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Life and Work of Joanna Baillie
Chapter 1 - The Life of Joanna Baillie


"If I had to present any one to a foreigner as a model of an English Gentlewoman," said William Wordsworth, "it would be Joanna Baillie. And this was the same Joanna Baillie whom Sir Walter Scott called 'the best dramatic writer Britain had produced since the days of Shakespeare and Massinger.’"

Ancestry and Childhood.

Joanna Baillie was born in the manse of Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on September 11, 1762. Her father was descended from an ancient Scotch family which numbered among its progenitors the national patriot, Wallace. He also claimed connection with Robert Wallace, of Jerviswood, a martyr to the cause of Scotch independence. Joanna's mother, Dorothea Hunter Baillie, was descended from the second son of the Laird of Ayrshire, Hunter of Hunterstone. Her girlhood had been spent at Long Calderwood, a small estate near Glasgow, which had belonged to the family for many generations. There she was married to the Reverend Mr.^ailljB. During the early years of their married life, they moved from rectory to rectory. In 1760 a daughter, Agnes, was born to them, and in 1761, a son, Matthew.

The family were scarcely settled in the manse of Bothwell when Joanna and her twin sister were born. Joanna was. named in honor of Her ancle, Dr. John Hunter3; her sister died unnamed a few hours after her birth. According to the baptismal record of the parish, Joanna was baptized in the church of Bothwell on September 12, by the Reverend Mr. James Miller, ‘minister of the Gospell in Hamilton.’ The manse in which she spent the first four or five years of her life stood on a sort of mound, on one side overlooking the valley of the Clyde, and on the other the churchyard and part of the village. The situation is at once airy and secluded. Between the manse and the churchyard lies the garden, full of fruit trees; and other gardens, or rather orchards, between that and the village, add to the mass of foliage, in which it is immersed. Between the churchyard and the manse garden commences a glen, which runs down, widening and deepening as it goes, on the side of the manse most distant from the village, to the great Clyde valley. This gives the house a picturesqueness of situation peculiarly attractive. It has its own little secluded glen, its sloping crofts, finely shaded with trees, and beyond again other masses of trees shrouding cottages and farms. More than fifty years later, Joanna wrote a poem in honor of her sister’s birthday, in which she recalls lovingly their childhood days:

Dear Agnes, gleam'd with joy and dash’d with tears,
O’er us have glided almost sixty years, .
Since we on Bothwell’s bonny braes were seen,
By those whose eyes long closed in death have been,
Two tiny imps, who scarcely stoop’d to gather
The slender harebell, or the purple heather;
No taller than the foxglove’s spiky stem,
That dew of morning studs with silvery gem.
Then every butterfly that cross’d our view
With joyful shout was greeted as it flew,
And moth and lady-bird and beetle bright
In sheeny gold were each a wondrous sight.
Then as we paddled barefoot, side by side,
Among the sunny shallows of the Clyde,
Minnows or spotted par with twinkling fin,
Swimming in mazy rings the pools within,
A thrill of gladness through our bosoms sent,
Seen in the power of early wonderment.

In 1769 Mr. Baillie was appointed minister of the collegiate church at Hamilton, then a town of about six thousand inhabitants. At this time Joanna was known for her fearlessness and her love of out-of-door sports. She rode any pony that came in her way. Once, when she was riding double with her elder brother, Matthew, he was thrown off, and suffered the misfortune of a broken arm. 'Look at Miss Jack!’ said an admiring farmer, 'She sits her horse as if it were a bit of herself.’

During these early years most of her energy went into play, leaving little for her studies. Her first teacher was her father, who laid a deep ethical foundation, but neglected the three R’s. She composed verses before she could read,9 and astonished all her companions by the tales she invented for their amusement. Lucy Aikin reports the following conversation: “I could not read well" she [Joanna] once said to me, “till nine years old.” “O Joanna,” cried her sister, “not till eleven.” “I made my father melancholy breakfasts,” she continued, “for I used to say my lesson to him then, and I always cried over it. And yet they used to say ‘this girl is not stupid neither; she is handy at her needle, and understands common matters well enough'. I rambled over the heaths and plashed in the brook most of the days.”

Life at Hamilton was not lacking in devotion among the members of the family, but the expression of all emotion was discouraged. Mr. Baillie was by no means a genial man. Imbued with Scottish firmness of character, he had also a Scot’s fear of emotion. Agnes told Lucy Aikin that her father never kissed her, and Joanna confessed to the same friend her yearning as a child for the caresses of her family. ‘At the hazard of his own life' however, her father once sucked the poison from a bite which she had received from a dog that was supposed to be mad. Joanna was chidden by her mother when she ventured to clasp her knees, ‘but' she said, ‘I know she liked it'.

When Joanna was about ten years of age, she and her sister were sent to Miss McDonald’s boarding-school in Glasgow, where she learned to read perfectly, and studied writing, arithmetic, geography, and history. One of the most remarkable characteristics of Joanna during her girlhood was her love for mathematics, and her proficiency in that study. She had always strong powers of reasoning, and a clear conception of what she had once mastered, from which qualities of her mind her natural tendency for this science probably in some degree arose, while at the same time these faculties were strengthened through its discipline. By her own unassisted exertions she advanced through a considerable portion of Euclid, and rendered herself perfect mistress of each succeeding problem/ She also excelled in drawing, and in vocal and instrumental music. She had a correct ear, and learned to play her own accompaniments on the guitar.

Lucy Aikin says that at school, by her sister's report, she was the ringleader in all pranks and frolics, and used to entertain her companions with an endless string of stories of her own invention. She was also addicted to clambering on the roof of the house, to act over her scenes alone and in secret/12 Evidently Agnes was her intellectual mentor, for Joanna herself says:

'Twas thou who woo'dst me first to look
Upon the page of printed book,
That thing by me abhorr’d, and with address
Didst win ine from my thoughtless idleness,
When all too old become with bootless haste
In fitful sports the precious time to waste.
Thy love of tale and story was the stroke
At which my dormant fancy first awoke,
And ghosts and witches in my busy brain
Arose in sombre show, a motley train.
This new-found path attempting, proud was I,
Lurking approval on thy face to spy,
Or hear thee say, as grew thy roused attention,
What! is this stofy all thine own invention?

As early as these boarding-school days, her originality showed itself especially in dramatic form. She clearly remembered incidents which she had heard or read, particularly if they displayed 'any natural impulse or peculiarity of character.' All these stories she wove into dramas, which her schoolmates presented. On these occasions she acted also as costume-designer and stage-manager.

In 1776 Mr. Baillie was appointed Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow. The family moved there the following winter, and lived in a house provided by the University. They were surrounded by most congenial society. Joanna’s tomboy-days were evidently over, for she was then regarded as a well-bred, clever girl, of whom her companions stood somewhat in awe. Even at this time her father recognized her intellectual ability, if we may judge by one story. Matthew had been directed to translate his Latin lesson into English verse, a task that for him was impossible. Mr. Baillie, realizing the situation, said 'Joanna will do it,’ and she did.

The happy school-days in Glasgow were, however, of brief duration, for in 1778 James Baillie died, leaving his wife but little inheritance besides three growing children. The loss of the father meant less to the children than if he had been a more genial man. Joanna, however, understood him remarkably well, and honored him deeply. Even in her old age she would talk of him to visitors, and with great reverence would point to his portrait. About this same period she wrote an appreciation of her father, for the great-grandson who bore his name:

Thou wearst his name, who in his stinted span
Of human life, a generous, useful man,
Did well the pastor’s honour’d task perform.
The toilsome way, the winter’s beating storm,
Ne’er kept him from the peasant’s distant cot
Where want or suffering were the inmate's lot,
Who look’d for comfort in his friendly face,
As by the sick-bed’s side he took his place.
A peace-maker in each divided home
To him all strife-perplexed folk would come.
In after years how earnestly he strove
In sacred lore his students to improve!
As they met round the academic chair
Each felt a zealous friend address’d him there.
He was thy grandsire’s sire, who in his day,
That, many years gone by, hath pass’d away,
On human gratitude had many claims;
Be thou as good a man, my little James!

Mrs. Baillie’s children were all 'hopeful,’ and Matthew had ‘given uncommon application to his studies'. It was already decided that he should follow his uncle’s profession of medicine, and he had secured a fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford. In the March of 1779, he was ready to go south, and by a long letter prepared his uncle, William Hunter of London, for his coming. He prevailed upon his mother and sisters to stay two or three days in Glasgow before his departure, in order to make the parting as easy as possible. Mrs. Baillie wrote her brother at the time: ‘I now give him over to you. Be a father to him—you are the only father he has alive. I hope you shall never be ashamed of his conduct, but that he shall obey your directions in everything.’

On Matthew’s departure for Oxford, the home in Glasgow was broken up. With Joanna and Agnes, Mrs. Baillie returned to Long Calderwood, a house which held for her many childhood memories, and which was now owned by her brother William. Dr. William Hunter, the most famous physician in London at the time, became the real father of the family; Mrs. Baillie always remembered him as a steady friend and affectionate brother, and to her children a steady and liberal benefactor. Matthew lived with him in London, and Mrs. Baillie received an allowance from him as long as he lived. In 1783, three years after Matthew became a member of the Hunter School of Anatomy on Windmill Street, London, Dr. Hunter died. By his will, Matthew Baillie inherited the Windmill Street School of Anatomy and the house; * all the good will of the school; a grand museum, now the famous Hunterian at Glasgow, for life; the estate of the family in Scotland where the brothers Hunter were born [Long Calderwood]; and the sum of £ 100 a year for life. Matthew believed that Long Calderwood should belong to his uncle, John Hunter, and so in 1784 he conveyed the estate to him.

The change from the busy hours in the city boarding-school to the quiet life of the country threw Joanna on her own resources. She resumed her habit of walking, but her chief enjoyment was found in books. Aside from an occasional Scotch ballad, she does not seem to have written at all during these years. The winter of 1783 Mrs. Baillie and her daughters spent in Glasgow, where Joanna renewed and strengthened her schoolgirl friendships. After the death of Dr. Hunter, a decisive change came in the life of Joanna Baillie.

Period of Literary Activity.

When Matthew Baillie came into possession of the house on Windmill Street, Mrs. Baillie, Agnes, and Joanna moved to London, in order to keep house for him. The house was double, and stood back from the dark and narrow street. In 1790, while living there, Joanna published anonymously her first book of poems, containing, among others, those which are entitled Fugitive Verses in her collected works. Only one review commented at all upon the book, and it had no sale. This failure, however, did not discourage Joanna; it merely changed the channel of her endeavor. One hot summer afternoon, while she was seated by her mother’s side engaged in needlework, the thought of attempting dramatic composition burst upon her. In pursuance of this resolution, she worked for three months on a tragedy called Arnold. The merit of the work cannot now be known, as it was soon destroyed.

