1856 and 1857

THREE years later we find Lear settled at Corfu, then under British protection, and he remained there at intervals until the cession of the Ionian Isles to Greece in 1864. The light thrown by his letters on a little-known chapter of our foreign policy gives them an additional interest. In 1854 Lear had gone to Egypt and Switzerland, and in 1855 again to Corfu, but I unfortunately have failed to find any letters of those years.

The long gap between the following letters and the last one quoted may be partly accounted for, by the fact that several written by him in the interim never reached Fortescue at all.

Lear to Fortescue.

CORFU, 19 Febry., 1856.

It seems we were a writing to each other pretty nearly at the same time, for yours which I was truly {32} thankful for, is dated Jan. 6th and I sent mine off to you on the 6th. But the letters were different, mine I fear me was so glumy that you might have been uncomfortable about me ever since, notwithstanding my growlygrumble[greek] (most), known nature, and therefore and wherefore, I shall send you this, though it will not be a long letter, rather than not write at all, for the days are so full of occupation that I vainly try for leisure. Up at 6, Greek master from 6¾ to 7¾. Breakfast &c., to 9, then work till 4, or sketching out of doors, and either dining out or at home with writing and drawing fill up my hours. First, I wish you a happy new Year, & continually, if I didn't do so before. At all events I wish you a lot of happy new Leap-years.

I still think of making Corfu my head-quarters, & of painting a large picture here of the Ascension festa in June, for 1857 Exhibition, & of going over to Yannina and all sorts of Albanian abstractions.

I hope to send your drawing soon, together with Sir John Simeon's & Mr. Clive's pictures. The reason I did not send the fellow to your "Morn broadens"[1] was because I could not satisfy myself at all as to the quality of the one I began. Yours is so finished a picture that I should not like a less good one by its side.

Do you know there has been literally no winter here; they say it is 27 years since there was so little {33}cold, & still some think we shall have a touch of rigour in March:—in fact, I have scarcely any Asthma, & no symptom of Bronchitis at all. When I get a house, you must come out and have a run, & I'll put you up: I'll feed you with Olives & wild pig, and we'll start off to Mount Athos. Bowen his marriage[2] takes place at the end of April. The Balls are all over now & gaiety generally, dinners excepted, though I am going to soon back out of all, by dining early. The not being able to get any properly lighted painting room annoys me horribly, and I confess still to being at times very lowspirited and depressed, but not so much as before.

You cannot tell me news of the Millais: the blind girl picture[3] was begun when we were together in Sussex. W. Holman Hunt has just come back, & Mr. Tennyson[4] writes is going there. I wish he was here—The sort of lonely feeling of having no one who can sympathyze professionally with one's goings on, is very odious at times. Lushington would more or less, but his work is tremendously heavy, & when he gets any leisure, he rides or yachts, or shoots, all out of the way sports for me, except the former; I did ride all last Saturday for a wonder, & wish I had tin to keep a {34} horse. Have you any message to Lady Emily [greek]?[5] The Lord High C.[6] & Lady Young are very good-natured, but I don't take to Court life, and not playing cards am doubtless a bore, or rather useless. But I suppose they are good people. There are really some very nice people here among the Militia Officers—Ormsbys, Barringtons, Powers, &c. &c., and their going would aggravate them as stays behind. I am painting "And I shall see before I die the palms and temples of the south," for Sir John Simeon, being Philæ by sunset,[7]—but my eyes give me a good deal of trouble, and I don't know how they will bear the summer.

The following letter from Fortescue, containing an early reference to the celebrated Lady Waldegrave, may be of interest. Frances, widow of George, seventh Earl Waldegrave, was at this time the wife of George, Harcourt, of Nuneham. She was the daughter of the greatest of English tenors, John Braham, who in his time carried the musical world by storm. He was of Jewish descent, a man of intense personality and independence of mind, and his daughter inherited these charac-{35}teristics together with many others, which united to make her one of the most remarkable and interesting women of her day. She eventually married Fortescue: he had been devoted to her for years, and it was one of the happiest of unions.

Fortescue to Lear.


17 Sept. 1856.

. . . During the latter part of the season I passed almost every Sunday at Strawberry Hill,[8] which Lady Waldegrave has restored, and made the oddest and prettiest thing you ever saw. She often asks after you and says she hopes often to see you there. I am sure you would like it, and she gets a charming society around her there. She did not go out last season at all on account of her father's death. Charles Braham[9] sang two or three times at the Haymarket opera with Wagner and Piccolomini. He was dreadfully nervous, but I am in great hopes will do well. . . . I was at a great Nuneham party. We had the D'Aumale's[10] there, and very likeable Bourbons they are. . . .


