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[154] Palgrave, and visited the old records in the Chapter House at Westminster; the oldest records in the kingdom, of which he has the charge. They proved extremely curious; for among them were Doomsday Book, in two volumes of unequal size, but singularly legible, and well arranged in a close, neat hand; all the oldest records of the administration of justice in the kingdom; the contracts between Henry VII. and the Abbot of Westminster, for building the Abbey, with the donations for that purpose of the pious monarch; treaties of Henry VIII., and I know not what else; besides another large room full of a wild confusion of old parchments. The very architecture of these repositories, with its unhewn or unsmoothed timbers, —dating from 1250,—was in keeping, and added to the curious venerableness of the whole arrangement.

When we had seen all this we went to the Cloisters, where Milman, amidst the remains of the monastery of the elder religion, has a most tasteful and quiet mansion, arranged . . . . by Inigo Jones. He came immediately out and went over the Abbey with us. We admired, of course, the magnificent choir, one of the finest specimens of rich Gothic in the world; the elaborate chapel of Henry VII., . . . . and the other architectural wonders and beauties of this rare and solemn pile. But, after all, the parts that have historical names attached to them are most attractive . . . . . In the Poets' Corner it was not without a very thrilling feeling, that, on reading the inscription to Goldsmith, I suddenly found myself standing on the grave of Johnson, who wrote it . . . . The whole visit was most interesting. . . . .

April 13.—Made a truly delightful visit to Mrs. Somerville at Chelsea, who is certainly among the most extraordinary women that have ever lived, both by the simplicity of her character and the singular variety, power, and brilliancy of her talents. Afterwards I went to see Lord Jeffrey, who is unwell, and confined to his room, and from whom I wanted a little advice about my coming journey to Scotland. I found him with Empson, . . . . a very agreeable man of great knowledge. . . . .

I went afterwards to the Albany, to dine with the admirable, delightful old Mr. Elphinstone, the gentle, learned old gentleman we knew at Rome . . . . . His establishment here is truly comfortable and agreeable, in the midst of a fine library; but it is not luxurious, and the secret of the whole is, that he is a wise man, who makes himself happier with the society of the first mark and intellect in London, which is all open to him, and who knows that he is happier than he could be made by an Indian income bought by ten years more absence from home. Felix qui potuit.


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