In 1791 her brother Matthew married Sophia Denman, a sister of Lord Chief Justice Denman, and moved to a more pretentious house in Grosvenor Street.23 Mrs. Baillie and her daughters then sought a home of their own near London. The friendship between the two families, however, remained unbroken. In 1813 Joanna wrote a birthday-poem to Mrs. Matthew Baillie, which was full of genuine affection:

A judgment clear, a pensive mind
With feelings tender and refined;
A generous heart in kindness glowing,
An open hand on all bestowing;
A temper sweet, and calm, and even
Through petty provocations given;
A soul benign, whose cheerful leisure
Considers still of others pleasure,
Or, in its lonely, graver mood,
Considers still of others’ good;
Blest wight, in whom these gifts combine,
Our dear Sophia, sister mine.

The three women tried various localities, and finally decided upon Hampstead. The choice proved a fortunate one, and there they spent the remainder of their lives. It is, therefore, with Hampstead that Joanna Baillie’s name is most closely associated. In a poem called London, probably written shortly after their arrival, Joanna gives a delightful description of the view from Hampstead Heath:

It is a goodly sight through the clear air,
From Hampstead,’s heathy height to see at once
England’s vast capitol in fair expanse,
Towers, belfries, lengthen’d streets, and structures fair.
St. Paul’s high dome amidst the vassal bands
Of neighb’ring spires, a regal chieftain stands,
And over fields of ridgy roofs appear,
With distance softly tinted, side by side,
In kindred grace, like twain of sisters dear,
The Towers of Westminster, her Abbey’s pride;
While, far beyond, the hills of Surrey shine
Through thin soft haze, and show their wavy line.
View’d thus, a goodly sight! but when survey’d
Through denser air when moisten’d winds prevail,
In her grand panoply of smoke array’d,
While clouds aloft in heavy volumes sail,
She is sublime—She seems a curtain’d gloom
Connecting heaven and earth,—a threat’ning sign of doom
So shows by day this grand imperial town,
And, when o’er all the night’s black stole is thrown,
The distant traveller doth with wonder mark
Her luminous canopy athwart the dark,
Cast up, from myriads of lamps that shine
Along her streets in many a starry line:
He wondering looks from his yet distant road,
And thinks the northern streamers are abroad.
‘What hollow sound is that?' approaching near,
The roar of many wheels breaks on his ear.
It is the flood of human life in motion!
It is the voice of a tempestuous ocean!
With sad but pleasing awe his soul is fill’d,
Scarce heaves his breast, and all within is still'd,
As many thoughts and feelings cross his mind,
Thoughts, mingled, melancholy, undefined,
Of restless, reckless man, and years gone by,
And Time fast wending to Eternity.

Mother and daughters were at once received into the literary circle of the town, probably on account of their family connection with Mrs. Hunter. Matthew Baillie's daughter says that she remembers clearly hearing her Aunt Agnes describe this group of famous people. In his journal for April 21, 1791, Samuel Rogers records the most important happenings at a ‘conversation at the house of Miss Williams' in Hampstead. Here he met Henry Mackenzie and many men of letters. When the conversation turned on Scotland, Mr. Mackenzie attacked its men of genius, and Joanna Baillie mentioned the name of Adam Smith. Mr. Mackenzie did not allow her to make her point, but interrupted, and was off on another long tirade. Mr. Rogers describes her at that time as a very pretty woman, with a broad Scotch accent.26 With the death of Mr. Hunter in 1793, these delightful meetings ended.

While living among these congenial surroundings Joanna Baillie wrote her first serious dramas. In 1798 she published anonymously a volume of three dramas, entitled Plays on the Passions. This volume contained a tragedy and a comedy on Love—Basil, and The Tryal and a tragedy on Hatred, the well-known De Mon-fort. In the advertisement to this first volume, the author states: ‘The Plays contained in this volume were all laid by for at least one year, before they were copied out to prepare them for the press; I have therefore had the advantage of reading them over, when they were in some measure effaced from my memory, and judging of them in some degree like an indifferent person.'

Miss Baillie succeeded well in her attempt to keep her authorship a secret. In 1798 Thomas Campbell published a favorable review in the New Monthly Magazine, in which he attributed these plays to a man,29 as did the writer in the Critical Review. In 1799 the British Critic printed a review which was, on the whole, favorable. Soon after the publication of the plays, the author sent a copy incognito to Miss Berry, who describes her delight over them. She found them on her table on her return from a ball, and ‘ kneeled on a chair at the table to see what the book was like, and was found there— feathers and satin shoes and all—by the servant who came to let in the winter morning light Mrs. Piozzi wrote in her commonplace book: ‘I remember a knot of Literary Characters met at Miss Lee’s House in Bath, deciding— contrary to my own judgment—that a learned man must have been the author; and I, chiefly to put the Company in good humour, maintained it was a woman. Merely, said I, because both the heroines are Dames Passees, and a man has no notion of mentioning a female after she is five and twenty.’ During that winter Miss Berry’s enthusiasm led her to discuss the dramas in public. In 1799 she says: ‘The author still retuses to come forward. —Neither fame nor a thousand pounds, therefore, have much effect on this said author’s mind, whoever he or she may be. I say she, because, and only because, no man could or would draw such noble and dignified representations of the female mind as Countess Albini and Jane de Monfort. They often make us clever, captivating, heroic, but never rationally superior.’ The opinion that the author was a woman gained ground rapidly, and Ann Radcliffe was generally considered to be the author. Through three hands comes a letter on this subject written by a Mrs. Jackson on May 21, 1799. She observed so much of the power of Mrs. Rad-cliff’s composition in these dramas that she believed them hers. She then enumerates the characteristics exhibited in the dramas, and concludes, 'Her descriptive talent, used to satiety in her novels, is here employed with more temperance, and consequently to better purpose.’ That this report was wide-spread is indicated by the statement ot Mrs. Piozzi that ' Mrs. Radcliffe owns herselt author, as Susan Thrale writes me word.' The Scotch tone furnished another clue, and many guessed that Scott himself had written them. In 1800, however, the series was tacitly acknowledged to be the production of a female writer, and was generally attributed to the pen of Mrs. Hunter. As late as the notices of the stage-production of De Monfort in 1800, some question existed as to the identity of its author.37 No doubt remained, however, after the issue of the third edition in 1800,. in which the name of Joanna Baillie appeared on the title-page.

In 1787 Mr. Barbauld had come to Hampstead as minister of the small dissenting chapel, and his home became the centre of a pleasant group of literary people. Among this group, before her authorship was recognized, Joanna Baillie, a stiff, solemn Scotch girl, small and light in person,'38 sat demurely while her work was discussed. Her natural taciturnity stood her in good stead; her silence passed unnoticed. She and her sister, I well remember the scene’, records Lucy Aikin, arrived on a morning call at Mrs. Barbauld’s; my aunt immediately introduced the topic of the anonymous tragedies, and gave utterance to her admiration with that generous delight in the manifestation of kin dred genius, which distinguished her. But not even the sudden delight of such praise, so given, could seduce our Scottish damsel into self-betrayal. The faithful sister rushed forward, as we afterwards recollected, to bear the brunt, while the unsuspected author lay snug in the asylum of her taciturnity.

A critic in the Quarterly Review described the sensation caused by the first anonymous appearance of the Plays on the Passions: ‘The curiosity excited in the literary circle, which was then much more narrow and concentrated than at present; the incredulity, with which the first rumour that these vigorous and original compositions came from a female hand, was received; and the astonishment, when, after all the ladies who then enjoyed any literary celebrity had been tried and found totally wanting in the splendid faculties developed in those dramas, they were acknowledged by a gentle, quiet and retiring young woman, whose most intimate friends, we believe, had never suspected her extraordinary powers. Mary Berry, in her diary for 1799, says, ‘The first question on every one’s lips is, "Have you read the series of plays?” Everybody talks in the raptures I always thought they deserved of the tragedies, and of the introduction as of a new and admirable piece of criticism.

Before this time, success on the stage had been a prerequisite for the publication of a drama. In this case, the order was reversed. On April 29, 1800, De Mon fort was performed at the Drury Lane Theatre^ with a cast that included Mrs. Siddons and John Philip Kemble. The authoress was accompanied to the theatre by a large party of relatives and friends, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Somerville. Mrs. Barbauld reported that she liked the play.44 Many years later a dramatic critic wrote: ‘The public, when De Montfort was announced for representation at Drury-lane, in 1800, roused up from the periodical apathy which ever and anon comes over them; the critics announced the approach of a new era in dramatic literature, and the talents of great actors, then in the zenith, left no doubt that the conceptions of the author would be fully realized. The excitement was great, and the disappointment commensurate. The audience yawned in spite of themselves, in spite of the exquisite poetry, the vigorous passion, and the transcendent acting of John Kemble and Mrs. Siddons.

The years between 1800 and 1804 offer little of biographical interest, as they were filled with creative work. The demand for her iirst volume of plays developed so rapidly that a fourth edition appeared in 1802, and a fifth in 1806. The preparation oi these revised editions entailed a large amount of labor. Between the first and the fifth edition hundreds of changes were made, most of which occur in the third and fourth. The most important modifications in De Monfort were made for the fourth edition. The earlier changes consist largely in punctuation and spelling; for example, she did away in many lines with the’d so common in the first editions. In 1802 appeared the second volume of the Plays on the Passions, which contained a comedy on hatred, The Election, and the complete treatment of ambition in Ethwald and The Second Marriage. For this volume the publishers are said to have paid her three hundred pounds.46 During these years she was in great demand in the English world of literature, and again turned her attention to non-dramatic poetry.

Joanna Baillie was asked to write the prologue for Miss Berry’s Fashionable Friends, which was to be produced at Strawberry Hill. On October 14, 1801, she wrote from Hampstead to Miss Berry regarding it: 'I send you a plain, simple Prologue of no pretentions, but such I hope as you will not dislike; if you do, throw it aside, and I shall not be at all offended. ... I should have sent it to you sooner, but I have been very much occupied in a great many divers ways, and of all things I hate at present to write one word more than I can possibly help. Lord Palmerston was present at the production at Strawberry Hill in November; on January 27, 1803, he wrote to Mary Berry: 'I was much pleased with Miss Baillie’s Epilogue when I heard it spoke, and it improves on reading and examination.'

The epilogue is entirely occasional in character, and indicates the author’s appreciation of the peculiar atmosphere of Strawberry Hill. The more serious friends of Walpole might object to the production of a sentimental comedy under his roof. In order to forestall such criticism, Miss Baillie stated plainly their objections, and then replied:—

But he who o'er our heads these arches bent,
And stored these relics dear to sentiment,
More mild than you with grave pedantic pride,
Would not have ranged him on your surly side.

The concluding passage was strictly according to the standard for epilogues:

But now to you, who on our frolic scene,
Have look’d well pleased, and gentle critics been;
Nor would our homely humour proudly spurn,
To you the good, the gay, the fair, I turn,
And thank you all. If here our feeble powers
Have lightly wing'd for you some wintry hours;
Should these remember'd scenes in fancy live,
And to some future minutes pleasure give,
To right good end we've worn our mumming guise.
And we're repaid and happy—ay, and wise.

