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[19]

To George S. Hillard.

ATHENAeUM Club, Dec. 4, 1838.
dear Hillard,—These magnificent clubs of London are to the town as country-seats, hall, park, house, or castle. Here are extended drawing-rooms, adorned in the choicest style with statuary and painting, and holding every thing that conduces most to comfort and luxury, with books, magazines, and papers all within call. Here also you may meet the best society of London. I have often met Hallam1 at the Athenaeum. I was standing the other day by the side of a pillar, so that I was not observed by him, when he first met Phillips,2—the barrister who visited America during the last summer; and he cried out, extending his hand at the same time: ‘Well, you are not tattooed, really!’ Hallam is a plain, frank man, but is said to be occasionally quite testy and restless. Charles Babbage,3 himself one of the most petulant men that ever lived, told me that Hallam once lay awake all night till four o'clock in the morning, hearing the chimes and the watchman's hourly annunciation of them. When he heard the cry, ‘Four o'clock, and a cloudy morning,’ he leaped from his bed, threw open his window, and, hailing the terrified watchman, cried out: ‘It's not four o'clock; it wants five minutes of it!’ and, after this volley, at once fell asleep. At the same dinner last week, I met Hallam, Whewell, Babbage, Lyell,4 Murchison,5 Dr. Buckland, Sedgwick,6 and one or two M. P. s. Hallam talked about Prescott's book, and praised it very much. He said that Lord Holland was in ecstasy about it; and that he was the most competent judge of it in England. Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone7—one of the most remarkable men in England—has read it with the greatest care; and he spoke of it to me with the highest praise.

I find myself in such a round of society that I hardly know of which dinner or reunion to write you. I have many more invitations than there are days in the week; and all from men eminent in literature, law, politics, or society. One of the most remarkable days that I have passed was Sunday before last, at Leader's8 place, about six miles from town. I breakfasted with Roebuck, and then with him went to the member for Westminster. There were only Leader, Trelawney,9—author of ‘Adventures of a Younger Son,’— Roebuck, Falconer,—late editor of the ‘Westminster Review,’—and myself. We talked till midnight, meeting early at breakfast the next morning; and I did not leave Leader's till it was time for me to go to town to dress for dinner at Sir Robert Inglis's,—thus passing from the leader of the Radicals to one of the chiefs of the Tories. I have already written you that Roebuck


1 Henry Hallam, 1777-1859. He invited Sumner several times to dine with him,—once in company with Professor Whewell,—and expressed his regard by other attentions. Sumner met the historian again in London, in September, 1857.

2 Thomas Phillips.

3 1790-1871; the mathematician.

4 Sir Charles Lyell, 1797-1875.

5 Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, 1792-1871.

6 Rev. Adam Sedgwick, 1785—.

7 1779-1859; noted for his official service in India, and his descriptive and historical writings upon that country.

8 J. Temple Leader, M. P. for Westminster.

9 Captain E. J. Trelawney.

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