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"The national Polish airs produced an electrifying effect. I never saw sixty people in a drawing-room in such an émeute. The striking thing was, that the English all looked melancholy; whilst the Poles, mostly dressed in their military costume, stood up with swelling chests, and a look of triumph. Our own sweet young countrywomen got all round the venerable, white-headed old Polish poet, Niemciewitz, and did not leave him till they got his promise to sit for his picture, which is to be hung up in the Association-room.
"On Christmas-eve, Bach and I gave a supper to all the Polish exiles. With them, Christmas-eve is a solemn festival; they fast all day-meet and break bread in the evening. The prescribed fare is-rue, milk, and fish. After supper, almost every Pole then present repeated some part of Niemciewitz's poetry. T. C."
Jan. 24th.-After many and vexatious interruptions, the Biography" was to be sent to the press not later than March; "and then," he tells his sister, "I shall be able to write you long and full letters: but I cannot tell you how much I have been affected by the death of our dear cousin, Robert Campbell; I have just had a letter from his widow, which I have answered."*
During the next two months, most of his time was given to the Polish Association; but at last, he confesses, the business part had become "too exciting and oppressive," for his health; and a visit to his friend Mr. Horace Smith was recommended as the best means for "setting him to rights." At the commencement of the journey, a little incident occurred very characteristic of the poet; for, when about half way to Brighton, he suddenly discovered that he had left all his money on the table in his lodgings. Stopping the coach at the nearest inn, he explained the circumstance, and ordering a chaise, posted back to town. The purse was found where he had left it; and hastily placing it in safer custody, he returned to the chaise, and the same evening was engaged with his friend at Brightont in "a crossfire of puns."
*Captain Robert Campbell, of H. M. S. Hesper, between whom and the Poet an early friendship had been fostered by frequent intercourse at Sydenham. He died at Leith. His widow, Mrs. R. Campbell, is mentioned by the Poet as a lady of exquisite taste.
+ These short runs into the country, or to the sea coast, seldom failed to produce relief-both moral and physical. They were latterly the only
In the month of April, Campbell sat to Mr. Thomson for his portrait, which was considered a good likeness, and has very recently been engraved and published*. After another visit to Brighton, he returned with some reluctance to his town lodgings; for there, he was beset every hour of the day by appeals to his sympathy-solicitations for assistance-literary and pecuniaryand these, to a man who had seldom fortitude enough to resist a pressing request, became more and more intolerable. Instead of growing callous, however, he seemed to become more and more sensitive with experience and to have witnessed any distress in the morning, which he had not the means of relieving, poisoned his enjoyments for the rest of the day. I saw him almost daily, under these circumstances; very rarely without some new and most deserving case" to be taken in hand; and, whenever I acted "professionally," or otherwise, in concert with the poet, the relief he experienced in his own feelings, was often as great as that which we had ministered to the patient. "Well, Doctor," he would say, "I have found you a new patient-no fee, I am afraid-But, never mind; let us see what can be done." The result was an immediate visit, with such ministry as the case seemed to require.t
Writing to his sister in Edinburgh, he says:
REMINISCENCES OF THE POET.
means to which his medical adviser could look with confidence. Without due influence upon the patient's mind, his bodily health was in constant jeopardy; and to find due exercise for the one, either in conversation, or by fixing it to some congenial subject-was to provide certain benefit for the other. Instead therefore of medicine which, in similar cases, was not only disagreeable to the patient, but precarious in its effects, I endeavored to enforce the necessity of regimen-with a literary task, something in which his taste and feelings might be enlisted-or a short run to the coast. This method, adopted at intervals, was often attended with the happiest results. As in other and similar cases, where the mind is highly cultivated and exerts undue influence over the body, I found nothing so effectual in restoring its relaxed tone, as a vigilant observance of the intellectual mood in which I found him-so as to turn it to account.
*May 18th, in a playful mood, he writes:-"I have been sitting for a new picture. The artist is Thomson, Princes-street, Hanover Square. He is very nervous about the success of it. For my part, I am quite vaunty about it. I cannot help thinking it the best likeness of me that ever was painted a sensible man you would say, and not so like an old T.om C.at as you might suppose.
This partnership between the warm-hearted poet and the writer terminated only at his death bed; and if, among the numerous instances that now start up in retrospect, much good was done or evil prevented, the merit was his. He was the good Samaritan, who, while others avoided, sought out cases of distress for the sole pleasure of relieving them.
VOL. II. 13
"May 14th.-I now find that the town atmosphere is too hot for me. I have bespoken lodgings at Highgate-retaining my London chambers only for occasional visits to town-once or twice a week. I lament that I have had of late so little communication with you; but the fault has lain in my health, not in my heart. To say the truth, I have been a good deal worried, both morally and physically. The business of the presidency has cost me so much time, and money-with a total interruption of literary industry, that I at last entreated the Society to find another president. They sent me a flattering and regretful letter of thanks for my long labors. I parted with them on amicable terms: but even for Poland, I could no longer sacrifice myself. I then applied morning, noon, and night to finish the Life of Mrs. Siddons. But in correcting the first sheet, I was laid prostrate by influenza; and my physician told me that unless I desisted from even the comparative labor of correcting the press, I should sacrifice my own life to that of Mrs. Siddons. I am compelled, therefore, to be as idle, for the present, as a dog or a fine gentleman."-Then, turning to a subject, in which his sister and all good people" had expressed the greatest satisfaction, he says: "I wish you joy in the prospect of the Negroes being emancipated. It is a great and glorious measure.'