I am for holding hard by the Ideals—and, if one set go, getting another ordered as soon as possible—as we do our coats and boots when they wear out. This life is meant to be a life of ideals. We ought to feel like children—and live on ideas of the future, as children do of the time when they will be "grown up." This is a cheerful view—you will say—and easier preached than practised. True—I often "reck not my own rede"—and I could give you a reason for this view of things at this moment presenting itself to my mind. Nevertheless it is true. And, if we cannot keep hold of our ideals, Schiller tells us of two companions which never forsook him, and which I suppose would console and soothe—though I think there are some ideals even they would never replace—Friendship and Employment. As to myself, I got through the Session and season pretty well. . . . I made one Parliamentary effort of some importance in defence of the Irish system of National Education, which I believe to be a just one and doing great good. I had a very nice letter from your amiable Lord High Commissioner, congratulating me on my speech on that occasion. Touching you, he speaks thus:—"I ought to have written to you before in answer to your note about Lear. We have found him a most agreeable person—and a great addition to our society, and we all like him very much—especially Lady Young, who has taken to sketching with great ardour." I have always liked Sir J. Y.: I never knew much of her Ladyship.


Lear to Fortescue.

[picture 1]


9. October, 1856.

I have just returned from a 2month's tour, whereby I have seen and drawn all Mount Athos,[11] & have seen Troy, slightly and whereby, which is far better, I have gained a great amount of health bodily & mentle, to my great satisfaction & I hope thankfulness, & also I trust to the benefit obliquely of many of my felly creatures who will hereafter peeroase my jurnles, and admyer my pigchers. Among a heap of 28 letters one from you delights my soal: date—R.D.[12] 17. Sept. I am glad you are so merry & that you are enjoying the summer so much. You have not written to me, (you nasty brute!) for six months. I wish I could see Strawberry Hill. Have you seen Alfred Seymour[13] since he came back? I was very glad of your parliamentary movement.[14] I'm not for holding by the "Ideals": they've bothered me all my life, and I now mean to try how far I can make some realities. {38} Nevertheless a letter from Mrs. A. Tennyson tells me that Alfred is writing away. (I saw Œnone on the plains of Troy: she had a pink gown on: one arm and one breast wholly uncovered, a large mole upon the latter & a slight moustache on her upper lip: altogether a different person from what one expected.)

Sir J. Young's notice of me was flattering, tho' I vow I was never agreeable at all. Lady Y. is a good-natured lively woman, albeit she takes no especial part such as her position might warrant, as to schools &c. &c. I believe seemingly Sir John is an amiable well-meaning man, but wholly easy & quite in the hands of Bowen: as indeed how for a time can it be otherwise, since in so short a time, not even Solomon could understand these Islands.

Please give my best remembrances & compliments to Lady Waldegrave. Her conduct to her father and family has evidently always been heart-action, and everyone respects her for it, as being like unto what very few dare to practise.

I trust to paint a magnificent large view of Corfu, straits, and Albanian hills. This I trust to sell for 500£ as it will be my best, and is 9 feet long. If I can't sell it I shall instantly begin a picture 10 feet long: and if that don't sell, one 12 feet long. Nothing like persisting in virtue. O dear! I wish I was up there, in the village I mean, now, on this beautiful bright day! However I got unwell, & bluedevilled, & I made up my mind that I could work no more till something called out my boddly & mentle N.R.G.s. {39} So I said, I'll go to Mt. Athos : (I should have gone to M. Negro with A. Seymour had I not missed the steamer). And off I set on Aug. 7th taking my servant, canteen, bed & lots of paper & Quinine Pills. F. Lushington saw me as far as [greek], but then I fell down a high flight of (19) stone stairs & damaged my back sadly. I thought I was lame for life, but after 4 days on a mattress, I got on pillows & a horse, & went over to Yannina & to Pindus, & (in great pain) to Larissa, & finally to Saloniki. There getting better I went slick into [greek] or the Holy Mountain, altogether the most surprising thing I have seen in my travels, perhaps, barring Egypt. It is a peninsular mountain about 2000ft. high & 50 miles long ending in a vast crag, near 7000 feet high, this being Athos. All but this bare crag is one mass of vast forest, beech, chestnut, oak, & ilex, and all round the cliffs and crags by the sea are 20 great and ancient monistirries, not to speak of 6 or 700 little 'uns above and below and around. These convents are inhabited by, altogether perhaps, 6 or 7000 monx, & as you may have heard, no female creature exists in all the peninsula:—there are nothing but mules, tomcats, & cocks allowed. This is literally true.

