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receiving her fiancé in the evening of- And it all comes back-this lack of ten forgets the drawing of the blinds. privacy in the American home-to a Then, even where care is taken to draw want of doors of one sort or another, the front blinds, there is a shocking doors to shut one's self in and to shut amount of thoughtlessness among per- others out, that one may enjoy, at sons occupying back rooms, in many times, the privacy that is the right of cases not even the bedroom blinds be- every individual soul. ing drawn when the gas is lighted.
Mary Mortimer Maxwell. The National Review.
LADY JOHN RUSSELL. *
Lady Agatha Russell, daughter of that the readers of the Fortnightly Rethe English statesman and his wife viero may have from the very beginwho are the subjects of this volume, ning that clear idea of the materials tells the world in her brief preface: and the co-operation which the daugh“The manuscripts which have supplied ter of the Russell house had in the the material for a memoir of my production of her most interesting narmother deal much more fully with the rative. I think it right also to add life of my father than with her own that in cordially agreeing with her as life. . . . The greater part of the to the value of the assistance rendered memoir is written by Mr. Desmond to her by Mr. Desmond MacCarthy, I MacCarthy; the political and historical am not taking advantage of an opporcommentary is almost entirely his tunity to offer a tribute, however well work. T impartial and independ- merited, to a member of my own fam. ent opinion of one outside the fam- ily, for there is, I am sorry to say, no ily, both in writing the memoir and in family connection between him and selecting passages from the
me; but I am fortunate in having come scripts for publication, has been of into association with him through the great value. My grateful thanks are medium of his literary companionship due to His Majesty the King for giv- with my dear friend of many years, ing permission to publish letters from Lady Agatha Russell. In my early Queen Victoria. I am also grateful days of literary and political life I to friends and relations who have came into a casual acquaintanceship placed letters at my disposal; espe- with Lord John Russell, and had some cially to my brother, whose helpful en- interesting and memorable conversacouragement throughout the work has tions with him. When I first had the been most valuable.... My cor- honor of being presented to his wife, dial thanks are also due to Mr. George she was then the Countess Russell, and Trevelyan for reading the proof sheets, the pair were living at Pembroke and to Mr. Frederic Harrison for giv- Lodge, which had been presented to ing permission to publish his Memorial them by Queen Victoria so long ago as Address at the end of this volume." 1847. After I had settled to a London I have thought it well to quote the life, in 1860, I had, of course, constant greater part of Lady Agatha's preface opportunities of hearing Lord John at the opening of this article, in order Russell speak in the House of Com
mons and afterwards in the House of • With Selections from her Diaries and Correspondence. Edited by Desmond MacCarthy Lords. The story of this volume is and Agatha Russell. Methueo and Co., Ltd. London.
mainly told in the letters which passed
between Lord John Russell and his pretty sure to do, that they have not wife. Nowhere that I know of can be always in the past been true to their found a more living revelation of equal
principles. There is no case exactly
parallel with that of Ireland; but love and more thorough understanding
there are some in great measure analbetween husband and wife than is
ogous, and it is the Liberals who have found in these letters. The frequent, listened to the voice of other countries, though short, separations which had to some of them our own dependencies, in take place between the pair proved their national aspirations or their deto have been of inestimable advantage sire for Parliaments of their own, exto the world of the present and the
pressed by Constitutional majorities.
I admire the Unionists for standing by coming time. Lady John Russell's
their own convictions with regard to health compelled her to spend as much
Home Rule, and have always done so; as she could of her time in the coun
but I cannot call it "devotion to the try, and Lord John Russell had often Union and to Liberal principles," and to attend great public meetings in coun- I am not aware of there being a single ties and cities, and it was not always
Home Ruler not Liberal. The or often advisable for him to submit
Unionists, especially those in Parlia
ment, have been, and are, in a very his loved and loving wife to the fa
dangerous position, and have yielded tigue of becoming his companion in
too readily to the temptation of a sudthe double journey. On all these oc- den transference of party loyalty upon casions the couple seem to have ex- almost every question from Liberal to changed by pen and post their affec- Tory leaders. But for those, whether tionate confidences. I do not believe in or out of Parliament, who have rethat there can anywhere be found a
mained Liberals—and I know several more authentic, a more convincing, a
such-I don't see why, after Home
Rule is carried, they should not be more complete record of married love,
once more merged in the great body of congeniality and consequent happiness
Liberals, and have their chances, like than is given to the world in the letters others, of being chosen to serve their which passed between the husband country in Parliament and in office. and the wife, and which are recorded
On some other subjects equally acin this volume.
tive and pressing just now
we find At the present time it may be pecu
Lady Russell's opinions given with liarly appropriate and interesting to
like effectiveness in letters of hers quote the following passages from an
addressed from Pembroke Lodge, Deentry in the diary of the Countess Rus
cember 16th, 1893, to Mrs. Drumsell, dated July 9th, 1893, on the sub
mond:ject of Home Rule for Ireland.
