken of a book that in fifty years will be sold at immense prices because of its rarity. The wind blew great guns all morning. Finding it would be some days before my business would permit me to leave, I formed an agreement to go to see the interior of the Castle, the regalia, and other curiosities of the place to-morrow. I received a valuable letter of introduction to the Secretary of the Home Department, Mr. Peel, from the Lord Advocate of Scotland, given me at the particular request of the Countess of Morton, a most charming lady; the Earl of Morton would have written himself but for the low state of his health.
March 22. After lunch the Rev. Wm. Newbold and I proceeded to the Castle; the wind blew furiously, and consequently no smoke interfered with the objects I wished to see. We passed a place called the "Mound," a thrown-up mass of earth connecting now the New with the Old city of Edinburgh. We soon reached the gates of the Castle, and I perceived plainly that I was looked upon as an officer from the continent. Strange! three days ago I was taken for a priest, quick transition caused only by the clipping of my locks. We crossed the drawbridge and looked attentively at the deep and immense dried ditches below, passed through the powerful double gates, all necessary securities to such a place. We ascended continually until we reached the parapets where the King stood during his visit, bowing, I am told, to the gaping multitude below, his hat off, and proud enough, no doubt, of his high station. My hat was also off, but under different impulses; I was afraid that the wind would rob me of it suddenly. I did not bow to the people, but I looked with reverence and admiration on the beauties of nature and of art that surrounded me, with a pleasure seldom felt before. The ocean was rugged with agitated waves as far as the eye could reach eastwardly; not a vessel dared spread its sails, so furious was the gale. The high mountains of wild Scotland now and then faintly came to our view as the swift-moving clouds passed, and suffered the sun to cast a momentary glance at them. The coast of the Frith of Forth exhibited handsome villas, and noblemen's seats, bringing at once before me the civilization of man, and showing how weak and insignificant we all are. My eyes followed the line of the horizon and stopped at a couple of small elevations, that I knew to be the home of the Countess of Morton; then I turned to the immense city below, where men looked like tiny dwarfs, and horses smaller than sheep. To the east lay the Old Town, and now and then came to my ears the music of a band as the squall for a moment abated. I could have remained here a whole day, but my companion called, and I followed him to the room where the regalia are kept. We each wrote our names, paid our shilling, and the large padlock was opened by a red-faced, bulky personage dressed in a fanciful scarlet cloth, hanging about him like mouldering tapestry. A small oblong room, quite dark, lay before us; it was soon lighted, however, by our conductor. A high railing of iron, also of an oblong form, surrounded a table covered with scarlet cloth, on which lay an immense sword and its scabbard, two sceptres, a large, square, scarlet cushion ornamented with golden tassels, and above all the crown of Scotland. All the due explanations were cried out by our conductor, on whose face the reflection of all the red articles was so powerfully displayed just now that it looked like a large tomato, quite as glittering, but of a very different flavor, I assure thee. We looked at all till I was tired; not long did this take, for it had not one thousandth portion of the beauties I had seen from the parapet. We left the Castle intending to proceed to the stone quarries three miles distant, but the wind was now so fierce, and the dust so troubled my eyes, that the jaunt was put off till another day. I paid young Kidd three guinea for his picture. Have just had some bread and butter and will go to bed.
March 23. Young Kidd breakfasted with me, and no sooner had he gone than I set to and packed up. I felt very low-spirited; the same wind keeps blowing, and I am now anxious to be off to Mr. Selby's Newcastle, and my dear Green Bank. My head was so full of all manner of thoughts that I thought it was Saturday, instead of Friday, and at five o'clock I dressed in a great hurry and went to Mr. Henry Witham's with all possible activity. My Lucy, I was not expected till to-morrow! Mr. Witham was not at home, and his lady tried to induce me to remain and dine with her and her lovely daughter; but I declined, and marched home as much ashamed of my blunder as a fox who has lost his tail in a trap. Once before I made a sad blunder; I promised to dine at three different houses the same day, and when it came I discovered my error, and wrote an apology to all, and went to none.
Twizel House, Belford—Northumberland, April 10, 1827. Probably since ten years I have not been so long without recording my deeds or my thoughts; and even now I feel by no means inclined to write, and for no particular reason. From Friday the 23d of March till the 5th of April my time was busily employed, copying some of my drawings, from five in the morning till seven at night. I dined out rarely, as I found the time used by this encroached too much on that needed by my ardent desire to improve myself in oil and in perspective, which I wished to study with close attention. Every day brought me packets of letters of introduction, and I called here and there to make my adieux. I went often in the evening to Mr. Lizars'; I felt the parting with him and his wife and sister would be hard, and together we attended meetings of the different societies. The last night I went to the Royal Society. Sir Wm. Hamilton read a paper against phrenology, which would seem to quite destroy the theory of Mr. Combe. I left many things in the care of my landlady, as well as several pictures, and at six o'clock on the morning of April 5, left Edinburgh, where I hope to go again. The weather was delightful. We passed Dunbar and Berwick, our road near the sea most of the time, and at half-past four, the coach stopped opposite the lodge of Twizel House. I left my baggage in the care of the woman at the lodge, and proceeded through some small woods towards the house, which I saw after a few minutes,—a fine house, commanding an extensive view of the country, the German Ocean, and Bamborough Castle. I ascended the great staircase with pleasure, for I knew that here was congeniality of feeling. Hearing the family were out and would not return for two hours, I asked to be shown to the library, and told my name. The man said not a word, went off, and about ten minutes after, whilst I was reading the preface of William Roscoe to his "Leo X.," returned and said his master would be with me in a moment. I understood all this. Mr. Selby came in, in hunting-dress, and we shook hands as hunters do. He took me at once out in his grounds, where Mrs. Selby, his three daughters, and Captain Mitford his brother-in-law were all engaged transplanting trees, and I felt at home at once. When we returned to the house Mr. Selby conducted me to his laboratory, where guns, birds, etc., were everywhere. I offered to make a drawing and Captain Mitford went off to shoot a Chaffinch. We had supper, after which the eagerness of the young ladies made me open my box of drawings; later we had music, and the evening passed delightfully. I thought much of home I assure thee, and of Green Bank also, and then of my first sight of thee at Fatland, and went to bed thanking God for the happy moments he has granted us. The next morning I felt afraid my early habits would create some disturbance in the repose of the family, and was trying to make good my outing at five, and thought I had already done so, when to my surprise and consternation the opening of the hall door made such a noise as I doubted not must have been heard over the whole establishment; notwithstanding, I issued into the country fresh air, and heard all around me the Black-birds, Thrushes, and Larks at their morning songs. I walked, or rather ran about, like a bird just escaped from a cage; plucked flowers, sought for nests, watched the fishes, and came back to draw. All went well; although the shooting season (as the English please to call it) was long since over, we took frequent walks with guns, and a few individuals were the sufferers from my anxiety to see their bills, and eyes, and feathers; and many a mile did I race over the moors to get them. More or less company came daily to see my drawings, and I finished a drawing for Mr. Selby of three birds, a Lapwing for Mrs. Selby, who drew fully as well as I did, and who is now imitating my style, and to whom I have given some lessons. Also I finished a small picture in oil for the charming elder daughter Louise; the others are Jane and Fanny. So much at home did we become that the children came about me as freely as if I had long known them; I was delighted at this, for to me to have familiar intercourse with children, the most interesting of beings, is one of my greatest enjoyments, and my time here was as happy as at Green Bank; I can say no more. The estate is well situated, highly ornamented, stocked with an immensity of game of the country, and trout abound in the little rivulets that tumble from rock to rock towards the northern ocean. To-morrow I leave this with Captain Mitford for his country seat.
Mitford Castle, near Morpeth, Northumberland, April 11, 1827. I rose as early as usual, and not to disturb my kind friends, I marched down the staircase in my stockings, as I often do where the family are not quite such early risers; instead of opening the hall door I sat down in the study, and outlined a Lapwing, in an extremely difficult position, for my friend Selby, and did not go on my walk until the servants made their appearance, and then I pushed off to the garden and the woods to collect violets. I felt quite happy, the fragrance of the air seemed equal to that of the little blue flowers which I gathered. We breakfasted, and at ten o'clock I bid farewell to Mrs. Selby; good, amiable lady, how often she repeated her invitation to me to come and spend a goodly time with them. Mr. Selby and the children walked down to the lodge with the captain and me, and having reached the place too early we walked about the woods awhile. The parting moment came at last, all too soon, our baggage was put on the top of the "Dart," an opposition coach, and away we rolled. My good companion Captain Mitford kept my spirits in better plight than they would otherwise have been, by his animated conversation about game, fishing, America, etc., and after a ride of about twelve miles we entered the small village of Alnwick, commanded by the fine castle of the Duke of Northumberland. Having to change horses and wait two hours, we took a walk, and visited the interior of that ancient mass of buildings, the whole being deserted at present, the Duke absent. I saw the armory, the dungeons, the place for racking prisoners, but the grotesque figures of stone standing in all sorts of attitudes, defensive and offensive, all round the top of the turrets and bastions, struck me most. They looked as if about to move, or to take great leaps to the ground, to cut our throats. This castle covers five acres of ground, is elevated, and therefore in every direction are good views of the country. From it I saw the cross put up in memory of King Malcolm killed by Hammond. At two precisely (for in England and Scotland coaches start with great punctuality) we were again en route. We passed over the Aln River, a very pretty little streamlet, and reached Felton, where we changed horses. The whole extent of country we passed this day was destitute of woods, and looked to me very barren. We saw little game; about five we arrived within two miles of Morpeth, where the captain and I alighted; we walked to a pretty little vale and the ruins of the old castle lay before us, still doomed to moulder more, and walking on reached the confluence of two small, pretty streams from which originated the name of my friend's ancestors, Meetingford. We reached the house, and having heard of his brother's indisposition, the captain and I entered quietly, and I was presented to the owner of the hall. I saw before me a thin, pale, emaciated being who begged I would go to him, as he could not rise. I shook his withered hand and received his kind welcome. During the evening I had ample opportunity to observe how clever and scientific he was, and regretted the more his frail body. He was extremely anxious to see my drawings, and he examined them more closely than I can ever remember any one to have done before, and was so well acquainted with good drawing that I felt afraid to turn them over for his inspection. After looking at probably a hundred without saying a single word, he exclaimed suddenly: "They are truly beautiful; our King ought to purchase them, they are too good to belong to a single individual." We talked much on subjects of natural history, and he told me that he made it a rule that not a gun was ever fired during the breeding season on any part of his beautiful estate; he delighted to see the charming creatures enjoy life and pleasure without any annoyance. Rooks, Jackdaws, Wood-Pigeons, and Starlings were flying in hundreds about the ruined castle. We sat up till after twelve, when hot water and spirits were produced, after which we said good-night; but I needed nothing to make me sleep, for in five minutes after I lay down I was—I know not where.
April 12. I am now at last where the famous Bewick produced his handsome and valuable work on the birds of England. It is a dirty-looking place, this Newcastle, and I do not know if it will prove at all pleasant. This morning early the captain and myself took a good ramble about Mitford Hall grounds; saw the rookery, the ruins of the castle, and walked some way along the little river front. We breakfasted about ten with his brother, who wished to see my drawings by daylight. Afterwards my baggage was taken to Morpeth, and the captain and I walked thither about twelve. Our way was along a pretty little stream called the Wansbeck, but the weather changed and the rain assured me that none of the persons we expected to see in the village would come, on this account, and I was not mistaken. At half-past four I mounted the coach for this place, and not an object of interest presented itself in the journey of thirteen miles.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, April 13. At ten o'clock I left the inn, having had a very indifferent breakfast, served on dirty plates; therefore I would not recommend the "Rose and Crown," or the hostess, to any friend of mine. Yet my bed was quite comfortable, and my sleep agreeably disturbed about one hour before day by some delightful music on the bugle. I often, even before this, have had a wish to be a performer on this instrument, so sure I am that our grand forests and rivers would re-echo its sonorous sounds with fine effect. I passed through many streets, but what a shabby appearance this Newcastle-upon-Tyne has, after a residence of nearly six months in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. All seems dark and smoky, indeed I conceive myself once more in Manchester. The cries of fish, milk, and vegetables, were all different, and I looked in vain for the rosy cheeks of the Highlanders. I had letters to the members of the Johnson family, given me by Captain Mitford, and therefore went to St. James Square, where I delivered them, and was at once received by a tall, fine-looking young gentleman, who asked me if I had breakfasted. On being answered in the affirmative, he requested me to excuse him till he had finished his, and I sat opposite the fire thinking about the curious pilgrimage I had now before me. Will the result repay the exertions? Alas! it is quite impossible for me to say, but that I shall carry the plan out in all its parts is certain unless life departs, and then I must hope that our Victor will fall into my place and accomplish my desires, with John's help to draw the birds, which he already does well. Mr. Edward Johnson soon re-entered, bringing with him Mr. John A damson, secretary to the Literary and Philosophical Society of this place. I presented the letter for him from Mr. Selby, but I saw at once that he knew me by name. Soon after he very kindly aided me to find suitable lodgings, which I did in Collingwood Street. We then walked to Mr. Bewick's, the engraver, son of the famous man, and happily met him. He is a curious-looking man; his head and shoulders are both broad, but his keen, penetrating eyes proved that Nature had stamped him for some use in this world. I gave him the letters I had for him, and appointed a time to call on his father. I again suffered myself to be imposed upon when I paid my bill at the inn on removing to my lodgings, and thought of Gil Bias of Santillane. Five persons called to see my drawings this afternoon, and I received a note from Mr. Bewick inviting me to tea at six; so I shall see and talk with the wonderful man. I call him wonderful because I am sincerely of the opinion that his work on wood is superior to anything ever attempted in ornithology. It is now near eleven at night. Robert Bewick (the son) called for me about six, and we proceeded to his father's house. On our way I saw an ancient church with a remarkably beautiful Lanterne at top, St. Nicholas' Church I was told, then we passed over the Tyne, on a fine strong bridge of stone, with several arches, I think six or seven. This is distant from the sea, and I must say that the Tyne here is the only stream I have yet seen since my landing resembling at all a river. It is about as large as Bayou Sara opposite the Beech Woods, when full. I saw some of the boats used in carrying coals down the stream ; they are almost of oval shape, and are managed with long, sweeping oars, and steerers much like our flat-boats on the Ohio. My companion did not talk much; he is more an acting man than a talker, and I did not dislike him for that After ascending a long road or lane, we arrived at Bewick's dwelling, and I was taken at once to where he was at work, and saw the man himself. He came to me and welcomed me with a hearty shake of the hand, and took off for a moment his half-clean cotton night-cap tinged with the smoke of the place. He is tall, stout, has a very large head, and his eyes are further apart than those of any man I remember just now. A complete Englishman, full of life and energy though now seventy-four, very witty and clever, better acquainted with America than most of his countrymen, and an honor to England. Having shown me the work he was at, a small vignette cut on a block of box-wood not more than three by two inches, representing a dog frightened during the night by false appearances of men formed by curious roots and branches of trees, rocks, etc., he took me upstairs and introduced me to his three daughters—all tall, and two of them with extremely fine figures; they were desirous to make my visit an agreeable one and most certainly succeeded. I met there a Mr. Goud, and saw from his pencil a perfect portrait of Thomas Bewick, a miniature, full-length, in oil, highly finished, well drawn and composed. The old gentleman and I stuck to each other; he talked of my drawings, and I of his woodcuts, till we liked each other very much. Now and then he would take off his cotton cap, but the moment he became animated with the conversation the cap was on, yet almost off, for he had stuck it on as if by magic. His eyes sparkled, his face was very expressive, and I enjoyed him much more, I am sure, than he supposed. He had heard of my drawings and promised to call early to-morrow morning with his daughters and some friends. I did not forget dear John's wish to possess a copy of his work on quadrupeds, and having asked where I could procure one, he answered "Here." After coffee and tea had been served, young Bewick, to please me, brought a bagpipe of a new construction, called a "Durham," and played simple, nice Scotch and English airs with peculiar taste; the instrument sounded like a hautboy. Soon after ten the company broke up, and we walked into Newcastle. The streets were desolate, and their crookedness and narrowness made me feel the more the beauty of fair Edinburgh.
April 14. The weather is now becoming tolerable and spring is approaching. The Swallows glide past my windows, and the Larks are heard across the Tyne. Thomas Bewick, his whole family, and about a hundred others have kept me busy exhibiting drawings. Mr. Bewick expressed himself as perfectly astounded at the boldness of my undertaking. I am to dine with him to-morrow, Mr. Adamson to-day, and Mr. Johnson on Wednesday if I do not go on to York that day.
April 15. Mr. Adamson called for me at church time, and we proceeded a short distance and entered St. Nicholas' church. He ordered an officer to take me to what he called the mansion house and I was led along the aisles to a place enclosed by an iron railing and showed a seat. In looking about me I saw a large organ over the door I had entered, and in front of this were seated many children, the lasses in white, the lads in blue. An immense painting of the Lord's Supper filled the end opposite the entrance, and the large Gothic windows were brilliant with highly colored glass. A few minutes passed, when a long train of office bearers and the magistrates of the town, headed by the mayor, came in procession and entered the mansion house also; a gentleman at my elbow rose and bowed to these and I followed his example; I discovered then that I was seated in the most honorable place. The service and sermon were long and tedious; often to myself I said, "Why is not Sydney Smith here?" Being in church I sat patiently, but I must say I thought the priest uncommonly stupid. Home to luncheon and afterwards went to Heath, the painter, who with his wife received me with extreme kindness. He showed me many sketches, a number of which were humorous. He likes Newcastle better than Edinburgh, and I would not give an hour at Edinburgh, especially were I with friend Lizars, his wife, and sister, for a year here. So much for difference of taste. I have just returned from old Bewick's. We had a great deal of conversation, all tending towards Natural History; other guests came in as the evening fell, and politics and religion were touched upon. Whilst this was going on old Bewick sat silent chewing his tobacco; the son, too, remained quiet, but the eldest daughter, who sat next to me, was very interesting, and to my surprise resembles my kind friend Hannah Rathbone so much, that I frequently felt as if Miss Hannah, with her black eyes and slender figure, were beside me. I was invited to breakfast to-morrow at eight with Mr. Bewick to see the old gentleman at work.
April 16. I breakfasted with old Bewick this morning quite sans cérémonie, and then the old man set to work to show me how simple it was to cut wood! But cutting wood as he did is no joke; he did it with as much ease as I can feather a bird; he made all his tools, which are delicate and very beautiful, and his artist shop was clean and attractive. Later I went with Mr. Plummer, the officiating American consul at this place, to the court-rooms, and Merchant Coffee House, also to a new fish market, small and of a half-moon form, contiguous to the river, that I have forgotten to say is as dirty and muddy as an alligator hole. The coal boats were moving down by hundreds, with only one oar and a steerer, to each of which I saw three men. We then went to the Literary and Philosophical Society rooms; the library is a fine, large room with many books—the museum small, but in neat order, and well supplied with British specimens. Since then I have been showing my drawings to at least two hundred persons who called at my lodgings. I was especially struck with a young lady who came with her brother. I saw from my window a groom walking three fine horses to and fro, and almost immediately the lady and gentleman entered, whip in hand, and spurred like fighting-cocks; the lady, with a beaver and black silk neckerchief, came in first and alone, holding up with both hands her voluminous blue riding-habit, and with a ton very unbecoming her fine eyes and sweet face. She bowed carelessly, and said: "Compliments, sir;" and perceiving how much value she put on herself, I gave her the best seat in the room. For some time she sat without a word; when her brother began to put questions, however, she did also, and so fast and so searchingly that I thought them Envoies Extraordinaires from either Temminck or Cuvier. Mr. Adamson, who sat by all the time, praised me, when they had gone, for my patience, and took me home to dine with him en famille. A person (a glazier, I suppose), after seeing about a hundred pictures, asked me if I did not want glass and frames for them. How I wish I was in America's dark woods, admiring God's works in all their beautiful ways.
April 17. Whilst I was lying awake this morning waiting for it to get light, I presently recollected I was in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and recalled the name of Smollett, no mean man, by the bye, and remembered his eulogium of the extraordinary fine view he obtained when travelling on foot from London to this place, looking up the Tyne from Isbet Hill, and I said, "If Smollett admired the prospect, I can too," and leaped from my bed as a hare from his form on newly ploughed ground at the sound of the sportsman's bugle, or the sight of the swift greyhound. I ran downstairs, out-of-doors, and over the Tyne, as if indeed a pack of jackals had been after me. Two miles is nothing to me, and I ascended the hill where poor Isbet, deluded by a wretched woman, for her sake robbed the mail, and afterwards suffered death on a gibbet; and saw—the sea! Far and wide it extended; the Tyne led to it, with its many boats with their coaly burdens. Up the river the view was indeed enchanting; the undulating meadows sloped gently to the water's edge on either side, and the Larks that sprang up before me, welcoming the sun's rise, animated my thoughts so much that I felt tears trickling down my cheeks as I gave praise to the God who gave life to all these in a day. There was a dew on the ground, the bees were gathering honey from the tiniest flowerets, and here and there the Blackbird so shy sought for a fibrous root to entwine his solid nest of clay. Lapwings, like butterflies of a larger size, passed wheeling and tumbling over me through the air, and had not the dense smoke from a thousand engines disturbed the peaceful harmony of Nature, I might have been there still, longing for my Lucy to partake of the pleasure with me. But the smoke recalled me to my work, and I turned towards Newcastle. So are all transient pleasures followed by sorrows, except those emanating from the adoration of the Supreme Being. It was still far from breakfast time; I recrossed the Tyne and ascended the east bank for a couple of miles before returning to my lodgings. The morning afterward was spent as usual. I mean, holding up drawings to the company that came in good numbers. Morning here is the time from ten to five, and I am told that in London it sometimes lengthens to eight of the evening as we term it. Among these visitors was a Mr. Donkin, who remained alone with me when the others had left, and we had some conversation; he is an advocate, or, as I would call it, a chancellor. He asked me to take a bachelor's dinner with him at five; I accepted, and he then proposed we should drive out and see a house he was building two miles in the country. I again found myself among the rolling hills, and we soon reached his place. I found a beautiful, low house of stone, erected in the simplest style imaginable, but so well arranged and so convenient that I felt satisfied he was a man of taste as well as wealth. Garden, grounds, all was in perfect harmony, and the distant views up and down the river, the fine woods and castle, all came in place,—not to satiate the eye, but to induce it to search for further beauties. On returning to town Mr. Donkin showed me the old mansion where poor Charles the First was delivered up to be beheaded. He could have escaped through a conduit to the river, where a boat was waiting, but the conduit was all darkness and his heart failed him. Now I should say that he had no heart, and was very unfit for a king. At Mr. Donkin's house I was presented to his partners, and we had a good dinner; the conversation ran much on politics, and they supported the King and Mr. Canning. I left early, as I had promised to take a cup of tea with old Bewick. The old gentleman was seated as usual with his night-cap on, and his tobacco pouch in one hand ready to open; his countenance beamed with pleasure as I shook hands with him. "I could not bear the idea of your going off without telling you in written words what I think of your 'Birds of America;' here it is in black and white, and make whatever use you may of it, if it be of use at all," he said, and put an unsealed letter in my hand. We chatted away on natural-history subjects, and he would now and then exclaim: "Oh that I was young again! I would go to America. What a country it will be." "It is now, Mr. Bewick," I would retort, and then we went on. The young ladies enjoyed the sight and remarked that for years their father had not had such a flow of spirits.
April 19. This morning I paid a visit of farewell to Mr. Bewick and his family; as we parted he held my hand closely and repeated three times, "God preserve you." I looked at him in such a manner that I am sure he understood I could not speak. I walked slowly down the hilly lane, and thought of the intrinsic value of this man to the world, and compared him with Sir Walter Scott. The latter will be forever the most eminent in station, being undoubtedly the most learned and most brilliant of the two; but Thomas Bewick is a son of Nature. Nature alone has reared him under her peaceful care, and he in gratitude of heart has copied one department of her works that must stand unrivalled forever; I say "forever" because imitators have only a share of real merit, compared with inventors, and Thomas Bewick is an inventor, and the first wood-cutter in the world! These words, "first wood-cutter" would, I dare say, raise the ire of many of our hearty squatters, who, no doubt, on hearing me express myself so strongly, would take the axe, and fell down an enormous tree whilst talking about it; but the moment I would explain to them that each of their chips would produce under his chisel a mass of beauties, the good fellows would respect him quite as much as I do. My room was filled all day with people to see my works and me, whom some one had said resembled in physiognomy Napoleon of France. Strange simile this, but I care not whom I resemble, if it be only in looks, if my heart preserves the love of the truth.
