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[151] once to press Mr. Canning, as Premier, for several weeks, to look over and determine some matters quite important to the condition of India. The business was disagreeable, and Canning disliked to touch it, though the delay was becoming injurious to the service. At last, much urged, he promised to come to the proper office, on a certain evening, and finish the business. He came, but said he hated the whole thing; that he had come only because he had given his word; and then, turning suddenly on the Secretary, ‘Now, if you will let me off from this business to-night, I will treat you to Astley's.’ The Secretary saw it was idle to do, or to attempt to do, anything like serious work with the Premier while in such a humor, and accepted the invitation to the amphitheatre, leaving India to suffer till Canning's sense of duty should make him industrious.

After the singular conversation about the influence of the aristocracy this morning, it seemed somewhat odd, at dinner-time, in that truly aristocratic establishment at Lansdowne House, to stumble at once upon Sydney Smith. . . . . We had to wait dinner a little for Lord Lansdowne, who, as President of the Council, had been detained in the House of Lords, fighting with Brougham, whom he pronounced to be more able and formidable than at any previous period of his life. Lord Lansdowne seemed in excellent spirits. Not so Lady L. As she went in to dinner, surrounded by the most beautiful monuments of the arts, and sat down with Canova's Venus behind her, she complained to me, naturally and sincerely, of the weariness of a London life, and said that it was almost as bad at Bowood, with Lord Lansdowne always coming up to town to attend the Council But the talk was brilliant. Senior is always agreeable, but, by the side of Sydney Smith and Jeffrey, of course he put in no claim; and I must needs say, that when I saw Smith's free good-humor, and the delight with which everybody listened to him, I thought there were but small traces of the aristocratic oppression of which he had so much complained in the morning. Lord Jeffrey, too, seemed to be full of good things and good sayings . . . . Fine talk it certainly was, often brilliant, always enjoyable. The subjects were Parliament and Brougham; the theatre and Macready; reviewing, apropos of which the old reviewers hit one another hard; the literature of the day, which was spoken of lightly; Prescott's ‘Ferdinand and Isabella,’ which Lord Lansdowne said he had bought from its reputation, and which Milman in his quiet way praised. . . . .

April 3.—Breakfasted at Dr. Holland's, where I met only Hallam. Of course I had a most pleasant time, for there are hardly better

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