Immediately after lunch [on the first day] Mrs. Gaskell carried us to the house of that strange person, Mr. Waterton, whose ‘ Wanderings ’ in South America excited so much remark a few years ago. He is an anomaly; a thorough Catholic, and holding the most despotic theories of government, yet a radical at home, in order to overturn everything now existing in England; living a large part of his time in the woods, with the habits and the sharpened instincts of a savage, and yet with a fine, comfortable, English establishment, full of servants and luxuries; a man of an old family and large hereditary property, yet holding little intercourse with those about him; in short, a mass of inconsistencies, mingled with a great deal of talent and not a little science. We were sorry not to find him at home; but we saw his curious collection in natural history, one of the most beautiful things I ever beheld. The birds, collected and prepared by himself, are exquisite. . .. . There were other things, too; the alligator he rode; the ‘nondescript,’ with which he tried to mystify the naturalists, but which is only a red monkey, prepared by his consummate skill to look like a man, etc., etc. The whole is in his house, which stands in the middle of a small lake, and is approached by a drawbridge,—a fit position and arrangement for so whimsical and strange a creature.On the 25th September, Mr. Ticknor reached Wentworth House, Lord Fitzwilliam's ‘princely establishment,’ and there four days were filled with rich and varied interest, and with the most true and delightful hospitality.
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