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Chapter 8:


March 19.—We had a very good passage across the Channel. . . . . Notwithstanding a little regret at leaving the picturesque old Continent, and a good deal of regret at leaving a few friends, and the easy society of the salons at Paris, I was well pleased to set my feet once more on British earth. . . . . A letter from Kenyon inviting us to dine with him next Saturday, and one we received, just as we were packing up in Paris, from Lord Fitzwilliam, asking us to pass a week or fortnight at Milton, made us feel welcome on the kindred soil, and reminded us anew how far-reaching is English hospitality.

March 20.—From Dover to Rochester. English posting is certainly very comfortable. The four fine horses we had, with two neat postilions, going always with a solidity that makes the speed less perceptible, contrasted strongly with the ragged beasts of all kinds to which we had been for three years accustomed. . . . .

London, March 23.—We had a good many visits to-day, . . . . but the only person that came, whom I was curious to see as a stranger, was Henry Nelson Coleridge. He must still be under forty, I think, but his hair is quite white, and the contrast this forms with his rich black eyes, and no less black eyebrows and whiskers, gives him quite a picturesque and original look. His manner is a little shy and embarrassed, and the tones of his voice are very mild and conciliating, so that the first impression he makes is pleasing. His conversation fully sustains this impression. He talks well and agreeably, but not brilliantly. What I chiefly asked him about, was the publication of his uncle's works, but the details he had to give me were not very curious.

March 24.—I had a long visit this morning from Hallam, whom I [145] never saw before, because he was not in London, either in 1819 or 1835, when I was here. It gratified me very much. He is such a man as I should have desired to find him; a little sensitive and nervous, perhaps, but dignified, quiet, and wishing to please. Before he came, he had taken pains to ascertain that there was a vacant place at the Athenaeum Club, where only twelve strangers are permitted at a time, and offered it to me; but though this was quite an agreeable distinction, I declined it, since, being here with my family, I care nothing about the club houses. But this is good English hospitality, and a fair specimen of it.

Mr. Hallam is, I suppose, about sixty years old, gray-headed, hesitates a little in his speech, is lame, and has a shy manner, which makes him blush, frequently, when he expresses as decided an opinion as his temperament constantly leads him to entertain. Except his lameness, he has a fine, dignified person, and talked pleasantly, with that air of kindness which is always so welcome to a stranger.

March 25.—. . . . After we came home [from church] Senior came in,1 and was as lively, spirited, and active as ever, and full of projects for our convenience and pleasure. Rogers followed him, and talked in his quiet way about all sorts of things and people, showing sometimes a little sub-acid. It has always been said he will leave memoirs behind him. I hope he will, for who can write anything of the sort that would be so amusing? . . . . Before he left us Lord Lansdowne came in, and stayed above an hour . . . . He talked well. He seems to be something worried and annoyed by our bad behavior on the frontiers of Canada, and spoke a little with the air of a minister of state, when he came upon this delicate subject. Of the condition of France, politically considered, he spoke wisely, and was curious to hear what I could tell him, adding that he had known, from 1814, the relations of the two governments, and that, excepting when the Duke de Broglie was Premier, they had never felt, in England, that they could depend implicitly on the representations of the French government; an honorable testimony from one upright minister to another, which was creditable to both.

March 26.—We had visits this morning from Taylor,—Philip Van Artevelde,—Southey,—who is just come to town for a short visit,—Dr. Holland, and the admirable old Professor Smyth, which were all as pleasant as morning visits well could be. We dined again at Kenyon's, who wanted us to meet a Dr. Raymond, one of the high dignitaries of the Church, attached to the Durham Cathedral; a person [146] whom I found a little precise in his manners, but more of a scholar in modern elegant literature than Englishmen of his class commonly are, and a very well-bred gentleman. His sister was there too, and so was a Miss Barrett, who has distinguished herself by a good poetical translation of the ‘Prometheus Vinctus’ of Aeschylus.2 The dinner was very agreeable; indeed, Kenyon always makes his house so, from his own qualities. . . . .

