mineralogy, geology, and zoology. . . . . In the collections of zoology we found Professor Lichtenstein, the well-known traveller, who spent six years at the Cape of Good Hope, ‘when it was little better,’ as Humboldt said, ‘than a menagerie.’ I saw him here twenty years ago, and he was then, as he is now, pleasant and obliging, with much the air and bearing of a man of the world. He carried us, I think, through sixteen halls, all of them respectable in their appearance, but the halls of birds really wonderful. Here Humboldt left us, to keep an appointment at the palace, reminding us that we should meet at dinner. . . . One thing struck me very much this morning; I mean the great deference shown everywhere to M. de Humboldt. Our valet-de-place and the people of the inn where we lodge, look upon us as quite different persons, I am sure, since he has chaperoned us; and nothing could exceed the bows and the ‘excellencies’ with which he was received everywhere. Even the three professors had put on their best coats and their orders of merit to receive him, and though they showed no sort of obsequiousness to him, they treated him with a consideration and distinction not to be mistaken. This is partly owing to his personal claims and character, but partly, also, to his immediate and intimate relations with the King. We met him again at dinner, at Lord William Russell's, where were also Mr. Wheaton, the Baron von Munchhausen, the Hanoverian Minister, Sir George Hamilton, Lord Fitzgerald, and a young Englishman. The conversation was, of course, chiefly in Humboldt's hands, who talks with incredible volubility both in French and English, and seems to talk equally well upon all subjects; always, however, I suspect, with a little indulgence of sarcasm towards individuals he does not approve. He was very amusing to-day, and very instructive too; for knowledge, facts, hints, seem to crowd and struggle for utterance the moment he opens his mouth. I am sorry to think we shall hardly see him again. May 28.—The morning was occupied in visiting to take leave, and in making preparations for our departure to-morrow. I dined with M. Ancillon, who had a little more the air of a minister to-day than when I saw him on two former occasions. Mr. Wheaton dined there; Count Raczynski; Baron Miltitz, formerly Prussian Minister at Constantinople; Brassier, the present Secretary of Legation at Paris; De Bresson, a member of the French Chamber of Deputies; and two or three others whom I did not know. The dinner was truly exquisite, and the attendance as exact as possible. . . . . M.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.