Saturday, April 21. I am tired out holding up drawings, I may say, all day; but have been rewarded by an addition of five subscribers to my work. Am off to-morrow to York. God bless thee, my Lucy.
York, Sunday, April 22, 1827. Left Newcastle at eight; the weather cold and disagreeable, still I preferred a seat on top to view the country. Passed through Durham, a pretty little town with a handsome castle and cathedral, planted on an elevated peninsula formed by a turn of the river Wear, and may be seen for many miles. It is a rolling country, and the river wound about among the hills; we crossed it three times on stone bridges. Darlington, where we changed horses, is a neat, small place, supported by a set of very industrious Quakers; much table linen is manufactured here. As we approached York the woods became richer and handsomer, and trees were dispersed all over the country; it looked once more like England, and the hedges reminded me of those about "Green Bank." They were larger and less trimmed than in Scotland. I saw York Minster six or seven miles before reaching the town, that is entered by old gates. The streets are disgustingly crooked and narrow, and crossed like the burrows of a rabbit-warren. I was put down at the Black Swan. Though the coach was full, not a word had been spoken except an occasional oath at the weather, which was indeed very cold; and I, with all the other passengers, went at once to the fires. Anxious to find lodgings not at the Black Swan, I went to Rev. Wm. Turner, son of a gentleman I had met at Newcastle, for information. His father had prepared him for my visit at my request, and I was soon installed at Mrs. Pulleyn's in Blake Street. My present landlady's weight, in ratio with that of her husband, is as one pound avoirdupois to one ounce apothecary! She looks like a round of beef, he like a farthing candle. Oh that I were in Louisiana, strolling about the woods, looking in the gigantic poplars for new birds and new flowers!
April 23, Monday. The weather looked more like approaching winter than spring; indeed snow fell at short intervals, and it rained, and was extremely cold and misty. Nothwithstanding the disagreeable temperature, I have walked a good deal. I delivered my letters as early as propriety would allow, but found no one in; at least I was told so, for beyond that I cannot say with any degree of accuracy I fear. The Rev. Mr. Turner called with the curator of the Museum, to whom I showed some drawings. After my dinner, eaten solus, I went out again; the Minster is undoubtedly the finest piece of ancient architecture I have seen since I was in France, if my recollection serves me. I walked round and round it for a long time, examining its height, form, composition, and details, until my neck ached. The details are wonderful indeed,—all cut of the same stone that forms the mass outwardly. Leaving it and going without caring about my course, I found myself in front of an ancient castle, standing on a mound, covered with dark ivy, fissured by time and menacing its neighborhood with an appearance of all tumbling down at no remote period. I turned east and came to a pretty little stream called the Ouse, over which I threw several pebbles by way of exercise. On the west bank I found a fine walk, planted with the only trees of size I have seen in this country; it extended about half a mile. Looking up the stream a bridge of fine stone is seen, and on the opposite shores many steam mills were in operation. I followed down this mighty stream till the road gave out, and, the grass being very wet and the rain falling heavily, I returned to my rooms. York is much cleaner than Newcastle, and I remarked more Quakers; but alas! how far both these towns are below fair Edinburgh. The houses here are low, covered with tiles, and sombre-looking. No birds have I seen except Jackdaws and Rooks. To my surprise my host waited upon me at supper; when he enters my room I think of Scroggins' ghost. I have spent my evening reading "Blackwood's Magazine."
April 24. How doleful has this day been to me! It pleased to rain, and to snow, and to blow cold all day. I called on Mr. Phillips, the curator of the Museum, and he assured me that the society was too poor to purchase my work. I spent the evening by invitation at the Rev. Wm. Turner's in company with four other gentlemen. Politics and emancipation were the chief topics of conversation. How much more good would the English do by revising their own intricate laws, and improving the condition of their poor, than by troubling themselves and their distant friends with what does not concern them. I feel nearly determined to push off to-morrow, and yet it would not do; I may be wrong, and to-morrow may be fairer to me in every way; but this "hope deferred" is a very fatiguing science to study. I could never make up my mind to live and die in England whilst the sweet-scented jessamine and the magnolias flourish so purely in my native land, and the air vibrates with the songs of the sweet birds.
April 25. I went out of the house pretty soon this morning; it was cold and blowing a strong breeze. I pushed towards the river with an idea of following it downwards two hours by my watch, but as I walked along I saw a large flock of Starlings, at a time when I thought all birds were paired, and watched their motions for some time, and thereby drew the following conclusion, namely: that the bird commonly called the Meadow Lark with us is more nearly related to the Starling of this country than to any other bird. I was particularly surprised that a low note, resembling the noise made by a wheel not well greased, was precisely the same in both, that the style of their walk and gait was also precisely alike, and that in short flights the movement of the wings had the same tremulous action before they alighted. Later I had visitors to see my pictures, possibly fifty or more. It has rained and snowed to-day, and I feel as dull as a Martin surprised by the weather. It will be strange if York gives me no subscribers, when I had eight at Newcastle. Mr. P—— called and told me it would be well for me to call personally on the nobility and gentry in the neighborhood and take some drawings with me. I thanked him, but told him that my standing in society did not admit of such conduct, and that although there were lords in England, we of American blood think ourselves their equals. He laughed, and said I was not as much of a Frenchman as I looked.
April 26. I have just returned from a long walk out of town, on the road toward Newcastle. The evening was calm, and the sunset clear. At such an hour how often have I walked with my Lucy along the banks of the Schuylkill, Perkiomen Creek, the Ohio River, or through the fragrant woods of Louisiana; how often have we stopped short to admire the works of the Creator; how often have we been delighted at hearing the musical notes of the timid Wood Thrush, that appeared to give her farewell melody to the disappearing day! We have looked at the glittering fire-fly, heard the Whip-poor-will, and seen the vigilant Owl preparing to search field and forest! Here the scene was not quite so pleasing, though its charms brought youth and happiness to my recollection. One or two Warblers perched on the eglantine, almost blooming, and gave their little powers full vent. The shrill notes of Thrushes (not ours) came from afar, and many Rooks with loaded bills were making fast their way towards the nests that contained their nearly half-grown offspring. The cattle were treading heavily towards their pens, and the sheep gathered to the lee of each protecting hedge. To-day have I had a great number of visitors, and three subscribers.
April 27. A long walk early, and then many visitors, Mr. Vernon among them, who subscribed for my work. All sorts of people come. If Matthews the comic were now and then to present himself at my levees, how he would act the scenes over. I am quite worn out; I think sometimes my poor arms will give up their functions before I secure five hundred subscribers.
Saturday, 28th. During my early walk along the Ouse I saw a large butterfly, quite new to me, and attempted to procure it with a stroke of my cane; but as I whirled it round, off went the scabbard into the river, more than half across, and I stood with a naked small sword as if waiting for a duel. I would have swam out for it, but that there were other pedestrians; so a man in a boat brought it to me for sixpence. I have had a great deal of company, and five subscribers. Mr. Wright took me all over the Minster, and also on the roof. We had a good spy-glass, and I had an astonishing view of the spacious vales that surround the tile-covered city of York. I could easily follow the old walls of defence. It made me giddy to look directly down, as a great height is always unpleasant to me. Now I have packed up, paid an enormous bill to my landlady. I expect to be at Leeds to-morrow.
Leeds, Sunday, April 28. The town of Leeds is much superior to anything I have seen since Edinburgh, and I have been walking till I feel quite exhausted. I breakfasted in York at five this morning; the coach did not start till six, so I took my refreshing walk along the Ouse. The weather was extremely pleasant; I rode outside, but the scenery was little varied, almost uniformly level, well cultivated, but poor as to soil. I saw some "game" as every bird is called here. I was amused to see the great interest which was excited by a covey of Partridges. What would be said to a gang of Wild Turkeys,—several hundred trotting along a sand-bar of the Upper Mississippi? I reached Leeds at half-past nine, distant from York, I believe, twenty-six miles. I found lodgings at once at 39 Albion Street, and then started with my letters.
April 30. Were I to conclude from first appearances as to the amount of success I may expect here, compared with York, by the difference of attention paid me at both places so soon after my arrival, I should certainly expect much more here; for no sooner was breakfast over than Mr. Atkinson called, to be followed by Mr. George and many others, among them a good ornithologist,—not a closet naturalist, but a real true-blue, who goes out at night and watches Owls and Night-jars and Water-fowl to some purpose, and who knows more about these things than any other man I have met in Europe. This evening I took a long walk by a small stream, and as soon as out of sight undressed and took a dive smack across the creek; the water was so extremely cold that I performed the same feat back again and dressed in a hurry; my flesh was already quite purple. Following the stream I found some gentlemen catching minnows with as much anxiety as if large trout, playing the little things with beautiful lines and wheels. Parallel to this stream is a canal; the adjacent country is rolling, with a number of fine country-seats. I wish I had some one to go to in the evenings like friend Lizars.
May 1, 1827. This is the day on which last year I left my Lucy and my boys with intention to sail for Europe. How uncertain my hopes at that time were as to the final results of my voyage,—about to leave a country where most of my life had been spent devoted to the study of Nature, to enter one wholly unknown to me, without a friend, nay, not an acquaintance in it. Until I reached Edinburgh I despaired of success; the publication of a work of enormous expense, and the length of time it must necessarily take; to accomplish the whole has been sufficient to keep my spirits low, I assure thee. Now I feel like beginning a New Year. My work is about to be known, I have made a number of valuable and kind friends, I have been received by men of science on friendly terms, and now I have a hope of success if I continue to be honest, industrious, and consistent. My pecuniary means are slender, but I hope to keep afloat, for my tastes are simple; if only I can succeed in rendering thee and our sons happy, not a moment of sorrow or discomfort shall I regret.
May 2. Mr. George called very early, and said that his colleague, the Secretary of the Literary and Philosophical Society, would call and subscribe, and he has done so. I think I must tell thee how every one stares when they read on the first engraving that I present for their inspection this name: "The Bonaparte Fly-catcher,"—the very bird I was anxious to name the "Rathbone Fly-catcher," in honor of my excellent friend "Lady" Rathbone, but who refused to accept this little mark of my gratitude. I afterwards meant to call it after thee, but did not, because the world is so strangely composed just now that I feared it would be thought childish; so I concluded to call it after my friend Charles Bonaparte. Every one is struck by the name, so explanations take place, and the good people of England will know him as a great naturalist, and my friend. I intend to name, one after another, every one of my new birds, either for some naturalist deserving this honor, or through a wish to return my thanks for kindness rendered me. Many persons have called, quite a large party at one time, led by Lady B——. I am sorry to say I find it generally more difficult to please this class of persons than others, and I feel in consequence more reserved in their presence, I can scarcely say why. I walked out this evening to see Kirkstall Abbey, or better say the ruins of that ancient edifice. It is about three miles out of Leeds and is worthy the attention of every traveller. It is situated on the banks of the little river Ayre, the same I bathed in, and is extremely romantic in its appearance, covered with ivy, and having sizable trees about and amongst its walls. The entrance is defended by a board on which is painted: "Whoever enters these ruins, or damages them in the least, will be prosecuted with all the rigor of the law." I did not transgress, and soon became very cautious of my steps, for immediately after, a second board assured every one that spring-guns and steel-traps are about the gardens. However, no entreaty having been expressed to prevent me from sketching the whole, I did so on the back of one of my cards for thee. From that spot I heard a Cuckoo cry, for I do not, like the English, call it singing. I attempted to approach the bird, but in vain; I believe I might be more successful in holding a large Alligator by the tail. Many people speak in raptures of the sweet voice of the Cuckoo, and the same people tell me in cold blood that we have no birds that can sing in America. I wish they had a chance to judge of the powers of the Mock-bird, the Red Thrush, the Cat-bird, the Oriole, the Indigo Bunting, and even the Whip-poor-will. What would they say of a half-million of Robins about to take their departure for the North, making our woods fairly tremble with melodious harmony? But these pleasures are not to be enjoyed in manufacturing towns like Leeds and Manchester; neither can any one praise a bird who sings by tuition, like a pupil of Mozart, as a few Linnets and Starlings do, and that no doubt are here taken as the foundation stone of the singing powers allotted to European birds generally. Well, is not this a long digression for thee? I dare say thou art fatigued enough at it, and so am I.
May 3. Until two o'clock this day I had only one visitor, Mr. John Marshall, a member of Parliament to whom I had a letter; he told me he knew nothing at all about birds, but most generously subscribed, because, he told me, it was such a work as every one ought to possess, and to encourage enterprise. This evening I dined with the Messrs. Davy, my old friends of Mill Grove; the father, who for many months has not left his bed-chamber, desired to see me. We had not met since 1810, but he looked as fresh as when I last saw him, and is undoubtedly the handsomest and noblest-looking man I have ever seen in my life, excepting the Marquis de Dupont de Nemours. I have at Leeds only five subscribers,—poor indeed compared with the little town of York.
May 5. I breakfasted with young Mr. Davy, who after conducted me to Mr. Marshall's mills. We crossed the Ayre in a ferry boat for a half-penny each, and on the west bank stood the great works. The first thing to see was the great engine, 150 horse-power, a stupendous structure, and so beautiful in all its parts that no one could, I conceive, stand and look at it without praising the ingenuity of man. Twenty-five hundred persons of all ages and both sexes are here, yet nothing is heard but the burr of machinery. All is wonderfully arranged; a good head indeed must be at the commander's post in such a vast establishment.
Manchester, May 6, 1827. My journey was uneventful and through the rain. I reached Mr. Bentley's soon after noon, and we were both glad to meet.
May 7. The rooms of the Natural History Society were offered to me, to show my work, but hearing accidentally that the Royal Institution of Manchester was holding an exhibition at the Messrs. Jackson's and thinking that place better suited to me, I saw these gentlemen and was soon installed there. I have had five subscribers. I searched for lodgings everywhere, but in vain, and was debating what to do, when Dr. Harlan's friend, Mr. E. W. Sergeant, met me, and insisted on my spending my time under his roof. He would take no refusal, so I accepted. How much kindness do I meet with everywhere. I have had much running about and calling on different people, and at ten o'clock this evening was still at Mr. Bentley's, not knowing where Mr. Sergeant resided. Mr. Surr was so kind as to come with me in search of the gentleman; we found him at home and he gave me his groom to go for my portmanteau. Of course I returned to Mr. Bentley's again, and he returned with me to see me safely lodged. Mr. Sergeant insisted on his coming in; we had coffee, and sat some time conversing; it is now past two of the morning.
May 8. I saw Mr. Gregg and the fair Helen of Quarry Bank this morning; they met me with great friendship. I have saved myself much trouble here by exhibiting no drawings, only the numbers of my work now ready. Mr. Sergeant has purchased my drawing of the Doves for twenty pounds.
May 13, Sunday. My time has been so completely occupied during each day procuring subscribers, and all my evenings at the house of one or another of my friends and acquaintances that my hours have been late, and I have bidden thee good-night without writing it down. Manchester has most certainly retrieved its character, for I have had eighteen subscribers in one week, which is more than anywhere else.
Liverpool, Monday, May 14. I breakfasted with my good friend Bentley, and left in his care my box containing 250 drawings, to be forwarded by the "caravan,"—the name given to covered coaches. I cannot tell how extremely kind Mr. Sergeant has been to me during all my stay. He exerted himself to procure subscribers as if the work had been his own, and made my time at his house as pleasant as I could desire. I was seated on top of the coach at ten o'clock, and at three was put down safely at Dale St. I went immediately to the Institution, where I found Mr. Munro. I did not like to go to Green Bank abruptly, therefore shall spend the night where I am, but sent word to the Rathbones I was here. I have called on Dr. Chorley and family, and Dr. Traill; found all well and as kind as ever. At six Mr. Wm. Rathbone came, and gave me good tidings of the whole family; I wait impatiently for the morrow, to see friends all so dear.
May 19, Saturday night. I leave this to-morrow morning for London, a little anxious to go there, as I have oftentimes desired to be in sight of St. Paul's Church. I have not been able to write because I felt great pleasure in letting my good friends the Rathbones know what I had done since I was here last; so the book has been in the fair hands of my friend Hannah. "Lady" Rathbone and Miss Hannah are not at Green Bank, but at Woodcroft, and there we met. While I waited in the library how different were my thoughts from those I felt on my first entry into Liverpool. As I thought, I watched the well-shaped Wagtails peaceably searching for food within a few paces of me. The door opened, and I met my good, kind friends, the same as ever, full of friendship, benevolence, and candor. I spent most of the morning with them, and left my book, as I said, with them. Thy book, I should have written, for it is solely for thee. I was driven into Liverpool by Mr. Rd. Rathbone, with his mother and Miss Hannah, and met Mr. Chorley by appointment, that we might make the respectful visits I owed. First to Edward Roscoe's, but saw only his charming wife; then to William Roscoe's. The venerable man had just returned from a walk, and in an instant our hands were locked. He asked me many questions about my publication, praised the engraving and the coloring. He has much changed. Time's violent influence has rendered his cheeks less rosy, his eye-brows more bushy, forced his fine eyes more deeply in their sockets, made his frame more bent, his walk weaker; but his voice had all its purity, his language all its brilliancy. I then went to the Botanic Gardens, where all was rich and beautiful; the season allows it. Then to Alexander Gordon's and Mr. Hodgson. Both out, and no card in my pocket. Just like me. I found the intelligent Swiss in his office, and his "Ah, Audubon! Comment va?" was all-sufficient. I left him to go to Mr. Rathbone's, where I have spent every night except the last. As usual I escaped every morning at four for my walk and to write letters. I have not done much work since here, but I have enjoyed that which I have long desired, the society of my dear friends the Rathbones. Whilst writing this, I have often wished I could take in the whole at one glance, as I do a picture; this need has frequently made me think that writing a good book must be much more difficult than to paint a good picture. To my great joy, Mr. Bentley is going with me to London. With a heavy heart I said adieu to these dear Rathbones, and will proceed to London lower in spirits than I was in Edinburgh the first three days.
Shrewsbury, May 20. After all sorts of difficulties with the coach, which left one hour and a half late, we reached Chester at eleven, and were detained an hour. I therefore took a walk under the piazzas that go all through the town. Where a street has to be crossed we went down some steps, crossed the street and re-ascended a few steps again. Overhead are placed the second stories of every house; the whole was very new and singular to me. These avenues are clean, but rather low; my hat touched the top once or twice, and I want an inch and a half of six feet, English measure. At last we proceeded; passed the village of Wrexham, and shortly after through another village, much smaller, but the sweetest, neatest, and pleasantest spot I have seen in all my travels in this country. It was composed of small, detached cottages of simple appearance, divided by gardens sufficiently large for each house, supplied with many kinds of vegetables and fruit trees, luxuriant with bloom, while round the doors and windows, and clambering over the roofs, were creeping plants and vines covered with flowers of different hues. At one spot were small beds of variegated tulips, the sweet-scented lilies at another, the hedges looked snowy white, and everywhere, in gentle curves, abundance of honeysuckle. This village was on a gentle declivity from which, far over the Mersey, rising grounds were seen, and the ascending smoke of Liverpool also. I could not learn the name of this little terrestrial paradise, and must wait for a map to tell me. We dined in a hurry at Eastham, and after passing through a narrow slip in Wales, and seeing what I would thus far call the most improved and handsomest part of England, we are now at Shrewsbury for five hours. Mr. Bentley and I had some bread and butter and pushed out to see the town, and soon found ourselves on the bank of the Severn, a pretty little stream about sixty yards wide. Many men and boys were doing what they called fishing, but I only saw two sprats in one of the boys' hats during the whole walk. Some one told us that up the river we should find a place called the "Quarry" with beautiful trees, and there we proceeded. About a dozen men, too awkward to be sailors, were rowing a long, narrow, pleasure boat, while one in the bow gave us fine music with the bugle. We soon reached the Quarry, and found ourselves under tall, luxuriant, handsome trees forming broad avenues, following the course of the river, extremely agreeable. Indeed, being a woodsman, I think this the finest sight I have seen in England. How the Severn winds round the town, in the form of a horse-shoe! About the centre of this horse-shoe, another avenue, still more beautiful, is planted, going gently up the hill towards the town. I enjoyed this walk more than I can tell thee, and when I thought of the disappointment I had felt at five hours delay at Shrewsbury, and the pleasure I now felt, I repeated for the more than one thousand and first time, "Certainly all is for the best in this world, except our own sins."
London, May 21, 1827. I should begin this page perhaps with a great exclamation mark, and express much pleasure, but I have not the wish to do either; to me London is just like the mouth of an immense monster, guarded by millions of sharp-edged teeth, from which if I escape unhurt it must be called a miracle. I have many times longed to see London, and now I am here I feel a desire beyond words to be in my beloved woods. The latter part of the journey I spent closely wrapped in both coat and cloak, for we left Shrewsbury at ten, and the night was chilly; my companions were Mr. Bentley and two Italians, one of whom continually sang, and very well, while the other wished for daylight. In this way we continued till two of the morning, and it was then cold. From twelve until four I was so sleepy I could scarcely hold up my head, and I suffered much for the want of my regular allowance of sleep which I take between these hours; it is not much, yet I greatly missed it We breakfasted at Birmingham at five, where the worst stuff bearing the name of coffee that I ever tasted was brought to us. I say tasted, for I could do no more. The country constantly improved in beauty; on we drove through Stratford-on-Avon, Woodstock, and Oxford. A cleaner and more interesting city I never saw; three thousand students are here at present. It was ten o'clock when we entered the turnpike gate that is designated as the line of demarcation of London, but for many miles I thought the road forming a town of itself. We followed Oxford Street its whole length, and then turning about a few times came to the Bull and Mouth tavern where we stay the night.
May 23. Although two full days have been spent in London, not a word have I written; my heart would not bear me up sufficiently. Monday was positively a day of gloom to me. After breakfast Mr. Bentley took a walk with me through the City, he leading, and I following as if an ox to the slaughter. Finally we looked for and found lodgings, at 55 Great Russell Street, to which we at once removed, and again I issued forth, noting nothing but the great dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. I delivered several letters and was well received by all at home. With Mr. Children I went in the evening to the Linnaean Society and exhibited my first number. All those present pronounced my work unrivalled, and warmly wished me success.
Sunday, May 28. Ever since my last date I have been delivering letters, and attending the meetings of different societies. One evening was spent at the Royal Society, where, as in all Royal Societies, I heard a dull, heavy lecture. Yesterday my first call was on Sir Thos. Lawrence; it was half-past eight, as I was assured later would not do. I gave my name, and in a moment the servant returned and led me to him. I was a little surprised to see him dressed as for the whole day. He rose and shook hands with me the moment I pronounced my good friend Sully's name. While he read deliberately the two letters I had brought, I examined his face; it did not exhibit the look of genius that one is always expecting to meet with in a man of his superior talents; he looked pale and pensive. He wished much to see my drawings, and appointed Thursday at eight of the morning, when, knowing the value of his time, I retired. Several persons came to see me or my drawings, among others Mr. Gallatin, the American minister. I went to Covent Garden Theatre with Mr. Bentley in the evening, as he had an admittance ticket. The theatre opens at six, and orders are not good after seven. I saw Madame Vestris; she sings middling well, but not so well in my opinion as Miss Neville in Edinburgh. The four brothers Hermann I admired very much; their voices sounded like four flutes.
May 29. I have been about indeed like a post-boy, taking letters everywhere. In the evening I went to the Athenæum at the corner of Waterloo Place, expecting to meet Sir Thomas Lawrence and other gentlemen; but I was assured that about eleven or half-past was the fashionable time for these gentlemen to assemble; so I returned to my rooms, being worn out; for I must have walked forty miles on these hard pavements, from Idol Lane to Grosvenor Square, and across in many different directions, all equally far apart.
Tuesday, May 30. At twelve o'clock I proceeded with some of my drawings to see Mr. Gallatin, our Envoy extraordinaire. He has the ease and charm of manner of a perfect gentleman, and addressed me in French. Seated by his side we soon travelled (in conversation) to America; he detests the English, and spoke in no measured terms of London as the most disagreeable place in Europe. While we were talking Mrs. and Miss Gallatin came in, and the topic was changed, and my drawings were exhibited. The ladies knew every plant, and Mr. Gallatin nearly every bird. I found at home that new suit of clothes that my friend Basil Hall insisted upon my procuring. I looked this remarkable black dress well over, put it on, and thus attired like a mournful Raven, went to dine at Mr. Children's. On my return I found a note from Lord Stanley, asking me to put his name down as a subscriber; this pleased me exceedingly, as I consider Lord Stanley a man eminently versed in true and real ornithological pursuits. Of course my spirits are better; how little does alter a man. A trifle raises him, a little later another casts him down. Mr. Bentley has come in and tells me three poor fellows were hanged at Newgate this morning for stealing sheep. My God! how awful are the laws of this land, to take a human life for the theft of a miserable sheep.