March 27.—A very busy day. As soon as breakfast was over we had a long visit from the delightful old Professor Smyth, which was followed by visits from H. C. Robinson and two or three other persons. These were not fairly over before Kenyon came to take us to the club houses, the Athenaeum, the University, the Travellers', and the United Service of the Army and Navy. These are the four most splendid of these recent inventions, growing out of the increasing luxury and selfishness of the present state of society in London. I do not know that anything can be more complete. The Athenaeum is the most literary, and there we found Hallam, reading in its very good library, which owes much to his care . . . .

It was beautiful weather, and we took a drive in Hyde Park, where we met the Queen on horseback. . . . .She looked gay, but has grown quite stout since I saw her at York.

After a walk in Kensington Gardens, which was quite delightful in this warm spring day, . . . . I made a most agreeable visit to Sydney Smith, who now finds himself so well off,—thanks to the Whigs whom he is abusing in his pamphlets,—that he has rented a small house in town, where he spends a few months while he takes his turn as Canon of St. Paul's. He was very kind and very droll to-day. . . . .

March 28.—Another long, laborious London day. The morning was given to business, visiting, and receiving visits. Sydney Smith returned my yesterday's call, and talked for an hour in the most amusing manner, at the end of which he said, taking up his hat, ‘And now I'll go and pray for you’; for he was going to some service at St. Paul's.

We dined with the——s, . . . . but we did not stay late, for we were engaged at Lansdowne House, where we found a very select party, made in honor of the Duchess of Gloucester, daughter of George III. . . . . All the Ministry were there, . . . . the Duke of Cambridge, the foreign ministers, Lord Jeffrey,—just come to town,—Lord and Lady Holland, the last of whom is rarely seen anywhere, except at home, etc . . . . Lord Durham is a little, dark-complexioned, redfaced-looking [147] gentleman, who was not very much sought, though his position is now so high; Poulett Thompson talked very well, but looked too foppish; Lady Holland was very gracious, or intended to be so; and Lord Holland was truly kind and agreeable. . . . . We, of course, were obliged to stay late, and I was willing to do so, for I had a great deal of pleasant talk. But though we did not leave the party till nearly one o'clock, several persons were announced as arriving while we were waiting for our carriage.

March 29.—. . . . We were out at Seniors—a mile beyond Hyde Park Corner—to breakfast, by half past 10 o'clock. Chadwick was there, the Secretary of the Poor Laws Commission, and said to know more than any man in England about the great subjects of pauperism and popular education. Lord Shelburne, too, was of the party, and two or three other persons. The talk was a good deal political in its tone, including such subjects as Rowland Hill's plan for a post-office reform, the state of the manufacturing population, etc. Chadwick seemed very acute, and I had a long talk with him, because we brought him home with us. From what he said, and from what I have seen and heard elsewhere, I am persuaded that the nature, the wants, and the means of popular education are little understood here, in practice at least.

Among some other places I went to afterwards was John Murray's, —the publishers,—where I fell in with Lockhart, with whom I have exchanged cards this week, but whom I had not seen. He is the same man he always was and always will be, with the coldest and most disagreeable manners I have ever seen. I wanted to talk with him about Prescott's ‘Ferdinand and Isabella,’ and by a sort of violence done to myself, as well as to him, I did so. He said he had seen it, but had heard no opinion about it. I gave him one with little ceremony, which I dare say he thought was not worth a button; but I did it in a sort of tone of defiance, to which Lockhart's manners irresistibly impelled me, and which I dare say was as judicious with him as any other tone, though I am sure it quite astonished Murray, who looked . . . . as if he did not quite comprehend what I was saying.

We dined at Mrs. Villiers',3 and had a very delightful little party; . . . . we were only nine in all, just Horace Walpole's number for a dinner . . . . Lord Jeffrey talked all the time, and extremely well. He admires Mrs. Lister very much for her vivacity, talent, and beauty, and made himself as agreeable as he could to her; and certainly [148] he was very agreeable. The superciliousness he showed when he was in America, and the quiet coldness I used to witness in him sometimes in Edinburgh, in 1819, were not at all perceptible to-day. He was very lively, and yet showed more sense than wit. We talked a good deal about the late atrocious duel of Cilley at Washington; about his recollections of the United States, apropos of which he gave a very humorous account of his own wedding, and of a dinner at President Madison's; about the elder days of the ‘Edinburgh Review’; and about the present state of society at Edinburgh, which he represents as much less brilliant than it was when I was there formerly.

