Here are a few of the vivid extracts from her diary :
" I am afraid we are getting" into the whirlpool, though I struggle hard to keep clear of it, or at least to get out of it from time to time. . . . Whilst you are in the sweet country, I am toiling at pleasure in this whirlpool of a city. Our engagements multiply about us, and as for my husband declining any, that is out of the question."
November, 1850 : "I think I may prepare you, dearest mother, for your son-in-law becoming President on Monday. I don't like to speak positively, although I can conscientiously say that I feel so, but I should be sorry to entail on you the chance of disappointment. I threaten to walk backwards before him, and to be much more respectful in my manners."
"I met the Nightingales at the French Exhibition. They had just received their first letter from their Florence - touchingly interesting. She had been taken to the hospital at Therapia, carried by the soldiers, who made relays without number in the short distance, so that the greatest possible number of them might have the pleasure of helping her; and her baggage was divided among twelve soldiers, though two could have easily carried the whole."
Florence, October 1, 1858 : "My month here has been one stream of enjoyment, and I would much sooner have had the opportunity of knowing one city, and such a city as this, well, than have gone about to many more. I shall ever look back on my time here with the purest pleasure, for no cares were present, and my occupations were of the most improving and lasting kind, as well as entirely to my taste. The weather has been heavenly, and the air a delight to breathe."
Sir Charles, at Pisa. Her grief was intense. For a time it threatened to ruin her whole life. But she was a woman of strong nature, and after a time she took up the threads again. But the experience drew from her an exquisite little volume, called "Fellowship : Letters Addressed to My Sister-mourners "; and from this book, more than anything else, one can visualise the woman as she was.
From that time she took up her life again, and lived amid warm friends, in the society she liked best. Her great friend, Mrs. Richard Boyle, has given us a sketch of her character : "Ever tender and true, in their friendship there had never been either change or disappointment. From first to last she inspired loving veneration. She entered into the whole spirit of everything around her, gave her whole interest to a discussion. She was sure to know something about it, and one was certain to learn something new from her. She had a great, calm soul, was never bored, and could detect at once the best points in a character. Though a first-rate critic, she was quick to perceive anything good, and would dwell on that rather than the bad. Her generous praise was always ready; but her thrusts at the bitterness, cowardice, injustice, cruelties of the age were most refreshing." Mrs. Boyle says of her Sunday evening visits to Fitzroy Square : ' It was a sort of little pilgrimage, and the shrine was Love. And then what a welcome she gave when the pilgrim arrived ! And how pleasant it was when, after a time, books and flowers and papers being pushed aside, lamps and a tea-tray were brought in and set on the table, while her pet, the little cat upon her lap, insisted on being first served with its saucer of milk. . . . What long, happy talks! What words of wisdom and deep thought she spoke; what memories of old, strange experiences belonging to the years that she had known; what merry flashes of amusement and wit ! "
From the painting by Wm. Boxall, R.a.
From " Journals and Correspondence of Lady Eastlake," published by John Murray, 1895
She always "drew people out." She had great sympathy, and took to herself another's grief and disappointment. She did so understand, and she touched it so lovingly.
Here are one or two memorable passages from her " Fellowship " :
"There are those in this world (women) who live for a period in the halcyon and perpetual exercise of devoted tenderness for one lawful and all - engrossing object. Their duty and their love unite in one even, deep stream; for their duty is their sweetest affection, their affection their dearest duty. To some of those favoured, happy hearts there comes, and always apparently suddenly, a change in their whole existence : a change at .first not understood, not believed - like a bad dream - when he who has been the life of their life has gone from them. Seen no more, heard no more, touched no more. . . . You ask yourself twenty times an hour, in blank amazement, ' Is it true ?' and as often the hollow void returns the inexorable answer, 'it is true.' "
". . . And the mourner, with her feeble, failing strength - only just enough for the day - is especially bound not to waste it on the wrong road. Her beloved one is before her, not behind her. There are two portals through which she may gaze with longing looks. Over the one are the fatal words, 'never more'; over the other the blessed characters, ' Ever more.' Oh, let us struggle towards that!"