June 1. As I was walking, not caring whither, I suddenly met a face well known to me; I stopped and warmly greeted young Kidd of Edinburgh. His surprise was as great as mine, for he did not know where I had been since I left Edinburgh. Together we visited the exhibition at the British gallery. Ah! what good work is here, but most of the painters of these beautiful pictures are no longer on this earth, and who is there to keep up their standing? I was invited to dine with Sir Robert Inglis, and took a seat in the Clapham coach to reach his place. The Epsom races are in full activity about sixteen miles distant, and innumerable coaches, men on horseback, barouches, foot passengers, filled the road, all classes from the beau monde to the beggar intent on seeing men run the chance of breaking their necks on horses going like the wind, as well as losing or gaining pence, shillings, or guineas by the thousand. Clapham is distant from London five miles, and Sir Robert invited me to see the grounds while he dressed, as he came in almost as I did. How different from noisy London! I opened a door and found myself on a circular lawn so beautifully ornamented that I was tempted to exclaim, "How beautiful are Thy works, O God!" I walked through avenues of foreign trees and shrubs, amongst which were tulip-trees, larches, and cypresses from America. Many birds were here, some searching for food, while others gave vent to their happy feelings in harmonious concerts. The house itself was covered with vines, the front a mass of blooming roses exuberant with perfume. What a delightful feast I had in this peaceful spot! At dinner there were several other guests, among them the widow of Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles, governor of Java, a most superior woman, and her conversation with Dr. Horsfield was deeply interesting. The doctor is a great zoölogist, and has published a fine work on the birds of Java. It was a true, family dinner, and therefore I enjoyed it; Sir Robert is at the head of the business of the Carnatic association of India.
Friday, June 2. At half-past seven I reached Sir Thomas Lawrence, and found him writing letters. He received me kindly, and at once examined some of my drawings, repeating frequently, "Very clever, indeed!" From such a man these words mean much. During breakfast, which was simple enough and sans cérémonic, he asked me many questions about America and about my work. After leaving him I met Mr. Vigors by appointment, who said everything possible to encourage me, and told me I would be elected as a foreign member to the Athenæum. Young Kidd called to see me, and I asked him to come and paint in my room; his youth, simplicity, and cleverness have attached me to him very much.
June 18. Is it not strange I should suffer whole weeks to pass without writing down what happens to me? But I have felt too dull, and too harassed. On Thursday morning I received a long letter from Mr. Lizars, informing me that his colorers had struck work, and everything was at a stand-still; he requested me to try to find some persons here who would engage in that portion of the business, and he would do his best to bring all right again. This was quite a shock to my nerves; but I had an appointment at Lord Spencer's and another with Mr. Ponton; my thoughts cooled, I concluded to keep my appointments. On my return I found a note from Mr. Vigors telling me Charles Bonaparte was in town. I walked as quickly as possible to his lodgings, but he was absent. I wrote him a note and came back to my lodgings, and very shortly was told that the Prince of Musignano was below, and in a moment I held him by the hand. We were pleased to meet each other on this distant shore. His fine head was not altered, his mustachios, his bearded chin, his keen eye, all was the same. He wished to see my drawings, and I, for the first time since I had been in London, had pleasure in showing them. Charles at once subscribed, and I felt really proud of this. Other gentlemen came in, but the moment the whole were gone my thoughts returned to the colorers, and my steps carried me in search of some; and this for three days I have been doing. I have been about the suburbs and dirtier parts of London, and more misery and poverty cannot exist without absolute starvation. By chance I entered a print shop, and the owner gave me the name of a man to whom I went, and who has engaged to color more cheaply than it is done in Edinburgh, and young Kidd has taken a letter from me to Mr. Lizars telling him to send me twenty-five copies.
June 19. I paid a visit to Sir Thomas Lawrence this morning and after waiting a short time in his gallery he came to me and invited me into his painting-room. I had a fair opportunity of looking at some of his unfinished work. The piece before me represented a fat man sitting in an arm-chair, not only correctly outlined but beautifully sketched in black chalk, somewhat in the style of Raphael's cartoons. I cannot well conceive the advantage of all that trouble, as Sir Thomas paints in opaque color, and not as I do on asphaltum grounds, as I believe the old masters did, showing a glaze under the colors, instead of over, which I am convinced can be but of short duration. His colors were ground, and his enormous palette of white wood well set; a large table was literally covered with all sorts of brushes, and the room filled with unfinished pictures, some of which appeared of very old standing. I now had the pleasure of seeing this great artist at work, which I had long desired to do. I went five times to see Mr. Havell the colorer, but he was out of town. I am full of anxiety and greatly depressed. Oh! how sick I am of London.
June 21. I received a letter from Mr. Lizars that was far from allaying my troubles. I was so struck with the tenure of it that I cannot help thinking now that he does not wish to continue my work. I have painted a great deal to-day and called on Charles Bonaparte.
June 22. I was particularly invited to dine at the Royal Society Club with Charles Bonaparte, but great dinners always so frighten me that I gave over the thought and dined peaceably at home. This evening Charles B. called with some gentlemen, among whom were Messrs. Vigors, Children, Featherstonehaugh, and Lord Clifton. My portfolios were opened before this set of learned men, and they saw many birds they had not dreamed of. Charles offered to name them for me, and I felt happy that he should; and with a pencil he actually christened upwards of fifty, urging me to publish them at once in manuscript at the Zoölogical Society. These gentlemen dropped off one by one, leaving only Charles and Mr. Vigors. Oh that our knowledge could be arranged into a solid mass. I am sure the best ornithological publication of the birds of my beloved country might then be published. I cannot tell you how surprised I was when at Charles's lodgings to hear his man-servant call him "your Royal Highness." I thought this ridiculous in the extreme, and I cannot conceive how good Charles can bear it; though probably he does bear it because he is good Charles. I have no painting to do to-morrow morning, or going to bed at two would not do. I was up at three this morning, and finished the third picture since in London.
June 28. I have no longer the wish to write my days. I am quite wearied of everything in London; my work does not proceed, and I am dispirited.
July 2. I am yet so completely out of spirits that in vain have I several times opened my book, held the pen, and tried to write. I am too dull, too mournful. I have finished another picture of Rabbits; that is all my consolation. I wish I was out of London.
Leeds, September 30, 1827. I arrived here this day, just five months since my first visit to the place, but it is three long months since I tarnished one of thy cheeks, my dear book. I am quite ashamed of it, for I have had several incidents well deserving to be related even in my poor humble style,—a style much resembling my paintings in oil. Now, nevertheless, I will in as quick a manner as possible recapitulate the principal facts.
First. I removed the publication of my work from Edinburgh to London, from the hands of Mr. Lizars into those of Robert Havell, No. 79 Newman St., because the difficulty of finding colorers made it come too slowly, and also because I have it done better and cheaper in London. I have painted much and visited little; I hate as much as ever large companies. I have removed to Great Russell St., number 95, to a Mrs. W——'s, an intelligent widow, with eleven children, and but little cash.
Second. The King!! My dear Book! it was presented to him by Sir Walter Waller, Bart, K. C. H., at the request of my most excellent friend J. P. Children, of the British Museum. His Majesty was pleased to call it fine, permitted me to publish it under his particular patronage, approbation, and protection, became a subscriber on the usual terms, not as kings generally do, but as a gentleman, and my friends all spoke as if a mountain of sovereigns had dropped in an ample purse at once, and for me. The Duchess of Clarence also subscribed. I attended to my business closely, but my agents neither attended to it nor to my orders to them; and at last, nearly at bay for means to carry on so heavy a business, I decided to make a sortie for the purpose of collecting my dues, and to augment my subscribers, and for that reason left London this day fort-night past for Manchester, where I was received by my friends à bras ouverts. I lived and lodged at friend Sergeant's, collected all my money, had an accession of nine subscribers, found a box of beautiful bird-skins sent Bentley by my dear boy Johnny, left in good spirits, and here I am at Leeds. On my journey hither in the coach a young sportsman going from London to York was my companion; he was about to join a shooting expedition, and had two dogs with him in a basket on top of the coach. We spoke of game, fish, and such topics, and presently he said a work on ornithology was being published in London by an American (he told me later he took me for a Frenchman) named Audubon, and spoke of my industry and regretted he had not seen them, as his sisters had, and spoke in raptures of them, etc. I could not of course permit this, so told him my name, when he at once shook hands, and our conversation continued even more easily than before. I am in the same lodgings as formerly. My landlady was talking with a meagre-looking child, who told a sad story of want, which my good landlady confirmed. I never saw greater pleasure than sparkled in that child's face as I gave her a few pieces of silver for her mother. I never thought it necessary to be rich to help those poorer than ourselves; I have considered it a duty to God, and to grow poorer in so doing is a blessing to me. I told the good landlady to send for one of the child's brothers, who was out of work, to do my errands for me. I took a walk and listened with pleasure to the song of the little Robin.
October 1. I called at the Philosophical Hall and at the Public Library, but I am again told that Leeds, though wealthy, has no taste; nevertheless I hope to establish an agency here.
October 3. I visited the museum of a Mr. Calvert, a man who, like myself, by dint of industry and perseverance is now the possessor of the finest collection I have seen in England, with the exception of the one at Manchester. I received a letter from Mr. Havell only one day old; wonderful activity this in the post-office department. I have been reading good Bewick's book on quadrupeds. I have had no success in Leeds, and to-morrow go to York.
York, October 5. Mr. Barclay, my agent here, I soon found had done almost nothing, had not indeed delivered all the numbers. I urged him to do better, and went to the Society Hall, where I discovered that the number which had been forwarded from Edinburgh after I had left there was miserably poor, scarcely colored at all. I felt quite ashamed of it, although Mr. Wright thought it good; but I sent it at once to Havell for proper treatment. Being then too late to pay calls, I borrowed a volume of Gil Bias, and have been reading.
October 6. No luck to-day, my Lucy. I am, one would think, generally either before or after the proper time. I am told that last week, when the Duke of Wellington was here, would have been the better moment. I shall have the same song given me at Newcastle, I dare foretell. I have again been reading Gil Bias; how replete I always find it of good lessons.
October 8. I walked this morning with Mr. Barclay to the house of Mr. F——, a mile out of town, to ascertain if he had received the first number. His house was expressly built for Queen Elizabeth, who, I was told, had never been in it after all. It resembles an old church, the whole front being of long, narrow windows. The inside is composed of large rooms, highly decorated with ancient pictures of the F—— family. The gardens are also of ancient appearance; there were many box-trees cut in the shape of hats, men, birds, etc. I was assured the number had not been received, so I suppose it never was sent. On our return Mr. Barclay showed me an asylum built by Quakers for the benefit of lunatics, and so contrived with gardens, pleasure-grounds, and such other modes of recreation, that in consequence of these pleasant means of occupying themselves many had recovered.
October 9. How often I thought during these visits of poor Alexander Wilson. When travelling as I am now, to procure subscribers, he as well as myself was received with rude coldness, and sometimes with that arrogance which belongs to parvenus.
October 11. It has been pouring down rain during all last night and this day, and looks as if it would not cease for some time; it is, however, not such distressing falls of water as we have in Louisiana; it carries not every object off with the storm; the banks of the rivers do not fall in with a crash, with hundreds of acres of forest along with them; no houses are seen floating on the streams with cattle, game, and the productions of the husbandman. No, it rains as if Nature was in a state of despondency, and I am myself very dull; I have been reading Stanley's Tales.
October 12. This morning I walked along the Ouse; the water had risen several feet and was quite muddy. I had the pleasure of seeing a little green Kingfisher perched close to me for a few minutes; but the instant his quick eye espied me, he dashed off with a shrill squeak, almost touching the water. I must say I longed for a gun to have stopped him, as I never saw one fresh killed. I saw several men fishing with a large scoop-net, fixed to a long pole. The fisherman laid the net gently on the water, and with a good degree of force he sank it, meantime drawing it along the bottom and grassy banks towards him. The fish, intent on feeding, attempted to escape, and threw themselves into the net and were hauled ashore. This was the first successful way of fishing I have seen in England. Some pikes of eight or ten pounds were taken, and I saw some eels. I have set my heart on having two hundred subscribers on my list by the first of May next; should I succeed I shall feel well satisfied, and able to have thee and our sons all together. Thou seest that castles are still building on hopeful foundations only; but he who does not try anything cannot obtain his ends.
October 15, Newcastle. Yesterday I took the coach and found myself here after an uneventful journey, the route being now known to me, and came to my former lodgings, where I was followed almost immediately by the Marquis of Londonderry, who subscribed at once. Then I called upon friend Adamson, who before I could speak invited me to dinner every day that I was disengaged. He advised me to have a notice in the papers of my being here for a few days, so I went to the Tyne Mercury; saw Mr. Donkin, who invited me to breakfast with him to-morrow at half-past seven, quite my hour.
October 17. During the day Mr. Wingate, an excellent practical ornithologist, came to see me, and we had much conversation which interested me greatly. Also came the mayor, who invited me to dine with him publicly to-morrow. I have writen to Mr. Selby to ask if he will be at Alnwick Castle on Friday, as if so I will meet him there, and try to find some subscribers. Several persons have asked me how I came to part with Mr. Lizars, and I have felt glad to be able to say that it was at his desire, and that we continue esteemed friends. I have been pleased to find since I left London that all my friends cry against my painting in oil; it proves to me the real taste of good William Rathbone; and now I do declare to thee that I will not spoil any more canvas, but will draw in my usual old, untaught way, which is what God meant me to do.
October 18. This morning I paid a visit to old Mr. Bewick. I found the good gentleman as usual at work, but he looked much better, as the cotton cap had been discarded for a fur one. He was in good spirits, and we met like old friends. I could not spend as much time with him as I wished, but saw sufficient of him and his family to assure me they were well and happy. I met Mr. Adamson, who went with me to dine at the Mansion House. We were received in a large room, furnished in the ancient style, panelled with oak all round, and very sombre. The company all arrived, we marched in couples to dinner and I was seated in the centre, the mayor at one end, the high sheriff at the other; we were seventy-two in number. As my bad luck would have it, I was toasted by John Clayton, Esq.; he made a speech, and I, poor fellow, was obliged to return the compliment, which I did, as usual, most awkwardly and covere'd with perspiration. Miserable stupidity that never will leave me! I had thousands of questions to answer about the poor aborigines. It was dark when I left, and at my room was a kind letter from Mr. Selby, inviting me to meet him at Alnwick to-morrow.
Twizel House, October 19. I arrived at Alnwick about eleven this morning, found the little village quite in a bustle, and Mr. Selby at the court. How glad I was to see him again I cannot say, but I well know I feel the pleasure yet, though twelve hours have elapsed. Again I dined with the gentlemen of the Bar, fourteen in number. A great ball takes place at Alnwick Castle this night, but Mr. Selby took me in his carriage and has brought me to his family,—a thousand times more agreeable to me than the motley crowd at the Castle. I met again Captain Mitford, most cordial to me always. To my regret many of my subscribers have not yet received the third number, not even Mr. Selby. I cannot understand this apparent neglect on the part of Mr. Lizars.
Sunday, October 21. Although it has been raining and blowing without mercy these two days, I have spent my time most agreeably. The sweet children showed their first attachment to me and scarce left me a moment during their pleasure hours, which were too short for us all. Mrs. Selby, who was away with her sick brother, returned yesterday. Confined to the house, reading, music, and painting were our means of enjoyment. Both this morning and this evening Mr. Selby read prayers and a chapter in the Bible to the whole household, the storm being so severe.
Edinburgh, October 22. I am again in the beautiful Edinburgh; I reached it this afternoon, cold, uncomfortable and in low spirits. Early as it was when I left this morning, Mrs. Selby and her lovely daughter came down to bid me good-bye, and whenever I leave those who show me such pure kindness, and especially such friends as these dear Selbys, it is an absolute pain to me. I think that as I grow older my attachment augments for those who are kind to me; perhaps not a day passes without I visit in thought those mansions where I have been so hospitably received, the inmates of which I recall with every sense of gratitude; the family Rathbone always first, the Selbys next, in London Mr. Children, in Manchester the Greggs and Bentleys and my good friend Sergeant, at Leeds Mr. Atkinson, at Newcastle dear old Bewick, Mr. Adamson, and the Rev. William Turner, and here Mr. Lizars and too many to enumerate; but I must go back to Liverpool to name John Chorley, to whom I feel warmly attached. It rained during my whole journey here, and I saw the German Ocean agitated, foaming and dark in the distance, scarce able to discern the line of the horizon. I send my expense account to you, to give Victor an idea of what the cost of travelling will be when he takes charge of my business here, whilst I am procuring fresh specimens. I intend next year positively to keep a cash account with myself and others, a thing I have never yet done.
October 23. I visited Mr. Lizars first, and found him as usual at work; he received me well, and asked me to dine with him. I was sorry to learn that Lady Ellen Hall and W. H. Williams had withdrawn their subscriptions, therefore I must exert myself the more.
October 27. Anxious to appoint an agent at Edinburgh, I sent for Mr. Daniel Lizars the bookseller, and made him an offer which he has accepted; I urged him not to lose a moment in forwarding the numbers which have been lying too long at his brother's; many small matters have had to be arranged, but now I believe all is settled. W. H. Lizars saw the plates of No. 3, and admired them much; called his workmen, and observed to them that the London artists beat them completely. He brought his account, and I paid him in full. I think he regrets now that he decided to give my work up; for I was glad to hear him say that should I think well to intrust him with a portion of it, it should be done as well as Havell's, and the plates delivered in London at the same price. If he can fall twenty-seven pounds in the engraving of each number, and do them in superior style to his previous work, how enormous must his profits have been; good lesson this for me in the time to come, though I must remember Havell is more reasonable owing to what has passed between us in our business arrangements, and the fact that he owes so much to me. I have made many calls, and been kindly welcomed at every house. The "Courant" and the "Scotchman" have honored me with fine encomiums on my work. The weather has been intolerable, raining and blowing constantly.
October 31. Mr. W. H. Lizars has dampened my spirits a good deal by assuring me that I would not find Scotland so ready at paying for my work as England, and positively advised me not to seek for more subscribers either here or at Glasgow. It is true, six of my first subscribers have abandoned the work without even giving me a reason; so my mind has wavered. If I go to Glasgow and can only obtain names that in the course of a few months will be withdrawn, I am only increasing expenses and losing time, and of neither time nor money have I too great a portion; but when I know that Glasgow is a place of wealth, and has many persons of culture, I decide to go.
November 2. I called on Professor Wilson this morning who welcomed me heartily, and offered to write something about my work in the journal called "Blackwood"; he made me many questions, and asked me to breakfast to-morrow, and promised me some letters for Glasgow.
November 3. My breakfast with the Professor was very agreeable. His fine daughter headed the table, and two sons were with us. The more I look at Wilson, the more I admire his originalities,—a man not equal to Walter Scott, it is true, but in many ways nearly approaching him; as free from the detestable stiffness of ceremonies as I am when I can help myself, no cravat, no waistcoat, but a fine "frill" of his own profuse beard, his hair flowing uncontrolled, and in his speech dashing at once at the object in view, without circumlocution; with a countenance beaming with intellect, and eyes that would do justice to the Bird of Washington. He gives me comfort, by being comfortable himself. With such a man I can talk for a whole day, and could listen for years.
Glasgow, November 4. At eleven I entered the coach for my ride of forty-two miles; three inside passengers besides myself made the entire journey without having uttered a single word; we all sat like so many owls of different species, as if afraid of one another, and on the qui vive, all as dull as the barren country I travelled this day. A few glimpses of dwarflike yellow pines here and there seemed to wish to break the dreariness of this portion of Scotland, but the attempt was in vain, and I sat watching the crows that flew under the dark sky foretelling winter's approach. I arrived here too late to see any portion of the town, for when the coach stopped at the Black Bull all was so dark that I could only see it was a fine, broad, long street.
November 8. I am off to-morrow morning, and perhaps forever will say farewell to Glasgow. I have been here four days and have obtained one subscriber. One subscriber in a city of 150,000 souls, rich, handsome, and with much learning. Think of 1400 pupils in one college! Glasgow is a fine city; the Clyde here is a small stream crossed by three bridges. The shipping consists of about a hundred brigs and schooners, but I counted eighteen steam vessels, black, ugly things as ever were built. One sees few carriages, but thousands of carts.
Edinburgh, November 9. In my old lodgings, after a journey back from the "City of the West" which was agreeable enough, all the passengers being men of intellect and social natures.
November 10. I left this house this morning an hour and a half before day, and pushed off for the sea-shore, or, as it is called, The Firth. It was calm and rather cold, but I enjoyed it, and reached Professor Jameson's a few minutes before breakfast. I was introduced to the "Lord of Ireland," an extremely intelligent person and an enthusiast in zoölogical researches; he had been a great traveller, and his conversation was highly interesting. In the afternoon I went to the summit of Arthur's Seat; the day was then beautiful and the extensive view cheered my spirits.
November 13. I arrived at Twizel Hall at half-past four in good time for dinner, having travelled nearly eighty miles quite alone in the coach, not the Mail but the Union. Sir William Jardine met me on my arrival. I assure thee it was a pleasure to spend two days here,—shooting while it was fair, and painting when rainy. In one of our walks I shot five Pheasants, one Hare, one Rabbit, and one Partridge; gladly would I remain here longer, but my work demands me elsewhere.
York, November 18. I have been here five hours. The day was so-so, and my companions in the coach of the dormouse order; eighty-two miles and no conversation is to me dreadful. Moreover our coachman, having in sight a coach called the "High-Flyer," felt impelled to keep up with that vehicle, and so lashed the horses that we kept close to it all the while. Each time we changed our animals I saw them quite exhausted, panting for breath, and covered with sweat and the traces of the blows they had received; I assure thee my heart ached. How such conduct agrees with the ideas of humanity I constantly hear discussed, I leave thee to judge.
Liverpool, November 22. I left Manchester at four this morning; it was very dark, and bitterly cold, but my travelling companions were pleasant, so the time passed quite quickly. At a small village about half-way here, three felons and a man to guard them mounted the coach, bound to Botany Bay. These poor wretches were chained to each other by the legs, had scarcely a rag on, and those they wore so dirty that no one could have helped feeling deep pity for them, case-hardened in vice as they seemed to be. They had some money, for they drank ale and brandy wherever we stopped. Though cold, the sun rose in full splendor, but the fickleness of the weather in this country is wonderful; before reaching here it snowed, rained, and cleared up again. On arriving I went at once to the Royal Institution, and on my way met William Rathbone. I recognized him as far as I could see him, but could easily have passed him unnoticed, as, shivering with cold, I was wrapped up in my large cloak. Glad was I to hold him once more by the hand, and to learn that all my friends were well. I have seen Dr. Traill, John Chorley, and many others who were kind to me when I was here before. All welcomed me warmly.
November 22. This day after my arrival I rose before day and walked to Green Bank. When half my walk was over the sun rose, and my pleasure increased every moment that brought me nearer to my generous, kind "Lady" Rathbone and her sweet daughter, Miss Hannah. When I reached the house all was yet silent within, and I rambled over the frozen grass, watching the birds that are always about the place, enjoying full peace and security. The same Black Thrush (probably) that I have often heard before was perched on a fir-tree announcing the beauty of this winter morning in his melodious voice; the little Robins flitted about, making towards those windows that they knew would soon be opened to them. How I admired every portion of the work of God. I entered the hot-house and breathed the fragrance of each flower, yet sighed at the sight of some that I recognized as offsprings of my own beloved country. Henry Chorley, who had been spending the night at Green Bank, now espied me from his window, so I went in and soon was greeted by that best of friends, "Lady" Rathbone. After breakfast Miss Hannah opened the window and her favorite little Robin hopped about the carpet, quite at home. I returned to Liverpool with Mr. B. Rathbone, who, much against my wishes, for I can do better work now, bought my picture of the Hawk pouncing on the Partridges.
November 26. Visited Dr. Traill, to consult with him on the best method of procuring subscribers, and we have decided that I am to call on Mr. W. W. Currie, the president of the Athenæum, to obtain his leave to show my work in the Reading Room, and for me to have notes of invitation printed and sent to each member, for them to come and inspect the work as far as it goes. I called on Mr. Currie and obtained his permission at once, so the matter is en train.
