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[22]

I have been daily in Westminster Hall; at six o'clock, I go home to dress for dinner, and then the evening is devoted to society. Since the term was up, I have paid some visits which I have been long owing. I went to Hampstead, by invitation beforehand, to lunch with Joanna Baillie.1 I place her next after Lord Brougham's mother. She is seventy-five, neat, tidy, delightful in her personal appearance; and in conversation, simple, interesting, and agreeable. She affected me in the same way as did Wordsworth. I thought that Providence should have brought them together as man and wife. We talked of Scott and Lockhart. Was it not strange that I should be put to inquire at a dozen doors in that village, to know where Miss Baillie lived? In my vexation, I told one person who lived within a stone's throw of what I afterwards found to be the simple roof of the poetess, that he did not know the residence of the greatest ornament of his town! Another morning was devoted to Carlyle.2 His manners and conversation are as unformed as his style; and yet, withal, equally full of genius. In conversation, he piles thought upon thought and imagining upon imagining, till the erection seems about to topple down with its weight. He lives in great retirement,—I fear almost in poverty. To him, London and its mighty maze of society are nothing; neither he nor his writings are known. Young Milnes3 (whose poems you have doubtless read) told me that nobody knew of his existence; though he, Milnes, entertained for him personally the greatest regard. Carlyle said the strangest thing in the history of literature was his recent receipt of fifty pounds from America, on account of


1 Poet and dramatist, died in 1851, at the age of eighty-nine. Her home at Hampstead was, to the end of her life, frequented by eminent persons. Lord Jeffrey, who visited her in 1840, wrote that he found her ‘as fresh, natural, and amiable as ever; and as little like a Tragic Muse. Since old Mrs. Brougham's death, I do not know so nice an old woman.’ Among Sumner's, autographs is Miss Baillie's note of Nov. 22, 1838, inviting him to visit her on the next Wednesday. Her sister, Agnes, died April 27, 1861, at the age of one hundred.

2 Thomas Carlyle, 1795—.He had, prior to 1839, published besides miscellaneous papers the ‘Sartor Resartus,’ and ‘French Revolution.’ His ‘Burns’ had been read with great interest by Sumner when in College, ante, Vol. I., p. 50. The following was written to Sumner (the ‘newspaper fragment’ referred to is Professor Andrews Norton's reply to George Ripley in a discussion concerning ‘The Latest Form of Infidelity’):—

Chelsea, Feb. 14, 1839.
my dear Sir,—Could you return this newspaper fragment of the Socinian Pope to Mr. Coolidge, lest I lose it in the interim? Doubtless, he and you would like to see the poison, now that you are fortified with the antidote. Here it is, strong as prussic acid in my hand for a week past. If I knew Mr. Coolidge's address, I would call for his lady and him, as it is my part to do. My wife has caught cold, and is not equal to any call beyond a few rods distant at present. We calculate on seeing you soon, and wish you always right well.

Yours very truly,


3 Richard Monckton Milnes was born in 1809. He supported liberal measures as a Member of Parliament for Pontefract from 1837 to 1863, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Houghton. His contributions to literature, in prose and poetry, have been miscellaneous. In 1875 he visited the United States. He is widely known for his genial qualities as host and friend. Sumner enjoyed his society on this first visit to England. They continued to be correspondents for some years afterwards, and renewed their personal intercourse in 1857.

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