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Athenaeum Club, Dec. 28, 1838.

Again in town and in this glorious apartment, where I look upon the busts of Milton and Shakspeare, of Locke and Burke, of Bacon and Newton! It was not long since I saw Bulwer writing here; and when he threw down the pen he had been using, the thought crossed my mind to appropriate it, and make my fortune by selling it to some of his absurd admirers in America. But I let the goose-quill sleep. What a different person I have just been conversing with for three hours or more!—Basil Montagu; one of the sweetest men, with honeyed discourse, that I ever met. His mind is running over with beautiful images and with boundless illustration and allusion. He has known as bosom friends Mackintosh, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Lord Eldon; and he pours out his heart, as I freely mention their names, like water. He has just published a charming little book, entitled, ‘Essays and Selections;’ and he has given me a copy, in which he has written my name, ‘with the affectionate good wishes of Basil Montagu.’ I have been amused at what was told me to-night with regard to my admission to the Athenaeum. I am an Honorary Member, admitted as a ‘foreigner of distinction,’ a title which it made me shrink to see applied to my name. But it seems I was nominated last July, and rejected, as was said, by the vote of Croker, whereat Milman was in great anger. Croker's objection was that I was [35] not known as the author of any book! Everybody is laughing at Willis's sketch, in a late ‘New York Mirror,’ of Lord Durham. Marryat says that when Willis ‘looked over his spoon, one spoon looked over another.’ Lady Blessington says it is all false, as also does Fonblanque, who was at the dinner. I have seen Disraeli. . . . Captain Marryat has returned full of blood and fury. He will probably write a book; if he does, he will show us no mercy. He says there is nobody in Congress worth any thing but Webster and Adams. Miss Martineau is diligently engaged on her novel,1 which will be published in February or March. She has been exerting herself very much, and seems confident of no ordinary success. If she succeeds, she intends to follow it up by others.

I left off my sketch at Milton without giving you my Christmas Day. In the forenoon, Whewell and I went to the Minster at Peterborough, where the church service is chanted. In the afternoon I read some of the manuscripts of Burke; after dinner, there were about thirty musicians who came from Peterborough, and in the hall alternately played and sang. Quite early the family retired; but Milton, in a distant wing of the house, had provided what he called a ‘jollification’ on my account. What passed there I could easier tell than write. I got to bed before the cock crew. Hunting songs and stories abounded. I prize much all the opportunities I have had of mingling in the sports and social enjoyments of the young men; because, on these occasions, I see them as they are without reserve, and thus learn their real characters.

I have been trying to get a review in the ‘Edinburgh’ of Sparks's ‘Life of Washington;’ and a person of no little literary eminence,2 the bosom friend of Lord Brougham, has written me that he will do it if Brougham does not do it himself. I have strong reason to believe that his Lordship will undertake it, and, if he does, his late efforts give us assurance what we may expect.

Your trouble about the loss3 of the letters is superfluous. I care nothing about their loss; it is their possible existence out of the hands of friends that troubles me. You see that I write with winged speed, literally as fast as my pen can shed its ink, without premeditation or care, in the confidence of bosom friendship, and with the freedom which is its result. Therefore I shudder at the thought of a stranger seeing my letters, particularly the kind of stranger into whose hands a lost letter might fall. Excuse this ponderous letter, and believe me,

As ever, yours,

C. S.

1 Dee<*>orook.

2 Rev. William Shepherd.

3 Sumner had been informed by Hillard of the loss of two of his letters from England, by a friend to whom they had been lent.

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