November 30. I have spent the day at Woodcroft with Richard Rathbone. Mrs. Rathbone wishes me to teach her how to paint in oils. Now is it not too bad that I cannot do so, for want of talent? My birds in water-colors have plumage and soft colors, but in oils—alas! I walked into town with Richard Rathbone, who rode his horse. I kept by his side all the way, the horse walking. I do not rely as much on my activity as I did twenty years ago, but I still think I could kill any horse in England in twenty days, taking the travel over rough and level grounds. This might be looked upon as a boast by many, but, I am quite satisfied, not by those who have seen me travel at the rate of five miles an hour all day. Once indeed I recollect going from Louisville to Shippingport in fourteen minutes, with as much ease as if I had been on skates.
December 3. This morning I made sketches of all the parts of the Platypus for William Gregg, who is to deliver a lecture on this curious animal. To-day and yesterday have been rainy, dismal indeed; very dismal is an English December. I am working very hard, writing constantly. The greater part of this day was spent at the Athensæum; many visitors, but no subscribers.
December 4. Again at the library and had one subscriber. A letter from Charles Bonaparte tells me he has decided not to reside in America, but in Florence; this I much regret. I have been reading the "Travels of the Marquis de Chastelleux" in our country, which contains very valuable and correct facts.
December 10. Mr. Atherton, a relation of friend Selby's, took breakfast with me, and then conducted me to see a very beautiful bird (alive) of the Eagle kind, from the Andes. It is quite unknown to me; about the size of the Bird of Washington, much shorter in the wings, larger talons and longer claws, with erected feathers, in the form of a fan, on the head. The bill was dark blue, the crest yellow, upper part of the body dark brown; so was the whole head and neck, as well as the tail and vent, but the belly and breast were white. I soon perceived that it was a young bird; its cry resembled that of almost every Eagle, but was weaker in sound on account of its tender age, not exceeding ten months. Were I to give it a name, it would be the Imperial Crowned Eagle. It was fed on raw beef, and occasionally a live fowl by way of a treat to the by-standers, who, it seems, always take much pleasure in cruel acts. The moment I saw this magnificent bird I wished to own it, to send it as a present to the Zoölogical Gardens. I received a letter from Thomas Sully telling me in the most frank and generous manner that I have been severely handled in one of the Philadelphia newspapers. The editor calls all I said in my papers read before the different societies in Edinburgh "a pack of lies." Friend Sully is most heartily indignant, but with me my motto is: "Le temps déconvrira la vérité" It is, however, hard that a poor man like me, who has been so devotedly intent on bringing forth facts of curious force, should be brought before the world as a liar by a man who doubtless knows little of the inhabitants of the forests on the Schuylkill, much less of those elsewhere. It is both unjust and ungenerous, but I forgive him. I shall keep up a good heart, trust to my God, attend to my work with industry and care, and in time outlive these trifles.
December 13. I went this evening to hear the Tyrolese Singers, three brothers and their sister. They were all dressed in the costume of their country, but when they sang I saw no more; I know not how to express my feelings. I was in an instant transported into some wild glen from which arose high mountain crags, which threw back the melodious echoes. The wild, clear, harmonious music so entered into my being that for a time I was not sure that what I heard was a reality. Imagine the warbling of strong-throated Thrushes, united with the bugle-horn, a flute, and a hautboy, in full unison. I could have listened all night.
December 1, 1827. By the advice of our consul, Mr. Maury, I have presented a copy of my work to the President of the United States, and another to the House of Congress through Henry Clay.
December 16, Sunday. I went to the service at my favorite church, the one at the Blind Asylum; the anthems were so exquisitely sung that I felt, as all persons ought to do when at church, full of fervent devotion.
December 18. It was with great regret that I found my friend Wm. Roscoe very unwell. This noble man has had a paralytic attack; his mind is fully sensible of the decay of his body, and he meets this painful trial with patience and almost contentment. This only can be the case with those who in their past life have been upright and virtuous. I finished drawing a little Wren for my good friend Hannah, as well as artificial light would allow.
December 20. I have done nothing to-day; I have had that sort of laziness that occasionally feeds upon my senses unawares; it is a kind of constitutional disease with me from time to time, as if to give my body necessary rest, and enable me to recommence with fresh vigor and alacrity whatever undertaking I have in hand. When it has passed, however, I always reproach myself that I have lost a day. I went to the theatre with John Chorley to see "The Hypocrite;" it is stolen from Molière's famous "Tartuffe," cut and sliced to suit the English market. I finished my evening by reading the Life of Tasso.
December 24. The whole town appears to be engaged in purchasing eatables for to-morrow. I saw some people carrying large nosegays of holly ornamented with flowers in imitation of white roses, carnations, and others, cut out of turnips and carrots; but I heard not a single gun fire, no fireworks going on anywhere,—a very different time to what we have in Louisiana. I spent my evening with Dr. Rutter looking at his valuable collection of prints of the men of the Revolution. Poor Charette, whom I saw shot on the Place de Viarme at Nantes, was peculiarly good, as were General Moreau, Napoleon, when Consul, and many others; and Dr. Rutter knew their lives well.
December 25. At midnight I was awakened by Dr. Munroe, who came with a bottle of that smoky Scotch whiskey which I can never like, and who insisted on my taking a glass with him in honor of the day. Christmas in my country is very different indeed from what I have seen here. With us it is a general merry-making, a day of joy. Our lads have guns, and fire almost all night, and dance all day and the next night. Invitations are sent to all friends and acquaintances, and the time passes more gayly than I can describe. Here, families only join together, they go to church together, eat a very good dinner together, I dare say; but all is dull—silent—mournful. As to myself, I took a walk and dined with Mr. Munroe and family, and spent a quiet evening with John Chorley. This is my Christmas day for 1827.
December 28. Immediately after breakfast the box came containing the fifth number, and three full sets for my new subscribers here. The work pleased me quite.
December 29. This morning I walked to "Lady" Rathbone's with my fifth number. It is quite impossible to approach Green Bank, when the weather is at all fair, without enjoying the song of some birds; for, Lucy, that sweet place is sacred, and all the feathered tribe in perfect safety. A Redwing particularly delighted me to-day; I found something of the note of our famous Mock-bird in his melody.
January 1, 1828, Manchester. How many times since daylight reached my eyes, I have wished thee, my Lucy, our sons, and our friends, a year of comfort, of peace and enjoyment, I cannot tell, for the day is to me always one on which to pray for those we love. Now, my Lucy, when I wished thee a happy New Year this morning I emptied my snuff box, locked up the box in my trunk, and will take no more. The habit within a few weeks has grown upon me, so farewell to it; it is a useless and not very clean habit, besides being an expensive one. Snuff! farewell to thee. Thou knowest, Lucy, well that when I will I will. I came here straight to friend Sergeant's; I need not say I was welcomed; and Bentley soon came in to spend the evening with us.
London, January 5, 1828. At six last evening I was in the coach with three companions; I slept well after we stopped for supper at nine o'clock, but not long enough. I cannot sleep in the morning, and was awake four long hours before day. The moon, that had shone brightly, sunk in the west as day dawned, the frost appeared thickly strewn over the earth, and not a cloud was in sight. I saw a few flocks of Partridges on their roost, which thou knowest well is on the ground, with their heads all turned to east, from which a gentle waft of air was felt; the cattle were lying here and there; a few large flocks of Starlings were all that interested me. The dawn was clear, but before we left Northampton it rained, snowed, and blew as if the elements had gone mad; strange country, to be sure. The three gentlemen in the coach with me suggested cards, and asked me to take a hand; of course I said yes, but only on condition that they did not play for money, a thing I have never done. They agreed very courteously, though expressing their surprise, and we played whist all day, till I was weary. I know little about cards, and never play unless obliged to by circumstances; I feel no pleasure in the game, and long for other occupation. Twenty-four hours after leaving Manchester, we stopped at the Angel Inn, Islington Road. I missed my snuff all day; whenever my hands went into my pockets in search of my box, and I discovered the strength of habit, thus acting without thought, I blessed myself that my mind was stronger than my body. I am again in London, but not dejected and low of spirits and disheartened as I was when I came in May last; no, indeed! I have now friends in London, and hope to keep them.
Great Russell St., January 6. I took a famous walk before day, up to Primrose Hill, and was back before anyone in the house was up. I have spent the whole day going over my drawings, and decided on the twenty-five that are to form the numbers for 1828. The new birds I have named as follows: Children, Vigors, Temminck, Cuvier. Havell came and saw the drawings; it gave him an idea of the work to be performed between now and next January.
January 8. I have ordered one set of my birds to be colored by Havell himself, for Congress, and the numbers already out will soon be en route. My frame maker came in, and the poor man took it for granted that I was an artist, but, dear me! what a mistake; I can draw, but I shall never paint well. The weather is extremely dull and gloomy; during the morning the light was of a deep yellow cast.
January 9. Had a long letter from John Chorley, and after some talk with my good friend J. G. Children, have decided to write nothing more except the biographies of my birds. It takes too much time to write to this one and that one, to assure them that what I have written is fact. When Nature as it is found in my beloved America is better understood, these things will be known generally, and when I have been dead twenty years, more or less, my statements will be accepted everywhere; till then they may wait. I have a violent cough and sore throat that renders me heavy and stupid; twenty-five years ago I would not have paid it the least attention; now I am told that at my age and in this climate (which, God knows, is indeed a very bad one), I may have trouble if I do not take some remedy, I walked out at four this morning, but the air was thick and I did not enjoy it.
January 10. I am going to surprise thee. I had a dentist inspect my teeth, as they ached; he thought it was the effect of my cold, as all are quite perfect and I have never lost one. My throat continuing very sore, I remained in my rooms, and have had Havell, Robert Sully, and Mr. Children for companions.
January 14. I feel now much better, after several feverish days, but have not moved from the house; every one of my friends show me much kindness.
January 17. A long morning with Havell settling accounts; it is difficult work for a man like me to see that I am neither cheating nor cheated. All is paid for 1827, and I am well ahead in funds. Had I made such regular settlements all my life, I should never have been as poor a man as I have been; but on the other hand I should never have published the "Birds of America." America! my country! Oh, to be there!
January 18. Spent the morning with Dr. Lambert and Mr. Don, the famous botanist; we talked much of the plants and trees of America and of Mr. Nuttall while opening and arranging a great parcel of dried plants from the Indies. This afternoon I took a cab and with my portfolio went to Mr. Children's. I cannot, he tells me, take my portfolio on my shoulder in London as I would in New York, or even tenacious Philadelphia.
January 20. Oh! how dull I feel; how long am I to be confined in this immense jail? In London, amidst all the pleasures, I feel unhappy and dull; the days are heavy, the nights worse. Shall I ever again see and enjoy the vast forests in their calm purity, the beauties of America? I wish myself anywhere but in London. Why do I dislike London? Is it because the constant evidence of the contrast between the rich and the poor is a torment to me, or is it because of its size and crowd? I know not, but I long for sights and sounds of a different nature. Young Green came to ask me to go with him to see Regent's Park, and we went accordingly, I rather an indifferent companion, I fear, till we reached the bridge that crosses the waters there, where I looked in vain for water-fowl. Failing to find any I raised my eyes towards the peaceful new moon, and to my astonishment saw a large flock of Wild Ducks passing over me; after a few minutes a second flock passed, which I showed my young friend. Two flocks of Wild Ducks, of upwards of twenty each! Wonderful indeed! I thought of the many I have seen when bent on studying their habits, and grew more homesick than ever.
January 21. Notwithstanding this constant darkness of mood, my business must be attended to; therefore soon after dawn I joined Havell and for many hours superintended his coloring of the plates for Congress. While I am not a colorist, and Havell is a very superior one, I know the birds; would to God I was among them. From here I went to find a bookseller named Wright, but I passed the place twice because I looked too high for his sign; the same occurs to young hunters, who, when first they tread the woods in search of a Deer, keep looking high, and far in the distance, and so pass many a one of these cunning animals, that, squatted in a parcel of dry brush-wood, sees his enemy quite well, and suffers him to pass without bouncing from his couch. The same instinct that leads me through woods struck me in the Haymarket, and now I found Mr. Wright. Our interview over, I made for Piccadilly, the weather as mild as summer, and the crowd innumerable. Piccadilly was filled with carriages of all sorts, men on horseback, and people everywhere; what a bustle!
January 22. I was so comfortless last night that I scarcely closed my eyes, and at last dressed and walked off in the dark to Regent's Park, led there because there are some objects in the shape of trees, the grass is green, and from time to time the sweet notes of a Blackbird strike my ear and revive my poor heart, as it carries my mind to the woods around thee, my Lucy. As daylight came a flock of Starlings swept over my head, and I watched their motions on the green turf where they had alighted, until I thought it time to return to breakfast, and I entered my lodgings quite ready for my usual bowl of bread and milk, which I still keep to for my morning meal; how often have I partaken of it in simple cabins, much more to my taste than all the pomp of London. Drawing all day long.
January 23. How delighted and pleased I have been this day at the receiving of thy letter of the 1st of November last. My Lucy, thou art so good to me, and thy advices are so substantial, that, rest assured, I will follow them closely.
January 24. To my delight friend Bentley appeared this evening. I was glad I could give him a room while he is in London. He brought news of some fresh subscribers, and a letter from the Rev. D—— to ask to be excused from continuing the work. Query: how many amongst my now long list of subscribers will continue the work throughout?
January 25. I usually leave the house two hours before day for a long walk; this morning it was again to Regent's Park; this gives me a long day for my work. After breakfast Bentley and I paid a long visit to Mr. Leadbeater, the great stuffer of birds. He was very cordial, and showed us many beautiful and rare specimens; but they were all stuffed, and I cannot bear them, no matter how well mounted they may be. I received to-day a perpetual ticket of admission to Mr. Cross's exhibition of quadrupeds, live birds, etc., which pleased me very much, for there I can look upon Nature, even if confined in iron cages. Bentley made me a present of a curiosity,—a "double penny" containing a single one, a half-penny within that, a farthing in that, and a silver penny within all. Now, my Lucy, who could have thought to make a thing like that?
January 26. Of course my early walk. After breakfast, Bentley being desirous to see Regent's Park, I accompanied him thither and we walked all round it; I think it is rather more than a mile in diameter. We saw a squadron of horse, and as I am fond of military manœuvres, and as the horses were all handsome, with full tails, well mounted and managed, it was a fine sight, and we both admired it. We then went to Mr. Cross, and I had the honor of riding on a very fine and gentle elephant; I say "honor," because the immense animal was so well trained and so obedient as to be an example to many human beings who are neither. The Duchess of A—— came in while I was there,—a large, very fat, red-faced woman, but with a sweet voice, who departed in a coach drawn by four horses with two riders, and two footmen behind; almost as much attendance as when she was a queen on the boards of ——theatre, thirty years ago.
January 28. I received a letter from D. Lizars to-day announcing to me the loss of four subscribers; but these things do not damp my spirits half so much as the smoke of London. I am as dull as a beetle.
January 31. I have been in my room most of this day, and very dull in this dark town.
February 1, 1828. Another Journal! It has now twenty-six brothers; some are of French manufacture, some from Gilpin's "Mills on the Brandywine," some from other parts of America, but you are positively a Londoner. I bought you yesterday from a man across the street for fourteen shillings; and what I write in you is for my wife, Lucy Audubon, a matchless woman, and for my two Kentucky lads, whom I do fervently long to press to my heart again.
It has rained all day. Bentley and I paid a visit to the great anatomist, Dr. J. Brookes, to see his collection of skeletons of divers objects. He received us with extreme kindness. I saw in his yard some few rare birds. He was called away on sudden and important business before we saw his museum, so we are to go on Monday. Mr. Cross, of the Exeter Exchange, had invited Bentley and me to dinner with his quadrupeds and bipeds, and at three o'clock we took a coach, for the rain was too heavy for Bentley, and drove to the Menagerie. Mr. Cross by no means deserves his name, for he is a pleasant man, and we dined with his wife and himself and the keepers of the BEASTS (name given by men to quadrupeds). None of the company were very polished, but all behaved with propriety and good humor, and I liked it on many accounts. Mr. Cross conversed very entertainingly. Bentley had two tickets for Drury Lane Theatre. It was "The Critic" again; immediately after, as if in spite of that good lesson, "The Haunted Inn" was performed, and the two gentlemen called Matthews and Litton so annoyed me with their low wit that I often thought that, could Shakespeare or Garrick be raised from their peaceful places of rest, tears of sorrow would have run down their cheeks to see how abused their darling theatre was this night. Bentley was more fortunate than I, he went to sleep. At my rooms I found a little circular piece of ivory with my name, followed by "and friends," and a letter stating it was a perpetual ticket of admission to the Zoölogical Gardens. This was sent at the request of Mr. Brookes.
February 2. Bentley and I went to the Gardens of the Zoölogical Society, which are at the opposite end of Regent's Park from my lodgings. The Gardens are quite in a state of infancy; I have seen more curiosities in a swamp in America in one morning than is collected here since eighteen months; all, however, is well planned, clean, and what specimens they have are fine and in good condition. As we were leaving I heard my name called, and turning saw Mr. Vigors with a companion to whom he introduced me; it was the famous Captain Sabine, a tall, thin man, who at once asked me if among the Eagles they had, any were the young of the White-headed Eagle, or as he called the bird, the Falco lcucocphalus. Strange that such great men should ask a woodsman questions like that, which I thought could be solved by either of them at a glance. I answered in the affirmative, for I have seen enough of them to know.
February 4. I made a present to Bentley of the first number of my work, and some loose prints for his brothers. Then we went to Mr. Brookes, the surgeon, and saw his immense and wonderful collection of anatomical subjects. The man has spent about the same number of years at this work as I have at my own, and now offers it for sale at £10,000. I then called on Vigors and told him I wished to name my new bird in No. 6 after him, and he expressed himself well pleased. This evening I took my portfolio to Soho Square and entered the rooms of the Linnæan Society, where I found I was the first arrival. I examined the various specimens till others came in. The meeting was called to order, and I was shortly after elected a member; my drawings were examined, and more than one told me it was a sad thing they were so little known in London.
February 7. Havell brought me the sets he owed me for 1827, and I paid him in full. Either through him or Mr. Lizars I have met with a loss of nearly £100, for I am charged for fifty numbers more than can be accounted for by my agents or myself. This seems strange always to me, that people cannot be honest, but I must bring myself to believe many are not, from my own experiences. My evening was spent in Bruton Street, at the Zoölogical Society rooms, where Lord Stanley accompanied me, with Lord Auckland and good old General Hardwicke, and my portfolio was again opened and my work discussed.
February 10. This morning I took one of my drawings from my portfolio and began to copy it, and intend to finish it in better style. It is the White-headed Eagle which I drow on the Mississippi some years ago, feeding on a Wild Goose; now I shall make it breakfast on a Catfish, the drawing of which is also with me, with the marks of the talons of another Eagle, which I disturbed on the banks of that same river, driving him from his prey. I worked from seven this morning till dark.
February 11. Precisely the same as yesterday, neither cross nor dull, therefore, but perfectly happy.
February 12. Still hard at it, and this evening the objects on my paper look more like a bird and a fish than like a windmill, as they have done. Three more days and the drawing will be finished if I have no interruptions.
February 1. No drawing to-day; no, indeed! At nine this morning I was at the house of friend Hays, No. 21 Queen Street, to meet the Secretary of the Colonial Department. Mr. Hays showed me a superb figure of a Hercules in brass, found in France by a peasant while ploughing, and for which £300 has been refused.
February 16. Yesterday I worked at my drawing all day, and began this morning at seven, and worked till half-past four, only ceasing my work to take a glass of milk brought me by my landlady. I have looked carefully at the effect and the finishing. Ah! my Lucy, that I could paint in oils as I can in my own style! How proud I should be, and what handsome pictures I should soon have on hand.
February 24. I heard to-day of the death of Mrs. Gregg of Quarry Bank. I was grieved to know that kind lady, who had showed me much hospitality, should have died; I have hesitated to write to her son-in-law, Mr. Rathbone, fearing to disturb the solemnity of his sorrow. At the Linnæan Society this evening, my friend Selby's work lay on the table by mine, and very unfair comparisons were drawn between the two; I am quite sure that had he had the same opportunities that my curious life has granted me, his work would have been far superior to mine; I supported him to the best of my power. The fact is, I think, that no man yet has done anything in the way of illustrating the birds of England comparable to his great work; then besides, he is an excellent man, devoted to his science, and if he has committed slight errors, it becomes men of science not to dwell upon these to the exclusion of all else. I was to-day elected an original member of the Zoölogical Society. I also learned that it was Sir Thomas Lawrence who prevented the British Museum from subscribing to my work; he considered the drawing so-so, and the engraving and coloring bad; when I remember how he praised these same drawings in my presence, I wonder—that is all.
February 25. A most gloomy day; had I no work what a miserable life I should lead in London. I receive constantly many invitations, but all is so formal, so ceremonious, I care not to go. Thy piano sailed to-day; with a favorable voyage it may reach New Orleans in sixty days. I have read the Grand Turk's proclamation and sighed at the awful thought of a war all over Europe; but there, thou knowest I am no politician. A fine young man, Mr. J. F. Ward, a bird-stuffer to the King, came to me this afternoon to study some of the positions of my birds. I told him I would lend him anything I had.
February 28. To-day I called by appointment on the Earl of Kinnoul, a small man, with a face like the caricature of an owl; he said he had sent for me to tell me all my birds were alike, and he considered my work a swindle. He may really think this, his knowledge is probably small; but it is not the custom to send for a gentleman to abuse him in one's own house. I heard his words, bowed, and without speaking, left the rudest man I have met in this land; but he is only thirty, and let us hope may yet learn how to behave to a perfect stranger under his roof.
February 29. A man entered my room this afternoon, and said: "Sir, I have some prisoners to deliver to you from the town of York." "Prisoners!" I exclaimed, "why, who are they?" The good man produced a very small cage, and I saw two sweet little Wood Larks, full of vivacity, and as shy as prisoners in custody. Their eyes sparkled with fear, their little bodies were agitated, the motions of their breasts showed how their hearts palpitated; their plumage was shabby, but they were Wood Larks, and I saw them with a pleasure bordering on frenzy. Wood Larks! The very word carried me from this land into woods indeed. These sweet birds were sent to me from York, by my friend John Backhouse, an ornithologist of real merit, and with them came a cake of bread made of a peculiar mixture, for their food. I so admired the dear captives that for a while I had a strong desire to open their prison, and suffer them to soar over London towards the woodlands dearest to them; and yet the selfishness belonging to man alone made me long to keep them. Ah! man! what a brute thou art!—so often senseless of those sweetest feelings that ought to ornament our species, if indeed we are the "lords of creation."
Cambridge, March 3. I arrived at this famous University town at half-past four this afternoon, after a tedious ride of eight and a half hours from London, in a heavy coach in which I entered at the White Horse, Fetter Lane, and I am now at the Blue Boar, and blue enough am I. But never mind, I was up truly early, took a good walk in Regent's Park, and was back before any one in the house was up. Sully took breakfast with me, and took charge of my Larks, and saw me off. I thought we never would get rid of London, it took just one hour to get clear of the city. What a place! Yet many persons live there solely because they like it. At last the refreshing country air filled my lungs; I saw with pleasure many tender flowers peeping out of the earth, anxious to welcome the approaching spring. The driver held confidences with every grog shop between London and Cambridge, and his purple face gave powerful evidences that malt liquor is more enticing to him than water. The country is flat, but it was country, and I saw a few lambs gambolling by their timorous dams, a few Rooks digging the new-ploughed ground for worms, a few Finches on the budding hedges. On entering Cambridge I was struck with its cleanliness, the regular shape of the colleges, and the number of students with floating mantles, flat caps, and long tassels of silk, hanging sideways. I had a letter for a lodging house where I expected to stay, but no numbers are affixed to any doors in Cambridge. I do not know if it is so in order to teach the students to better remember things, but I found it very inconvenient; I hunted and searched in vain, and as the students in their gay moods have been in the habit of destroying all the door-bells, I had to knock loudly at any door where I wished to make inquiries, but not finding the good lady to whom my letter was addressed, I am still at the inn.