The performance was a great success; John Kemble was so pleased with the drama that he obtained permission to produce it at Drury Lane. It was, however, a ‘hot-house plant ... of the modish mimosa class' and had only two representations.

In 1804 Miss Baillie published, in opposition to her clearly stated purpose, a volume of Miscellaneous Plays, containing Constantine Paleologus, one of her most successful dramas, The Country Inn, and Rayner, the last of which had been written many years. Lord Palmerston’s fears that the volume might not be so well received as the last49 proved to be unfounded, as a second edition was necessary in 1805.

Home life, too, demanded much of her time. ‘The first thing' wrote Lucy Aikin, 'which drew upon Joanna the admiring notice of Hampstead society was the devoted assiduity of her attention to her mother, then blind as well as aged, whom she attended day and night.' An American visitor in 1801 found her one Sunday morning reading the Bible to her mother, who was then quite blind. But there was joy as well as sorrow in the lives of the Baillies. Christmas Day, 1802, they spent at Dr. Matthew Baillie’s home, with the families of their relatives and friends. It was a large and merry party. The evening was begun with dancing, which Joanna enjoyed with the others. Afterwards they played a variety of Christmas games, among others one called ‘Baiting the Bear.’ This pastime did not last long, as it excluded the ladies, but the enjoyment was so hearty that one of the men said, ‘I do not believe the hall of a Somersetshire Squire could have held more noise and mirth than this elegant London drawing room did for the time it lasted. We finished the evening with Cross Questions and Consequences.'

The year 1808 brought the first great grief into her life. The mother, who had lived to see her daughter famous, slipped away from the Hampstead home. Death must have been a relief to the blind, paralyzed old lady, and there is every indication that her daughters so considered it.

The same year brought to Joanna Baillie one of her greatest pleasures, the friendship of Walter Scott. On December 7, 1801, he wrote to Mr. Ellis that he had just completed The House of Aspen, which he thought would rank well beside The Castle Spectre and ' the other drum and trumpet exhibitions of the day, When he read the Plays on the Passions, however, his standard was so raised that he declared himself entirely ' out of conceit with his Germanized brat. In 1806 Scott visited London, and first met Joanna Baillie. To William Sotheby, one of her warmest admirers, fell the honor of introducing them. The impression she formed of him was typical of the woman. T was at first a little disappointed,’ she confesses,'for I was fresh from the Lay, and had pictured to myself an ideal elegance and refinement of feature; but I said to myself, If I had been in a crowd, and at a loss what to do, I should have fixed upon that face among a thousand, as the sure index of the benevolence and the shrewdness that would and could help me in any strait! We had not talked long, however, before I saw in the expressive play of his countenance far more even of elegance and refinement than I had missed in its mere lines.’

During the spring of 1808 the sisters visited the Western Highlands and Glasgow. The wild, romantic scenery at the falls of Moness affected Joanna to tears. She remained for an hour, although she was drenched by the rain that fell all the time she was there.55 In Glasgow she became acquainted with the 'Shoemaker Poet’ Struthers, who had been unable to secure a publisher for his poem, The Poor Man's Sabbath. Joanna at once wrote to Scott, who persuaded Constable to publish the manuscript. The book was never very successful, but it was sold to Constable on such advantageous terms that the respectable sum of £30 to £40 accrued from it to the author. This seems to be the first of her successful attemps to interest her literary friends in behalf of the unfortunate.

In March and April, 1808, the sisters were the guests of Walter Scott at 39 Castle Street, Edinburgh. Scott asked Joanna for her honest opinion of his House of Aspen, and before she left Edinburgh, she sent him a careful criticism of it. Her letter shows a grasp of the essentials of dramatic construction, and the courage to tell him the truth.

In May the sisters went further north, evidently in search of inspiration, as Scott wrote Joanna on May 9, 'Nothing will give me more pleasure than to hear that you have found the northern breezes fraught with inspiration'. Can the following sentence suggest that, in her disappointment over the stage-success of her drama, Joanna was failing to produce the amount of work expected and desired by her friends? 'You are not entitled' Scott says, 'to spare yourself, and none is so deeply interested in your labors as your truly respectful friend and admirer.' During the same summer she visited the English lake-region, but encountered bad weather. Scott writes her in September, 'Did Miss Agnes Baillie and you meet with any of the poetical inhabitants of that district—Wordsworth, Southey, or Coleridge? The two former would, I am sure, have been happy in paying their respects to you; with the habits and tastes of the latter I am less acquainted/60 In a letter dated Keswick, December 7, 1808, Southey writes, 'Saving Joanna Baillie, we had no very interesting people this season', thus answering Scott’s question in the affirmative.

She probably did not know Wordsworth as early as this. The first reference to their acquaintance occurs in a letter of May 31, 1812, in which is recorded a conversation between them, relative to Mrs. Walter Scott. Evidently the sisters did not visit their birthplace at Bothwell during this trip, for Mary Berry was there in August, and wrote Joanna about it in detail.

In 1809 the Scott family came to London, and Sophia was sent to Hampstead for the advantages of air and sunshine. Under the guidance of the sisters, Sophia gained so markedly that the experiment was repeated on a later visit. The summer of 1810 Joanna spent at her brother’s country home in Gloucestershire, but she returned to Hampstead for the winter.

Form 1804 to 1810 Miss Baillie published no new dramas. In 1810, however, there appeared a 'free, independent play,’ The Family Legend. The story of the writing of this drama is so indicative of her philanthropic spirit that it is worth following. The story, from which she took the plot was put into her hands in 1805 by Mrs. Damer, as a legend long preserved in her mother’s family. It appeared to Miss Baillie well fitted to produce a strong effect on the stage, and was, besides, a story of her native land. As she was at the time in quest of some subject for a drama, she seized upon this plot eagerly. She seems not to have known that the same legend had been dramatized by Holcroft, under the title The Lady of the Rocks, and had been acted at Drury Lane that very year.

About this time Sir John Sinclair submitted to her, through her brother, the outline of a drama on the fall of Darius, which he considered more adapted for stage-effect than was De Monfort. As an inducement to undertake the task, he proposed that she should ‘dedicate the profits of the play to a specific charitable purpose,—the support of Mr. M.’s family.’ Miss Baillie’s reply does her much credit:

Hampstead, October 19. 1805.

My Dear Brother,

I have considered the proposal contained in Sir John Sinclair's letter, and the ingenious sketch for a tragedy that accompanies it, with the attention they deserve; and very much regret, it is not in my power, to make the good use of them which he does me the honour to suppose I might, and which I should have so much pleasure in attempting. You may well know I am so circumstanced, that I cannot possibly offer any play for representation to either Drury Lane or Covent Garden, nor suffer one of my writing to be offered to either of those theatres through any medium whatever.64 To give up all idea, however, of being useful to a worthy family, on whom bad fortune has borne so hard, is very painful to me; and, therefore, though I cannot undertake what Sir John has pointed out, there is another way in which I might attempt to serve them; and if it should meet with his approbation, and be at the same time perfectly agreeable to Mr.—and his family, I shall set myself to work in it most cheerfully; that is, to write a tragedy upon some interesting, but more private and domestic story than that of Darius, which appears to me only fitted for the splendour of a large theatre, and to put it into Sir John’s hands, to be offered to the Edinburgh theatre, or any theatre in the united kingdom he may think proper, those of London excepted. If the piece should prove successful, though it might not bring in a large sum from representation, yet it might be published afterwards, in any way that should be thought most advantageous for Mr.—and his family, (whose property I should completely consider it as having become), and produce something considerable.

I beg you will communicate this proposal to Sir John Sinclair, along with my acknowledgments for the obliging expressions on my account contained in his letter, and for the pleasure I have received in reading his outline of a tragedy, which, if properly filled up, would no doubt make a striking spectacle in a grand theatre such as Drury Lane.

When he has considered it, I hope he will have the goodness to let you know his opinion, without loss of time; and if it is favourable, no exertion in my power shall be wanting to complete the work.

In 1809 Scott visited Mary Berry, and heard this play, The Family Legend, read aloud. Miss Berry says: 'It had a vast effect upon Walter Scott, and one that was very pleasing from the evident feeling of one poet for another'. He at once arranged for its presentation in Edinburgh, and later it was published by the Ballan-tynes, largely on the strength of Sir Walter’s statement that 'people are dying to read it'. On February 7, 1810, Joanna wrote Sir John Sinclair that it was a satisfaction to her to think that the play might still, in one way or another, be made of some small use to the family for whose benefit it was originally written, if such assistance should still be wanted.

The gift of the proceeds of this drama was in accord with her regular custom. The Baillies’ income, aside from the profits of Joanna’s writings, was large enough to make them independent, but not to afford any luxuries.’1 From the first she followed the rule of Zacchseus, and gave one half of her income to charity. Even when prosperity brought the sisters increased wants and expenditures, Joanna did not allow her charities to suffer. At this time she is described as small in figure, with a ‘mean and shuffling gait’; this picture is redeemed by the addition, ‘her manners are those of a wellbred woman. She has none of the unpleasant airs too common to literary ladies.’

In 1812 a third volume of Plays on thePassions appeared. It contained three dramas, dealing with the passion of Fear—Orra, The Dream, and The Siege—and a musical drama illustrating Hope—The Beacon. In her preface to the reader, the author comments upon her silence of nine years, and adds naively, ‘I could offer some reasonable excuse for an apparent relaxation of industry, were I not afraid it might seem to infer a greater degree of expectation or desire, on the part of my Readers, to receive the remainder of the work, than I am at all entitled to suppose.’ In addition to the plays in this volume, Joanna Baillie was writing numerous short poems at this time. The superior number of The Edinburgh Annual Register of 1808 contained poems by Southey, Scott, Miss Baillie, and others, which the English reviewer thinks ‘ought to put our English registers upon their mettle.’ Her contributions are descriptive portraits of such subjects as The Kitten and The Heathcock. In 1810 the British Critic reprinted The Heathcock as one of the two notable poems in the collection. That she had not given up dramatic writing is proved by later publications.

The greater part of her traveling was done during these years. In 1814 she made a short visit in Wales. The summer and early fall of 1816 were noteworthy because they were spent on the Continent. Switzerland seems to have been the scene of her travels; later she dates an occurrence as ‘ when I returned from Switzerland.’70 On November 27 Scott writes to welcome her back to England, and to thank her for the description of the Alps which she had sent him.71 If she visited France during the time her friends the Berrys were there, it left no lasting impression upon her, as she does not mention that country. In 1817, accompanied by her sister Agnes, she made another brief visit to Edinburgh.