Well, I had a great deal of suffering in this Athos, for my good man Giorgio caught the fever, & nearly died, & when he grew better I caught it, but not so badly. However I persisted & persisted & finally I got drawings of every one of the 20 big monasteries, so that such a valuable collection is hardly to be {40} found. Add to this, constant walking—8 or 10 hours a day—made me very strong, & the necessity I was under of acting decidedly in some cases, called out a lot of energy I had forgotten ever to have possessed. The worst was the food & the filth, which were uneasy to bear. But however wondrous and picturesque the exterior & interior of the monasteries, & however abundantly & exquisitely glorious & stupendous the scenery of the mountain, I would not go again to the [greek] for any money, so gloomy, so shockingly unnatural, so lonely, so lying, so unatonably odious seems to me all the atmosphere of such monkery.

That half of our species which it is natural to every man to cherish & love best, ignored, prohibited and abhorred—all life spent in everlasting repetition of monotonous prayers, no sympathy with ones fellow-beans of any nation, class or age. The name of Christ on every garment and at every tongue's end, but his maxims trodden under foot. God's world and will turned upside down, maimed, & caricatured:—if this I say be Xtianity let Xtianity be rooted out as soon as possible. More pleasing in the sight of the Almighty I really believe, & more like what Jesus Christ intended man to become, is an honest Turk with 6 wives, or a Jew working hard to feed his little old clo' babbies, than these muttering, miserable, mutton-hating, man-avoiding, misogynic, morose, & merriment-marring, monotoning, many-mule-making, mocking, mournful, minced-fish & marmalade masticating Monx. Poor old pigs! Yet one or two were {41} kind enough in their way, dirty as they were: but it is not them, it is their system I rail at.

So having seen all, and a queer page in my world-nollidge is Athos!—! came back to Saloniki, and set sail for the Dardanelles, where being obliged to stay 4 days for a steamer, I spent 3 in seeing Troy. But dear Mother Ida I could not reach, & I do trust to go there in the spring of 1857, for there is a something about the Troad scenery quite unique,—if it be not equalled by the R. Compagna as to grand and simple outlines.

Thence I came by sea to Corfu, getting here on the 7th & being thrust into this place till Saturday the 11th & be d——d to the owls for their folly.

Fortescue to Lear.


9th December 1856.

. . . I am delighted to hear that, while you abuse the "Ideal," you are growing rapidly into the ideal Edward Lear—the "model man." Don't you know that there is somewhere or other an ideal Edward Lear—and an ideal Chichester Fortescue? There we are arranged in some Divine Museum—probably ticketed to avoid mistakes: the question is, how like the actual E. L. and C. F. are to their [greek]. Do you think we should know ourselves ? Let us try—in God's name—to grow as like our ideals as we can. What a splendid saying that is "till we all {42}come to the Perfect Man—to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." . . .

I am looking forward to Tennyson's book. My temper, was sorely tried the other day by old Lady Ormonde saying that "she wondered how an old man could write such nonsense as Maud."

Lear to Fortescue.

CORFU, 11. January 1857.

Let me see, the best way to answer your letter is to look over the document hisself, & go on a answering it symoniously. . . . 1st Come remarks about my Athos tour:—I am getting up (by my usual dilatory but sure process of penning out and colour) all my drawings of the Monasteries, and have them ready all but 10 or 12, thanks to after dinner applecation and stayathomeaciousness. They are a reemarkible lot of work, as I hope one day you will see: mind, if you do come while I am here, I have now a better spare bed-room than you'll get anywhere in the town, & you should do just as you liked, barring leaving the windys open all night, because then my landlord's 29 cats would perforate the domestic tranquillity of my establishment. I must tell you with a feeling of pride & conflatulation that I have made such progress in Greek as to be able to read the Testament (in old as well as modern, quite comfortably:—and since I can read the life of Christ in the Original, my desire of seeing the actual places he lived in are not to be stoppled any more. {43} I gain more fixed and real ideas from the actual history than from our translation.

2ndly I understand you now quite about the "Ideal":—My dear boy, I alas! am a long long way off my ideal! & I don't see how it can ever be got at, though I am notwithstanding happy to say that I sometimes DO think I am a little bit nearer the mark than I was. But, hang it, there must be an ideal Mrs Lear to make up the perfect ideal, & how that is to come about I can't yet tell. Some of your expressions on this head are exactly like my friend Lushington's here, only that yours come out spongetaneous, whereas his have to be got at by wrenching and imploring, he being, though a diamond as to value, yet hidden in a tortoise's shell, & doing nothing so little as contributing an iota of personal experience for the benefit of others.

3rd About the blessed Bowen. On the day your letter came, burst out the news that he was, to use his own account, "offered the Gov. Secretaryship of Mauritius, such change being intimated as a mere step to further advancement:—and that he should return here as Lord H[igh] C[om].[15]

4th All you said of "Maude" is true & interesting. O my i! Lady Ormonde!. In this queer place very few ever heard of Maude or Tennison, & if you hear of such a song spoken of as from "Maude" so certain are you to hear "oh! indeed! Colonel Maude of the {44} Buffs! very distinguished officer, but I had not the least idea he was a poet!"