After the ladies were gone we talked about what is now a much-vexed question, in relation to Scotland,—how far the government is bound to provide religious instruction for the poor. Jeffrey said he had been to see Lord Melbourne about it, and took a party view of the matter altogether, as I thought. I maintained that the soil should provide all instruction that is necessary to preserve the order and purity of society for all that live upon it; and I think I had much the best of the argument, drawn from our New England institutions and the Boston Ministry for the Poor. At any rate, I carried Lister and Edward Villiers with me against Jeffrey, who admitted almost everything but its political expediency in Scotland. . . . .

March 30.—Made a long visit to Hallam this morning, whom I found in his study,—a very comfortable room in the back part of his house, well filled with books, some of which were rare. He talked well, and among other things I asked him about the universities, knowing that his relations to them are somewhat peculiar, as he was educated at Oxford, and sent his son to Cambridge, where he much distinguished himself at Trinity. His replies were such as I anticipated, very cold as far as concerns Oxford, on which he has thus decidedly turned his back, but less favorable to either than I supposed they would be. But he is a wise man, a little nervous in his manner and a little fidgety, yet of a sound and quiet judgment. His objection to the English universities, which he expressed strongly, was, that, with such great resources of property and talent, they yet effect so little. Hallam's establishment is not a showy one, but it is rich and respectable. . . . .

We dined at Edward Villiers', where we met old Mrs. Villiers, Mrs. Trotter,—another of the Ravensworths,4—Bouverie, the son [149] of Lord Radnor, Sir Edmund Head,5—a remote cousin of Sir Francis,—Stephenson the great engineer, and one or two others. It was agreeable, but I took most to Sir E. Head, a man of about thirty-five, who has much pleasant literary knowledge, and who has been in Spain and studied its literature. Stephenson showed genius in his conversation, and altogether we were enticed to stay late.

April 1.—A delightful breakfast at Kenyon's. Southey and his son were there; Chorley, the biographer of Mrs. Hemans, and much given to music; and two or three others. Southey, who is in town for two or three days, is grown older since I saw him three years ago at Keswick, more than those years imply. The death of his wife,. . . . which might have been thought a relief to his sufferings on her account, has yet proved an addition to them, and he has now all the appearance of a saddened and even a broken man. Still, he talked well this morning,—though in a voice lower than ever,—and was once warmed when speaking of Wordsworth, for whom his admiration seems all but boundless. Coleridge (H. N.) says he is weary of life, and certainly he has all the appearance of it.

I made, too, this morning, a pleasant visit to the kind old Professor Smyth, of Cambridge, . . . . and arranged with him to be in Cambridge on the 14th (Easter), to pass a couple of days there; and then went to Sir Francis Doyle's, whom I found much changed, by severe and long-continued disease, but still with the same distingue, gentlemanlike air he had when I knew him three years ago.

I dined with Bates, the banker. Van De Weyer,6 the Belgian Minister, was there,—an acute and pleasant person, talking English almost perfectly well,—and Murray, formerly secretary to Lord Lyndhurst, and now the Secretary of the great Ecclesiastical Commission, —a very good scholar and a very thorough Tory, who talks with some brilliancy and effect.

In the evening I had an engagement to go to Lord Holland's, who is now passing a few days at his luxurious establishment in South Street. I found there Lord Albemarle, Pozzo di Borgo, Lord Melbourne, the Sardinian Minister, Young Ellice and his beautiful. highbred wife, Allen, and some others. Pozzo di Borgo was brilliant, and Lady Holland disagreeable. Lord Holland talked about Prescott's ‘Ferdinand and Isabella,’ as did John Allen, and gave it high praise; Allen pronouncing the chapters on the ‘Constitutions of Castile and [150] Arragon’—particularly the last—to be better than the corresponding discussions in Hallam's ‘Middle Ages.’ This I regard as decisive. No man alive is better authority on such a point than Allen, Southey, too, this morning, was equally decided, though he was not so strong, and did not go so much into detail. Lord Albemarle, Lord Holland, and Allen talked about Dr. Channing; and Lord Holland said he regarded him as the best writer of English alive. So we are getting on in the world. Such things could not have been heard in such saloons when I was here twenty years ago.

