August 19.—. . . . I left Derby . . . . late this morning; I was soon in the smother of the manufacturing district, and passing through Dudley came to Wolverhampton, where I took a cab, which in two hours brought me nineteen miles to Sir John Acton's, at Aldenham Park. I arrived about four o'clock, was most heartily received, and came to my room, . . . . and went down to dinner at half past 7. . . . . Sir John's establishment, of which I have yet seen very little, is perfectly appointed, and in admirable order. The house is as large as Trevelyan's, and not unlike it; and he, a young bachelor, can occupy only a small part of it. Nobody was at table except his chaplain, Mr. Morris, one of the Oxford convertites, and known for one of the first English scholars in Oriental and Sanscrit literature. We were in the midst of the first course when your letters came; and I instantly read enough of them to give a new zest to the other courses. Sir John was full of talk, and knowledge of books and things, and by the help of a cigar,—which the chaplain and I took, but not Sir John,—we went on till near midnight. He is certainly a most remarkable young man, and much advanced and ripened since we saw him. August 20.-Sir John's estate here in Shropshire—he has lands elsewhere—consists of eight thousand acres, a part of which has been in his family above five centuries. His house, built about a hundred and fifty years ago, is in the Italian style of that period, and the court, in the centre of its quadrangle, has been covered in, and he is now making it into a grand library, books just at this time being his passion. . . . . August 21.—Sir John lives here, somewhere between prince and hermit, in a most agreeable style. Yesterday, before dinner, we took a long walk in the park, which I enjoyed very much, some of the prospects being admirable . . . . . He fills up all his time with reading, and is one of the most eager students I have ever known. He will certainly make his mark on the world if he lives long enough. . . . . We lounged among his books, old and new, till dinner-time, which proved to-day to be near eight o'clock; dined quite alone at a luxurious and dainty table, and then had a solid and agreeable talk, one so solid and agreeable that it kept me up till nearly midnight again, which was not according to my purpose. . . . . My windows are open, and I look out both east and south into the park, where, besides the superb avenue, which is full before me, there are some of the grandest old trees I have seen in England, and on one side a very tasteful garden and the chapel, where mass is performed daily,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.