While I listened late at night to these reminiscences, I did not expect the next evening to be sitting on the same sofa chatting with Godwin's daughter, Mrs. Shelley,1 the author of ‘Frankenstein.’ I dined with Theobald,2 whose legal writings you well know, and, stealing away from his drawing-rooms, repaired to Lady Morgan's.3 Her Ladyship had particularly invited me to her party on this evening, saying, ‘Promise me that you will come on Sunday night, and I will have all the literary characters of London. I will trot them all out for your benefit.’ Accordingly, there were Sam Rogers, —just returned with renewed youth from Paris,—Kenyon, Hayward, Courtenay4 (the M. P. and great London epicure), and his beautiful daughter; Westmacote Young, the retired actor, Young (Ubiquity), Mr.Yates and Mrs. Yates, Quin, and Mrs. Shelley. We had excellent music. I talked a good deal with Mrs. Shelley. She was dressed in pure white, and seemed a nice and agreeable person, with great cleverness. She said the greatest happiness of a woman was to be the wife or mother of a distinguished man. I was not a little amused at an expression that broke from her unawares, she forgetting that I was an American. We were speaking of travellers who violated social ties, and published personal sketches, and she broke out, ‘Thank God! I have kept clear of those Americans.’ I did not seem to observe what she had said, and she soon atoned for it. Lady Morgan points every sentence with a phrase in French. She is now engaged upon a work on ‘Woman,’ which will be published in the spring.5 I have told you of one dinner with the Radicals; another was at Joseph Parkes's, where we had Dr. Bowring6 (just returned from Egypt), Roebuck, Falconer, and myself. I was nearly dead with a cold, but I could not be insensible to the bold, searching conversation and the interesting discussions of the characters of public men and events. Brougham said last week to Roebuck: ‘They say there will be a contest between Durham and myself in the House of Lords. There will be no such thing. It were affectation in me not to know that I am a very great debater, and that Lord Durham is a very poor one; there can be therefore no contest between us.’ Brougham has two volumes in press, being a supplement to his volume on Natural Theology, in which, among other things, there is a dialogue between him and Lord Spencer, on Instinct.
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 .
3 Lady Sydney Morgan, 1783-1859; daughter of Robert MacOwen, of the English stage; a native of Dublin, wife of Sir Thomas Charles Morgan, and author of poems, novels, and books of travel. Her writings were much read, and yielded a considerable income; but her style encountered much criticism. H. F. Chorley has left an account of her,—‘Autobiography,’ Vol. I. p. 230. Sumner met her on his second visit to England, in 1857.
5 Woman and her Master,—published in 1840.
6 Sir John Bowring, 1792-1872; scholar, philologist, and writer upon political and commercial questions; the first editor of the ‘Westminster Review,’ and the friend and literary executor of Jeremy Bentham. He served in Parliament, 1835-1849; was Governor of Hong Kong, 1854-57; and became editor of the ‘Westminster Review’ by the nomination of Bentham, but against the judgment of James Mill. ‘Autobiography of John Stuart Mill,’ p. 91.
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