THE LATE LADY ASHBURTON.
Pro THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR:1
Sin,—Many of your readers will, I think, be interested in a short notice of a very remarkable personality which has just passed from our midst in Louisa Lady Ashburton, a Highland chieftainess of the Seaforth family. She was connected by ties of close and intimate friendship with Thomas Carlyle, with Robert Browning, and with Edwin Landseer, who were all warmly attached to her. For many years she was sur- rounded by the most eminent and interesting people of the time, and her sympathies were not only religious and philanthropic, but artistic and literary. Her heart was in Scotland, especially at Loch Luichart, Brahan, and the Isle of Lewis, from which she derived her name Louisa. A mysterious interest attaches to the Stuart-Mackenzie family, owing to the strange prophecy of the Brahan seer, who lived, and died a kind of martyr's death, in the time of Elizabeth, and whose rhyme has been gradually and strangely fulfilled during the last three hundred years. I suppose there is no such instance of second-sight as his. Lady Ashburton was keenly interested in the East End of London, and her charities at the Victoria Docks and at Stepney were magnificent. She was earnestly re- ligious, of the Evangelical school, and a perpetual student of the Bible. One of her good works was generously to lend Kent House to almost every charity which desired to plead its claims in a drawing-room. The collection of pictures there is exceedingly fine, comprising extremely good Vandykes, and first-rate examples of Mantegna, Botticelli, Giorgione, and Albert Diirer, besides fine pictures by Watts, Leighton, and Landseer. Her last years had been made sorrowful by the touching illness and death of her only child, the Marchioness of Northampton, who has left a most fragrant memory behind her. One wishes that her memory might be kept green for at any rate a little time, while so many remem- ber her dark and splendid beauty and the deep musical tones