Oh, my dear child, what opinions A new policy Home Rule undoubtedly
can poor I give on the almost insoluis, a new departure from the “tradi
ble problems you put before me? I tion" of any English party; but not a wish I knew of any book or any man departure from Liberal principles, only or woman who could tell me whether a a new application of old ones; and I Poor Law, even the very best, is on the think it is a pity to speak of it as being whole a blessing or a curse, and how against Liberal principles, for is there the "unemployed" can be chosen out anybody of average intelligence who for work of any useful or productive would not have predicted that if it kind without injury to others equally should ever be adopted by any party it deserving, and what are the just limwould be by the Liberals?
It its of State interference with personal is the proud distinction of Liberals to liberty. The House of Lords puzzles grow perpetually, and to march with
I would simply declare it, eyes open, and to discover, as they are by Act of the House of Commons, inju
rious to the best interests of the nation hour of casual conversation. Some of and for ever dissolved. Then it may the highest intellects have been aceither show its attachment to the Con
companied by this limitation.
We stitution by giving its assent to its
have all known great thinkers and own annihilation, or oblige us to
great writers who have of themselves break through the worn-out Constitution and declare its assent unneces
frankly acknowledged, and in some It is beyond all bearing that
instances have even sary.
actually proone great measure after another should claimed their unwillingness to give up be delayed, or mutilated, year after time and thought to wholly unfamiliar year, by such a body, and I chafe and
and therefore, to them uncongenial topfret inwardly to a painful degree. ics. I have often heard eminent lit
Lady Russell may be credited with erary men, eminent artists, eminent having possessed something like Members of Parliament, declare that prophetic vision with regard to the they found it very hard to turn their troubles which the House of Lords attention at once to some entirely was certain to bring upon itself.
unfamiliar subject, and would, thereto this time, while the great majority fore, rather keep out of the way of this of the Liberals in these islands and in or that exponent of such a theme until other lands as well were quite con- it had ceased to be a novelty and had vinced that the peers were certain to been quietly left in the background. keep on asserting the privileges they Lady Russell seems to me to have been claimed in such a manner as to bring entirely free from this peculiarity. I themselves into unceasing quarrels have often wondered whether the with the House of Commons and the world, or at least so much of it as she outer public, it did not seem to have saw in her ordinary daily life brought occurred to the Radicals in general for her no bores. This was the more that the only thing to do with the he- remarkable because she was herself reditary chamber was to get rid of it so bright, so animated, so vivacious altogether or compel it to submit to that one would have expected her to a decree of perpetual subordination. Seek especially for intercourse with huFor the daughter of one peer and the man creatures endowed with similar wife of another, this was certainly a characteristics. At the same time she remarkable display of independent bad and always made manifest with opinion and heroic decision.
unflinching sincerity and earnestness Lady Russell seems to have had at her enthusiastic admiration for great once a mind, a temperament, an intel- human beings and great human prolect, as well as an inclination which ductions; she never turned away with enabled her to find an unfailing inter- indifference or impatience from any est in every character and in every topic merely because it was unfamiliar phase of human life which came un- to her, or from any opportunity der her notice. In the ordinary course of making a new acquaintance merely of social life or in the study of histor- because the proposed ical memoirs, just as in the figures we quaintance was described as being abmeet in our everyday existence, we find sorbed in some subject utterly unfathat almost everyone, with whom we miliar to Lady Russell herself. · She happen to come into acquaintanceship, could pass from grave to gay, from has subjects which especially attract his lively to severe, without effort. Many or her interest, and from which, there of her friends have told me of infore, he and she cannot easily be pre- stances in which they had been survailed upon to turn away, even for an prised to find how readily Lady Rus
sell could enter with the most thor- between the married pair during the ough interest into all the details of a days of their best happiness. These controversy on some question which are love-letters in the strictest sense, must have been previously utterly un- even when they are mainly taken up known to her. It has, however, to be as an interchange of ideas, of questions observed that in most such cases the and answers, on some present subject subject was one which allowed her to of political and administrative imporinform it with suggestions and appeals tance. Lord Russell is giving to his coming from her own temperament inquiring wife a full and minute acand illumined by her own inspiration. count of the progress which one of his I can hardly believe that Lady Russell reform measures is making through could be brought into converse with the House of Commons and the kind of any sane human creature from whom opposition offered to it by this or that she would feel compelled to release political party, and his wife's replies herself because of the hopeless dulness are brimful of encouraging inspiration, of the unfamiliar companion.