April 2.—Breakfasted with Sydney Smith, where we had only Hallam and Tytler, the Scotch historian; just a partie carree, of the first sort. The conversation, at one time during the breakfast, was extraordinary. It fell on the influence of the aristocracy in England, on the social relations, and especially on the characters of men of letters. To my considerable surprise, both Hallam and Smith, who have been to a singular degree petted and sought by the aristocracy, pronounced its influence noxious. They even spoke with great force and almost bitterness on the point. Smith declared that he had found the influence of the aristocracy, in his own case, ‘oppressive,’ but added, ‘However, I never failed, I think, to speak my mind before any of them; I hardened myself early.’ Hallam agreed with him, and both talked with a concentrated force that showed how deeply they felt about it. In some respects, the conversation was one of the most remarkable I have ever heard; and, as a testimony against aristocracy, on the point where aristocracy might be expected to work the most favorably, surprised me very much.

Speaking of the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ Mr. Smith said that it was begun by Jeffrey, Horner, and himself; that he was the first editor of it, and that they were originally unwilling to give Brougham any direct influence over it, because he was so violent and unmanageable. After he—Smith—left Edinburgh, Jeffrey became the editor; ‘but,’ said Smith, ‘I never would be a contributor on the common business footing. When I wrote an article, I used to send it to Jeffrey, and waited till it came out; immediately after which I enclosed to him a bill, in these words, or words like them: “Francis Jeffrey, Esq., to Rev. Sydney Smith,—To a very wise and witty article, on such a subject, so many sheets, at forty-five guineas a sheet.” And the money always came. I never worked for less.’

Hallam told a droll story about Canning's occasional unwillingness to devote himself to business. The principal person in the management of Indian affairs—who related the fact to Hallam—had occasion [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 [152] talkers in London. Dr. Holland came fresh from a professional visit to the Duke of Sussex, whom he had found reading his Hebrew Bible, whose margins were filled with his Highness's notes; a rare instance of royal exegesis, but I apprehend rather a whim of the Duke than the result of very solid learning. Dr. Holland told us a somewhat strange story of the Duke's boyhood, which the Duke had told him this morning.

George III.—as is well known—was strict with his children; and one day when with their tutor, in a sort of regular school-hours, the Duke was seized with that asthma which has pursued him through life, and for which he was—when he related the fact—consulting Dr. Holland for the first time. The disease made his breathing at once audible; and the tutor, mistaking the noise for a voluntary one, ordered the young Duke to be quiet. He replied that he could not, and the noise was continued, until the tutor, after two or three rebukes and threats, called him up and flogged him soundly; a discipline which the Duke assured Dr. Holland was not of rare occurrence. . . . .

We dined in the city, with our excellent friends the Vaughans, where we met Lough, the sculptor, who was quite amusing. He married in Italy, and returning last summer with two or three children, he had much difficulty in reconciling them to the appearance of things in London. When they saw the sun through the fog, they exclaimed, ‘Che brutta luna!’7 and could not be persuaded to call it anything else.

April 5.—Hallam—by previous arrangement—came to us this morning, and gave us the whole forenoon at the British Museum, of which he is a trustee, and through the whole wilderness of which he carried us, in what is called ‘a private view.’ This is understood to be a considerable favor and distinction, but I must needs say, it proved a truly wearisome one. . . . . Hallam's patience was admirable, and he was agreeable to the end of the almost endless visit.

April 6.—We dined at Hallam's, a party made for us, and it would not be easy to make one more delightful: Whewell and Professor Smyth, of Cambridge; Milman; Sir Francis Palgrave, the historian, and Keeper of the Records at Westminster; Empson, the successor of Sir James Mackintosh; a sister of Hallam, and his young daughter, with one or two more, just enough, and of the most agreeable varieties. The conversation was as various as the people. The only regular talk or discussion was on the German universities, [153] and I was well pleased to find that in such an academical company justice was done to them. It would not have been so twenty years ago. But Whewell and Hallam are above all common prejudices, at least . . .

