is a person of great talent, force, and courage, with a quick, sharp, incisive manner of expressing himself. He speaks French beautifully, and quotes Ariosto with grace and propriety; is about thirty-four or thirty-five, and quite small; is rash, self-confident, and unassimilating. His party is himself; for he will brook no shadow of variance from his own opinions. Leader is twenty-six or twenty-seven, with gentle looks and manner and flaxen hair, and a finished education. I have seldom heard a finer French accent from English lips than from his; and his acquaintance with all Continental literature seems to be quite complete. I need not tell you that Trelawney is a most remarkable man. The terms of freedom and familiarity on which I found myself with all these—and, I may add, with a most extensive literary and legal circle that I meet—you may infer from the slight fact that they address me without any prefix, as ‘Sumner;’ and I, of course, do the same with them. Sir William Follett always meets me on that footing. It was only night before last that I dined at his house. We had at table Sir Frederick Pollock, Serjeant Talfourd, Theodore Hook,1 Charles Austin,—one of the cleverest, most enlightened, and agreeable men in London,—and Crowder, the Queen's counsel. Talfourd2 outdid himself; indeed, I have never seen him in such force. He and Pollock discussed the comparative merits of Demosthenes and Cicero; and Talfourd, with the earnestness which belongs to him, repeated one of Cicero's glorious perorations. Pollock gave a long extract from Homer; and the author of ‘Ion,’ with the frenzy of a poet, rolled out a whole strophe of one of the Greek dramatists. Theodore looked on in mute admiration, and then told some of his capital stories. As a story-teller he is unparalleled, but says little in general conversation. It is only when the ladies have retired, and there is room for something approaching license, that he is at his ease. He then dramatizes and brings before you Sir Charles Wetherell and the Duke of Cumberland, and whom he wishes. In his line he is first; but, as a contributor to the intellectual feast, he is of little value,—vastly inferior to Sydney Smith, whose humor makes your sides shake with laughter for weeks after you have listened to it. We left Follett at about half-past 11 o'clock; and Talfourd carried me to the ‘Garrick,’ where we found Poole. Talfourd took his two glasses of negus, his grilled bone, and Welsh rare-bit; and both he and Poole entertained me by their reminiscences of Godwin.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
2 Thomas Noon Talfourd, 1795-1854. He entered Parliament in 1835, and the same year gave to the public his tragedy of ‘Ion.’ His ‘Athenian Captive’ followed in 1838. His ‘Copyright Act’ distinguishes his Parliamentary career. In 1849, he was made a judge of the Common Pleas, and knighted. He died suddenly of apoplexy, while discharging his official duties. Talfourd invited Sumner to dine, Nov. 24, 1838, at his house, 56 Russell Square. In a note from Gloucester, April 1, 1840, he regrets that absence on the circuit will prevent his shaking Sumner's hand again, but hopes to renew their acquaintance at no very distant period in the United States. They had interchanged friendly letters before Sumner went abroad. Talfourd, Jan. 4, 1837, acknowledging Sumner's letter of Aug. 15, 1836, sent him two copies of ‘Ion,’—one for himself, and another for Dr. Channing, ‘your illustrious fellow-citizen, of whose writings I am a fervid admirer.’ They had also a common friend in Thomas Brown, ante, Vol. I. p. 156.
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