During this trip she visited Scott at Abbotsford. The manager of the Edinburgh Theatre is authority for the following anecdote concerning this visit, which he tells in order to illustrate the natural simplicity of her character:

She was taken to see the ruins of Melrose Abbey, we conclude, as a matter of course, ‘by the pale moonlight,’ as the poet recommends. The wonders of the eastern window were especially pointed out to her, with the complicated and delicate tracery of the arches, in some portions as clearly defined as when they first received outline and form from the chisel of the cutter. All stood silently round, and turned towards the great poetic lioness, expecting some burst of high-flown admiration, or fervid eulo-gium. Notebooks were beginning to peep out, ears were erect, and expectation on the tip-toe. After gazing intently for some moments she said quietly, and almost to herself, 'It is really very fine—what a beautiful pattern it would make!’ The loftiest genius dwells not always on Olympus, but sometimes treads on level ground, and descends to the thoughts and feelings of everyday humanity.

Scott describes her about this time as carrying her literary reputation as freely and easily as the milk-maid in my country does the leglen, which she carries on her head, and walks as gracefully with it as a duchess. Some of the fair sex, and some of the foul sex, too, carry their renown in London fashion on a yoke and a pair of pitchers. The same tone is found in another description of her appearance at this time: saw a small, prim, and Quaker-like looking person, in plain attire, with gentle, unobtrusive manners, and devoid of affectation; rather silent, and more inclined to listen than to talk. There was no tinge of the blue-stocking in her style of conversation, no assumption of conscious importance in her demeanor, and less of literary display than in any author or authoress I had ever been in company with. It was difficult to persuade yourself that the little, insignificant, and rather commonplace-looking individual before you, could have conceived and embodied with such potent energy, the deadly hatred of De Montfort, or the fiery love of Basil.

On her return she began the Metrical Legends of Exalted Characters. In March, 1817, encouraged by Scott, she was at work on the legend of Lady Griseld Baillie. For this volume Longman and Company are said to have paid her one thousand pounds.

In the fall of 1823 her brother Matthew was very ill, and she tended him ‘with the utmost solicitude'. His death on September 23 was a great blow to her, but she met it with firmness. Her self-control troubled Scott, who wrote, ‘I am truly concerned about Joanna, for she is not strong, and likely to suffer under the excess of her feeling.'

The most pretentious of her philanthropic efforts resulted in a book that appeared in 1823. On June 26, 1822, Scott wrote to Byron that all had done lately was a dramatic sketch at the request of Joanna Baillie, which was intended for a ‘Pic-nic publication which she means to publish for the benefit of a friend who had been unfortunate in trade'. This beneficiary, according to Scott, was a Scotch gentleman long distinguished in the commerce of the city of London. The volume appeared under the title, A Collection of Poems, chiefly Manuscript and from Living Authors, Edited for the Benefit of a Friend by Joanna Baillie. The list of contributors was quite remarkable, as it included such names as Scott, Campbell, Southey, Wordsworth, Crabbe, Rogers, and 'many minor poets, among whom the British Critic remarks, the Editor maintains a conspicuous station' Among the minor poets we find several women—Mrs. Hemans, Mrs. Barbauld, Mrs. John Hunter, Anna Maria Porter, and Mrs. Grant of Laggan. The Eclectic Review states that * among the contributors the first and foremost is, as it should be, Sir Walter Scott, who has furnished an idle tale (Duff's Cross) for which he apologizes/ In none of the reviews is any mention made of the poems which are now the best known, Southey's Cataract of Lodore, and Wordsworth’s sonnet, Not Love nor War. In a letter of December 7, 1822, Southey says that his poems were placed in this collection, not by his own choice, but by Miss Baillie’s desire. Following the custom of the time, the book was published by subscription. The list of subscribers is long, and contains many famous narges, so that it is no wonder that the book was a pecuniary success. The liberality of her bookseller, printer, and stationer reduced the expenses of publication to those merely of cost charges.

In the Advertisement the editor says that the contributors have enabled her, in a year so peculiarly unfavorable for such an undertaking, to promote the object for which it is published far beyond what she could have hoped, and that they have thereby done a permanent service to one who is worthy of receiving it.’ On July 1st, 1823, she reported to Walter Scott: 'I took hold of your strong arm at the very beginning, and, leaning upon that, put forth my hand and caught at all the rest of the Poetical Brotherhood likely to do me any good. And great good has come of it, for after paying all expenses of printing, etc., which came to £313 or £330, I forget which, we have realized for my friend two thousand two hundred per cent, stock, and when we have sold all the copies intended for Indian subscribers, we shall add better than two hundred more.’80 So much for the efforts of the editor, who also played the parts of critic and contributor.

In May of 1823, Wilson, in his Nodes Ambrosiante, includes a discussion of this volume as follows:

Hogg—Ay—there’s for a thing, Miss Joanna Baillie’s Collection of poems.

Tickler—Ha!! I had not heard of her being in the press. Tragic, I hope.

Kempferhausen—You will find the book on the side-table— yes—that’s it—that octavo in greenish—you will see that it is only edited by Miss Baillie, although there are several pieces of hers included.

Hogg—And some very bonny pieces among them—

Odoherty—Well, that’s truly excellent. Well, we’re all much obliged to Miss Baillie.

Her Friendships.

Joanna Baillie's life is often described as solitary, and wanting in excitement and variety. Such, however, seems not to be the case, for the following years were enlived by constant association with a large circle of friends. In 1811 Sir Walter Scott wrote to her: ‘You, who are always in the way of seeing, and commanding, and selecting your society, are too fastidious to understand how a dearth of news may make anybody welcome that can tell one the current report of the day. This is an accurate statement of the facts, for to the simple home in Hampstead went most of the noted literary men and women of England, as well as many from other countries. In Hampstead she was a delightful hostess; in London, a welcome guest. Not all of those who came in contact with her have recorded their experiences, but mention of her is found in numerous journals and letters. Foremost stands Sir Walter Scott, who is unsurpassed in his admiration for her. The story of their friendship is one of the simplest and most natural in literary history. Their intercourse was the pleasantest social element in her life, and was genuinely prized by Scott. George Ticknor writes on April 7, 1838 ‘I do not wonder that Scott in his letters treats her with more deference and writes to her with more care and beauty, than to any other of his correspondents, however high-titled. One has only to glance at the volumes of Scott’s letters to realize how large a number are directed to her. The closeness of their friendship is shown also by his affectionate address, ' My Dearest Friend,’ and by the fact that he 'would give as much to have a capital picture of her as for any portrait in the world.’

They discussed at length his dramatic power, and finally she wrote him: 'You have ample powers, and the favor of the public into the bargain; and if I must be eclipsed in my own demesne, I will take it from your hand rather than from any other. Send me a better play than any I have to boast of, and if a shade of human infirmity should pass over my mind for a moment, by the setting of the sun I shall love you more than ever.’86 One of the pleasantest customs which Scott had instituted in his home circle was that of reading aloud literature which interested him. He asked some member of the circle—Erskine, Ballantyne, or Terry—to read, when the book was ‘ comedy, or, indeed, any other drama than Shakespeare's or Joanna Baillie’s.

On July 17th, 1810, during a trip to the Hebrides, 'I Scott visited the Lady's Rock in the Sound of Mull, the scene of The Family Legend. He wrote to Joanna Baillie on the 19th: ‘I wished to have picked a relic from it, were it but a cockle-shell or a mussel, to have sent to you; but a spring-tide was running with such force and velocity as to make the thing impossible. ’88 In lieu of this, he planned to fold inside of his letter a hallowed green pebble from the shore of St. Columba: ‘Put it into your workbasket until we meet,' he wrote: ‘when you will give me some account of its virtues.'89 He delayed, however, until November 23, when he sent it to her in the form of a brooch, whose significance he described as follows: ‘ I hope you will set some value upon this little trumpery brooch, because it is a harp, and a Scotch harp, and set with Iona stones. This last circumstance is more valuable, if ancient tales be true, than can be ascertained from the reports of dull modern lapidaries. These green stones, blessed of St. Columba, have a virtue, saith old Martin, to gratify each of them a single wish of the wearer. I believe, that which is most frequently formed by those who gather them upon the shores of the Saint, is for a fair wind to transport them from his domains. Now, after this, you must suppose everything respecting this said harp sacred and hallowed. The very inscription is, you will please to observe, in the ancient Celtic language and character, and has a very talismanic look. I hope that upon you it will have the effect of a conjuration, for the words Buail a’n Teud signify Strike the String; and thus having, like the pedlars who deal in like matters of value, exhausted all my eloquence in setting forth the excellent outward qualities and mysterious virtues of my little keepsake, I have only to add, in homely phrase, God give you joy to wear it.'90 In the earliest and best portrait of Joanna Baillie, this brooch fastens on her collar.

When Joanna Baillie sent him a copy of Orra and its companion-dramas, she wrote him that it was to be her last publication, and that she was getting her knitting-needles in order, meaning to begin her new course of industry with a purse, by way of return for his Iona brooch.91 On January 17, 1812, Scott replied that the promise of the purse had so flattered his imagination that he had sent her an ancient silver mouthpiece for it; ‘ this, besides, is a genteel way of tying you down to your promise, ’92 he added. The gift was finished by March 4th, when she wrote to him: 'I have worked with pleasure at it for some time past, when I could be pleased with no other employment. It put me in mind of an old woman in Hamilton who was haunted by the Deil; and she got some flax to spin irom my mother, which proved a great blessing to her, for she returned in a few days, telling my mother with great delight that as long as she was employed in spinning the minister's yarn the Deil had no power over her. Don't suppose, however, that working for you has charmed down a very evil spirit, though I confess it has had power over a dull, and often a very cross one/93 On April 4th, he describes the 'nick-nackatory’ with which he has supplied his purse, as it was too valuable to hold common coins. In 1813 Scott was made very happy by receiving from her a gold ring L C enclosing hair from the head of King Charles, with the word ‘Remember’ surrounding it.

Once more an exchange of gifts occurred, for in March of 1813 Scott acknowledged the receipt of pinaster seeds, which she sent for the new grounds at Abbotsford.96 The precious trees grew slowly in the nursery, and with them matured his plan for their disposal. By November, 1815, when they were ready to be set out, he had decided to turn an old gravel-pit on the grounds into a bower of evergreen shrubs, with all varieties of holly and cedar, and to call it Joanna's Bower?

These good friends met on many occasions both at Abbotsford and in England/ on several of which Mrs. Scott and Sophia joined. George Ticknor says that her talk concerning her friend was always marked by a ‘tender enthusiasm that was contagious'. In spite of their close friendship, Scott did not divulge to her the secA'ets of his authorship. As late as 1817 she was not sure that he was the author of Waverley, although she suspected that he was.98 When Scott was told of the rumor that he had made Mrs. Grant of Laggan his confidant in regard to his authorship of the Waverley novels, he wrote to Maria Edgeworth, 'I cannot conceive why the deuce I should have selected her for a mother-confessor; if it had been yourself, or Joanna, there might have been some probability in the report. That Scott's enthusiasm for his friend was so great as to color his critical judgment, is shown in the quotation from Marmion which is reproduced below on page 85.