March 4. One of my travelling-companions, Mr. ——, an architect, offered to show me some of the Colleges, and put me in the way of delivering some of my letters; so we walked through the different courts of Trinity, and I was amazed at the exquisite arrangement of the buildings, and when we arrived at the walks I was still more pleased. I saw beautiful grass-plats, fine trees, around .which the evergreen, dark, creeping ivy, was entwined, and heard among the birds that enlivened these the shrill notes of the Variegated Woodpecker, quite enchanting. As I passed under these trees I tried to recollect how many illustrious learned men have studied within the compass of their shade. A little confined, but pure streamlet, called the Cam, moved slowly on, and the air was delicious. We went to St. John's, where my companion was engaged in some work, and here I left him, and continued on my way alone, to deliver my letters. I called on the Rev. H. Greenwood, Professor Sedgwick, and Professor Whewell; all were most kind, as were the Rev. Thos. Catton, Mr. G. A. Brown, Mr. George Heath, and Professor Henslow, and I have made several engagements to dine, etc.
March 5. Since I left Edinburgh, I have not had a day as brilliant as this in point of being surrounded by learned men. This morning I took a long walk among the Colleges, and watched many birds; while thus employed, a well dressed man handed me a card on which was written in English, "The bearer desires to meet with some one who speaks either French, Italian, or Spanish." I spoke to him in Spanish and French, both of which he knew well. He showed me a certificate from the consul of Sweden, at Leith, which affirmed his story, that he with three sailors had been shipwrecked, and now wished to return to the Continent, but they had only a few shillings, and none of them spoke English. I gave him a sovereign, just as I saw Professor Sedgwick approaching; he came to my room to see my birds, but could only give me a short time as he had a lecture to deliver. I returned to my rooms, and just as I was finishing lunch the Vice-Chancellor made his appearance,—a small old man, with hair as white as snow, dressed in a flowing gown, with two little bits of white muslin in lieu of cravat. He remained with me upwards of two hours; he admired my work, and promised to do all he could. I was delighted with his conversation; he is a man of wide knowledge, and it seemed to me of sound judgment. Professor Henslow invited me to dine on Friday, and just as I finished my note of acceptance, came in with three gentlemen. At four I went to Mr. Greenwood's to dine; as I entered I saw with dismay upwards of thirty gentlemen; I was introduced to one after another, and then we went to the "Hall," where dinner was set. This hall resembled the interior of a Gothic church; a short prayer was said, and we sat down to a sumptuous dinner. Eating was not precisely my object, it seldom is; I looked first at the convives. A hundred students sat apart from our table, and the "Fellows," twelve in number, with twenty guests constituted our "mess." The dinner, as I said, was excellent, and I thought these learned "Fellows" must have read, among other studies, Dr. Kitchener on the "Art of Cookery." The students gradually left in parcels, as vultures leave a carcass; we remained. A fine gilt or gold tankard, containing a very strong sort of nectar, was handed to me; I handed it, after tasting, to the next, and so it went round. Now a young man came, and as we rose, he read a short prayer from a small board (such as butchers use to kill flies with). We then went to the room where we had assembled, and conversation at once began; perhaps the wines went the rounds for an hour, then tea and coffee, after which the table was cleared, and I was requested to open my portfolio. I am proud now to show them, and I saw with pleasure these gentlemen admired them. I turned over twenty-five, but before I had finished received the subscription of the Librarian for the University, and the assurance of the Secretary of the Philosophical Society that they would take it. It was late before I was allowed to come away.
Thursday, March 6. A cold snowy day; I went to the library of the University and the Philosophical Society rooms, and dined again in "Hall," with Professor Sedgwick. There were four hundred students, and forty "Fellows;" quite a different scene from Corpus College. Each one devoured his meal in a hurry; in less than half an hour grace was read again by two students, and Professor Whewell took me to his own rooms with some eight or ten others. My book was inspected as a matter of courtesy. Professor Sedgwick was gay, full of wit and cleverness; the conversation was very animated, and I enjoyed it much. Oh ! my Lucy, that I also had received a university education! I listened and admired for a long time, when suddenly Professor Whewell began asking me questions about the woods, the birds, the aborigines of America. The more I rove about, the more I find how little known the interior of America is; we sat till late. No subscriber to-day, but I must not despair; nothing can be done without patience and industry, and, thank God, I have both.
March 7. The frost was so severe last night that the ground was white when I took my walk; I saw ice an eighth of an inch thick. As most of the fruit trees are in blossom, the gardeners will suffer this year. Inclement though it was, the birds were courting, and some, such as Jackdaws and Rooks, forming nests. After breakfast I went to the library, having received a permit, and looked at three volumes of Le Vaillant's "Birds of Africa," which contain very bad figures. I was called from here to show my work to the son of Lord Fitzwilliam, who came with his tutor, Mr. Upton. The latter informed me the young nobleman wished to own the book. I showed my drawings, and he, being full of the ardor of youth, asked where he should write his name. I gave him my list; his youth, his good looks, his courtesy, his refinement attracted me much, and made me wish his name should stand by that of some good friend. There was no room by Mrs. Rathbone's, so I asked that he write immediately above the Countess of Morton, and he wrote in a beautiful hand, which I wish I could equal, "Hon. W. C. Wentworth Fitzwilliam." He is a charming young man, and I wish him bon voyage through life. On returning to my lodgings this evening, my landlord asked me to join him in what he called "a glass of home-brewed." I accepted, not to hurt his feelings, a thing I consider almost criminal; but it is muddy-looking stuff, not to my taste.
Saturday, 8th. The weather bad, but my eyes and ears were greeted by more birds than I have seen yet in this country. I dined at the Vice-Chancellor's, and found myself among men of deep research, learning, and knowledge, mild in expressions, kind in attentions, and under whom I fervently wished it had been my lot to have received such an education as they possess.
Sunday, March 9. Cambridge on a Sunday is a place where I would suppose the basest mind must relax, for the time being, from the error of denying the existence of a Supreme Being; all is calm—silent—solemn—almost sublime. The beautiful bells fill the air with melody, and the heart with a wish for prayer. I went to church with Mr. Whewell at Great St. Mary's, and heard an impressive sermon on Hope from Mr. Henslow. After that I went to admire Nature, as the day was beautifully inviting. Professor Heath of King's College wished me to see his splendid chapel, and with a ticket of admission I resorted there at three. We had simple hymns and prayers, the former softly accompanied by the notes of an immense organ, standing nearly in the centre of that astonishing building; the chanters were all young boys in white surplices. I walked with Mr. Heath to Mr. Whewell's, and with him went to Trinity Chapel. The charm that had held me all day was augmented many fold as I entered an immense interior where were upward of four hundred collegians in their white robes. The small wax tapers, the shadowy distances, the slow footfalls of those still entering, threw my imagination into disorder. A kind of chilliness almost as of fear came to me, my lips quivered, my heart throbbed, I fell on my knees and prayed to be helped and comforted. I shall remember this sensation forever, my Lucy. When at Liverpool, I always go to the church for the blind; did I reside at Cambridge, I would be found each Sunday at Trinity Chapel.
March 12. I was introduced to Judge ——, on his way to court,—a monstrously ugly old man, with a wig that might make a capital bed for an Osage Indian during the whole of a cold winter on the Arkansas River.
London, March 15. The scene is quite changed, or better say returned, for I am again in London. I found my little Larks as lively as ever, but judge of my pleasure when I found three letters from thee and Victor and Johnny, dated Nov. 10, Dec. 19, and Jan. 20. What comfort would it be to see thee. Havell tells me a hundred sets of No. 6 are in hand for coloring. Mr. David Lyon called to see my work, and said it had been recommended to him by Sir Thos. Lawrence. This seems strange after what I heard before, but like all other men Sir Thomas has probably his enemies, and falsehoods have been told about him.
March 20. Called on Havell and saw the plate of the Parroquets nearly finished; I think it is a beautiful piece of work. My landlady received a notice that if she did not pay her rent to-morrow an officer would be put in possession. I perceived she was in distress when I came in, and asking her trouble gave her what assistance I could by writing a cheque for £20, which she has promised to repay. This evening I went to Covent Garden to see "Othello;" I had an excellent seat. I saw Kean, Young, and Kemble; the play was terrifyingly well performed.
Saturday, March 20. To-day I was with friend Sergeant most of the time; this evening have paid Havell in full, and now, thank God, feel free to leave noisy, smoky London.
Oxford, March 20. I am now in Oxford the clean, and in comfortable lodgings. I arrived at four o'clock, shrunk to about one half my usual size by the coldness of the weather, having ridden on top of the coach, facing the northern blast, that caused a severe frost last night, and has, doubtless, nipped much fruit in the bud. As I travelled I saw Windsor Castle about two miles distant, and also witnessed the turning out of a Stag from a cart, before probably a hundred hounds and as many huntsmen. A curious land, and a curious custom, to catch an animal, and set it free merely to catch again. We crossed the Thames twice, near its head; it does not look like the Ohio, I assure thee; a Sand-hill Crane could easily wade across it without damping its feathers.
March 25. My feet are positively sore battering the pavement; I have walked from one house and College to another all day, but have a new subscriber, and one not likely to die soon, the Anatomical School, through Dr. Kidd. He and I ran after each other all day like the Red-headed Woodpeckers in the spring. I took a walk along two little streams, bearing of course the appellation of rivers, the Isis and the Charwell; the former freezes I am told at the bottom, never at the top. Oxford seems larger than Cambridge, but is not on the whole so pleasing to me. I do not think the walks as fine, there are fewer trees, and the population is more mixed. I have had some visitors, and lunched with Dr. Williams, who subscribed for the Radcliffe Library, whither we both went to inspect the first number. When I saw it, it drew a sigh from my heart. Ah! Mr. Lizars! was this the way to use a man who paid you so amply and so punctually? I rolled it up and took it away with me, for it was hardly colored at all, and have sent a fair new set of five numbers. I dined at the Vice-Chancellor's at six; his niece, Miss Jenkins, did the honors of the table most gracefully. There were ten gentlemen and four ladies, and when the latter left, the conversation became more general. I was spoken to about Wilson and C. Bonaparte, and could heartily praise both.
March 27. Breakfasted with Mr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel College, and went immediately after with him to the Dean of Trinity. The large salon was filled with ladies and gentlemen engaged with my work; my drawings followed, and I showed them, but, oh, Lucy, how tired I am of doing this. The Dean has, I think, the finest family of daughters I have ever seen; eight blooming, interesting young ladies; from here to Dr. Kidd, where was another room full of company to see my drawings. Among my visitors was Dr. Ed. Burton, who invited me to breakfast to-morrow.
March 28. Never since I was at the delightful Green Bank, or at Twizel House have I had so agreeable a breakfast as I enjoyed this morning. I was shown into a neat parlor giving on a garden, and was greeted by a very beautiful and gracious woman; this was Mrs. Burton. Dr. Burton came in through the window from the garden; in a moment we were at table and I felt at once at home, as if with my good friend "Lady" Rathbone. Dr. and Mrs. Burton have an astonishing collection of letters, portraits, etc., and I was asked to write my name and the date of my birth as well as the present date. The former, I could not do, except approximately, and Mrs. Burton was greatly amused that I should not know; what I do know is that I am no longer a young man. A letter from Mr. Hawkins told me Dr. Buckland was expected to-morrow, and I was asked to meet him at dinner at his own house by Mrs. Buckland. I dined with the Provost of Oriel and nine other gentlemen, among them the son of the renowned Mr. Wilberforce.
March 29. To-morrow, probably, I leave here, and much disappointed. There are here twenty-two colleges intended to promote science in all its branches; I have brought here samples of a work acknowledged to be at least good, and not one of the colleges has subscribed. I have been most hospitably treated, but with so little encouragement for my work there is no reason for me to remain.
London, March 30. Left Oxford at eleven this morning, the weather still intensely cold. We had a guard dressed in red with sizable buttons, a good artist on the bugle, who played in very good style, especially fugues and anthems, which were harmonious but not cheerful. I saw a poor man and his wife trudging barefoot this weather, a sight which drew the rings of my purse asunder. Almost as soon as I reached my lodgings a gentleman, Mr. Loudon, called to ask me to write zoological papers for his journal. I declined, for I will never write anything to call down upon me a second volley of abuse. I can only write facts, and when I write those the Philadelphians call me a liar.
April 1, 1828. I have the honor to be a Fellow of the Linnæan Society of London, quite fresh from the mint, for the news reached me when the election was not much more than over. Mr. Vigors tells me Baron Cuvier is to be here this week. I had some agreeable time with a gentleman from Ceylon, Bennett by name, who has a handsome collection of fish from that place.
April 2. Called on Mr. Children, and together we walked to Mr. Havell's, where he saw the drawings for No. 7. How slowly my immense work progresses; yet it goes on apace, and may God grant me life to see it accomplished and finished. Then, indeed, will I have left a landmark of my existence.
April 3. I have had many corrections to make to my Prospectus, which have taken much time. I also examined many of my drawings, which I thought had suffered exceedingly from the damp; this quite frightened me. What a misfortune it would be if they should be spoiled, for few men would attempt the severe task I have run through, I think. And as to me, alas! I am growing old, and although my spirits are as active as ever, my body declines, and perhaps I never could renew them all. I shall watch them carefully. Indeed, should I find it necessary, I will remove them to Edinburgh or Paris, where the atmosphere is less dangerous.
April 6. I have not written a word for three days, because, in truth, I have little to mention. Whenever I am in this London all is alike indifferent to me, and I in turn indifferent. Ah! my love, on a day like this in America I could stroll in magnificent woods, I could listen to sounds fresh and pure, I could look at a blue sky. Mr. Loudon called and said he was anxious to have a review of my work in his magazine, and would write to Mr. Wm. Swainson, a naturalist and friend of Dr. Traill's, to do so. He again begged me to write an article for him, for which he would pay eight guineas; but no, I will write no more for publication except, as has been urged, to accompany my own pictures.
April 10. I have now only one set on hand; I had fifteen when I went to Cambridge. I hope soon to hear from Liverpool; the silence of a friend sometimes terrifies me; I dread to learn that my venerable, good "Lady" Rathbone is ill.
April 14. I cannot conceive why, but my spirits have been much too low for my own comfort. I thought strongly of returning to America; such a long absence from thee is dreadful. I sometimes fear we shall never meet again in this world. I called on Havell, who showed me the White-headed Eagle, a splendid plate indeed, and nearly finished.
April 17. I did but little yesterday, I was quite unwell; in the afternoon I walked to Bruton St. and saw Mr. Vigors, who assisted me in the nomenclature of the Hawk for Lord Stanley. This afternoon I received a letter from Mr. Wm. Swainson, inviting me to go to spend a day with him. My work continues to be well received, and as I have a tolerable list of subscribers I hope it will continue to improve.
April 21. The same feelings still exist this year that I felt last, during my whole stay in London. I hate it, yes, I cordially hate London, and yet cannot escape from it. I neither can write my journal when here, nor draw well, and if I walk to the fields around, the very voice of the sweet birds I hear has no longer any charm for me, the pleasure being too much mingled with the idea that in another hour all will again be bustle, filth, and smoke. Last Friday, when about to answer Mr. Swainson's letter, I suddenly thought that it would be best for me to go to see him at once. The weather was shocking; a dog would scarce have turned out to hunt the finest of game. I dined at two, and went to a coach office, when, after waiting a long time, the coachman assured me that unless I had been to Mr. Swainson's before, it would be madness to go that day, as his house lay off from the main road fully five miles, and it was a difficult place to find; moreover, the country, he said, was swimming. This is the first advice I have ever had from a coachman to stop me from paying my fare; I thanked him, and returned home, and wrote to Mr. Swainson; then walked twice round Kensington Gardens, most dull and melancholy. Ah! cannot I return to America?
April 2$. I have been so harassed in mind and body, since ten days, that I am glad to feel partially relieved at last. All the colorers abandoned the work because I found one of their number was doing miserable daubing, and wished him dismissed unless he improved; but now they are all replaced.
May 1. Mr. Swainson has published a review of my work in Mr. London's magazine, and how he has raised my talents. Would that I could do as well as he says I do; then indeed would my pencil be eager to portray the delicate and elegant contours of the feathered tribe, the softness of their plumage, and their gay movements. Alas, now I must remain in London overlooking engravers, colorers, and agents. Yet when I close my eyes I hear the birds warbling, nay, every sound; the shriek of the Falcon, the coy Doves cooing; the whistling note of the Crackle seems to fill my ear, again I am in the cornfield amidst millions of these birds, and then, transported afar, I must tread lightly and with care, to avoid the venomous Rattler. I sent the first proof of the White-headed Eagle to the Marquis of Landsdowne; he being the president of the Zoölogical Society, I thought it courteous to do so.
Sunday, May 4. Immediately after breakfast I went out with George Woodley, and walked to the pretty village called Hampstead. The rain that fell last night seemed only sufficient to revive nature's productions; the trees were lightly covered with foliage of a tender hue; the hawthorns dispersed along the thickets had opened their fragrant cups, the rich meadows showed promise of a fair crop. Here and there a shy Blackbird's note burst clearly, yet softly, while the modest Blackcap skipped across our way. I enjoyed it all, but only transiently; I felt as if I must return to the grand beauties of the Western World, so strong is the attachment impressed in man for his own country. I have been summing up the pros and cons respecting a voyage to America, with an absence of twelve months. The difficulties are many, but I am determined to arrange for it, if possible. I should like to renew about fifty of my drawings; I am sure that now I could make better compositions, and select better plants than when I drew merely for amusement, and without the thought of ever bringing them to public view. To effect this wish of mine, I must find a true, devoted friend who will superintend my work and see to its delivery—this is no trifle in itself. Then I must arrange for the regular payments of twelve months' work, and that is no trifle; but when I consider the difficulties I have surmounted, the privations of all sorts that I have borne, the many hairbreadth escapes I have had, the times I have been near sinking under the weight of the enterprise—ah! such difficulties as even poor Wilson never experienced—what reasons have I now to suppose, or to make me think for a moment, that the omnipotent God who gave me a heart to endure and overcome all these difficulties, will abandon me now. No! my faith is the same—my desires are of a pure kind; I only wish to enjoy more of Him by admiring His works still more than I have ever done before. He will grant me life, He will support me in my journeys, and enable me to meet thee again in America.
May 6. I walked early round the Regent's Park, and there purchased four beautiful little Redpolls from a sailor, put them in my pocket, and, when arrived at home, having examined them to satisfy myself of their identity with the one found in our country, I gave them all liberty to go. What pleasure they must have felt rising, and going off over London; and I felt pleasure too, to know they had the freedom I so earnestly desired.
May 10. I received a long letter from Charles Bonaparte, and perceived it had been dipped in vinegar to prevent it from introducing the plague from Italy to England.
June 2. I was at Mr. Swainson's from May 28 till yesterday, and my visit was of the most agreeable nature. Mr. and Mrs. Swainson have a charming home at Tittenhanger Green, near St. Albans. Mrs. Swainson plays well on the piano, is amiable and kind; Mr. Swainson a superior man indeed; and their children blooming with health and full of spirit. Such talks on birds we have had together. Why, Lucy, thou wouldst think that birds were all that we cared for in this world, but thou knowest this is not so. Whilst there I began a drawing for Mrs. Swainson, and showed Mr. Swainson how to put up birds in my style, which delighted him.
August 9. More than two months have passed since I have opened my journal—not through idleness, but because, on the contrary, I have been too busy with my plates, and in superintending the coloring of them, and with painting. I wished again to try painting in oil, and set to with close attention, day after day, and have now before me eight pictures begun, but not one entirely finished. I have a great desire to exhibit some of these in this wonderful London. One of these pictures is from my sketch of an Eagle pouncing on a Lamb, dost thou remember it? They are on the top of a dreary mountain; the sky is dark and stormy, and I am sure the positions of the bird and his prey are wholly correct. My drawing is good, but the picture at present shows great coldness and want of strength. Another is a copy of the very group of Black Cocks, or Grouse, for which Mr. Gaily paid me £100, and I copy it with his permission; if it is better than his, and I think it will be, he must exchange, for assuredly he should own the superior picture. The others are smaller and less important. With the exception of such exercise as has been necessary, and my journeys (often several times a day) to Havell's, I have not left my room, and have labored as if not to be painting was a heinous crime. I have been at work from four every morning till dark; I have kept up my large correspondence, my publication goes on well and regularly, and this very day seventy sets have been distributed; yet the number of my subscribers has not increased; on the contrary, I have lost some.
I have met a Mr. Parker, whom I once knew in Natchez; he asked me to permit him to paint my portrait as a woodsman, and though it is very tiresome to me, I have agreed to his request. The return of Captain Basil Hall to England has rather surprised me; he called on me at once; he had seen our dear Victor, Mr. Sully, Dr. Harlan, and many of my friends, to whom I had given him letters, for which he thanked me heartily. He has seen much of the United States, but says he is too true an Englishman to like things there. Time will show his ideas more fully, as he told me he should publish his voyage, journeys, and a number of anecdotes.
August 10. My usual long walk before breakfast, after which meal Mr. Parker took my first sitting, which consisted merely of the outlines of the head; this was a job of more than three hours, much to my disgust. We then went for a walk and turned into the Zoölogical Gardens, where we remained over an hour. I remarked two large and beautiful Beavers, seated with the tail as usual under the body, their forelegs hanging like those of a Squirrel.
August 13. I wrote to Mr. Swainson asking if he could not accompany me to France, where he said he wished to go when we were talking together at Tittenhanger.
August 19. My absence from this dusty place has prevented my writing daily, but I can easily sum up. Thursday afternoon on returning from Havell's, I found Mr. Swainson just arrived. He had come to take me to Tittenhanger Green, where the pure air, the notes of the birds, the company of his wife and children, revived my drooping spirits. How very kind this was of him, especially when I reflect on what a short time I have known him. We procured some powder and shot, and seated ourselves in the coach for the journey. Just as we were leaving London and its smoke, a man begged I would take a paper bag from him, containing a Carrier Pigeon, and turn it out about five miles off. The poor bird could have been put in no better hands, I am sure; when I opened the bag and launched it in the air, I wished from my heart I had its powers of flight; I would have ventured across the ocean to Louisiana. At Tittenhanger Mrs. Swainson and her darling boy came to meet us, and we walked slowly to the house; its happy cheer had great influence on my feelings. Our evening was spent in looking over Levaillant's work. We discovered, to the great satisfaction of my friend, two species of Chatterers, discovered by the famous traveller in Africa; until now our American species stood by itself, in the mind of the naturalist. My time afterwards was spent in shooting, painting, reading, talking, and examining specimens. But, my Lucy, the most agreeable part of all this is that we three have decided to go to Paris about the first of September, from there probably to Brussels, Rotterdam, and possibly Amsterdam.
August 20. Messrs. Children and Gray of the British Museum called to see me this afternoon, and we talked much of that establishment. I was surprised when Mr. Gray told me £200 per annum was all that was allowed for the purchase of natural curiosities. We were joined by Captain Basil Hall. I now feel more and more convinced that he has not remained in America long enough, and that his judgment of things there must be only superficial. Since these gentlemen left I have written to Charles Bonaparte a long letter, part of which I copy for thee: "My Sylvia roscoe, is, I assure you, a distinct species from Vieillot's; my Turdus aquaticus is very different from Wilson's Water Thrush, as you will see when both birds are published. Mine never reaches further south than Savannah, its habits are quite different. Troglodytes bewickii is a new and rather a rare species, found only in the lowlands of the Mississippi and Louisiana. I have killed five or six specimens, and it differs greatly from Troglodytes ludovicianus; I wish I had a specimen to send you. I particularly thank you for your observations, and I hope that you will criticise my work at all points, as a good friend should do, for how am I to improve if not instructed by men of superior talents? I cannot determine at present about Stanleii, because I never have seen the Falco you mention. My bird is surely another found in the south and north, but a very rare species in all my travels; when you see the two figures, size of life, then you will be able to judge and to inform me. My journey to the mouth of the Columbia is always uppermost in my mind, and I look to my return from that country to this as the most brilliant portion of my life, as I am confident many new birds and plants must be there, yet unknown to man. You are extremely kind to speak so favorably of my work, and to compare it with your own; it would be more worthy of that comparison, perhaps, if I had had the advantages of a classical education; all I deserve, I think, is the degree of encouragement due to my exertions and perseverance in figuring exactly the different birds, and the truth respecting their habits, which will appear in my text. However, I accept all your kind sayings as coming from a friend, and one himself devoted to that beautiful department of science, Ornithology." My subscribers are yet far from enough to pay my expenses, and my purse suffers severely for the want of greater patronage. The Zoölogical Gardens improve daily; they are now building winter quarters for the animals there. The specimens of skins from all parts of the world which are presented there are wonderful, but they have no place for them.