and made practical by various suggesMy rare and casual meetings with tions. But the letters are love-letters Lord John Russell went on for several all the same. They are as evidently years before I had the happiness of love-letters as if they had passed becoming into any actual acquaintance- tween the hero and heroine of some ship with his wife. When he was in drama or some romance. I cannot reoffice or when he was in Opposition I call to my mind anything in biographhad many opportunities of meeting ical history which affords to us such him, and was even a guest with him a striking illustration of the sympaoccasionally at some London social thetic working of poetic love and pracgathering or at some formal Parlia- tical companionship as is to be found mentary festivity. But I began to hear in these letters of this wedded pair. more and more eulogies that were So the story goes on until we come to poured out on the gifts and graces, the the event which changed the whole curbounties, the patriotic spirit, and the rent of Lady Russell's life, the death conjugal devotion of his wife, and I of her husband. Lord Russell's death had before very long the happiness of took place at Pembroke Lodge, May becoming not merely her acquaintance 28th, 1878, and I think it well to quote but her friend. But in the meantime here the letter which his widow rewas to come about the sad event which ceived from Queen Victoria: sentenced Lady Russell to a world of widowhood. The outer world, in
Balmoral, May 30th, 1878. deed, has to read this newly-published
Dear Lady Russell, volume in order to understand how the
It was only yesterday afternoon I
learnt through the papers that your dear love-story of Lord and Lady Russell's
husband had left this world of sormarried happiness remained a love
rows and trials peacefully, and full of story to its very end. This is to be years, the night before, or I would have found most vividly expressed in the telegraphed or written sooner! You letters which passed between them, will believe that I truly regret an old even on the practical details of ques
friend of forty years' standing, and tions belonging to administrative
whose personal kindness in trying and
anxious times I shall ever remember. work.
"Lord John," as I knew him best, was Some of the most characteristic pas
one of my first and most distinguished sages in the story of this volume are
Ministers, and his departure recalls to be found in the letters which passed many eventful times. To you, dear
Lady Russell, who were ever one of stores of anecdote to old and the most devoted of wives, this must young-to discuss opinions on a level be a terrible blow, though you must with the most humble of interlocutors, have for some time been prepared for and take pleasure in the commonest it. But one is never prepared for the forms of pleasantness-a fine day, a blow when it comes. And you have bright flower. Nor do I think that the had such trials and sorrows of late outside world understood from what years that I most truly sympathize depth of feeling the tears rose to his with you.
Your dear and devoted eyes when tales of noble conduct or daughter will, I know, be the greatest any high sentiment touched some repossible comfort to you, and I trust sponsive chord-nor how much "poetic that your grandsons will grow up to be fire" lay under that calm, not cold, all that you could wish.
manner. I remember often going Believe always, yours affec- down to you when London was full of tionately,
some political anger against himV. R. I. when personalities and bitterness were
rife and returning from you with the I think it appropriate to accompany
feeling of having been in another this letter, as Lady Agatha does, with
world, so entire was the absence of one from the great Tribune of the peo- such bitterness, so gentle and peaceple at that time, and one of England's ful were the impressions I carried greatest orators of any time, John away. Bright:
The compilers of this volume give June 18t, 1878. us, in their chapter headed 1878-98, a Dear Lady Russell,
very full and interesting account of What I particularly observed in the
the manner in which Lady Russell conpublic life of Lord John-you once
trived to pass some of the years which told me you liked his former name and
followed the close of her married life. title-was a moral tone, a conscientious feeling, something higher and
I may quote here some of the opening better than is often found in the guid- passages of this chapter:ing principle of most active statesmen, and for this I always ad
From the time of Lord hassell's mired and reverenced him. His fam
death in May, 1878, till 1890 she kept ily may learn from him, his country
no diary, but not long before her death may, and will cherish his memory.
she wrote to her children a few recolYou alone can tell what you have lost.
lections of some of the events during Ever very sincerely yours,
those twelve years. · . In the John Bright.
summer of 1883 her son Rollo bought
place-Dunrozel-near Haslemere, Not less characteristic in its way, or and from this time till 1891 Lady Rusless appropriate, is the following letter sell spent a few months every year from Lady Minto:
at Dunrozel. In 1891 and 1892 she June 4th, 1878.
took a house on Hindhead-some miles I have been thinking of you all day,
from Haslemere for a few months. and indeed through many hours of the
She enjoyed and loved the beautiful night. I rather wished to hear that
wild heather country, which reminded the Abbey was to have been his rest
her of Scotland, but after 1892 she felt ing-place—but, after all, it matters
that home was best for her, and never little, since his abiding-place is in the
again left Pembroke Lodge. pages of English history. What none I feel bound, for the sake of my could thoroughly appreciate except readers, to quote some further passages those who lived in his intimacy was the perfect simplicity which
from this very interesting chapter:made him the most easily amused Lady Russell had sometimes thought of men, ready to pour out his that when days of leisure came, she