She was equally enthusiastic, and in November, 1832, gave expression to her admiration in Lines on the Death of Sir Walter Scott. She places Scott above Byron, on account of the 'fair fame and influence’ of his writings, and even declares that his story-telling art

. . . o’er these common foes will oft prevail,
When Homer’s theme and Milton’s song would fail.

She disapproved of Lockhart’s Life of Scott, because it revealed a man less perfect than her ideal, and, according to Harriet Martineau, was very unhappy over its publication.

Among Joanna Baillie’s ‘thousand admirers/102 as Scott called them, were Wordsworth, Lord and Lady Byron, Southey, Maria Edgeworth, George Ellis, John Richardson, Mrs. Hemans, George Crabbe, Henry Reeve, William Sotheby, Lucy Aikin, Henry Crabb Robinson, Mrs. Grant of Laggan, Mrs. Jameson, Mrs. Siddons, George Ticknor, Harriet Martineau, Mary Berry, Mrs. Barbauld, William Erskine, Daniel Terry, and William Ellery Channing.

Scott’s desire that Miss Baillie should meet Wordsworth has already been mentioned. The records of their acquaintance are meagre, and include little besides scraps of their conversation. In the spring of 1812, Joanna Baillie, as well as Wordsworth, had met Sir Humphrey and Lady Davy, and she referred to them in her remark to Wordsworth, ‘We have witnessed a picturesque happiness.’ The conversation then turned to Mrs. Scott, who was spoken of rather disparagingly. Miss Baillie at once took up the cudgels in her behalf:

‘When I visited her I thought I saw a great deal to like.'

She seemed to admire and look up to her husband. She was very kind to her guests. Her children were well-bred, and the house was in excellent order. And she had some smart roses in her cap, and I did not like her the less for that.' The sentence with which this chapter opens is recorded on May 24, 1812, in connection with a walk through the fields to Hampstead which Robinson enjoyed with Wordsworth. They met Joanna Baillie on the road, and accompanied her home. Mr. Robinson described the small figure in some detail, and concludes with Wordsworth's eulogy. This same conversation contains some hints as to Miss Baillie’s political opinions. ^ Robinson says that Wordsworth was eloquent in his arraignment of the press on the ground that it spread dissatisfaction. Miss Baillie concurred with him in thinking that the utter extinction of all love for the royal family, and the very slight attachment remaining to the constitution itself, are very menacing signs of the times.

'We dined with them,’ Robinson continues, ‘and Wordsworth talked with a great deal of eloquence, both on politics and poetry, and he was well listened to, and not effusively opposed, and on the state of the country Wordsworth always speaks excellently. On May 26th, 1836, TalfourcTs Ion was performed for the first time at Covent Gardon, with Macready and Ellen Tree as the^ chief actors. The audience included Wordsworth, Henry Crabb Robinson, Landor, and Joanna Baillie, who sat in a box, next to that occupied by Wordsworth. When Wordsworth entered, the audience cheered him. He leaned over to shake hands with Miss Baillie, removed his green spectacles, and nodded to those in the house whom he recognized.

One of Miss Baillie's friends was the Hon. Judith Milbanke, whose daughter was the future Lady Byron. Their correspondence was mentioned by Mrs. Hunter in a letter to Joanna Baillie, written before 1793. In November, 1811, Samuel Rogers gave a remarkable dinner at which his guests were Moore, Campbell, and Byron. The conversation made a deep impression on him, and he says; * My guests stayed very late, discussing the merits of Walter Scott and Joanna Baillie. Another record of Byron's discussion of her work is preserved in a letter of Lucy Aikin from Edinburgh on January 27, 1812. She says, 'Mrs. F— had a warm debate with him [Byron] on the merit of Miss Baillie's new volume, which she thought he undervalued/107 Byron, however, had not as yet met Miss Baillie, as on Spetember 6, 1813 he wrote to Miss Milbanke: ‘ Nothing could do me more honor than the acquaintance of that Lady, who does not possess a more enthusiastic admirer than myself. She is our only dramatist since Otway and Southerne; I don’t except Home/108 This admiration continued, for in 1815 he wrote to Moore, ‘Women (saving Joanna Baillie) cannot write tragedy.' The failure of De Monfort on the London stage had not entirely discouraged Joanna Baillie's friends, who continued to believe that other plays might succeed. Byron was a member of the committee of management of the Drury Lane Theatre in 1815, and seems to have tried to secure a renewal of interest in her plays, as he respected her tragic power very highly.110 Scott wrote her in 1815: ‘I do most devoutly hope Lord Byron will succeed in his proposal of bringing out one of your dramas; that he is your sincere admirer is only synonymous with his being a man of genius; .... [I] heartily wish you would take Lord B. into your counsels, and adjust, from your yet unpublished materials, some drama for the public. In such a case, I would, in your place, conceal my name till the issue of the adventure .... the object of the dramatist is professedly to delight the public at large, and therefore I think you should make the experiment fairly.'111 His only adverse criticism occurred in 1821, when he wrote to John Murray from Ravenna in regard to the books that were being sent to him. After expressing his disgust in general, he particularizes as follows: ‘Campbell is lecturing, Moore idling, Southey twaddling, Wordsworth driveling, Coleridge muddling, Joanna Baillie piddling, Bowles quibbling, squabbling, and sniveling.' Twelve days later, however, he writes to the same John Murray proposing that he send him only ‘any writings, prose or verse of ... . Walter Scott, Crabbe, Moore, Campbell, Rogers, Gifford, Joanna Baillie, Irving (the American), Hogg, etc.’ No mention of her occurs during the last two years of his life; perhaps she, too, was ostracized.

Lucy Aikin wrote to Channing in 1833 regarding Joanna’s poem in memory of Scott, in which she says:

‘I know not why she should have taken this opportunity to strike at Byron; no need of crying down one poet in order to cry up another; nor sink my [opinion] of his poetical capacity, in which he will still be judged to soar far above the height of Scott. The lines are as follows:

For who shall virtuous sympathies resign,
Or feed foul fancies from a page of thine?
No, none ! thy writings as thy life are pure,
And their fair fame and influence will endure.
Not so with those where perverse skill pourtrays
Distorted, blighting passions; and displays,
Wild, maniac, selfish fiends to be admired,
As heroes with sublimest ardour fired.
Such are, to what thy faithful pen hath traced,
With all the shades of varied nature graced,
Like grim cartoons, for Flemish looms prepared,
To Titian’s or Murillo’s forms compared.

An undated poem, which undoubtedly belongs to her old age, records her enduring friendship for Lady Byron, and hints at disapproval of the * moody lord/ Recollections of a Dear and Steady Friend she calls this poem, in which she traces the change in her friend from the time when in virgin grace I first beheld her laughing, lovely face to the day years later when within her chamber-walls confined She sadly dwells and strives to be resign’d.

Her span of life, yet short, though rough the past,
May still through further years of languor last.

In 1834 Henry Reeve took up his residence at Hampstead, and came into contact with the literary circle which influenced materially his later career. He went often to the Richardson's, where, among others, he met Joanna Baillie.

As early as 1806, William Sotheby was counted among her friends. The permanence of their friendship is proved by his dedication to her in 1814 of a volume containing five tragedies. After acknowledging ‘the hazardous comparison' to which he subjected himself by this dedication, he declares ‘that consideration, however, will not deter me from thus publicly expressing my high admiration of your poetic powers, and the enjoyment that I have long experienced from a friendship which has convinced me that the qualities of your heart enhance those of your genius.' When Sotheby was an old man, he told Frances Kemble of a visit he once paid to Miss Baillie. She was not rich, kept few servants, and sometimes made her own puddings. On Sotheby’s arrival she was up to the elbows in flour, and so she called him into the kitchen, and bade him take a paper from her pocket. ‘ It was a play-bill sent to her by some friend in the country, setting forth that some obscure provincial company was about to perform Miss Joanna Baillie's celebrated tragedy of De Monfort. “There," exclaimed the culinary Melpomene, "there, Sotheby, I am so happy! You see my plays can be acted somewhere!"

Samuel Rogers often visited Hampstead before Joanna was known as the author of De Monfort, and described the quiet dignity by which she preserved her secret. Her intercourse with Rogers was constant, and many letters passed between them.119 The following letter written to Rogers in 1832 indicates the genuineness of their friendship:

And now I mean to thank you for another obligation that you are not so well aware of. Do you remember when I told you, a good while since, of my intention of looking over all my works to correct them for an edition to be published after my decease, should it be called for, and you giving me a hint never to let which stand where a that might serve the purpose, to prefer the words while to whilst, among to amongst, etc.? I acquiesced in all this most readily, throwing as much scorn upon the rejected expressions as anybody would do, and with all the ease of one who from natural taste had always avoided them. If you do, you will guess what has been my surprise and mortification to find through whole pages of even my last dramas, ‘whielies,’ ‘whilsts' and ‘amongsts,’ etc., where they need not have been in abundance. Well, I have profited by your hint, though I was not aware that I needed it at the time when it was given, and now I thank you for it very sincerely. I cannot imagine how I came to make this mistake, if it had not been that, in writing songs, I have often rejected the words in question because they do not sound well in singing. I have very lately finished my corrections, and now all my literary tasks are finished. It is time they should, and more serious thoughts fill up their room, or ought to do.

From this letter we may infer that Rogers was the critic from whom she says she received ‘very great and useful service—service that, at the beginning of my dramatic attempts, enabled me to make better head against criticism of a different character.'

Mrs. Sigourney found Rogers with the Misses Baillie when she visited their home in Hampstead, and preserved the picture in verse:

But greater wealth I found
Than richest flowers, or diamonds of the mine,
Beneath a quiet roof. For she was there,
Whose wand Shakesperian knew to touch at will
The varying passions of the souls, and chain
Their tameless ’ natures in her magic verse.
Fast by that loving sister’s side she sat,
Who wears all freshly, mid her fourscore years,
The beauty of the heart.

After a brief description of Rogers, she continues,

There they sat,
Simply serene, as though not laurel-crowned,
A trio, such as I may ne’er expect
To look upon again.

Mrs. Sigourney, however, was not the only American to find the way to the quiet house in Hampstead; one of Joanna Baillie’s most interesting friendships was with William Ellery Channing. In her first recorded letter to him, dated June 28, 1824, Miss Baillie comments on Byron’s death in so personal and intimate a tone as to indicate a long correspondence. A free literary give-and-take is already established. Probably he met Joanna Baillie on his visit to London in 1821, as he met many literary people, and she was then at the height of her fame. In 1829 he thanks her for her congratulations on his writings; in 1834 confesses that he did not intend to be an author, and in 1832, 1834, 1835 he discusses religion with her. In 1835—6, Channing
visited England with his mother, who wrote detailed accounts of their visit with Joanna Baillie, indicating that she in no way disappointed their expectations. There were evidently several meetings, and after his return to America the correspondence was continued until May 4, 1838, after which no letters are preserved. The correspondence is a remarkable one for the range of subjects which it covers, and the honest friendship expressed. One of his latest letters (November 9, 1837) closes: 'May you, my dear Madam, continue to strengthen our hope of immortality by showing us how the spirit can retain its beauty and life, even to the moment when it is withdrawn from human intercourse. With great respect and sincere affection.'