April 7.—We made a most delightful visit to Miss Joanna Baillie. . . . . She talked of Scott with a tender enthusiasm that was contagious, and of Lockhart with a kindness that is uncommon when coupled with his name, and which seemed only characteristic of her benevolence. It is very rare that old age, or, indeed, any age, is found so winning and agreeable. I do not wonder that Scott in his letters treats her with more deference, and writes to her with more care and beauty, than to any other of his correspondents, however high or titled. . . . .

We dined at Henry N. Coleridge's. He lives very pleasantly near Regent's Park, and old Mrs. Coleridge, the widow of S. T. Coleridge and mother of his wife, lives with him. The Head Master of Eton was there,—a stiff dominie, but not without agreeable talk,—and two or three barristers, with as many ladies, and the dinner was agreeable. Coleridge himself has a good deal of acuteness.

In talking of Southey and Wordsworth, he said—what is according to my own impression—that Wordsworth has a keen enjoyment of life, and he added that Southey is become extremely weary of life. Not long since, he said, somebody was predicting what they should see, if he and Southey lived ten years longer. Without directly interrupting him, Southey clasped his hands and cast his eyes upward, ejaculating parenthetically, ‘Which God in his infinite mercy forbid!’ and seemed to shudder all over at the thought of his possibly living so long. He has been in this melancholy state, I understand, ever since Mrs. Southey first gave signs of insanity, about five years ago.

Mrs. Coleridge, the elder, presided at the table, her daughter not being well enough, from recent illness, to be in her place; but she came down into the saloon afterwards . . . . . Her health has long been bad, and she showed to-day but slight traces of the round, happy, and most beautiful creature I knew, just sixteen years old, in 1819, at Southey's. But she was very lady-like and gentle in her manner, and showed occasionally bright flashes of spirit and fancy. She is very pleasing, too, and I dare say has much of the extraordinary talent her father gives her credit for. We enjoyed our visit, and, though tired with a laborious day, stayed late.

April 9.—We went this morning, by the invitation of Sir Francis [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. [155]

The party to-day consisted of Empson; Richardson, so much mentioned by Lockhart as Scott's friend; Mackenzie, son of the ‘Man, of Feeling,’ long Secretary-General in India; Phillips,8 the barrister; Murchison, the man of fashion and the great geologist; Professor Wilson, of the London University; Colonel Leake, the Greek traveller; and Wilkinson, the Egyptian traveller.

We sat at a round table, just ten of us, and the service of plate, given to Mr. Elphinstone when he left Bombay, which covered the table so that the cloth could hardly be seen, was one of the richest and most tasteful I ever looked upon. There was not a person whom I met there to-day that was not a remarkable man,—remarkable by his culture and accomplishments, and by the consideration he enjoys in society. Of course, it was very agreeable. We talked about Scotland and Scott; about Lockhart, with whom Murchison is very intimate; about India, Rome, Bunsen, and the Archbishop of Cologne; about America and American literature; and—as its antipodes by antiquity and everything else—of Egypt. In short, the conversation was as various and pleasant as possible, and I stayed dreadfully late . . . . We did not sit down till half past 8, nor did we get up till midnight.

On the 14th of April Mr. Ticknor left London with his wife and his eldest daughter, and reached Cambridge early the same day. The following characteristic note awaited them there:—

Peter House, Wednesday.
my dear Sir,—The chickens will wait your pleasure at the Bull at six, and I shall come down to you at eight, to show you the way to my cell. I am angling for some sirens, whom if I catch, your ladies will have some choice music. I have mounted you to the second story, that your bedroom may be close to your daughter's.

The spring has peeped in upon us, and will not, I hope, change her mind after her April manner; still, our walks are not yet in any beauty.

With best remembrances to your ladies,


April 14. . . . . While the servants were unpacking the carriage and imperials, we went out and took a walk behind Trinity and some of the other colleges, in the gardens that border the banks of the Cam. [156] . . . . Some parts of the glorious old establishment I found much altered and improved; a new and grand quadrangle to Trinity, a superb screen and hall to King's, and other large improvements, finished or going on, among which is a fine University library; so that Cambridge is gaining upon Oxford, where no such improvements have taken place for a long time . . . .

