FREE Trade won, Bright turned for a brief space to his private concerns before going forward to the battle of Irish freedom and electoral reform. The day after his talk with Peel, he wrote to Cobden:
"[ July 29, 1846.] I confess that I am seeking the good opinion of a lady for whom I have long felt a high regard, and have some hope of being successful. . . . It is pleasant, after the Seven Years' War of the League, to look to domestic peace."
The lady whose good opinion he sought was Miss Elizabeth Leatham, of Heath, near Wakefield.
He was now thirty-five, a widower, a national celebrity, a vigorous intellect, a great orator, but naturally a little set and serious in his mental habits. On his thirty-fifth birthday he wrote: ". . . So half the time allotted by the Psalmist is over and the latter half has begun. This is a solemn consideration, and it startles me every birthday to think how the sands of life are flowing out and how little has been done in the years that are past." Nevertheless, the story of his second courtship and marriage is a beautiful idyll.
His one brief year of supreme happiness with Elizabeth Priestman and the tragedy of her death were six years away. His little Helen, the light of his life during all that time of mourning, was six years old. "One Ash" seemed lonely. Public duties and private business anxieties pressed hard on him. Then, in 1845,1 he met Margaret Elizabeth____________________