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[66] consist, I imagine, chiefly of the lectures he delivered at the Institution, newly prepared with that excessive care which is really a blemish in his later works, and which arises, I suppose, in some degree from a constitutional nervousness which often amounts to disease.

Lord Byron told me that he had injured his poem of ‘Gertrude,’ by consulting his critical friends too much, and attempting to reconcile and follow all their advice. His lectures at the Institution, from the same cause, though extremely popular at first, gradually became less so, though to the last they were remarkably well attended.

June 26.—I passed the greater part of this morning with Lord Byron. When I first went in, I again met Lady Byron, and had a very pleasant conversation with her until her carriage came, when her husband bade her the same affectionate farewell that struck me the other day. Soon after I went in, Mrs. Siddons was announced as in an adjoining parlor. Lord Byron asked me if I should not like to see her; and, on my saying I should, carried me in and introduced me to her. She is now, I suppose, sixty years old, and has one of the finest and most spirited countenances, and one of the most dignified and commanding persons, I ever beheld. Her portraits are very faithful as to her general air and outline, but no art can express or imitate the dignity of her manner or the intelligent illumination of her face. Her conversation corresponded well with her person. It is rather stately, but not, I think, affected; and, though accompanied by considerable gesture, not really overacted. She gave a lively description of the horrible ugliness and deformity of David the painter; told us some of her adventures in France, a year ago; and, in speaking of Bonaparte, repeated some powerful lines from the ‘Venice Preserved,’ which gave me some intimations of her powers of acting. She formed a singular figure by Lady Byron, who sat by her side, all grace and delicacy, and this showed Mrs. Siddons's masculine powers in the stronger light of comparison and contrast. Her daughter, who was with her, is the handsomest lady I have seen in England. She is about twenty.

After she was gone, the conversation naturally turned on the stage. Lord Byron asked me what actors I had heard, and, when I told him, imitated to me the manner of Munden, Braham, Cooke, and Kemble, with exactness, as far as I had heard them. Kemble has been ill ever since I arrived, and is now in Scotland, and of course I could not judge of the imitation of him.

Afterwards I had a long and singular conversation with Lord Byron, in which, with that simplicity which I have uniformly found to mark

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