We went [to Professor Smyth's rooms] before nine, and had a very agreeable party. Whewell and Sedgwick, the two great men of the University; Clark, the head of the Medical Department; Peacock, next to Whewell and Sedgwick in general reputation; a considerable number of ladies, among them two Miss Skrines and Miss Wilkins, who sing very well, and whom Smyth calls his nightingales . . . . We had a little supper, and what between the music and excellent talk, stayed very late.

April 15.—Easter Sunday . . . . At two o'clock Dr.Clarke and Mrs. Clarke, and some other of the professors, came and carried us to the afternoon service at King's College Chapel. It was very fine, especially the music, and everything produced its full effect in that magnificent and solemn hall, the finest of its sort, no doubt, in the world. Afterwards I went with Whewell and Sedgwick . . . . to dine in the Hall of Trinity, a grand old place, vast, and a little gloomy and rude, with its ancient rafters; but imposing, and worthy of the first college in the world, for the numbers of great men it has produced . . . . . It is the fashion for a nobleman, when he comes here, to be furnished with a silver cover, forks and spoons, etc., and to leave them when he goes away . . . . . It chanced to-day that I had poor Lord Milton's cover, with his name and arms on it, which led to some sad talk with the Fellows, who retain a very lively recollection of his winning character and striking talents. At our table there were several strangers, the most remarkable of whom were Sir Francis Forbes, just from India, and the famous Joseph Hume, M. P., of radical notoriety.

After dinner, according to ancient custom, a huge silver cup or pitcher was passed round, containing what is called Audit Ale, or very fine old ale which is given to the tenants of the College when they come to audit their accounts and pay their rents. We all drank from it standing up, each, as his turn came, wishing prosperity to the College. When this was over an enormous silver ewer and basin, given by James First's Duke of Buckingham, were passed down, filled with rose-water, into which each one dipped his napkin. . . . . Finally, a small choir of selected singers came into the hall and sang the Latin chants appropriate to the day, with great richness and power, [157] attracting a crowd in at the doors, among whom were several ladies, who looked oddly out of place in such a monastic refectory. It was a fine finale to the grave and ceremonious entertainment.

We now adjourned to the Combination Room, where, in great luxury and comfort, a dessert and wines were arranged for the members of the table of dais. We had done pretty well, I thought, in the way of wine in the Hall, where there was an extraordinary amount of health-drinking, but here we had it on a more serious and regular footing. We had, too, a plenty of good conversation; among the rest, on Serjeant Talfourd's Bill, and the Post-Office Bill . . . .

At last the bell rang for evening prayers . . . . and broke us up. The chapel was brilliantly lighted, and the Master and Fellows, in their robes of ceremony, made a striking appearance; though the whole, with the turnings and bowings to the altar, and frequent genuflections, looked a little too much like what we had a surfeit of at Rome last year. . . . .

From the chapel—where the ladies, with Mrs. Clarke, had joined us-we went to Professor Whewell's rooms in Trinity, the same where, twenty years ago, I used to pass my time with the present Bishop of Gloucester, Monk, who was then Greek professor here. We had a pleasant party, . . . . enjoyed a nice cup of academical tea, gossiped very merrily, looked over rare books, prints, and a good many spirited drawings and sketches from nature, by Whewell, who seems to have all talents; had some excellent stories told with much humor by Smyth, and political talk from Hume, which sounded quaintly inappropriate in these Tory cloisters; and finally, at eleven o'clock, wound up the whole with a gay petit souper, and were gallantly escorted home by the good Professor Smyth, just before midnight.

April 16.—. . . . Before breakfast was over we had a visit from Sedgwick and Smyth, who were as agreeable as possible, and eager to lionize the town to us . . . . . We went with them first to the University library, . . . . and afterwards to the Trinity College library, which is well worth seeing; for, like everything else about this rich and magnificent College, its library is large, curious, and well preserved. But there are two collections in it that hardly permit a stranger to look at anything else. The first is a large mass of the papers of Sir Isaac Newton, both mathematical and relating to his office as Master of the Mint, with correspondence, etc.; and the other is the collection of Milton's papers, chiefly in his own handwriting, including Comus, Lycidas, Arcades, Sonnets, etc., and some letters, [158] which have been bound up, and preserved here about a century. Nothing of the sort can be more interesting or curious, especially the many emendations of Milton's poems in his own hand.

