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[286] island in the lake, from which our Franklin, who was then staying at the house of a gentleman here, made his first experiment of pouring oil on troubled waters. .. . . . Southey was pleasant during the walk and still more so at dinner and in the evening, talking with great rapidity; for the quickness of his mind expresses itself in the fluency of his utterance, and yet he is ready upon almost any subject that can be proposed to him, from the extent of his knowledge. In the evening he opened to me more great bundles of manuscript materials, his ‘History of Portugal,’ the work on which he thinks he can most safely rest his claims with posterity, his ‘History of the Portuguese East Indies,’ a necessary appendix and consequence of it, etc., etc.; in short, as he himself said, more than the whole amount of all he has published. He is certainly an extraordinary man, one of those whose character I find it difficult to comprehend, because I hardly know how such elements can be brought together, such rapidity of mind with such patient labor and wearisome exactness, so mild a disposition with so much nervous excitability, and a poetical talent so elevated with such an immense mass of minute, dull learning. He considers himself completely an author by profession, and therefore, as he told me, never writes anything which will not sell, in the hours he regularly devotes to labor. For this reason, his poetry has been strictly his amusement, and therefore, as he is forbidden early rising by his physician, he has taken the time before breakfast for his Muse,—which cannot be above half an hour or an hour,—and has not allowed himself any other. When I add that his light reading after supper is now in the fifty-three folios of the ‘Acta Sanctorum,’ I have given to myself an idea of industry such as I never saw but in Germany before.

After all, however, my recollections of Southey rest rather on his domestic life and his character as a man, for here he seems to me to be truly excellent. . . . . His family now consists of Mrs. Lovell; Mrs. Coleridge and her beautiful daughter, who is full of genius, and to whom he has given an education that enables her, in defiance of an alarming degree of modesty, to speak of Virgil, Cervantes, and Dante as familiar acquaintance; and his own excellent wife,1 with six fine children, who are half his occupation and more than half his pride and delight, all living in affection and harmony together, and all supported by the exercise of his talents, in a gentlemanlike establishment, where, besides an ample library, he has the comforts and a great many

1 Mr. Ticknor did not see Mrs. Southey, her infant son, whose cradle was in his father's library at this time, being only three weeks old.

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