A few days later, the Polish poet Niemciewitz,f-with whom, in song and sentiment, he believed himself to be in strict unison,-proposed visiting Scotland. Campbell was anxious to insure him a favorable reception in Glasgow; and well remembering what his own had been, in that hospitable city, wrote to his cousin "This will be handed to you by the poet Niemciewitz-the friend of Kosciusko-the most eminent literary patriot of Poland-and one of the most inestimable men of genius that ever lived. I know that the heart of my Cousin Gray beats too well in its right place, not to receive my brother poet cordially."
*A measure that appeared to realize his own ardent (but then almost hopeless) aspirations, when he wrote:
Yet-yet, degraded men! the expected day
This poetical worthy-in justice to whom the passage is quoted-preceded Campbell to the tomb, at a very mature age.
The change from Duke-street, St. James's, to a more bracing atmosphere, was very beneficial. "May 18," he writes, "I have slept, since I wrote you last, in the pure air of Highgate. I think I shall soon be able to resume the printing of Mrs. Siddons's Life. My Welsh correspondent has furnished me with the means of proving to a probability, if not a certainty, that Shakspeare visited the Priory of the town of Brecon, where Mrs. Siddons was born; and that he not only found there his 'Sir Hugh Evans,' but also, in the glen of the fairy Pucca, near Brecon, the locality and machinery of most of his 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' How delightful to trace Shakspeare on the birth-ground of the Siddons!"
LETTER TO HIS SISTER-HIS ECONOMY.
Another month in the same locality restored him to health and spirits. To his sister he writes: " July 1.-I have taken a good long holiday, and come back to my chamber, looking— everybody tells me-ten years younger, and stout and hearty! I have resumed my studies, and correspondence with my dearest friends; but, for many weeks, I had a horror at holding a pen! I have got so nearly through with Mrs. Siddons's Life, that I should by this time have gone to the Continent; but with a doubt about the health of ****, I could not go away; and so my departure is indefinitely postponed." "With respect to my finances," he adds, "within three years I shall have paid off some 9007. A year hence, I shall, please God, be on my legs again; and in a house of my own. The pinching economy with which I have lived for three years, defies description. I glory, however, in my power to confront circumstances, and in my prospects for the future; and among these is the hope of being useful to our nephew, who seems to me a modest and well-principled young man."
Mr. Alexander Campbell, the nephew just named, was at this time the subject of a ludicrous mistake, very characteristic of the Poet. Writing again to his sister, he says:
"I have introduced Alexander to my best friends, not to my most fashionable; for invitations to gay parties, that might
* The cause of parting with his house in Whitehall was his suddenly breaking off with "The New Monthly," Mr. Colburn's bill of 700., and other bills from his upholsterer-("a most persuasive Inverness man," who
'brought him to a furniture fascination,"see page 223), which it cost him many privations to overtake. These two letters are to his sister.
tempt him to buy a fashionable waistcoat when he could but ill afford it, would render him no real benefit. But among my true friends, I take him about with me, and he is everywhere well received. An incident, however, occurred last week, which gave me some pain; but at which I can now laugh. He was, as usual, to have dined at my chambers yesterday (Sunday); but mid-week I got a letter from Mr. Denham, brother of the African traveller, pressing me, in the name of his wife,* to come and dine with them. I wrote to Denham that I had a raw, redheaded Scotch nephew, whom I must bring to dine at Chelsea! I added, however, that he was a very fine young man, that I loved him as a son, and must insist on taking him with me. I then wrote to our nephew, to say that he must be with me at four o'clock, to set out for Chelsea. But lo, and behold! the letter meant for Denham, about my 'red-headed nephew,' I sent to nephew himself; and the note meant for the 'red-headed,' I sent to Denham! I was pained, as you may conceive, by the accident; but Alexander called next day, and behaved exceedingly well. When I asked him to send me back the letter, he said 'No; for although you call me a red-headed Scotchman, you speak of me so kindly, that I could not destroy the note.'
"We went accordingly to Chelsea; and a more delightful party could not have been. Mrs. Denham, who gave me, long ago, a beautiful diamond pin, that had belonged to the illustrious and unfortunate Major Denham, thanked me for coming with her present sparkling in my breast. She was particularly attentive to Alexander. We had rank, beauty, and talent at the party, and a sort of harmony, worth more than all put together. Among the company was Miss Jane Porter, whose talents my nephew adores. She is a pleasing woman, and made quite a conquest of him. T. C."
Owing to "unavoidable delays," the biography was again interrupted; but "would certainly appear in November," when he projected a long visit to his sister, in Edinburgh. During this summer, I saw Campbell more frequently than hitherto. In September, his health was again much impaired his spirits were uncertain and fluctuating, and his whole appearance indicated the progress of disease; but which, the use of medicine, it was
"Mrs. Denham," he adds, "was the widow of the great painter, Hamilton, and a pet beauty in the coterie of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Burke, &c.” For this lady the poet entertained the greatest respect.