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[170] Mr. Ruskin, who has one of the most beautiful collections of sketches, made by himself, from nature, on the Continent, I have ever seen. The whole affair was tasteful and pleasant, and very luxurious for cloisters, certainly. . . . .

Althorp, May 19.—The approach to Althorp is through a fine, rich, and broken country, and the moment we had passed the porter's lodge we felt the quietness and comfortable repose that come over one in these rich, aristocratic establishments. The grounds of the park are uneven and beautiful in their variety, and such rich clumps and copses of venerable oak I do not remember to have seen elsewhere. The house is large, but not remarkable; but the moment we entered it we recognized the superb staircase that figures in Dibdin. . . . . Lord Spencer had gone to Northampton to attend a meeting of the justices, which the best of the nobility are anxious never to miss. I asked if anybody was stopping in the house, and was glad to hear there was not, but that Mr. Appleyard, the last Earl's librarian, and who knows the library better than anybody else alive, was expected to-night; a most agreeable attention, as I afterwards found, on the part of Lord Spencer, who had him down from London for the express purpose of showing the rarities to us. We went to our rooms, and, in the peculiar English phrase, ‘made ourselves comfortable’ amidst their manifold luxuries.

Soon afterwards Lord Spencer came home dripping, for it rained hard, and, like a true country gentleman, he was on horseback. He sent his compliments to us, . . . . and when we went down to dinner . . . . we found him as good, frank, and kindly as we had found him at Wentworth, three years ago. The dinner . . . . was made agreeable by his conversation, which was uncommonly free, as if he were not afraid or unwilling to say what he thought about anybody; but his good-nature makes him charitable, and his honesty is proverbial. . . . . Lord Spencer went on with an admirable series of stories and sketches of Pitt, whom he knew much in his early manhood, when his father was Pitt's first Lord of the Admiralty; of Sheridan, who was associated with his own earlier friends; and of Brougham, from whom he has now separated himself, but who was long his very intimate companion, if not friend.

Pitt he described as more successful and less good-natured in conversation than I had supposed him, and particularly as liking to make some one in his company his butt, in a way that was neither consistent with good taste nor very good manners; but which he said made him, as a boy, delight to be in Pitt's society.

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