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[360] to there last year. We had Gibson and Lady Bell, Edward Bunbury, Colonel Lyell, and perhaps a dozen more. . . . . Lady Bell and Mrs. Horner sent you abundance of affectionate messages. I talked a good deal with Richardson, Scott's old friend, who appears so largely and pleasantly in the Life by Lockhart. . . . . Telling him how fine I thought Scott's colloquial powers, he answered, ‘Yes, but they were never so fine as when he was having a jolly good time with two or three friends.’ He then described to me what he considered the finest specimen he had ever had of them. It was when nobody was present but Tom Campbell. They dined together at Ton's, in Sydenham, near London,—a very modest little cottage, where I dined in 1815,—and where the scene of this talk was chiefly laid at just about the same period. They dined early, but by ten o'clock, brilliant as the conversation was, Tom was past enjoying it, and nothing remained for them but to carry him up stairs and put him to bed. Scott, however, was neither disturbed nor exhausted, and they two repaired to the village tavern, and ordering beefsteaks and hot brandy-and-water, Scott poured out floods of anecdote and poetry, and talked on till three, when, with undiminished resources and as bright as ever, he reluctantly went to bed. Next morning they were up in good season. Tom came over to them, a little the worse for wear, but not much. Scott talked on, more brilliantly, if possible, than ever. At eleven they had mutton-chops and beer for breakfast, and then all three went off to London, Scott amusing them all the way, as—according to Richardson's account—men were never amused before or since. The whole story is, no doubt, characteristic of the period, as well as of the men. . . . . I was up in good season this morning,—the glorious Fourth,—and gave as many hours as I could hold out to work. I went to the Barings' about business, . . . . did several errands, and then went for four hours to the British Museum. Nothing could be better than the arrangements, and the good-nature with which my rather peculiar case was understood and met. I say peculiar, because, whereas other people want particular books and ask for them, I do not know what I want, except that I want books I have never heard of in old Spanish literature. So kind Mr. Watts took me to the place where they stand, far in one of the recesses of that vast pile of building, and gave me the services of one of his assistants. This person took down and showed me about three hundred and fifty curious volumes, and replaced them all. I was familiar with all but twenty of them. Of these twenty I took the numbers and titles, and shall go on Monday


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