June 14. Breakfast with Mr. Gladstone. Grosvenor Gallery with the Seeleys. Prayer meeting at Lady Gainsborough's. We were a little early, for Mrs. Gladstone complained that the flowers ordered from her country seat had but just arrived. A daughter of the house proceeded to arrange them. Breakfast was served at two round tables, exactly alike. I was glad to find myself seated between the great man and the Greek minister, John Gennadius. The talk ran a good deal upon Hellenics, and I spoke of the influence of the Greek in the formation of the Italian language, to which Mr. Gladstone did not agree. I know that scholars differ on the point, but I still retain the opinion I expressed. I ventured a timid remark regarding the number of Greek derivatives used in our common English speech. Mr. Gladstone said very abruptly, “How? What? English words derived from Greek?” and almostFrightened Miss Muffet away.He is said to be habitually disputatious, and I
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