In a letter to Mrs. Jameson, dated November, 1842, Joanna Baillie laments 'the loss we have all sustained in the death of that highly gifted and excellent man [Channing]. He has done the present generation much good, and, had he been spared to the world, might have done much more. The brightness of his character has a sweetness belonging to it akin to the beings of a better world, to which he was constantly pointing the way'. In the Boston Public Library are preserved now his presentation-copies of her dramas.

James Fenimore Cooper once spent a ‘poetical morning' near London, for, after a call on Coleridge, he went to Hampstead, where he found Joanna Baillie at home. His record of his impression of her is analytic and detailed:

I never knew a person of real genius who had any of the affectations of the smaller fry, on the subject of their feelings and sentiments. It has often been my luckless fortune to meet with ladies who have achieved a common-place novel, or ode, or who have written a Julia, or a Matilda, for a magazine, and who have ever after deemed it befitting their solemn vocation to assume lofty and didactic manners; but Miss Baillie had none of this. She is a little, quiet, feminine woman, who you would think might shrink from grappling with the horrors of a tragedy, and whom it would be possible to mistake for the maiden sister of the curate, bent only on her homely duties. Notwithstanding this simplicity, however, there was a deeply-seated earnestness about her, that bespoke the good faith and honesty of the higher impulses within.

There remain to be mentioned the host of women acquaintances with whom she was very popular. Her intimate friends—Mrs. Barbauld, Lucy Aikin, and Mary Berry—have already been mentioned. It was through the last-named that Miss Baillie met the lioness of the day, Madam de Stael. Miss Berry had known Madam de Stael in Lausanne in 1784, and renewed the acquaintance in Paris in 1802.126 On June 29, 1813, at her London house on North Audley Street, Miss Berry gave a dinner in honor of the famous French visitor, to which she invited ten ladies and twenty-six gentlemen. Joanna Baillie was among this number. Miss Berry wrote to a friend, ‘ In the evening we had a few people at home; and Madam de Stael who came, talked, questioned, and went away again like a flash of lightning, or rather like a torrent.' The versatile, high-strung French woman with her wide experience of life, and the taciturn, ultrarefined Scotch woman, had few points of contact, and there are no evidences of admiration on the part of either.

Miss Baillie’s intimacy with Mary Berry continued unabated for years. They shared not only their social, but also their literary life. In 1811 Mary Berry visited Joanna in Hampstead. ‘Dined before four' she records,
'and went out upon the Heath. Sat for two hours in a delicious, fine evening; afterwards read over together “The Two Martins" and criticised them, and likewise some of my other scraps, which I think Joanna liked less than I expected/ The following day they sat by the fire the whole day, while Miss Berry read the new drama on Hope, which disappointed her.

The acquaintance between Joanna Baillie and Maria Edgeworth was of long standing. The earliest mention which I have found refers to a letter from Miss Edgeworth which was written before 1793, and which was of such value as to be forwarded to Mrs. Hunter. After 1813, when Miss Edgeworth came to London, the friendship naturally was closer. Joanna Baillie wrote to Scott at this time: ‘We met a good many times, and when we parted she was in tears, like one who takes leave of an old friend'. In 1818 Miss Edgeworth records a visit to Joanna Baillie at Hampstead. The conversation in the little home impressed her especially, for she says:

Both Joanna and her sister have most agreeable and new conversation, not old, trumpery literature over again and reviews, but new circumstances worth telling, apropos to every subject that is touched upon ; frank observations on character, without either ill-nature or the fear of committing themselves; no blue-stocking tittle-tattle, or habits of worshiping or being worshiped. The sisters, pleased her deeply: ‘domestic' she says, ‘affectionate good to live with, and, without fussing continually, doing what is most obliging, and whatever makes us feel most at home. Breakfast is very pleasant in this house, and the two good sisters look so neat and cheerful.’ On New Year’s Day, 1822, Miss Edgeworth and many others dined at Dr. Lushington’s house, Frognal, Hampstead. After dinner the whole company, including Joanna and Agnes, danced, and then dressed in different characters. Unfortunately, Miss Edgeworth does not describe Joanna’s costume. Early in the same month she visited Joanna, and on the last day of her visit she wrote: ‘I part with Agnes and Joanna Baillie, confirmed in my opinion that the one is the most amiable literary woman I ever beheld, and the other one of the best informed and most useful.’

During Mary Somerville’s long stay in Europe, she met Dr. and Mrs. Matthew Baillie, Agnes, and Joanna, whom she described as 'my dear and valued friend to the end of her life.’

These pages depict the delightful intercourse between many of the brightest men and women of the day. The sole shadow on the picture occurs in the relations between Joanna Baillie, the poet, and Francis Jeffrey, the caustic critic of the Edinburgh Review. In 1829 he declared that women cannot represent naturally 'the fierce and sullen passions of men—nor their coarse vices—nor even the scenes of actual business and contention—nor the mixed motives and strong and faulty characters, by which affairs of moment are usually conducted, on the great theatre of the world.’ He attributed this failure to their superior delicacy and their lack of experience. With this preconception, and the narrowness of judgment and lack of sympathy which limited his understanding of true passion and fancy,133 he was poorly qualified to judge Miss Baillie’s dramas. In 1820 Miss Mitford dined with Scott and Jeffrey, and afterwards stated mosf graphically their respective characteristics. ‘Scott'; she writes, ‘throws a light on life by the beaming qualities of his soul, and so dazzles you that you have no time or perception for anything but its beauties; while Jeffrey seems to delight in holding up his hand before the light, in order that he may spy out its deformities/134 ‘ He has no divine flame, says another writer, ‘no feeling for the unsaid; he is finite, and Latin, and academic, and distrusts his sensations, while supremely confident of his opinions. His courage is always refreshing. His voice was the first to be raised in condemnation of Joanna Baillie’s Plays on the Passions,136 and his verdict was unduly prominent, on account of his disagreement with the current opinion. In July, 1803, a lengthy review of the Plays on the Passions appeared as the leading article in the Edinburgh Review. In it Jeffrey attacked the plays on the grounds of theory and of ‘intrinsic excellence' To delineate a passion ‘ under all its aspects of progress and maturity * seemed to him a plan almost as unpoetical as that of the bard who began the tale of the Trojan war from the egg of Leda. . . . To delineate a man's character, by tracing the progress of his ruling passion, is like describing his person by the yearly admeasurement of his foot, or rather by a termly report of the increase of a wen, by which his health and his beauty are ultimately destroyed' I1 After condemning the method by which Miss Baillie hoped to advance English drama, he went on to attack her purpose : ‘ Plays have, for the most part, no moral effect at all: they are seen or read for amusement and curiosity only; and the study of them forms so small a part of the occupation of any individual, that it is really altogether fantastical to ascribe to them any sensible effect in the formation of his character.' Before the end of this article he speaks of her ‘ pleasing and powerful genius,' and then goes on to say: ‘It is paying no great compliment, perhaps, to her talents, to say, that they are superior to those of any of her contemporaries among the English writers of tragedy; and that, with proper management, they bid fair to produce something that posterity will not allow to be forgotten.' Her bitterness towards him seems to have made her doubt the sincerity of his later praise.

When she visited Edinburgh in 1808, a meeting between the two was almost inevitable. Two of her friends, Mrs. Betty Hamilton and the Duchess of Gordon, tried to arrange a conversation. In the closing words of his first review of her work, Jeffrey said that if she should abandon her plan of writing on the passions only, and ‘ consent to write tragedies without any deeper design than that of interesting her readers, we shall soon have the satisfaction of addressing her with more unqualified praise, than we have yet bestowed upon any poetical adventurer.’ . As a result of this assurance, their friends were confident that Jeffrey would show enough admiration for her work to soften her resentment, and they hoped that eventually he might be able to make some suggestions for her improvement. The introduction, however, was civilly and coldly declined by Miss Baillie, on the ground that Jeffrey was then more at liberty to criticize her future writings than he would be if they were at all acquainted. Her hostesses, however, felt confident that bitterness was at the bottom of her refusal. Her nephew says that she considered the article written 'with a desire to exalt the fame of the critic and the popularity of the periodical, without due regard to justice and propriety of feeling.’ In 1811 Jeffrey associated her with the greatest poets of the age—Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge.

With the publication of her new volume in 1812 came a renewed attack, of which Scott warned her in advance. ‘Everybody who cares a farthing for poetry is delighted with your volume,’ he writes, ‘and well they may be. You will neither be shocked nor surprised at hearing that Mr. Jeffrey has announced himself of a contrary opinion. . . . There is something in his mode of reasoning that leads me greatly to doubt whether, notwithstanding the vivacity of his imagination, he really has any feeling of poetical genius.’ Later in the same year Scott reported that Jeffrey talked very favorably of the new volume.

In 1812 Jeffrey reviewed the new plays in the Edinburgh Review, and said: 'It is now, we think, something more than nine years since we first ventured to express our opinion of Miss Baillie’s earlier productions; and to raise our warning voice against those narrow and peculiar views of dramatic excellence, by which, it appeared to us that she had imprudently increased the difficulties of a very difficult undertaking. Notwithstanding this admonition, Miss Baillie has gone on (as we expected) in her own way; and has become (as we expected) both less popular, and less deserving of popularity, in every successive publication.’ All of Jeffrey’s criticisms had been able and discriminating, and in some respects complimentary. This latter quality may be shown by reference to the very article which contained the severe strictures quoted above. Jeffrey ends: 'We will not, however, pursue the ungrateful theme of her faults any farther; but, before closing this hasty and unintended sketch of her poetical character, shall add a word or two, as both duty and inclination prompt us to do, on the more pleasing subject of her merits.’

In the autumn of 1820 Miss Baillie was again in Edinburgh, and this time she was willing to meet Jeffrey. He was presented to her by Dr. Morehead,142 and they held an earnest conversation, with the almost invariable result on those who had a prejudice against him, of respect and esteem. Jeffrey resigned the editorship of the Edinburgh Review in 1829, and wrote only six articles for that magazine after his retirement. The articles on Miss Baillie’s work in the Review for 1836 and 1851 cannot, consequently, be certainly attributed to him. After 1820 he seldom visited London without going to Hampstead to visit her, 'without indulging himself in a friendly pilgrimage to the shrine of the secluded poetess as one writer romantically says. On April 1, 1838, he wrote to a friend, ‘We went out to Joanna Baillie’s yesterday, and found her delightfully cheerful, kind and simple without the least trait of the tragic muse about her. Again in 1840 he writes that he has been twice to hunt out Joanna Baillie and found her, the other day, as fresh, natural, and amiable, as ever, and as little like a tragic muse. Since Mrs. Brougham’s death, he continues, ‘I do not know so nice an old lady.’ The same impressions he carried away from calls in January and February of 1842, when he offers the additional comment that she is not a bit blind, deaf, or torpid/ and is the prettiest, best dressed, kindest, happiest, and most entire beauty of fourscore that has been since the flood.

