31 Hertford Street, Mayfair, May 16th, 1860. - I came hither from Bath on the 14th, and am staying with my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Motley. I would gladly journalize some of my proceedings, and describe things and people; but I find the same coldness and stiffness in my pen as always since our return to England. I dined with the Motleys at Lord Dufferin's, on Monday evening, and there met, among a few other notable people, the Honorable Mrs. Norton, a dark, comely woman, who doubtless was once most charming, and still has charms, at above fifty years of age. In fact, I should not have taken her to be greatly above thirty, though she seems to use no art to make herself look younger, and talks about her time of life, without any squeamishness. Her voice is very agreeable, having a sort of muffled quality, which is excellent in woman. She is of a very cheerful temperament, and so has borne a great many troubles without being destroyed by them. But I can get no color into my sketch, so shall leave it here.
London, May 17th. [From a letter.] - Affairs succeed each other so fast, that I have really forgotten what I did yesterday. I remember seeing my dear friend, Henry Bright, and listening to him, as we strolled in the Park, and along the Strand. To-day I met at breakfast Mr. Field Talfourd, who promises to send you the photograph of his portrait of Mr. Browning. He was very agreeable, and seemed delighted to see me again. At lunch, we had Lord Dufferin, the Honorable Mrs. Norton, and Mr. Sterling (author of the "Cloister Life of Charles V."), with whom we are to dine on Sunday.
You would be stricken dumb, to see how quietly I accept a whole string of invitations, and what is more, perform my engagements without a murmur.
A German artist has come to me with a letter of introduction, and a request that I will sit to him for a portrait in bas-relief. To this, likewise, I have assented! subject to the condition that I shall have my leisure.
The stir of this London life, somehow or other, has done me a wonderful deal of good, and I feel better than for months past. This is strange, for if I had my choice, I should leave undone almost all the things I do.
I have had time to see Bennoch only once.
[This closes the European Journal. After Mr. Hawthorne's return to America, he published "Our Old Home," and began a new romance, of which two chapters appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. But the breaking out of the war stopped all imaginative work with him, and all journalizing, until 1862, when he went to Maine for a little excursion, and began another journal, from which I take one paragraph, giving a slight note of his state of mind at an interesting period of his country's history. - ED.]
West Gouldsborough, August 15th, 1862. - It is a week ago, Saturday, since J - - -and I reached this place, . . . . Mr. Barney S. Hill's.
At Hallowell, and subsequently all along the route, the country was astir with volunteers, and the war is all that seems to be alive, and even that doubtfully so. Nevertheless, the country certainly shows a good spirit, the towns offering everywhere most liberal bounties, and every able-bodied man feels an immense pull and pressure upon him to go to the war. I doubt whether any people was ever actuated by a more genuine and disinterested public spirit; though, of course, it is not unalloyed with baser motives and tendencies. We met a train of cars with a regiment or two just starting for the South, and apparently in high spirits. Everywhere some insignia of soldiership were to be seen, - bright buttons, a red stripe down the trousers, a military cap, and sometimes a round-shouldered bumpkin in the entire uniform. They require a great deal to give them the aspect of soldiers; indeed, it seems as if they needed to have a good deal taken away and added, like the rough clay of a sculptor as it grows to be a model. The whole talk of the bar-rooms and every other place of intercourse was about enlisting and the war, this being the very crisis of trial, when the voluntary system is drawing to an end, and the draft almost immediately to commence.