Sunny Memories Of Foreign Lands - Volume 2 - By Harriet Beecher Stowe

 -  Naturally enough, I did not suppose them
to be husband and wife, and when I discovered that they were so - Page 6
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Naturally Enough, I Did Not Suppose Them To Be Husband And Wife, And When I Discovered That They Were So, Expressed A Good Deal Of Surprise At Their Difference Of Titles; To Which She Replied, That She Did Not Wonder We Americans Were Sometimes Puzzled Among The Number Of Titles.

She seemed quite interested to inquire into our manner of living and customs, and how they struck me as compared with theirs.

The letter of Mrs. Tyler was much talked of, and some asked me if I supposed Mrs. Tyler really wrote it, expressing a little civil surprise at the style. I told them that I had heard it said that it must have been written by some of the gentlemen in the family, because it was generally understood that Mrs. Tyler was a very ladylike person. Some said, "It does us no harm to be reminded of our deficiencies; we need all the responsibility that can be put upon us." Others said, "It is certain we have many defects;" but Lord John Campbell said, "There is this difference between our evils and those of slavery: ours exist contrary to law; those are upheld by law."

I did not get any opportunity of conversing with the Archbishop of Canterbury, though this is the second time I have been in company with him. He is a most prepossessing man in his appearance - simple, courteous, mild, and affable. He was formerly Bishop of Chester, and is now Primate of all England.

It is some indication of the tendency of things in a country to notice what kind of men are patronized and promoted to the high places of the church. Sumner is a man refined, gentle, affable, scholarly, thoroughly evangelical in sentiment; to render him into American phraseology, he is in doctrine what we should call a moderate New School man. He has been a most industrious writer; one of his principal works is his Commentary on the New Testament, in several volumes; a work most admirably adapted for popular use, combining practical devotion with critical accuracy to an uncommon degree. He has also published a work on the Evidences of Christianity, in which he sets forth some evidences of the genuineness of the gospel narrative, which could only have been conceived by a mind of peculiar delicacy, and which are quite interesting and original. He has also written a work on Biblical Geology, which is highly spoken of by Sir Charles Lyell and others. If I may believe accounts that I hear, this mild and moderate man has shown a most admirable firmness and facility in guiding the ship of the establishment in some critical and perilous places of late years. I should add that he is warmly interested in all the efforts now making for the good of the poor.

Among other persons of distinction, this evening, I noticed Lord and Lady Palmerston.

A lady asked me this evening what I thought of the beauty of the ladies of the English aristocracy: she was a Scotch lady, by the by; so the question was a fair one. I replied, that certainly report had not exaggerated their charms. Then came a home question - how the ladies of England compared with the ladies of America. "Now for it, patriotism," said I to myself; and, invoking to my aid certain fair saints of my own country, whose faces I distinctly remembered, I assured her that I had never seen more beautiful women than I had in America. Grieved was I to be obliged to add, "But your ladies keep their beauty much later and longer." This fact stares one in the face in every company; one meets ladies past fifty, glowing, radiant, and blooming, with a freshness of complexion and fulness of outline refreshing to contemplate. What can be the reason? Tell us, Muses and Graces, what can it be? Is it the conservative power of sea fogs and coal smoke - the same cause that keeps the turf green, and makes the holly and ivy flourish? How comes it that our married ladies dwindle, fade, and grow thin - that their noses incline to sharpness, and their elbows to angularity, just at the time of life when their island sisters round out into a comfortable and becoming amplitude and fulness? If it is the fog and the sea coal, why, then, I am afraid we never shall come up with them. But perhaps there may be other causes why a country which starts some of the most beautiful girls in the world produces so few beautiful women. Have not our close-heated stove rooms something to do with it? Have not the immense amount of hot biscuits, hot corn cakes, and other compounds got up with the acrid poison of saleratus, something to do with it? Above all, has not our climate, with its alternate extremes of heat and cold, a tendency to induce habits Of in-door indolence? Climate, certainly, has a great deal to do with it; ours is evidently more trying and more exhausting; and because it is so, we should not pile upon its back errors of dress and diet which are avoided by our neighbors. They keep their beauty, because they keep their health. It has been as remarkable as any thing to me, since I have been here, that I do not constantly, as at home, hear one and another spoken of as in miserable health, as very delicate, &c. Health seems to be the rule, and not the exception. For my part, I must say, the most favorable omen that I know of for female beauty in America is, the multiplication of water cure establishments, where our ladies, if they get nothing else, do gain some ideas as to the necessity of fresh air, regular exercise, simple diet, and the laws of hygiene in general.

There is one thing more which goes a long way towards the continued health of these English ladies, and therefore towards their beauty; and that is, the quietude and perpetuity of their domestic institutions.

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