August 25. I have had the pleasure of a long letter from our Victor, dated July 20; this letter has reached me more rapidly than any since I have been in England. I am becoming impatient to start for Paris. I do not expect much benefit by this trip, but I shall be glad to see what may be done. Mr. Parker has nearly finished my portrait, which he considers a good one, and so do I. He has concluded to go to Paris with us, so we shall be quite a party. Mr. Vigors wrote asking me to write some papers for the "Zoölogical Journal," but I have refused him as all others. No money can pay for abuse. This afternoon I had a visit from a Mr. Kirkpatrick, who bought my picture of the Bantams.
August 29. I packed up my clothes early this morning and had my trunk weighed, as only forty pounds are allowed to each person. I also put my effects to rights, and was ready to start for anywhere by seven.
August 30. While Mr. Swainson was sitting with me, old Bewick and his daughters called on me. Good old man! how glad I was to see him again. It was, he said, fifty-one years since he had been in London, which is no more congenial to him than to me. He is now seventy-eight, and sees to engrave as well as when he was twenty years of age.
Dover, September 1, 1828. Now, my dear book, prepare yourself for a good scratching with my pen, for I have entered on a journey that I hope will be interesting. I had breakfast at six with Mr. Parker; we were soon joined by Mr. and Mrs. Swainson and proceeded to the office in Piccadilly, where we took our seats in the coach. At the "Golden Cross" in Charing Cross we took up the rest of our cargo. Bless me! what a medley! A little, ill-looking Frenchman—who fastened a gilt balancing-pole under the coach, and put his wife and little daughter on top,—four men all foreigners, and a tall, rather good-looking demoiselle, with a bonnet not wanting in height or breadth or bows of blue ribbon, so stiff they must have been starched. She took her seat on top of the coach and soared aloft, like a Frigate Pelican over the seas. We started at eight and were soon out of London. The pure air of the country animated my spirits, and all were gay. We passed over Black Heath, through Hartford and Canterbury, the first a poor, dirty-looking place, the latter quite the contrary. The majestic cathedral rose above every other object, like one of God's monuments made to teach us His glory. The country more hilly, on an average, than any part of this island I have yet seen, but the land very poor. We saw the Thames several times, and the sea at a great distance. The river Medway, which we crossed at Rochester, is influenced by the tides as far as that town. About six miles from this little seaport we suddenly saw Dover Castle, which with the sea and the undulating landscape made a pretty picture. As soon as we arrived we all went to see the cliffs that rise almost perpendicularly along the shore, the walks crowded with persons come to see the regatta to-morrow.
Paris, September 4. I arrived here this morning at seven o'clock, and I assure thee, my Lucy, that I and all my companions were pleased to get rid of the diligence, and the shocking dust that tormented us during our whole journey. We left Dover at one, on Tuesday, 2d; the wind blew sharply, and I felt that before long the sea would have evil effects on me, as it always has. We proceeded towards Calais at a good rate, going along the shores of England until opposite the French port, for which we then made direct, and landed after three and a half hours' beating against wind and water. As soon as we landed we left our luggage and passports with a Commissionaire, and went to dine at Hôtel Robart, where we had been recommended. Our still sickly bodies were glad to rest, and there our passports were returned to us. I was much tickled to read that my complexion was copper red; as the Monsieur at the office had never seen me, I suppose the word American suggested that all the natives of our country were aborigines. We then entered the diligence, a vehicle ugly and clumsy in the extreme, but tolerably comfortable unless over-crowded, and it travelled from six to seven miles an hour, drawn generally by five horses, two next the coach, and three abreast before those; the driver rides on the near wheel-horse dressed precisely like the monkeys in shows of animals. Calais is a decaying fortified town; the ditches are partly filled with earth, and I cannot tell why there should exist at this time a drawbridge. As we proceeded it did not take much time to see already many differences between France and England. I will draw no parallel between these countries, I will merely tell thee what I saw. The country is poorly cultivated, although the land is good. No divisions exist to the eye, no cleanly trimmed hedges, no gates, no fences; all appeared to me like one of the old abandoned cotton plantations of the South. I remarked that there were more and taller trees than in England, and nearly the whole road was planted like the avenue to a gentleman's house. The road itself was better than I had expected, being broad, partly macadamized, and partly paved with square stones; I found it much alike during the whole journey. Night coming on we lost the means of observation for a time, and stopped soon after dark for refreshment, and had some excellent coffee. I assure thee, Lucy, that coffee in France is certainly better than anywhere else. We passed through St. Omer, and a little farther on saw the lights of the fires from an encampment of twelve thousand soldiers. Breakfast was had at another small village, where we were sadly annoyed by beggars. The country seems very poor; the cottages of the peasants are wretched mud huts. We passed through the Departments of Artois and Picardy, the country giving now and then agreeable views. We dined at Amiens, where the cathedral externally is magnificent. After travelling all night again, we found ourselves within forty miles of Paris, and now saw patches of vineyards and found fruit of all kinds cheap, abundant, and good. We were put down at the Messagerie Royale rue des Victoires, and I found to my sorrow that my plates were not among the luggage; so I did what I could about it, and we went to lodgings to which we had been recommended, with M. Percez. Mrs. Swainson's brother, Mr. Parkes, came to see us at once, and we all went to the Jardin des Plantes, or Jardin du Roi, which fronts on a very bad bridge, built in great haste in the days of Napoleon, then called Le pont d'Austerlitz, but now Le pont Ste. Geneviève. I thought the gardens well laid out, large, handsome, but not everywhere well kept. We saw everything, then walked to the entrance of the famous Musée; it was closed, but we knocked and asked for Baron Cuvier. He was in, but, we were told, too busy to be seen. Being determined to look at the Great Man, we waited, knocked again, and with a certain degree of firmness sent our names. The messenger returned, bowed, and led the way upstairs, where in a minute Monsieur le Baron, like an excellent good man, came to us. He had heard much of my friend Swainson and greeted him as he deserves to be greeted; he was polite and kind to me, though my name had never made its way to his ears. I looked at him, and here follows the result: age about sixty-five; size corpulent, five feet five, English measure; head large; face wrinkled and brownish; eyes gray, brilliant and sparkling; nose aquiline, large and red; mouth large, with good lips; teeth few, blunted by age, excepting one on the lower jaw, measuring nearly three-quarters of an inch square. Thus, my Lucy, have I described Cuvier almost as if a new species of man. He has invited us to dine with him next Saturday at six, and as I hope to have many opportunities of seeing him I will write more as I become acquainted with him. After dinner Mr. Parker and I went roving anywhere and everywhere, but as it grew dark, and Paris is very badly lighted, little can I say, more than that we saw the famous Palais Royal, and walked along each of its four avenues. The place was crowded, and filled with small shops, themselves filled with all sorts of bagatelles.
September 5. After breakfast, which was late but good, consisting of grapes, figs, sardines, and French coffee, Swainson and I proceeded to Les Jardins des Plantes, by the side of the famous river Seine, which here, Lucy, is not so large as the Bayou Sara, where I have often watched the Alligators while bathing. Walking in Paris is disagreeable in the extreme; the streets are paved, but with scarcely a sidewalk, and a large gutter filled with dirty black water runs through the centre of each, and the people go about without any kind of order, in the centre, or near the houses; the carriages, carts, etc., do the same, and I have wondered that so few accidents take place. We saw a very ugly bridge of iron called the Pont Neuf, and the splendid statue of Henri Quatre. We were, however, more attracted by the sight of the immense numbers of birds offered for sale along the quays, and some were rare specimens. A woman took us into her house and showed us some hundreds from Bengal and Senegal, and I assure thee that we were surprised. We proceeded to our appointment with Baron Cuvier, who gave us tickets for the Musée, and promised all we could wish. At the Musée M. Valenciennes was equally kind. Having a letter for M. Geoffrey de St. Hilaire, we went to his house in the Jardins, and with him we were particularly pleased. He proved to me that he understood the difference in the ideas of the French and English perfectly. He repeated the words of Cuvier and assured us my work had not been heard of in France. He promised to take us to the Academic des Sciences on Monday next. I left Swainson at work in the Musée, and went to the Louvre. There, entering the first open door, I was shown into the public part of the King's Appartement, a thing I have never been able to accomplish in England. I saw the room where the grand councils are held, and many paintings illustrating the horrors of the French Revolution. Then to the galleries of painting and sculpture, where I found Parker, and saw a number of artists copying in oil the best pictures. This evening we went to the Théâtre Français, where I saw the finest drop curtain I have yet beheld, and a fine tragedy, Fiésque, which I enjoyed much.
September 6. The strange things one sees in this town would make a mountain of volumes if closely related; but I have not time, and can only speak to thee of a few. After our breakfast of figs and bread and butter, Swainson and I went down the Boulevard to the Jardins Royaux. These boulevards are planted with trees to shade them, and are filled with shops containing more objects of luxury and of necessity than can well be imagined. The boulevard we took is a grand promenade, and the seat of great bargains. I mean to say that a person unacquainted with the ways of the French petit marchand may be cheated here, with better grace, probably, than anywhere else in the world; but one used to their tricks may buy cheap and good articles. In the afternoon we went again to the Louvre, and admired the paintings in the splendid gallery, and lunched on chicken, a bottle of good wine, vegetables and bread, for thirty-five sous each. Evening coming on, we proceeded, after dressing, to Baron Cuvier's house to dine. We were announced by a servant in livery, and received by the Baron, who presented us to his only remaining daughter,—a small, well-made, good-looking lady, with sparkling black eyes, and extremely amiable. As I seldom go anywhere without meeting some one who has met me, I found among the guests a Fellow of the Linnæan Society, who knew me well. The Baroness now came in—a good-looking, motherly lady, and the company, amounting to sixteen, went to dinner. The Baroness led the way with a gentleman, and the Baron took in his daughter, but made friend Swainson and me precede them; Swainson sat next mademoiselle, who, fortunately for him, speaks excellent English. I was opposite to her, by the side of the Baron. There was not the show of opulence at this dinner that is seen in the same rank of life in England, no, not by far, but it was a good dinner, served à la française. All seemed happy, and went on with more simplicity than in London. The dinner finished, the Baroness rose, and we all followed her into the library. I liked this much; I cannot bear the drinking matches of wine at the English tables. We had coffee, and the company increased rapidly; amongst them all I knew only Captain Parry, M. de Condolleot (?), and Mr. Lesson, just returned from a voyage round the world. Cuvier stuck to us, and we talked ornithology; he asked me the price of my work, and I gave him a prospectus. The company filled the room, it grew late, and we left well satisfied with the introductory step among les savans français.
Sunday, September 7. The traveller who visits France without seeing a fête, such as I have seen this day at St. Cloud, leaves the country unacquainted with that species of knowledge best adapted to show the manners of a people. St. Cloud is a handsome town on the Seine, about five miles below Paris, built in horseshoe form on the undulating hills of this part of the country. These hills are covered with woods, through which villas, cottages, and chateaux emerge, and give life to the scene. On the west side of the village, and on its greatest elevation, stands the Palace of the Kings, the Emperors, and the people. I say the people, because they are allowed to see the interior every day. With Parker, I took a cab directly after breakfast to the barrière des bons hommes, and walked the remaining distance, say three miles. We had the Seine in view most of the way, and crossed it on a fine iron bridge, one end of which forms the entrance to St. Cloud, in front of which the river winds. We reached the gates of the palace, and found they were not opened till twelve o'clock; but a sergeant offered to show us the King's garden,—an offer we accepted with pleasure. The entrance is by an avenue of fine trees, their tops meeting over our heads, and presenting, through the vista they made, a frame for a beautiful landscape. We passed several pieces of water, the peaceful abode of numerous fish, basking on the surface; swans also held their concave wings unfurled to the light breeze—orange trees of fair size held their golden fruit pendent—flowers of every hue covered the borders, and a hundred statues embellished all with their well-modelled forms. So unmolested are the birds that a Green Woodpecker suffered my inspection as if in the woods of our dear, dear America. At the right time we found ourselves in the King's antechamber, and then passed through half a dozen rooms glittering with richest ornaments, painted ceilings, large pictures, and lighted by immense windows; all, however, too fine for my taste, and we were annoyed by the gens d'armes watching us as if we were thieves. It was near two o'clock when we left, the weather beautiful, and heat such as is usually felt in Baltimore about this season. The population of Paris appeared now to flock to St. Cloud; the road was filled with conveyances of all sorts, and in the principal walk before the palace were hundreds of petits marchands, opening and arranging their wares. Music began in different quarters, groups lay on the grass, enjoying their repasts; every one seemed joyous and happy. One thing surprised me: we were at St. Cloud ten hours,—they told us fifty thousand (?) were there, and I saw only three women of noticeable beauty; yet these short brunettes are animated and apparently thoughtless, and sing and dance as if no shadow could ever come over them. At four o'clock all was in full vigor; the sounds of horns and bugles drew us towards a place where we saw on a platform a party of musicians, three of whom were Flemish women, and so handsome that they were surrounded by crowds. We passed through a sort of turnstile, and in a few minutes an equestrian performance began, in which the riders showed great skill, jugglers followed with other shows, and then we left; the same show in London would have cost three shillings; here, a franc. We saw people shooting at a target with a crossbow. When the marksman was successful in hitting the centre, a spring was touched, and an inflated silken goldfish, as large as a barrel, rose fifty yards in the air,—a pretty sight, I assure thee; the fins of gauze moved with the breeze, he plunged and rose and turned about, almost as a real fish would do in his element. Shows of everything were there; such a medley—such crowds—such seeming pleasure in all around us, I never remarked anywhere but in France. No word of contention did I hear; all was peace and joy, and when we left not a disturbance had taken place. We had an excellent dinner, with a bottle of Chablis, for three francs each, and returning to the place we had left, found all the fountains were playing, and dancing was universal; the musicians were good and numerous, but I was surprised to remark very few fine dancers. The woods, which were illuminated, looked extremely beautiful; the people constantly crossing and re-crossing them made the lights appear and disappear, reminding me of fireflies in our own woods in a summer night. As we passed out of the gates, we perceived as many persons coming as going, and were told the merriment would last till day. With difficulty we secured two seats in a cart, and returned to Paris along a road with a double line of vehicles of all sorts going both ways. Every few rods were guards on foot, and gens d'armes on horseback, to see that all went well; and we at last reached our hotel, tired and dusty, but pleased with all we had seen, and at having had such an opportunity to see, to compare, and to judge of the habits of a people so widely different from either Americans or English.
September 8. We went to pay our respects to Baron Cuvier and Geoffrey St. Hilaire; we saw only the first, who told us to be at the Académic Royale des Sciences in an hour. I had hired a portfolio, and took my work. As soon as we entered, Baron Cuvier very politely came to us, ordered a porter to put my book on a table, and gave me a seat of honor. The séance was opened by a tedious lecture on the vision of the Mole; then Cuvier arose, announcing my friend Swainson and me and spoke of my work; it was shown and admired as usual, and Cuvier requested to review it for the "Mémoires of the Academy." Poor Audubon! here thou art, a simple woodsman, among a crowd of talented men, yet kindly received by all—so are the works of God as shown in His birds loved by them. I left my book, that the librarian might show it to all who wished to see it.
September 9. Went to the Jardin du Roi, where I met young Geoffrey, who took me to a man who stuffs birds for the Prince d'Essling, who, I was told, had a copy of my work, but after much talk could not make out whether it was Wilson's, Selby's, or mine. I am to call on him to-morrow. I took a great walk round the Boulevards, looking around me and thinking how curious my life has been, and how wonderful my present situation is. I took Mrs. Swainson to the Louvre, and as we were about to pass one of the gates of the Tuileries, the sentinel stopped us, saying no one could pass with a fur cap; so we went to another gate, where no such challenge was given, and reached the Grand Gallery. Here amongst the Raphaels, Correggios, Titians, Davids, and thousands of others, we feasted our eyes and enlarged our knowledge. Taking Mrs. Swainson home, I then made for L'Institut de France by appointment, and gave my prospectus to the secretary of the library. Young Geoffroy, an aimable and learned young man, paid me every attention, and gave me a room for Swainson and myself to write in and for the inspection of specimens. How very different from the public societies in England, where instead of being bowed to, you have to bow to every one. Now, my Lucy, I have certainly run the gauntlet of England and Paris, and may feel proud of two things, that I am considered the first ornithological painter, and the first practical naturalist of America; may God grant me life to accomplish my serious and gigantic work.
September 10. Breakfast over, I made for the Boulevards to present the letters from good friends Rathbone and Melly. I saw Mr. B——, the banker, who read the letter I gave him, and was most polite, but as to ornithology, all he knew about it was that large feathers were called quills, and were useful in posting ledgers. From there to the Jardin du Roi, where I called on Monsieur L. C. Kiener, bird stuffer to the Prince of Massena (or Essling), who wished me to call on the Prince with him at two, the Prince being too ill to leave the house. Mr. and Mrs. Swainson were to go with me to see the collection he had made, of many curious and beautiful things, and when we reached the house we were shown at once to the museum, which surpasses in magnificence and number of rare specimens of birds, shells, and books, all I have yet seen. This for a while, when I was told the Prince would receive me. I took my pamphlet in my arms and entered a fine room, where he was lying on a sofa; he rose at once, bowed, and presented his beautiful wife. As soon as I had untied my portfolio, and a print was seen, both exclaimed, "Ah! c'est bien beau!" I was asked if I did not know Charles Bonaparte, and when I said yes, they again both exclaimed, "Ah! c'est lui, the gentleman of whom we have heard so much, the man of the woods, who has made so many and such wonderful drawings." The Prince regretted very much there were so few persons in France able to subscribe to such a work, and said I must not expect more than six or eight names in Paris. He named all whom he and his lady knew, and then said it would give him pleasure to add his name to my list; he wrote it himself, next under that of the Duke of Rutland. This prince, son of the famous marshal, is about thirty years of age, apparently delicate, pale, slender, and yet good-looking, entirely devoted to Natural History; his wife a beautiful young woman, not more than twenty, extremely graceful and polite. They both complimented me on the purity of my French, and wished me all success. My room at the hotel being very cramped, I have taken one at L'Hôtel de France, large, clean, and comfortable, for which I pay twenty-five sous a day. We are within gun-shot of Les Jardins des Tuileries. The retraite is just now beating. This means that a few drummers go through the streets at eight o'clock in the evening, beating their drums, to give notice to all soldiers to make for their quarters.
September 12. I went early to Rue Richelieu to see the librarian of the King, Mr. Van Praët, a small, white-haired gentleman, who assured me in the politest manner imaginable that it was out of the question to subscribe for such a work; he, however, gave me a card of introduction to M. Barbier, a second librarian, belonging to the King's private library at the Louvre. On my way I posted my letters for London; the inland postage of a single letter from Paris to London is twenty-four sous, and the mail for London leaves four days in the week. M. Barbier was out, but when I saw him later he advised me to write to the Baron de la Bouillerie, intendant of the King's household. So go my days.—This evening we went to the Italian Opera; it was not open when we arrived, so we put ourselves in the line of people desirous to enter, and at seven followed regularly, with no pushing or crowding (so different from England), as the arrangements are so perfect. We received our tickets, the change was counted at leisure, and we were shown into the pit, which contains three divisions; that nearest the orchestra contains the most expensive seats. The theatre is much less in extent than either Drury Lane or Covent Garden, but is handsome, and splendidly decorated and lighted. The orchestra contains more than double the number of musicians, and when the music began, not another sound was heard, all was silence and attention. Never having been at the opera since my youth, the music astounded me. The opera was Semiramis, and well executed, but I was not much pleased with it; it was too clamorous, a harmonious storm, and I would have preferred something more tranquil. I remarked that persons who left their seats intending to return laid on their seats a hat, glove, or card, which was quite sufficient to keep the place for them. In London what a treat for the thieves, who are everywhere. I walked home; the pure atmosphere of Paris, the clear sky, the temperature, almost like that of America, make me light-hearted indeed, yet would that I were again in the far distant, peaceful retreats of my happiest days. Europe might whistle for me; I, like a free bird, would sing, "Never—no, never, will I leave America."
September 13. I had to take my portfolio to Baron Cuvier, and I went first to Geoffrey de St. Hilaire, who liked it much, and retracted his first opinion of the work being too large. Monsieur Dumesnil, a first-rate engraver, came to see me, sent by Prince de Massena, and we talked of the work, which he told me honestly could not be published in France to be delivered in England as cheaply as if the work were done in London, and probably not so well. This has ended with me all thoughts of ever removing it from Havell's hands, unless he should discontinue the present excellent state of its execution. Copper is dearer here than in England, and good colorers much scarcer. I saw Cuvier, who invited us to spend the evening, and then returned to the Pont des Arts to look for bird-skins. I found none, but purchased an engraved portrait of Cuvier, and another of "Phidias and the Thorn." I have just returned with Swainson from Baron Cuvier's, who gives public receptions to scientific men every Saturday. My book was on the table; Cuvier received me with special kindness, and put me at my ease. Mademoiselle Cuvier I found remarkably agreeable, as also Monsieur de Condillot. The first very willingly said he would sit to Parker for his portrait, and the other told me that if I went to Italy, I must make his house my home. My work was seen by many, and Cuvier pronounced it the finest of its kind in existence.
September 14, Sunday. Versailles, where we have spent our day, is truly a magnificent place ; how long since I have been here, and how many changes in my life since those days! We first saw the orangerie, of about two hundred trees, that to Frenchmen who have never left Paris look well, but to me far from it, being martyrized by the hand of man, who has clipped them into stiff ovals. One is 407 years old. They produce no golden fruit, as their boxes are far too small to supply sufficient nourishment, and their fragrant blossoms are plucked to make orange-flower water. From this spot the woods, the hunting-grounds of the King, are seen circling the gardens, and are (we are told) filled with all kinds of game. The King's apartments, through which we afterwards went, are too full of gilding for my eyes, and I frequently resorted to the large windows to glance at the green trees. Amongst the paintings I admired most little Virginia and Paul standing under a palm-tree with their mothers; Paul inviting the lovely child to cross a brook. In the stables are a hundred beautiful horses, the choice of Arabia, Australasia, Normandy, Limousin, etc., each the model of his race, with fiery eyes, legs sinewy and slender, tails to the ground, and manes never curtailed. Among them still remain several that have borne the great Napoleon. From here we walked again through woods and gardens; thus, my Lucy, once more have I been at Versailles, and much have I enjoyed it.
September 15. France, my dearest friend, is indeed, poor! This day I have attended at the Royal Academy of Sciences, and had all my plates spread over the different large tables, and they were viewed by about one hundred persons. "Beau! bien beau!" issued from every mouth, but, " Quel ouvrage!" "Quel prix!" as well. I said that I had thirty subscribers at Manchester; they seemed surprised, but acknowledged that England, the little isle of England, alone was able to support poor Audubon. Poor France! thy fine climate, thy rich vineyards, and the wishes of the learned avail nothing; thou art a destitute beggar, and not the powerful friend thou wast represented to be. Now I see plainly how happy, or lucky, or prudent I was, not to follow friend Melly's enthusiastic love of country. Had I come first to France my work never would have had even a beginning; it would have perished like a flower in October. It happened that a gentleman who saw me at Versailles yesterday remembered my face, and spoke to me; he is the under secretary of this famous society, and he wrote for me a note to be presented to the Minister of the Interior, who has, I am told, the power to subscribe to anything, and for as many copies of any work as the farmers of France can well pay for through the enormous levies imposed on them. Cuvier, St. Hilaire, and many others spoke to me most kindly. I had been to Cuvier in the morning to talk with him and Parker about the portrait the latter is to paint, and I believe I will describe Cuvier's house to thee. The footman asked us to follow him upstairs, and in the first room we caught a glimpse of a slight figure dressed all in black, that glided across the floor like a sylph; it was Mile. Cuvier, not quite ready to see gentlemen: off she flew like a Dove before Falcons. We followed our man, who continually turned, saying, "This way, gentlemen." Eight rooms we passed filled with books, and each with a recessed bed, and at last reached a sort of laboratory, the sanctum sanctorum of Cuvier; there was nothing in it but books and skeletons of animals, reptiles, etc. Our conductor, surprised, bid us sit down, and left us to seek the Baron. My eyes were fully employed, and I contemplated in imagination the extent of the great man's knowledge. His books were in great disorder, and I concluded that he read and studied them, and owned them for other purposes than for show. Our man returned and led us back through the same avenue of bed-chambers, lined with books instead of satin, and we were conducted through the kitchen to another laboratory, where the Baron was found. Politeness in great men is shown differently from the same quality in fashionable society: a smile suffices to show you are welcome, without many words, and the work in hand is continued as if you were one of the family. Ah! how I delight in this! and how pleased I was to be thus welcomed by this learned man. Cuvier was looking at a small lizard in a tiny vial filled with spirit. I see now his sparkling eye half closed, as if quizzing its qualities, and as he put it down he wrote its name on a label. He made an appointment with Mr. Parker, and went on quizzing lizards. Being desirous of seeing a gambling house, young Geoffroy took me to one in the Palais Royal, a very notorious one, containing several roulette tables, and there we saw a little of the tactics of the gentlemen of the trade. The play, however, was not on this occasion high. The banqniers, or head thieves, better call them, are lank and pale, their countenances as unmoved as their hearts. From here we went to the establishment of Franconi, where I saw wonderful feats of horsemanship.