Scott was deeply interested in their relations, and hoped that Jeffrey would publicly reverse his criticism of her work, but, he says, ‘after pledging himself so deeply as he has done, I doubt much his giving way even unto conviction/145 His prognostication was correct, as the reconciliation remained merely personal. Her public f enemy had become her personal friend. In this pleasant way ended her only literary feud.

Last Dramatic Work.

These literary friendships, however, did not detract from her interest in creative work. It will be remembered that in 1812 Joanna Baillie wrote to Walter Scott that she was sending him her last volume, and was getting her knitting needles in order. She did not give up all literary interests, however, as her editing of the volume of manuscripts in 1823 shows. Only two short plays,146 The Martyr and The Bride, were added to her list until 1836, when a new series appeared which contained twelve plays. Most of the dramas contained in these volumes had been written many years, none of them very recently. Her intention had been to lay them aside during her lifetime, and, through her executor, to offer them after her death to some of the smaller London theatres. As theatrical conditions in England were not encouraging for the production of such dramas, she was induced to relinquish all hope of their production on the London stage. ‘To keep them longer unpublished/ she says, ‘would serve no good purpose, and might afterwards give trouble to friends whom I would willingly spare/ A curious side-light is thrown on this publication by William B. Sprague, who visited her in 1836, and recorded his interview in some detail. ‘She had, a short time before' he writes, ‘published two plays, which were just then being acted at the different theatres. She had intended that they should be posthumous, and be edited by her nephew; but, as he was threatened seriously with a decline, and it had become very doubtful whether he would survive her, she determined to send them forth during her lifetime.

The first volume completed all that she intended to write on the stronger passions of the mind. Jealousy is portrayed in Romiero and The Alienated Manor, and Remorse in Henriquez. Miss Baillie explains that ‘envy and revenge are so frequently exposed in our Dramas that I have thought myself at liberty to exclude them from my plan as originally contemplated.’ The final drama in the volume is The Martyr, a tragedy on Religion. This had been published in 1826, and was intended for reading only. 'The subject of this piece is too sacred' she says, ‘and therefore unfit, for the stage. Had I considered it as fit for theatrical exhibition, the reasons that withhold me from publishing my other manuscript plays, would have held good regarding this. The other two volumes contained miscellaneous plays, all of which were new to the public except The Bride, which had already run through two small editions.

The new volume created quite a furore, and received much more prompt consideration than did her first volumes. The critic in the London Athenceum wrote on January 2, 1836: ‘The coming of a new comet which no one had foreseen, or an eclipse of the sun which no one had predicted, would not puzzle astronomers more than the appearance of these Dramas by Joanna Baillie has amazed critics. Of the remaining books of Wordsworth's “Excursion” we have heard, and of a domestic epic by Southey, and other works of inspiration, frost-bound in manuscript by these cold and ungenial times; but of twelve new dramas by the authoress of "Plays on the Passions" we have not heard a whisper, and their coming has pleased and surprised us. We had long since ceased to look to " Sister Joanna,” as Scott loved to call her; for either dramas or lyrics, in both of which she has excelled.

Even more enthusiastic was the writer in Fraser’s Magazine who declared : ‘ Had we heard that a MS. play of Shakespeare's, or an early, but missing, novel of Scott's, had been discovered, and was already in -the press, the information could not have been more welcome. It awakened that long dormant eagerness of curiosity with which we used to look forward to the publications of her volumes, in those remote days when Wordsworth was yet unknown, and the first faint beams of the genius of Walter Scott had only shewn themselves in a few and scattered miscellaneous poems, and Southey's name was as yet unglorified by the production of Madoc, or jKehama, or Roderic, and Milman was a Sap at Eton, and Byron a rebel at Harrow.'

The volumes were an immediate success. Even the Edinburgh Review condescended to say that 'Their contents will not, on the whole, disappoint expectation.’ Its attitude toward Joanna Baillie had changed; with what deep interest and sympathy they now regarded the publication of these volumes, as the last legacy to the public of * their highly gifted authoress!.' All the critics feel that they are taken back to their youth. The writer in Fraser's Magazine so vividly recalled his former, and so naively described his present impressions, that his entire statement is inserted:

The advertisement in the Times, which told us that these three new volumes of dramas were in the press, was magical in its influence, and recalled with a vividness and distinctness which was quite unparalleled the recollection of some of the happiest moments and keenest feelings of our early youth. Again we were brought back to the time when we used, in the midday heat of some summer holiday, to mount half way up to the forked branches of a tall and favourite elm, and there sit for hours together in our aerial arbour, forgetting all the sober realities of our then existence, masters, lessons, and exercises, and wholly absorbed by the love of Basil, the ambition of Ethwald, or the fearful passion of De Montfort. Again we were reminded of those crude, but sincere, and often felicitous criticisms, of our schoolboy days, when, of a long winter evening, we discussed about

the playroom fire the position which ought to be assigned to Joanna Baillie in the ranks of dramatic literature; while we seemed again to hear the observations, and to have before us the looks, manner, and even voices, of those who sided with us, or against us, in the high appreciation of her genius, at an age when we estimated the excellence of a tragedy by the emotions it excited, by the tears it drew from us, and by the thrill of terror which chilled us as we read. Again we seemed to feel the exultation with which, on the first publication of Marmion, we burst into the study of a dull, plodding, cold-blooded, unimaginative elf, who presumed to question the transcendant merits of our authoress, and, at once putting all his petty cavils to silence, and justifying our own enthusiasm by an appeal to the irresistible authority of Scott, recited, with wondrous emphasis, but not, perhaps, with a like discretion, that beautiful testimony to her genius, which Erskine is supposed to utter when admonishing the minstrel:

To emulate the notes that rung ....

But delighted as we were at the announcement of the volumes before us—eagerly impatient as we were for their publication— cross as we made our bookseller by our importunate inquiries after them, and our unjust reproaches at their not being sent us before they were ready—and cross as we were ourselves with one and all the members of that many-headed firm in Paternoster Row, who for nearly three weeks had held the word of promise to our ear and broken it to our hopes; when the delay was at last over, and the work lay, in its glossy green calico dress, fairly before us, we could hardly summon the resolution to open it. We lingered in cutting the leaves—our hearts misgave us; and it was only after much idling and procrastination that we turned with fear and trembling to examine its contents. We dreaded lest our expectations should be disappointed—lest these later plays should prove unworthy the high celebrity of their author—and lest, on rising from the perusal of them, we should find that the early-implanted and long-cherished admiration, which had been inspired by the wonderful creations of the summer of her days and the vigour of her genius, had in any degree suffered check or diminution from the perusal of the feebler efforts of her age. Our alarm was quite superfluous. We might have spared ourselves the pain of these petty, jealous, and mistrustful feelings. The new work has surpassed all that we had expected, or could have ventured to hope for; and we have not the slightest hesitation in asserting—and we are prepared to maintain our opinion against all gainsayers whosoever—that to meet with anything in dramatic literature equal to ‘Henriquez,’ ‘The Separation,’ ‘The Phantom,’ parts of 'The Homicide,’ and some scenes of the ‘ Bride,’ we must pass over all that has been written, except by Joanna Baillie herself, during the space of the last two hundred years, and revert to the golden days of Elizabeth and James I. So said Scott, in verse, some thirty years ago; and we, from the very bottom of our hearts, and in plain prose, coincide in his judgment, not only with regard to those earlier dramas to which he alluded, but to these, their younger brethren, which are now before us.

With this publication ended Joanna Baillie’s dramatic career.

Old Age.

Miss Baillie made a lasting impression upon those who knew her, on account of her noble qualities of character— a beautiful compound of intelligence, loveliness, and venerable simplicity. The realization that she possessed a deep serenity, based upon integrity of life and absence of conceit, is expressed by Lucy Aikin, George Ticknor, Mrs. Channing, William Ellery Channing,5 and many others. It is small wonder that Wordsworth chose her as his ideal English gentlewoman.

Religion had always been an important factor in Miss Baillie’s life, and with old age theological questions became of paramount importance. A deeply religious note can be heard through all her dramas, from Basil
to The Martyr. ‘The great God of mercy' who is 'most good and merciful, is the

Power above that calms the storm,
Restrains the mighty, gives the dead to life.

Her belief in Christ's mission on earth was definite and convincing. One of the most inspiring characters in the dramas, Ethelbert, expresses her idea of the work of Christ as it is told in the Scriptures:

But what thinkst thou, my Selred, read I there?
Of one sent down from heav’n in sov'reign pomp,
To give into the hands of leagued priests
All power to hold th’ immortal soul of man
In everlasting thraldom? O far otherwise!
Of one who health restored unto the sick,
Who made the lame to walk, the blind to see,
Who fed the hungry, and who rais'd the dead,
Yet had no place wherein to lay His head.
Of one from ev’ry spot oi tainting sin
Holy and pure; and yet so lenient,
That He with soft and unupbraiding love
Did woo the wand’ring sinner from his ways,
As doth the elder brother of a house
The erring stripling guide. Of one, my friend,
Wiser by far than all the sons of men,
Yet teaching ignorance in simple speech,
As thou wouldst take an infant on thy lap
And lesson him with his own artless tale.
Of one so mighty

That He did say unto the raging sea ‘Be thou at peace,’ and it obeyed His voice;

Yet bow'd Himself unto the painful death That we might live.

From the first years of her writing she believed in the divine mission and the human nature of Christ. In 1798 she writes: ‘Our Saviour himself, whose character is so beautiful, and so harmoniously consistent . . . never touches the heart more nearly than when He says, “Father, let this cup pass from me.”

To this ‘Lord of all existing things' prayer rises constantly from her tragic characters. Orra, when madness is closing upon her brain, tries in vain to raise her thoughts ‘in strong and steady fervour'; Ethelbert, just before his death, goes apart to pray, and, when he returns, on his noble front A smiling calmness rests, like one whose mind Hath high communion held with blessed souls.

Basil fears his act of suicide has cut him off from pardon, and says,

When I am gone, my friend,
O! let a good man’s prayers to heav’n ascend
For an offending spirit! Pray for me.
What thinkest thou? although an outcast here,
May not some heavenly mercy still be found?

and De Monfort, seeing his sister kneeling in prayer for him, exclaims:

Ha! dost thou pray for me ? heav’n hear they prayer!
I fain would kneel. Alas! I dare not do it.

With this strong belief in the power of prayer goes the conviction of personal immortality: ‘ Death is but a short though awful pass; as it were a winking of the eyes for a moment. We shut them in this world and open them in the next: and there we open them with such increased vividness of existence, that this life, in comparison, will appear but as a state of slumber and of dreams.’ The soul of her friend she believes has gone

To fellowship with blessed souls above.