Twenty years ago I remember being shown, at Ferrara, the original manuscript of Ariosto's ‘Orlando Furioso,’ and the old librarian pointed out to me, at the bottom of a blotted page, these words, with a date, all in pencil, ‘Vittorio Alfieri vide e venero,’ adding that when Alfieri wrote them, his tears fell so fast that they dropped on the paper and blistered it. It was impossible to avoid having something of the same feeling when looking at these venerable remains of two of the greatest men, in the opposite departments of science and poetry, that the world has ever seen . . . .

There was one thing, however, that Professor Smyth was anxious to show us, and we went, of course, to see it. It is an original portrait of Cromwell, kept in the apartments of the Master of Sydney College. It is in colored chalks, beyond all doubt done from the life, and done, too, after anxiety had made deep lines of care in his face. Smyth will have it that it justifies and illustrates completely the descriptions of his corroding sufferings, given by Hume with such vivacity, immediately after the death of Mrs. Claypole, and immediately before his own. In fact, Mr. Smyth had been carrying the volume of Hume with him all the morning round Cambridge, and now read the passage to us with great spirit and feeling, to justify his opinion. No doubt the picture is very striking, and so is Hume's account of Cromwell, and both belong to anything but a man of an easy or tranquil mind. But I doubt whether Cromwell ever suffered so much from remorse, as Hume, in this particular passage, supposes. Indeed, a few pages later he seems to admit it.

. . . . When we had rested, we went to dinner at Professor Smyth's. He has a very comfortable bachelor establishment in Peter House, the same, I think, that was occupied by Gray the poet, whose successor he is in the chair of History, a place given to him by Lord Lansdowne when the Whigs were in power, above thirty years ago. He received us in his library, which is well stored with a somewhat miscellaneous collection of books, in history and poetry, and the little party soon collected there to the number of eight or ten, including the Vice-Chancellor Worseley, Master of Downing, Mr.Skinner and Mrs. Skinner, counted among the agreeables of Cambridge, and Professor Peacock, counted among the very agreeable. We had a cheerful, pleasant time in the very comfortable dining-room. Worseley is more of a belles-lettres scholar and knows more continental literature than [159] is commonly found in these cloistered establishments, and Peacock is an excellent talker.

We were invited to a party at the Skrines', but declined, so as to stay as late as we could with our admirable old friend, whose kindliness, gayety of heart, and talent have been our constant delight since we have been in Cambridge. At last, between eleven and twelve, we took our leave, and the old gentleman, coming down stairs and following us to the gate of his College, gave us a sort of paternal benediction in the open street. We parted from him with great regret.

A night passed at Milton, Lord Fitzwilliam's delightful place in Northamptonshire, where the kind hospitality of three years before was renewed, was followed by a course of cathedrals and show-houses, on the northern route, from Ely to Alnwick, until the Scottish Border country was reached.

The hills which we crossed, in order to strike the Tweed at its most favorable point, were dreary and barren enough, and the ranges of huts or hovels we saw, scattered through their ridges, in which live a sort of bondmen, of a peculiar character, were anything but agreeable to look upon. I did not before suppose that anything so nearly approaching servitude was still to be found in England; but here it is, not better than was the condition of the serfs in Bohemia before Joseph Il's time, or those in Silesia before they were liberated by the present King of Prussia. I doubt whether there is anything so bad now in Europe, out of Russia.9

1 Nassau W. Senior.

2 Mrs. Browning.

3 Mother of Lord Clarendon, of Edward Villiers, and of Mrs.—afterwards Lady Theresa—Lister. See Vol. I. pp. 407, 418.

4 Mrs. Edward Villiers was a daughter of Lord Ravensworth.

5 Twenty years later this acquaintance between Sir E. Head and Mr. Ticknor grew to an intimate friendship. This was their first meeting.

6 Soon afterwards Mr. Bates's son-in-law.

7 ‘What an ugly noon!’

8 Thomas J. Phillips, mentioned in Vol. I. p. 443.

9 William Howitt describes this condition of the people in his ‘Rural Life of England,’ in a chapter on the ‘Bondage System of the North of England.’

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