September 17. There is absolutely nothing to be done here to advance my subscription list, and at two o'clock I went with Swainson to a marchand naturaliste to see some drawings of birds of which I had heard. They were not as well drawn as mine, but much better painted.
September 18. I went to install Parker at Baron Cuvier's. He had his canvas, etc., all ready and we arrived at half-past nine, too early quite. At ten, having spent our time in the apartment of the Giraffe, Parker went in to take a second breakfast, and I to converse with Mile. Cuvier. The Baron came in, and after a few minutes to arrange about the light, sat down in a comfortable arm-chair, quite ready. Great men as well as great women have their share of vanity, and I soon discovered that the Baron thinks himself a fine-looking man. His daughter seemed to know this, and remarked more than once that her father's under lip was swelled more than usual, and she added that the line of his nose was extremely fine. I passed my fingers over mine, and, lo! I thought just the same. I see the Baron now, quite as plainly as I did this morning; an old green surtout about him, a neck-cloth, that might well surround his body if unfolded, loosely tied about his chin, and his silver locks like those of a man more bent on studying books than on visiting barbers. His fine eyes shot fire from under his bushy eyebrows, and he smiled as he conversed with me. Mlle. Cuvier, asked to read to us, and opening a book, read in a clear, well accentuated manner a comic play, well arranged to amuse us for a time, for sitting for a portrait is certainly a great bore. The Baroness joined us; I thought her looks not those of a happy person, and her melancholy affected me. The Baron soon said he was fatigued, rose and went out, but soon returned, and I advised Parker not to keep him too long. The time was adjourned to Sunday next. In Connecticut this would be thought horrible, in England it would be difficult to effect it, and in Paris it is considered the best day for such things. Again I went to the Louvre, and this evening went with young Geoffroy to the celebrated Frascati. This house is a handsome hotel, and we were introduced by two servants in fine livery into a large wainscoted room, where a roulette table was at work. Now none but gentlemen gamble here. We saw, and saw only! In another room rouge et noir was going on, and the double as well as the single Napoleons easily changed hands, yet all was smiling and serene. Some wealthy personage drew gold in handsful from his pockets, laid it on a favorite spot, and lost it calmly, more than once. Ladies also resort to this house, and good order is always preserved; without a white cravat, shoes instead of boots, etc., no one is admitted. I soon became tired of watching this and we left.
September 19. Friend Swainson requested me to go with him this morning to complete a purchase of skins, and this accomplished I called on M. Milbert, to whom I had a letter from my old friend Le Sueur, but he was absent. I now went to the Jardin du Roi, and at the library saw the so-called fine drawings of Mr. H——. Lucy, they were just such drawings as our boy Johnny made before I left home, stiff and dry as a well-seasoned fiddle-stick. The weather and the sky are most charming. This evening M. Cainard, whom I have met several times, asked me to play billiards with him, but the want of practice was such that I felt as if I never had played before. Where is the time gone when I was considered one of the best of players? To-morrow I will try to see M. Redouté. September 20. I had the pleasure of seeing old Redouté this morning, the flower-painter par excellence. After reading Le Sueur's note to him, dated five years ago, he looked at me fixedly, and said, "Well, sir, I am truly glad to become acquainted with you," and without further ceremony showed me his best works. His flowers are grouped with peculiar taste, well drawn and precise in the outlines, and colored with a pure brilliancy that depicts nature incomparably better than I ever saw it before. Old Redouté dislikes all that is not nature alone; he cannot bear either the drawings of stuffed birds or of quadrupeds, and evinced a strong desire to see a work wherein nature was delineated in an animated manner. He said that as he dined every Friday at the Duke of Orleans', he would take my work there next week, and procure his subscription, if not also that of the Duchess, and requested me to give him a prospectus. I looked over hundreds of his drawings, and found out that he sold them well; he showed me some worth two hundred and fifty guineas. On my way to the Comte de Lasterie, I met the under secretary of the King's private library, who told me that the Baron de la Bouillerie had given orders to have my work inspected and if approved of to subscribe to it. I reached the Comte de Lasterie's house, found him half dressed, very dirty, and not very civil. He was at breakfast with several gentlemen, and told me to call again, which I will take into consideration. I must not forget that in crossing the city this morning I passed through the flower market, a beautiful exhibition to me at all times. This market is abundantly supplied twice a week with exotics and flowers of all sorts, which are sold at a cheap rate.
September 21. The weather is still beautiful, and Parker and I took the omnibus at the Pont des Arts, which vehicle, being Sunday, was crowded. I left Parker to make a second sitting with Cuvier, and went to the Jardin du Roi, already filled with pleasure-seekers. I took a seat beside a venerable old soldier, and entered into conversation with him. Soldier during more than thirty years, he had much to relate. The Moscow campaign was spoken of, and I heard from the lips of this veteran the sufferings to which Napoleon's armies had been exposed. He had been taken prisoner, sent to the interior for two years, fed on musty bread by the Cossacks, who forced them to march all day. He had lost his toes and one ear by the frost, and sighed, as he said, "And to lose the campaign after all this!" I offered him a franc, and to my surprise he refused it, saying he had his pension, and was well fed. The garden was now crowded, children were scrambling for horse-chestnuts, which were beginning to fall, ladies playing battledore and shuttlecock, venders of fruit and lemonade were calling their wares, and I was interested and amused by all. Now to Baron Cuvier again. I found him sitting in his arm-chair; a gentleman was translating the dedication of Linné (Linnæus) to him, as he was anxious that the Latin should not be misconstrued; he often looked in some book or other, and I dare say often entirely forgot Parker, who notwithstanding has laid in a good likeness. The Baron wishes me to be at the Institute to-morrow at half-past one.
September 22. I was at the Institute at half-past one no Baron there. I sat opposite the clock and counted minutes one after another; the clock ticked on as if I did not exist; I began the counting of the numerous volumes around me, and as my eyes reached the centre of the hall they rested on the statue of Voltaire; he too had his share of troubles. Savants entered one after another; many bowed to me, and passed to their seats. My thoughts journeyed to America; I passed from the Missouri to the Roanoke, to the Hudson, to the Great Lakes—then floated down the gentle Ohio, and met the swift Mississippi which would carry me to thee. The clock vibrated in my ears, it struck two, and I saw again that I was in an immense library, where the number of savants continually increased, but no Cuvier; I tried to read, but could not; now it was half-past two; I was asked several times if I was waiting for the Baron, and was advised to go to his house, but like a sentinel true to his post I sat firm and waited. All at once I heard his voice, and saw him advancing, very warm and apparently fatigued. He met me with many apologies, and said, "Come with me;" and we walked along, he explaining all the time why he had been late, while his hand drove a pencil with great rapidity, and he told me that he was actually now writing the report on my work!! I thought of La Fontaine's fable of the Turtle and the Hare; I was surprised that so great a man should leave till the last moment the writing of a report to every word of which the forty critics of France would lend an attentive ear. For being on such an eminence he has to take more care of his actions than a common individual, to prevent his fall, being surrounded, as all great men are more or less, by envy and malice. My enormous book lay before him, and I shifted as swift as lightning the different plates that he had marked for examination. His pencil moved as constantly and as rapidly. He turned and returned the sheets of his manuscript with amazing accuracy, and noted as quickly as he saw, and he saw all. We were both wet with perspiration. It wanted but a few minutes of three when we went off to the Council room, Cuvier still writing, and bowing to every one he met. I left him, and was glad to get into the pure air. At my lodgings I found a card asking me to go to the Messageries Royales, and I went at once, thinking perhaps it was my numbers from London; but no such thing. My name was asked, and I was told that orders had been received to remit me ten francs, the coach having charged me for a seat better than the one I had had. This is indeed honesty. When I asked the gentleman how he had found out my lodgings, he smiled, and answered that he knew every stranger in Paris that had arrived for the last three months, through his line of employees, and that any police-officer was able to say how I spent my time.
September 23. The great Gérard, the pupil of my old master, David, has written saying he wishes to see my work, and myself also, and I have promised to go to-morrow evening at nine. To-day I have been to the King's library, a fine suite of twelve rooms, filled with elegant and most valuable copies of all the finest works. I should suppose that a hundred thousand volumes are contained here, as well as portfolios filled with valuable originals of the first masters. The King seldom reads, but he shoots well. Napoleon read, or was read to, constantly, and hardly knew how to hold a gun. I was surprised when I spoke of Charles Bonaparte to notice that no response was made, and the conversation was abruptly turned from ornithologists to engraving. I have now been nearly three weeks in Paris and have two subscribers—almost as bad as Glasgow. I am curious to see the Baron's report, and should like to have it in his own handwriting. This is hardly possible; he seldom writes, Mile. Cuvier does his writing for him.
September 24. To have seen me trot about from pillar to post, across this great town, from back of the Palais Royal to the Jardin du Luxembourg, in search of M. Le Médecin Bertrand and a copy of Cuvier's report, would have amused any one, and yet I did it with great activity. Such frailty does exist in man, all of whom are by nature avaricious of praise. Three times did I go in vain to each place, i. e., to the house in the Rue d'Enfans, and the Globe Office, three miles asunder. Fatigue at last brought me to bay, and I gave up the chase. I proceeded to the King's library. My work had had the honor to have been inspected by the Committee, who had passed a favorable judgment on its merits. I was informed that should the King subscribe, I must leave in France a man authorized by act of attorney to receive my dues, without which I might never have a sol. The librarian, a perfect gentleman, told me this in friendship, and would have added (had he dared) that Kings are rarely expected to pay. I, however, cut the matter short, knowing within myself that, should I not receive my money, I was quite able to keep the work. In the evening I dressed to go to M. Gérard's with M. Valenciennes; but he did not come, so there must have been some mistake—probably mine.
September 25. Went with Swainson to the Panthéon, to see if the interior corresponds with the magnificence of the exterior; it is fine, but still unfinished. All, or almost all, the public edifices of Paris far surpass those of London. Then to see Cuvier, who was sitting for his portrait, while the Baroness was reading to him the life of Garrick. He had known Mrs. Garrick, and his observations were interesting. The likeness is good, and Cuvier is much pleased with it; he gave me a note for M. Vallery the King's librarian. Parker had received a note from M. Valenciennes, saying he had forgot my address, and had spent the evening going from place to place searching for me, and requested I would go with him to Gérard next Thursday. Did he forget to question the all-knowing police, or did the gentleman at the Messageries exaggerate?
September 26. I spent some time in the Louvre examining very closely the most celebrated pictures of animals, birds, fruits, and flowers. Afterwards we all went to the French Opera, or, as it is called here, L'Êcole de Musique Royale. The play was "La Muette," a wonderful piece, and the whole arrangement of the performance still more so. There were at one time two hundred persons on the stage. The scenery was the finest I have ever beheld,—at the last, Mount Vesuvius in full and terrific eruption; the lava seemed absolutely to roll in a burning stream down the sides of the volcano, and the stones which were apparently cast up from the earth added to the grand representation. The whole house resounded with the most vociferous applause, and we enjoyed our evening, I assure thee.
September 27. Found old Redouté at his painting. The size of my portfolio surprised him, and when I opened the work, he examined it most carefully, and spoke highly of it, and wished he could afford it. I proposed, at last, that we should exchange works, to which he agreed gladly, and gave me at once nine numbers of his "Belles fleurs " and promised to send "Les Roses." Now, my Lucy, this will be a grand treat for thee, fond of flowers as thou art; when thou seest these, thy eyes will feast on the finest thou canst imagine. From here to the Globe office, where I saw the rédacteur, who was glad to have me correct the proof sheets as regarded the technical names. I did so, and he gave me, to my delight, the original copy of Cuvier himself. It is a great eulogium certainly, but not so feelingly written as the one by Swainson, nevertheless it will give the French an idea of my work.
September 28. I have lived many years, and have only seen one horse race. Perhaps I should not have seen that, which took place to-day at the Champ de Mars, had I not gone out of curiosity with M. Vallery. The Champ de Mars is on the south side of the Seine, about one and one half miles below Paris; we passed through Les Jardins des Tuileries, followed the river, and crossed the Pont de Jéna opposite the entrance to l'Êcole Militaire, situated at the farther end of the oval that forms the Champ de Mars. This is a fine area, and perfectly level, surrounded by a levee of earth, of which I should suppose the material was taken from the plain on which the course is formed. Arriving early, we walked round it; saw with pleasure the trees that shaded the walks; the booths erected for the royal family, the prefect, the gentry, and the canaille, varying greatly in elegance, as you may suppose. Chairs and benches were to be hired in abundance, and we each took one. At one o'clock squadrons of gens d'armes and whole regiments of infantry made their appearance from different points, and in a few minutes the whole ground was well protected. The King was expected, but I saw nothing of him, nor, indeed, of any of the royal family, and cannot even assert that they came. At two every seat was filled, and several hundreds of men on horseback had taken the centre of the plain divided from the race track by a line of ropes. The horses for the course made their appearance,—long-legged, slender-bodied, necks straight, light of foot, and fiery-eyed. They were soon mounted, and started, but I saw none that I considered swift; not one could have run half as fast as a buck in our woods. Five different sets were run, one after another, but I must say I paid much greater attention to a Mameluke on a dark Arab steed, which with wonderful ease leaped over the ground like a Squirrel; going at times like the wind, then, being suddenly checked by his rider, almost sat on his haunches, wheeled on his hind legs, and cut all sorts of mad tricks at a word from his skilful master. I would rather see him again than all the races in the world; horse racing, like gambling, can only amuse people who have nothing better to attend to; however, I have seen a race!
September 30. I saw Constant, the great engraver, Rue Percie, No. 12; he was at work, and I thought he worked well. I told him the purpose of my visit, and he dropped his work at once to see mine. How he stared! how often he exclaimed, "Oh, mon Dieu, quel ouvrage!" I showed him all, and he began calculating, but did so, far too largely for me, and we concluded no bargain. Old Redouté visited me and brought me a letter from the Due d'Orléans, whom I was to call upon at one o'clock. Now, dearest friend, as I do not see Dukes every day I will give thee a circumstantial account of my visit. The Palais of the Duc d'Orléans is actually the entrance of the Palais-Royal, where we often go in the evening, and is watched by many a sentinel. On the right, I saw a large, fat, red-coated man through the ground window, whom I supposed the porter of his Royal Highness. I entered and took off my fur cap, and went on in an unconcerned way towards the stairs, when he stopped me, and asked my wishes. I told him I had an engagement with his master at one, and gave him my card to take up. He said Monseigneur was not in (a downright lie), but that I might go to the antechamber. I ordered the fat fellow to have my portfolio taken upstairs, and proceeded to mount the finest staircase my feet have ever trod. The stairs parted at bottom in rounding form of about twenty-four feet in breadth, to meet on the second floor, on a landing lighted by a sky-light, which permitted me to see the beauties of the surrounding walls, and on this landing opened three doors, two of which I tried in vain to open. The third, however, gave way, and I found myself in the antechamber, with about twelve servants, who all rose and stood, until I had seated myself on a soft, red-velvet-covered bench. Not a word was said to me, and I gazed at all of them with a strange sensation of awkwardness mingled with my original pride. This room had bare walls, and a floor of black and white square marble flags. A man I call a sergeant d'armes, not knowing whether I am right or wrong, wore a sword fastened to a belt of embroidered silk, very wide; and he alone retained his hat. In a few minutes a tall, thin gentleman made his entrance from another direction from that by which I had come. The servants were again all up in a moment, the sergeant took off his hat, and the gentleman disappeared as if he had not seen me, though I had risen and bowed. A few minutes elapsed, when the same thing occurred again. Not knowing how long this might continue, I accosted the sergeant, told him I came at the request of the Duke, and wished to see him. A profound bow was the answer, and I was conducted to another room, where several gentlemen were seated writing. I let one of them know my errand, and in a moment was shown into an immense and superbly furnished apartment, and my book was ordered to be brought up. In this room I bowed to two gentlemen whom I knew to be members of the Légion d'Honneur, and walked about admiring the fine marble statues and the paintings. A gentleman soon came to me, and asked if perchance my name was Audubon? I bowed, and he replied: "Bless me, we thought that you had gone and left your portfolio; my uncle has been waiting for you twenty minutes; pray, sir, follow me." We passed through a file of bowing domestics, and a door being opened I saw the Duke coming towards me, to whom I was introduced by the nephew. Lucy, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama have furnished the finest men in the world, as regards physical beauty; I have also seen many a noble-looking Osage chief; but I do not recollect a finer-looking man, in form, deportment, and manners, than this Due d'Orléans. He had my book brought up, and helped me to untie the strings and arrange the table, and began by saying that he felt a great pleasure in subscribing to the work of an American, for that he had been most kindly treated in the United States, and should never forget it. The portfolio was at last opened, and when I held up the plate of the Baltimore Orioles, with a nest swinging amongst the tender twigs of the yellow poplar, he said: "This surpasses all I have seen, and I am not astonished now at the eulogiums of M. Redouté." He spoke partly English, and partly French; spoke much of America, of Pittsburgh, the Ohio, New Orleans, the Mississippi, steamboats, etc., etc., and added: "You are a great nation, a wonderful nation."
The Duke promised me to write to the Emperor of Austria, King of Sweden, and other crowned heads, and asked me to write to-day to the Minister of the Interior. I remained talking with him more than an hour; I showed him my list of English subscribers, many of whom he knew. I asked him for his own signature; he took my list and with a smile wrote, in very large and legible characters, "Le Duc d'Orléans." I now felt to remain longer would be an intrusion, and thanking him respectfully I bowed, shook hands with him, and retired. He wished to keep the set I had shown him, but it was soiled, and to such a good man a good set must go. At the door I asked the fat porter if he would tell me again his master was out. He tried in vain to blush.
October 1. Received to-day the note from the Minister of the Interior asking me to call to-morrow at two. At eight in the evening I was ready for M. Valenciennes to call for me to go with him to Gérard. I waited till ten, when my gentleman came, and off we went; what a time to pay a visit! But I was told Gérard keeps late hours, rarely goes to bed before two, but is up and at work by ten or eleven. When I entered I found the rooms filled with both sexes, and my name being announced, a small, well-formed man came to me, took my hand, and said, "Welcome, Brother in Arts." I liked this much, and was gratified to have the ice broken so easily. Gérard was all curiosity to see my drawings, and old Redouté, who was present, spoke so highly of them before the book was opened, that I feared to discover Gérard's disappointment. The book opened accidentally at the plate of the Parrots, and Gérard, taking it up without speaking, looked at it, I assure thee, with as keen an eye as my own, for several minutes; put it down, took up the one of the Mocking-Birds, and, offering me his hand, said: "Mr. Audubon, you are the king of ornithological painters; we are all children in France and in Europe. Who would have expected such things from the woods of America?" My heart thrilled with pride at his words. Are not we of America men? Have we not the same nerves, sinews, and mental faculties which other nations possess? By Washington! we have, and may God grant us the peaceable use of them forever. I received compliments from all around me; Gérard spoke of nothing but my work, and requested some prospectuses for Italy. He repeated what Baron Cuvier had said in the morning, and hoped that the Minister would order a good, round set of copies for the Government. I closed the book, and rambled around the rooms which were all ornamented with superb prints, mostly of Gérard's own paintings. The ladies were all engaged at cards, and money did not appear to be scarce in this portion of Paris.
October 2. Well, my Lucy, this day found me, about two o'clock, in contemplation of a picture by Gérard in the salon of the Minister of the Interior. Very different, is it not, from looking up a large decaying tree, watching the movements of a Woodpecker? I was one of several who were waiting, but only one person was there when I arrived, who entered into conversation with me,—a most agreeable man and the King's physician, possessed of fine address and much learning, being also a good botanist. Half an hour elapsed, when the physician was called; he was absent only a few minutes, and returning bowed to me and smiled as my name was called. I found the Minister a man about my own age, apparently worn out with business; he wore a long, loose, gray surtout, and said, "Well, sir, I am glad to see you; where is your great work?" I had the portfolio brought in, and the plates were exhibited. "Really, monsieur, it is a very fine thing;" and after some questions and a little conversation he asked me to write to him again, and put my terms in writing, and he would reply as soon as possible. He looked at me very fixedly, but so courteously I did not mind it. I tied up my portfolio and soon departed, having taken as much of the time of M. de Marignac as I felt I could do at this hour.
October 4. Went with Swainson to the Jardin du Roi to interpret for him, and afterwards spent some time with Geoffrey de St. Hilaire, hearing from him some curious facts respecting the habits and conformation of the Mole. He gave me a ticket to the distribution of the Grand Prix at the Institut. I then ascended four of the longest staircases I know, to reach the cabinet of M. Pascale, the director of the expenses of S. A. R. the Duc d'Orléans. What order was here! Different bookcases contained the papers belonging to the forests—horses—furniture—fine arts—libraries—fisheries—personal expenses, and so on. M. Pascale took out M. Redouté's letter, and I perceived the day of subscription, number of plates per annum, all, was noted on the margin. M. Pascale sent me to the private apartments of the Duchesse. Judge of my astonishment when I found this house connected with the Palais-Royal. I went through a long train of corridors, and reached the cabinet of M. Goutard. He took my name and heard my request and promised to make an appointment for me through M. Redouté, who is the drawing-master of the daughters of the Duchesse. With Parker I went to see the distribution of prizes at L'Institut Français. The entrance was crowded, and, as in France pushing and scrambling to get forward is out of the question, and very properly so, I think, we reached the amphitheatre when it was already well filled with a brilliant assemblage, but secured places where all could be seen. The members dress in black trimmed with rich green laces. The youths aspiring to rewards were seated round a table, facing the audience. The reports read, the prizes were given, those thus favored receiving a crown of laurel with either a gold or silver medal. We remained here from two till five.
Sunday, October 5. After a wonderful service at Notre Dame I wandered through Les Jardins des Plantes, and on to Cuvier's, who had promised me a letter to some one who would, he thought, subscribe to my book; but with his usual procrastination it was not ready, and he said he would write it to-morrow. Oh, cursed to-morrow! Do men forget, or do they not know how swiftly time moves on?
October 6. Scarce anything to write. No letter yet from the Minister of the Interior, and I fear he too is a "To-morrow man." I went to Cuvier for his letter; when he saw me he laughed, and told me to sit down and see his specimens for a little while; he was surrounded by reptiles of all sorts, arranging and labelling them. In half an hour he rose and wrote the letter for me to the Duke of Levis, but it was too late to deliver it to-day.
October 7. While with M. Lesson to-day, he spoke of a Monsieur d'Orbigny of La Rochelle; and on my making some inquiries I discovered he was the friend of my early days, my intimate companion during my last voyage from France to America; that he was still fond of natural history, and had the management of the Musée at La Rochelle. His son Charles, now twenty-one, I had held in my arms many times, and as M. Lesson said he was in Paris, I went at once to find him; he was out, but shortly after I had a note from him saying he would call to-morrow morning.
October 8. This morning I had the great pleasure of receiving my god-son Charles d'Orbigny. Oh! what past times were brought to my mind. He told me he had often heard of me from his father, and appeared delighted to meet me. He, too, like the rest of his family, is a naturalist, and I showed him my work with unusual pleasure. His father was the most intimate friend I have ever had, except thee, my Lucy, and my father. I think I must have asked a dozen times to-day if no letter had come for me. Oh, Ministers! what patience you do teach artists!
October 11. This afternoon, as I was despairing about the ministers, I received a note from Vicomte Siméon, desiring I should call on Monday. I may then finish with these high dignitaries. I saw the King and royal family get out of their carriages at the Tuileries; bless us! what a show! Carriages fairly glittering—eight horses in each, and two hundred hussars and outriders. A fine band of music announced their arrival. Dined at Baron Cuvier's, who subscribed to my work; he being the father of all naturalists, I felt great pleasure at this. I left at eleven, the streets dark and greasy, and made for the shortest way to my hotel, which, as Paris is a small town compared to London, I found no difficulty in doing. I am astonished to see how early all the shops close here.