Columbus lost all the rewards of honor and fame in this world, but were not his achievements worth while,

When records of the mighty dead
To earth-worn pilgrim’s wistful eye
The brightest rays of cheering shed,
That point to immortality?
A twinkling speck, but fix’d and bright,
To guide us through the dreary night,
Each hero shines, and lures the soul
To gain the distant happy goal.
For is there one who, musing o’er the grave
Where lies interr’d the good, the wise, the brave,
Can poorly think, beneath the mould’ring heap,
That noble being shall for ever sleep?
No; saith the gen’rous heart, and proudly swells,—
Though his cered corse lie here, with God his spirit dwells.

Religious honesty was as essential to Joanna Baillie as was intellectual honesty, and so she felt obligated to express the change in belief that came to her late in life. She explained all her new ideas to her friend Mrs. Siddons, who replied characteristically, 'I still hold fast my own faith without wavering'. In 1831 Joanna Baillie expressed her final belief in the human nature of Christ, in a pamphlet entitled A View of the General Tenor of the New Testament regarding the Nature and Dignity of Jesus Christ. She analyzed clearly the doctrines of the Trinitarians, the Arians, and the Socin-ians, and quoted all the passages that bear upon the controversy. Her own decision was indefinite; she felt sure ‘ that without previous instruction in the doctrine of the Trinity, a person of plain sense might read the whole of the New Testament without being aware of such a doctrine being contained in it/ Apparently she favors the Socinian belief in the nature of Christ, as a great Mission-Prophet of God, sent into the world to reveal his will to men; to set them an example of perfect virtue; and to testify the truth of his mission by the sacrifice of his life.'

In May, 1831, she wrote to a friend that she had sent no copies of her pamphlet to any clergymen except one, a Presbyterian minister. She did send it, however, to several lay friends. Sir Walter Scott received a copy in the spring of 1831. He was so indignant that his friend should have been drawn into a controversy in which she could hardly do herself justice, that he refused to add the volume to his library, and gave it to Laidlaw, who seems to have had more sympathy with her views. How unfortunate it is that the last mention in his diary of his old friend, Joanna Baillie, dated May 17, 1831, should record merely his disappointment in her because of this religious tract.

Channing was one of the few persons to whom she presented copies. On August 29, 1831, he wrote her: ‘If it will afford you any satisfaction, I ought to say that my views on the doctrine which you have examined were much the same as yours. At the same time I would add, that for years I have felt a decreasing interest in settling the precise rank of Jesus Christ'. A year later he adds: 'In proportion as the great moral, spiritual purpose of Christianity shines in my mind, the unintelligible mysteries of the schools fade away, and I can hardly muster up interest enough in them to read either for or against them .... Your book is almost the only one I have read on the subject for years.’

The publication of this pamphlet led to a correspondence between Joanna Baillie and the Bishop of Salisbury, who attempted to change her opinions. In 1838 she arranged for a second edition, because of the rumor that she had been converted by the Bishop’s arguments. The new edition contained all the correspondence between them.

In a letter to a friend dated Hampstead, March 16, 1838, Miss Baillie explains so frankly the pecuniary failure of this venture into theology as to establish once and for all her attitude toward her publishers. My Bookseller, Mr. Smallfield> has published the book at his own risk,’ she writes, * and is to have the profits if there be any. I hope he will not lose by it, for I find myself in no favour with the public whatever my undertaking may be. Before we made the arrangement, I sent him my account with Longman, that he might be fully aware how unsuccessful the first edition had been, and do everything with his eyes open.’

The last years slipped by in comparative quiet. During the fall of 1831 and the spring of 1832 she suffered from a very heavy disease. that left her so weak that correspondence was impossible. This illness forms the exception which proves her usual good health. In 1843 she wrote to Mrs. Somerville that, all things considered,’ she could give a very good account .... Ladies of four score and upwards cannot expect to be robust, and need not be gay. We sit by the fireside with our books, . . . and receive the visits of our friendly neighbors very contentedly, and I trust I may say, very thankfully.' By the time Harriet Martineau came to London, Miss Baillie was, as a rule, declining dinner invitations,160 but she was still entertaining in her own home. Mrs. Farrar was specially enthusiastic over her reception in Hampstead, and praised Miss Baillie’s pretty and pleasant dinners, over which she presided 'with peculiar grace and tact, always attentive to the wants of her guests, and yet keeping up a lively conversation the while.’

By this time she was usually called Mrs. Joanna Baillie, as her age and her literary reputation were held to entitle her 'to brevet rank.’ This title appears in 1849 on the title-page of her last work. Scott teased her about her new title: 'So you have retired from your former prefix of Miss Joanna Baillie, and have adopted the more grave appellation of Mrs. Well, you may call yourself what you please on the backs of letters and visiting cards, but I will warrant you never get posterity to tack either Miss or Mrs. to the Quaker-like Joanna Baillie ; we would as soon have Wm. Shakespeare, Esq.

In 1836 Joanna Baillie was in London for two noteworthy plays—Mrs. Bartley’s performance of Macbeth164 at Drury Lane, and the premiere of Talfourd’s Ion at Covent Garden.165 She was again in London in 1843, and evidently enjoyed greatly the gossip concerning Charles Dickens and other literary people. 'In our retired way of living' she wrote Mrs. Somerville on her return, we know very little of what goes on in the literary world.' That she was not entirely forgotten, however, is proved by the fact that in 1838 Mr. Merivale dedicated to her two volumes of original prose and translations, 'in humble testimony of her rare and exalted genius .... with every sentiment of respect and affection/167 In the same year Mrs. Jameson took her niece, Geraldine Macpherson, to see Miss Baillie. The child had read De Monfort and Basil, and evidently expected to see an awe-inspiring person. 'I am not sure' Miss Macpherson confessed later, 'that the relief with which I found myself nestling to the side of a gently-smiling, white-haired old lady, whose dignity could condescend to amuse her child-visitor with tales of the second sight and thrilling ghost stories which she had heard from Sir Walter Scott, . . . was not slightly tinctured with disappointment. She was still too young to appreciate ‘the simplicity, in itself heroic, of the poet and her surroundings'.

Age had not lessened Miss Baillie’s interest in philanthropy, and in this same year the sisters spent much time 'in note-writing' in an attempt to get a poor boy elected into the London Orphan Asylum. Truly we are quite tired of it,’ she adds to our satisfaction, for it is a relief to find this human note in so perfect a character. At the age of seventy-six she took a long walk to visit the poor, and, though the day was chill and windy, she returned ‘unfatigued and even invigorated by the exercise/170 She impressed all who met her with her serenity and good humor. ‘Amidst all the pedantry, vanity, coquetry, and manners ruined by celebrity which I have seen' says Harriet Martineau, ‘for these twenty years past, I have solaced, and strengthened myself with the image of Joanna Baillie, with the remembering of the invulnerable justification which she set up for intellectual superiority in women.

Although admiration for her work was expressed chiefly in calls for new editions and in favorable magazine-reviews, two enduring tributes were paid to her genius. She was made an honorary member of the Whittington Club, in company with Mary Russell Mitford, Maria Edgeworth, Mrs. Somerville, and Leigh Hunt. This election she considered a very great compliment. Another recognition of her position in literature was her election to honorary membership in the Historical Society of Michigan. Her name was proposed on March 23, 1838, and she was elected to membership at the next meeting June 13, 1840.3 At these two meetings many honorary members were elected. Among them were a large number of Americans, and the following English women: Maria Edgeworth, Mrs. Jameson, Harriet Martineau, Mary Russell Mitford, Mrs. P. B. Shelley, Madam D’Arblay, and Lucy Aikin. There is no statement as to the reason for their selection.

The closing years of Joanna Baillie’s life were pathetic. In 1844 she carried on a most intimate correspondence with Mary Berry, which proves conclusively that Harriet Martineau was mistaken in her belief that Joanna Baillie was indifferent to the fate of her plays. 'If I were much given to envy' she wrote on October 16, ‘I should envy you for two things: first that a clever, knowing-in-the-trade bookseller calls for permission to reprint your works. ... On what spot of the earth lives that bookseller who would now publish at his own risk any part of my works? ’Miss Berry replied with the consoling flattery that Joanna Baillie’s works were 'written for posterity and to take their place in the small band of real poets who have adorned our country. There you will flourish ever green,’ she continues, 'and will rise in importance as you recede from the present generation/ In her anxiety to console her friend, she grew oratorical, and declared that 'Shakespeare will acknowledge that you dared to walk on the same plane with him, without copying him, or falling from the height of which he had shown you the example; there Byron will own that the great expression of passion in Basil exceeds any of his.’ Channing also consoled her by asking, 'How few like you wear fresh laurels in old age?’

Only a few months before her death, however, a London bookseller did demand the republication of her works, and she lived to see the complete edition of 1851 'my great monster book,’ she called it. It was published by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans in London, 'with many corrections, and a few additions by herself.’ This edition included little new material; a few lyiics were resurrected from her still-born volume of 1790, and her last work Ahalya Baee was added, which had been printed in London in 1849 f°r private circulation. This new edition removed the first cause#of her envy of Miss Berry.

The second cause, however, was beyond human aid. None of her friends seems to have noticed as early as 1844 that her mind was failing, but she herself was conscious of the change. 'What book,’ she asks, ‘could you give me to read of which I should have any distinct recollection three months hence?'175 On this score Miss Berry could give her no reassurance. In September, 1850, Lucy Aikin wrote that her friend's ‘ memory certainly fails a great deal, but the heart is warm as ever, and there are still flashes of a bright mind.’ About the same time Harriet Martineau saw her for the last time. She was tfien over-affectionate,’ she says, 'and uttered a good deal of flattery, and I was uneasy at symptoms so unlike her good taste and sincerity. It was a token of approaching departure. She knew that she was declining, and she sank and softened for some months more.’ Before her death, her mind was controlled largely by her imagination. When Miss Merivale visited her, she described to her visitors how she had seen Napoleon ride up the hill to her.

Early in 1851 Rogers and Miss Coutts called upon 'Mrs. Joanna Baillie,’ and Miss Coutts recorded the closing words of their conversation. 'Her last words as I left her, were that she looked forward to the time when she should be released with more pleasure then to anything else, and I thought to myself that I hoped that I might look as peaceful and as happy as she did at that moment/179 On January 9, Miss Baillie wrote to Mrs. Somerville, 'My sister and myself at so great an age are waiting to be called away in mercy by an Almighty Father, and we part with our earthly friends as those whom we shall meet again.’ The waiting was not long. On Saturday, February 22, 1851, Joanna Baillie retired, apparently in her usual health; in the morning she was found to be in a state of coma, and died on the afternoon of Sunday, February 23. She was buried in an altar-tomb, surrounded by an iron railing, in the parish churchyard at Hampstead. As is most fitting, her sister Agnes lies in the same grave, and her friend Lucy Aikin lies next to her. The place of her burial is almost forgotten, but within the church a tablet has been erected to her memory, and in the vestry, next to the portrait of Bishop Selwyn, hangs a watercolor by Mary Ann Knight of Joanna Baillie as she looked in the days of her greatest fame.


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