October 13. At twelve o'clock I was seated in the antechamber of the Vicomte Siméon; when the sergeant perceived me he came to me and said that M. Siméon desired me to have the first interview. I followed him and saw a man of ordinary stature, about forty, fresh-looking, and so used to the courtesy of the great world that before I had opened my lips he had paid me a very handsome compliment, which I have forgot. The size of my work astonished him, as it does every one who sees it for the first time. He told me that the work had been under discussion, and that he advised me to see Baron de la Brouillerie and Baron Vacher, the secretary of the Dauphin. I told him I wished to return to England to superintend my work there, and he promised I should have the decision to-morrow (hated word!) or the next day. I thought him kind and complaisant. He gave the signal for my departure by bowing, and I lifted my book, as if made of feathers, and passed out with swiftness and alacrity. I ordered the cab at once to the Tuileries, and after some trouble found the Cabinet of the Baron de Vacher; there, Lucy, I really waited like a Blue Heron on the edge of a deep lake, the bottom of which the bird cannot find, nor even know whether it may turn out to be good fishing. Many had their turns before me, but I had my interview. The Baron, a fine young man about twenty-eight, promised me to do all he could, but that his master was allowed so much (how much I do not know), and his expenses swallowed all.
October 14. Accompanied Parker while he was painting Redouté's portrait, and during the outlining of that fine head I was looking over the original drawings of the great man; never have I seen drawings more beautifully wrought up, and so true to nature. The washy, slack, imperfect messes of the British artists are nothing in comparison. I remained here three hours, which I enjoyed much.
October 15. Not a word from the minister, and the time goes faster than I like, I assure thee. Could the minister know how painful it is for an individual like me to wait nearly a month for a decision that might just as well have been concluded in one minute, I am sure things would be different.
October 18. I have seen two ministers this day, but from both had only promises. But this day has considerably altered my ideas of ministers. I have had a fair opportunity of seeing how much trouble they have, and how necessary it is to be patient with them. I arrived at Baron de la Brouillerie's at half-past eleven. A soldier took my portfolio, that weighs nearly a hundred pounds, and showed me the entrance to a magnificent antechamber. Four gentlemen and a lady were there, and after they had been admitted and dismissed, my name was called. The Baron is about sixty years old; tall, thin, not handsome, red in the face, and stiff in his manners. I opened my book, of which he said he had read much in the papers, and asked me why I had not applied to him before. I told him I had written some weeks ago. This he had forgot, but now remembered, somewhat to his embarrassment. He examined every sheet very closely, said he would speak to the King, and I must send him a written and exact memorandum of everything. He expressed surprise the Duc d'Orléans had taken only one copy. I walked from here to Vicomte Siméon. It was his audience day, and in the antechamber twenty-six were already waiting. My seat was close to the door of his cabinet, and I could not help hearing some words during my penance, which lasted one hour and a half. The Vicomte received every one with the same words, "Monsieur (or Madame), j'ai l'honneur de vous saluer;" and when each retired, "Monsieur, je suis votre très humble serviteur." Conceive, my Lucy, the situation of this unfortunate being, in his cabinet since eleven, repeating these sentences to upwards of one hundred persons, answering questions on as many different subjects. What brains he must have,—and how long can he keep them? As soon as I entered he said: "Your business is being attended to, and I give you my word you shall have your answer on Tuesday. Have you seen Barons Vacher and La Brouillerie?" I told him I had, and he wished me success as I retired.
October 19. About twelve walked to the plains d'Issy to see the review of the troops by the King in person. It is about eight miles from that portion of Paris where I was, and I walked it with extreme swiftness, say five and a half miles per hour. The plain is on the south bank of the Seine, and almost level. Some thousands of soldiers were already ranged in long lines, handsomely dressed, and armed as if about to be in action. I made for the top of a high wall, which I reached at the risk of breaking my neck, and there, like an Eagle on a rock, I surveyed all around me. The carriage of the Duc d'Orléans came first at full gallop, all the men in crimson liveries, and the music struck up like the thunder of war. Then the King, all his men in white liveries, came driving at full speed, and followed by other grandees. The King and these gentry descended from their carriages and mounted fine horses, which were in readiness for them; they were immediately surrounded by a brilliant staff, and the review began, the Duchesses d' Orléans and de Berry having now arrived in open carriages; from my perch I saw all. The Swiss troops began, and the manœuvres were finely gone through; three times I was within twenty-five yards of the King and his staff, and, as a Kentuckian would say, "could have closed his eye with a rifle bullet." He is a man of small stature, pale, not at all handsome, and rode so bent over his horse that his appearance was neither kingly nor prepossessing. He wore a three-cornered hat, trimmed with white feathers, and had a broad blue sash from the left shoulder under his right arm. The Duc d' Orléans looked uncommonly well in a hussar uniform, and is a fine rider; he sat his horse like a Turk. The staff was too gaudy; I like not so much gold and silver. None of the ladies were connections of Venus, except most distantly; few Frenchwomen are handsome. The review over, the King and his train rode off. I saw a lady in a carriage point at me on the wall; she doubtless took me for a large black Crow. The music was uncommonly fine, especially that by the band belonging to the Cuirassiers, which was largely composed of trumpets of various kinds, and aroused my warlike feelings. The King and staff being now posted at some little distance, a new movement began, the cannon roared, the horses galloped madly, the men were enveloped in clouds of dust and smoke; this was a sham battle. No place of retreat was here, no cover of dark woods, no deep swamp; there would have been no escape here. This was no battle of New Orleans, nor Tippecanoe. I came down from my perch, leaving behind me about thirty thousand idlers like myself, and the soldiers, who must have been hot and dusty enough.
October 20. Nothing to do, and tired of sight-seeing. Four subscriptions in seven weeks. Slow work indeed. I took a long walk, and watched the Stock Pigeons or Cushats in the trees of Le Jardin des Tuileries, where they roost in considerable numbers, arriving about sunset. They settle at first on the highest trees, and driest, naked branches, then gradually lower themselves, approach the trunks of the trees, and thickest parts, remain for the night, leave at day-break, and fly northerly. Blackbirds do the same, and are always extremely noisy before dark; a few Rooks are seen, and two or three Magpies. In the Jardin, and in the walks of the Palais-Royal, the common Sparrow is prodigiously plenty, very tame, fed by ladies and children, killed or missed with blow-guns by mischievous boys. The Mountain Finch passes in scattered numbers over Paris at this season, going northerly, and is caught in nets. Now, my love, wouldst thou not believe me once more in the woods, hard at it? Alas! I wish I was; what precious time I am wasting in Europe.
October 21. Redouté told me the young Duchesse d'Orléans had subscribed, and I would receive a letter to that effect. Cuvier sent me one hundred printed copies of his Procès verbal.
October 22. The second day of promise is over, and not a word from either of the ministers. Now, do those good gentlemen expect me to remain in Paris all my life? They are mistaken. Saturday I pack; on Tuesday morning farewell to Paris. Redouté sent me three volumes of his beautiful roses, which thou wilt so enjoy, and a compliment which is beyond all truth, so I will not repeat it.
October 26. I received a letter from Baron de la Brouillerie announcing that the King had subscribed to my work for his private library. I was visited by the secretary of the Duc d'Orléans, who sat with me some time, a clever and entertaining man with whom I felt quite at ease. He told me that I might now expect the subscriptions of most of the royal family, because none of them liked to be outdone or surpassed by any of the others. Good God! what a spirit is this; what a world we live in! I also received a M. Pitois, who came to look at my book, with a view to becoming my agent here; Baron Cuvier recommended him strongly, and I have concluded a bargain with him. He thinks he can procure a good number of names. His manners are plain, and I hope he will prove an honest man. He had hardly gone, when I received a letter from M. Siméon, telling me the Minister of the Interior would take six copies for various French towns and universities, and he regretted it was not twelve. So did I, but I am well contented. I have now thirteen subscribers in Paris; I have been here two months, and have expended forty pounds. My adieux will now be made, and I shall be en route for London before long.
London, November 4. I travelled from Paris to Boulogne with two nuns, that might as well be struck off the calendar of animated beings. They stirred not, they spoke not, they saw not; they replied neither by word nor gesture to the few remarks I made. In the woods of America I have never been in such silence; for in the most retired places I have had the gentle murmuring streamlet, or the sound of the Woodpecker tapping, or the sweet melodious strains of that lovely recluse, my greatest favorite, the Wood Thrush. The great poverty of the country struck me everywhere; the peasantry are beggarly and ignorant, few know the name of the Département in which they live; their hovels are dirty and uncomfortable, and appear wretched indeed after Paris. In Paris alone can the refinements of society, education, and the fine arts be found. To Paris, or to the large cities, the country gentleman must go, or have nothing; how unlike the beautiful country homes of the English. I doubt not the "New Monthly" would cry out: "Here is Audubon again, in all his extravagance." This may be true, but I write as I think I see, and that is enough to render me contented with my words. The passage from Calais was short, and I was free from my usual seasickness, and London was soon reached, where I have been busy with many letters, many friends, and my work. I have presented a copy of my birds to the Linnæan Society, and sold a little picture for ten guineas. And now I must to work on the pictures that have been ordered in France.
November 7. To-day is of some account, as Mr. Havell has taken the drawings that are to form the eleventh number of my work. It will be the first number for the year 1829. I have as yet had no answer from the Linnæan Society, but thou knowest how impatient my poor nature always is.
November 10. I have been painting as much as the short days will allow, but it is very hard for me to do so, as my Southern constitution suffers so keenly from the cold that I am freezing on the side farthest from the fire at this very instant. I have finished the two pictures for the Duc d'Orléans; that of the Grouse I regret much to part with, without a copy; however, I may at some future time group another still more naturally.
November 15. We have had such dismal fog in this London that I could scarcely see to write at twelve o'clock; however, I did write nearly all day. It has been extremely cold besides, and in the streets in the middle of the day I saw men carrying torches, so dark it was.
November 17. I anticipated this day sending all my copies for Paris, but am sadly disappointed. One of the colorers employed brought a number so shamefully done that I would not think of forwarding it. It has gone to be washed, hot pressed, and done over again. Depend upon it, my work will not fail for the want of my own very particular attention.
December 23. After so long neglecting thee, my dear book, it would be difficult to enter a connected account of my time, but I will trace the prominent parts of the lapse. Painting every day, and I may well add constantly, has been the main occupation. I have (what I call) finished my two large pictures of the Eagle and the Lamb, and the Dog and the Pheasants, and now, as usual, can scarce bear to look at either. My friends the Swainsons have often been to see me, and good Bentley came and lived with me for a month as a brother would. I parted from him yesterday with pain and regret. Several artists have called upon me, and have given me false praises, as I have heard afterwards, and I hope they will keep aloof. It is charity to speak the truth to a man who knows the poverty of his talents and wishes to improve; it is villanous to mislead him, by praising him to his face, and laughing at his work as they go down the stairs of his house. I have, however, applied to one whom I know to be candid, and who has promised to see them, and to give his opinion with truth and simplicity; this is no other, my Lucy, than the president of the Royal Academy, Sir Thomas Lawrence. The steady work and want of exercise has reduced me almost to a skeleton; I have not allowed myself the time even to go to the Zoölogical Gardens.
December 26. I dined yesterday (another Christmas day away from my dear country) at a Mr. Goddard's; our company was formed of Americans, principally sea-captains. During my absence Sir Thomas Lawrence came to see my paintings, which were shown to him by Mr. Havell, who reported as follows. On seeing the Eagle and Lamb he said, "That is a fine picture." He examined it closely, and was shown that of the Pheasants, which I call "Sauve qui peut." He approached it, looked at it sideways, up and down, and put his face close to the canvas, had it moved from one situation to two others in different lights, but gave no opinion. The Otter came next, and he said that the "animal" was very fine, and told Havell he would come again to see them in a few days. I paid him my respects the next morning, and thought him kinder than usual. He said he would certainly come to make a choice for me of one to be exhihited at Somerset House, and would speak to the Council about it.
* * * * * * * * *
The remaining three months before Audubon sailed for America, April 1, 1829, were passed in preparations for his absence from his book, and many pages of his fine, close writing are filled with memoranda for Mr. Havell, Mr. J. G. Children, and Mr. Pitois. Audubon writes: "I have made up my mind to go to America, and with much labor and some trouble have made ready. My business is as well arranged for as possible; I have given the agency of my work to my excellent friend Children, of the British Museum, who kindly offered to see to it during my absence. I have collected some money, paid all my debts, and taken my passage in the packet-ship 'Columbia,' Captain Delano. I chose the ship on account of her name, and paid thirty pounds for my passage. I am about to leave this smoky city for Portsmouth, and shall sail on April 1." The voyage was uneventful, and America was reached on May 1. Almost immediately began the search for new birds, and those not delineated already, for the continuation and completion of the "Birds of America."
Eagle and Lamb
Painted by Audubon, 1828. In the possession of the family.
- This sounds involved, but is copied verbatim.
- Mr. Wm. Rathbone, of the firm of Rathbone Bros. & Co., to whom Audubon had a letter from Mr. Vincent Nolté. To Messrs. Wm. and Richard Rathbone, and their father Wm. Rathbone, Sr., Audubon was more deeply indebted than to any other of his many kind friends in England. Their hospitality was only equalled by their constant and valuable assistance in preparing for the publication of the "Birds," and when this was an assured fact, they were unresting in their efforts to aid Audubon in procuring subscribers. It is with pleasure that Audubon's descendants to-day acknowledge this indebtedness to the "family Rathbone," which is ever held in grateful remembrance.
- William Roscoe, historical, botanical, and miscellaneous writer, 1753-1831.
- In a charming letter written to me by Mr. Richard R. Rathbone, son of this gentleman, dated Glan y Menai, Anglesey, May 14, 1897, he says: "To us there was a halo of romance about Mr. Audubon, artist, naturalist, quondam backwoodsman, and the author of that splendid work which I used to see on a table constructed to hold the copy belonging to my Uncle William, opening with hinges so as to raise the bird portraits as if on a desk. But still more I remember his amiable character, though tinged with melancholy by past sufferings; and his beautiful, expressive face, kept alive in my memory by his autograph crayon sketch thereof, in profile, with the words written at foot, 'Audubon at Green Bank. Almost happy, 9th September, 1826.' Mr. Audubon painted for my father, as a gift, an Otter (in oils) caught by the fore-foot in a steel trap, and after vainly gnawing at the foot to release himself, throwing up his head, probably with a yell of agony, and displaying his wide-open jaws dripping with blood. This picture hung on our walls for years, until my mother could no longer bear the horror of it, and persuaded my father to part with it. We also had a full-length, life-sized portrait of the American Turkey, striding through the forest. Both pictures went to a public collection in Liverpool. I have also a colored sketch by Mr. Audubon of a Robin Redbreast, shot by him at Green Bank, which I saw him pin with long pins into a bit of board to fix it into position for the instruction of my mother."
- At Green Bank.
- Vincent Nolté, born at Leghorn, 1779, traveller, merchant, adventurer.
- William Henry Hunt (1790-1864).
- Mrs. Alexander Gordon was Mrs. Audubon's sister Anne.
- Thomas Stewart Traill, M. D., Scottish naturalist, born in Orkney, 1781; edited the eighth edition of the "Encyclopædia Britannica," was associated with the Royal Institute at Liverpool; he died 1862.
- The Swiss historian, born at Geneva, 1773, died 1842.
- Daughter of Mr. William Rathbone, Sr.; married Dr. William Reynolds.
- Edward, fourteenth Earl of Derby, 1799-1869. Member of Parliament, Chief Secretary for Ireland, Secretary for the Colonies, First Lord of the Treasury, and Prime Minister. Translated Homer's Iliad into blank verse. His was a life of many interests: literature, art, society, public affairs, sportmanship, and above all "the most perfect orator of his day."
- Mrs. Wm. Rathbone, Sr.,whom Audubon often calls "Lady Rathbone," and also "The Queen Bee."
- Muzio Clementi, composer and pianist, born in Rome, 1752, died in London, 1832. Head of the piano firm of that name.
- Relative of Mr. Wm. Rathbone, Sr.
- The Irwell.
- William Smyth, 1766-1849, poet, scholar, and Professor of Modern History at Cambridge.
- Henry Clay.
- John Randolph of Roanoke, 1773-1833, American orator and statesman.
- William S. Roscoe, son of William Roscoe, 1781-1843.
- I believe Mr. Robert Bentley, the publisher.
- Robert Jameson, the eminent Scotch naturalist, 1774-1854. Regius Professor of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh. Founder of the Wernerian Society of that city, and with Sir David Brewster originated the "Edinburgh Philosophical Review." Wrote many works on geology and mineralogy.
- Andrew Duncan, M. D., 1745-1828. Lecturer in the University of Edinburgh.
- Patrick Neill, 1776-1851, Scottish naturalist and horticulturalist. Was a printer in Edinburgh at this lime.
- Prideaux John Selby, English ornithologist, author of "British Birds" and other works; died 1867.
- Lord Francis Jeffrey, 1773-1850, the distinguished Scottish critic and essayist.
- Sir William Jardine.
- W. H. Lizars, the engraver who made a few of the earliest plates of the "Birds of America."
- Scottish naturalist, 1800-1874. Published "Naturalists' Library" and other works.
- James Wilson, brother of Professor John Wilson (Christopher North), naturalist and scientific writer, 1795-1856.
- George Combe, an eminent phrenologist and author on that subject. Born and died in Edinburgh, 1788-1856.
- David Bridges, editor of one of the Edinburgh newspapers.
- John Syme. His portrait of Audubon was the first one ever engraved.
- Charles Waterton, English naturalist and traveller, 1782-1865,—always an enemy of Audubon's.
- This seal Audubon always used afterwards, and it is still in the possession of the family.
- Robert Graham, Scottish physician and botanist, born at Stirling, 1786, died at Edinburgh, 1845.
- David Brewster, author, scientist, and philosopher, Edinburgh, 1781-
- Dugald Stewart, Professor of Moral Philosophy, author, etc., Edinburgh, 1753-1828.
- Thomas Bruce, seventh Earl of Elgin. 1777-1841.
- Wm. Forbes Skene, Scottish historian.
- Afterwards Sir William Allan, historical painter; in 1833 was elected president of the Scottish Royal Academy, Edinburgh. 1782-1850.
- An eminent divine 1784-1858; father of Dr. John Brown, author of "Rab and his Friends," etc.
- William Nicholson, First Secretary of the Scottish Academy and portrait painter. 1784-1844.
- Traveller and author. 1788-1844.
- Robert Kaye Greville, author of "Plants of Edinburgh" and other botanical works, 1794-1866.
- This entry begins a new blank book, in shape and size like a ledger, every line of which is closely written.
- Spencer Perceval, born 1762, assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons, May 11, 1812.
- "Jan. 22, 1827. A visit from Basil Hall with Mr. Audubon the ornithologist, who has followed that pursuit by many a long wandering in the American forests. He is an American by naturalization, a Frenchman by birth, but less of a Frenchman than I have ever seen, no dash, no glimmer or shine about him, but great simplicity of manners and behaviour; slight in person and plainly dressed; wears long hair which time has not yet tinged; his countenance acute, handsome, and interesting, but still simplicity is the predominant characteristic." (Journal of Sir Walter Scott, vol. i., p. 343.)
- "January 24. Visit from Mr. Audubon, who brings some of his birds. The drawings are of the first order the attitudes of the birds of the most animated character, and the situations appropriate. … This sojourner of the desert had been in the woods for months together. He preferred associating with the Indians to the company of the settlers; very justly, I daresay, for a civilized man of the lower order when thrust back on the savage state becomes worse than a savage." (Journal of Sir Walter Scott, vol. L, p. 345.)
- Sir John Leslie, 1766-1832, Scottish geometer and natural philosopher and voluminous author on these subjects.
- Joseph B. Kidd, who later copied many of Audubon's birds.
- James Baillie Fraser, 1783-1856, Scottish writer of travels.
- Mrs. Anne Grant, poetess and miscellaneous writer. Born 1755, died 1838.
- This entry is the only one on a large page, of which a facsimile is given. It is written in the centre, and all around the edge of the paper is a heavy black border, an inch in depth.
- A distinguished ornithologist said of the book in 1895: "It is one of the few illustrated books, if not the only one, that steadily increases in price as the years go on."
- One of the greatest metaphysicians of modern times. Born at Glasgow 1788, died in Edinburgh, 1856.
- Possibly Charles Heath, engraver, 1784-1848.
- Thomas Bewick was at this time nearly seventy-four. He died Nov. 8, 1828, being then past seventy-five.
- Probably St. Mary's Abbey.
- Mr. Vernon was the president of the Philosophical Society of York.
- Mr. John Backhouse.
- Nearly every entry in all the journals begins and ends with a morning greeting, and an affectionate good-night. These have been omitted with occasional exceptions.
- Mr. Melly.
- John George Children, 1777-1852, English physicist and naturalist, at this time secretary of the Royal Society.
- Robert Inglis, 1786-1855, of the East India Company.
- Nicholas Aylward Vigors, 1787-1840, naturalist, First Secretary of the Zoölogical Society of London.
- Then a boy not fifteen, who was at Bayou Sara with his mother.
- When found by Audubon the Havells were in extreme poverty. He provided everything for them, and his publication made them comparatively wealthy.
- Benson Rathbone.
- The distance between these places is about two miles.
- The Duck-billed Platypus, Ornithorynchus paradoxus of Australia,— E.G.
- The Andean Eagle is undoubtedly the Harpy, Thrasaetos harpyia.—E. C.
- François Athanase de Charette, a leader of the Vendéans against the French Republic; executed at Nantes, on May 12, 1797.
- Children's Warbler. Plate xxxv.
- Vigors' Warbler. Plate xxx.
- Cuvier's Regulus. Plate lv. No bird was named after Temminck by Audubon.
- This decision was made in consequence of various newspaper and personal attacks, which, then as now, came largely from people who knew nothing of the matter under consideration. It was a decision, however, never altered except in so far as regards the Episodes published in the "Ornithological Biography."
- David Don, Scottish botanist, 1800-1840; at this time Librarian of Linnaean Society.
- Thomas Nuttall, botanist and ornithologist; born in England 1786, died at St. Helen's, England, September 10, 1859.
- Of all the twenty-six only three are known to be in existence; the other volumes now extant are all of later date.
- Joshua Brookes, 1761-1833, anatomist and surgeon.
- Captain (Sir) Edward Sabine accompanied Parry's expedition to the Arctic regions, a mathematician, traveller, and Fellow of the Royal Society, 1819. Born in Dublin, 1788, died in Richmond, 1883.
- Adam Sedgwick, geologist. 1785-1873.
- William Whewell, 1795-1866, Professor of Moral Philosophy, Mineralogy, and other sciences.
- John Stevens Henslow, botanist, 1796-1861.
- Dr. John Kidd, 1775-1851, Professor of Chemistry and Medicine at Oxford.
- Edward Burton, D.D., 1794-1836, Professor of Divinity at Oxford.
- William Buckland, D.D., 1784-1856, geologist.
- John Claudius Loudon, 1783-1843, writer on horticulture and arboriculture. In 1828-1836, editor of the " Magazine of Natural History."
- Edward Turner Bennett, 1797-1836, zoologist.
- William Swainson, naturalist and writer. Born in England 1789, emigrated in 1841 to New Zealand, where he died 1855.
- This picture is still in the family, being owned by one of the granddaughters.
- François Levaillant, born at Paramaribo, 1753; died in France, 1824.
- John Edward Gray, 1800-1875, zoologist.
- No trace of this portrait can be found.
- George Chrétien Leopold Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier, Baron, 1769-1832; statesman, author, philosopher, and one of the greatest naturalists of modern times.
- Achilla Valenciennes, born 1794, French naturalist.
- Êtienne Geoffrey de St. Hilaire, 1772-1844, French naturalist.
- René Primevère Lesson, a French naturalist and author, born at Rochefort, 1794, died 1849.
- Isidore Geoffrey St. Hilaire, 1805-1861, zoölogist.
- Son of André, Prince d'Essling and Due de Rivoli, one of the marshals of Napoleon.
- Charles Alexandre Le Sueur, French naturalist. 1778-1846.
- Pierre Joseph Redouté, French painter of flowers. 1759-1840.
- François Gérard, born at Rome 1770, died 1837; the best French portrait painter of his time, distinguished also for historical pictures.
- Charles d'Orbigny, son of Audubon's early friend, M. le docteur d'Orbigny.
- Count Joseph Jérôme Siméon, French Minister of State. 1781-1846.
- The words of the secretary were fully verified within a few months.