5th I trust your Aunt[16] will recover quite and be spared to you many years. You are a great comfort to her, & I certainly should like to see her. Somehow that does not seem to me so much off the cards as a year ago. For though I shall hardly come to England this year, yet if I do so next, I really believe you'll see me in Patland. Prepare notwithstanding the ideal, to see me a good deal changed like Dan Tucker, all de wool comes off my 'ed, & I am older than Babylon in many ways. I wish sometimes I grew hard and old at heart, it would I fancy save a deal of bother:—but perhaps its all for the best.

There, that is all of the answering. And I must needs wind up with a short & serious account of myself. On coming out of Quarantine, the brutal earthquake having spifflicated my old rooms, I had to remove, & I thought it better to get an expensive place at once, on condition I could find a room for work. Whereby I took the ground floor of Scarpa's house on the Condi Terrace, or more properly speaking, Bastione, St. Atanasio,—for which I pay 6£ a month. This is the plan of the baste. i. is my stewjew 30 feet long: 3 windys all a looking to the North East, whereby the light is always perfect. {45} This room I use only as a study,—Greek & painting. My great 9 feet canvas makes a good show of work in it just now. 2. is the sitting & dining room: very

[picture 2]

nice & comfortable,—library,—good table,—matting, & very old prints of Oxford Terrace around: Tennyson, Lord Derby, & Mr. Hornby portraits: various Athos oddities here & there. 3. is a small & sinopothomostic chamber adorned with my framed sketches & pick pictures as are finished, for people to come & see. Vich the coming of a live Markis & Marchioness (Drogheda) and several other membiers of the Peeriage vos the proudest moment of my life. 4. is my bedroom plain & comfortable. 5 a lumber & spare room—to be done up proper for you when you come. 6. my man Giorgio Kokali's[17] room. It is Mr. Kokali's opinion & compliment that the painting I am now doing of Corfù will prevent all other Englishmen coming here, for says he [greek]—where's the good of people paying for coming so far if they can see the very same thing at home? Giorgio is a valuable servant, capital cook, & endlessly obliging {46} and handy, not quite as clean as I should like always, but improving by kindness. I teach the critter to read & write, & he makes long strides!

Over-head live Major & Mrs. Shakespeare, really clever & nice quiet people. The houses here are so thin that one hears everything, so good neighbours are real blessings. Condi Terrace is the "West-end" of Corfu and we are all more or less swells as lives in it. Next door lives my friend the justice F. Lushington. Further on the Cortazzi, a family of whom more another time. Then the Parson, which is a brick. At the other end Colonel Gage, & the other justice Sir James Reid.[18] If you come I'll ask them to come and dine: being a distinct Lord of the Treasury[19] it behoves a friend to match you with almighty swells.

Well I set to work fearfully, riz at 5½ always—at 6½ & to 8½ [greek].[20] And then I paint till 3 or 4 having breakfasted at 9 and I walk a bit till 6. Dine at 6½, and pen out my Athos drawings till 10. My 'elth is on the 'ole pretty good & I can work longer than before this year. My big Corfu will be a stunner, & I mean to try for 500 guineas for him, he be 9 feet 4 inches long, & 6 feet 'i. I hope to get him to Manchester in time.

I meant to finish out & out a regular long letter {47} but cannot do so, for 6 letters having come by post, and among them one very sad one from Holman Hunt, who writes in great affliction on account of the death of his father, and of Seddon our friend who was with us in Egypt.[21] So I have to reply to that as well as 3 others. One is from Alfred Seymour, a very nice letter. I am so sorry I have not received one he wrote from Vienna. If you see him, thank him & say I will write very omejutly. Moreover, the wind has turned South & so virulent that my chimbly smokes, so that I can't go on no how, & it is so damp & cold I must go to bed I fear. This is the only drawback to the house.

The Palace folk continue to be very kind to me, & I like them better. Sir John Y. is evidently a kind good man, & I fancy more able than he was thought to be. The truth being that it is no easy matter to act suddenly, where as here, language & people are unbeknown & all power is in the hands of the secretary. Lady Y. lives too much for amusement, but she certainly improves & I believe I should end by liking her very much if I saw more of her. Now my dear boy I must close this as the Cyclopses used to say of their one eye. I wish I had written more or betterer, but can't. My 'ed is all gone woolgathering. Do you write again as soon as ever you can, if ever so shortly, & believe me always, Dear Fortescue,

Yours affectionately



May this and many others be very happy New Years to you. Here my boy! give me your eternal thanks for what I am going to suggest to you as a parliamentary motion, to be brought out & spoken on by yourself, to the ultimate benefit of society & to your own postperpetual glorification. As soon as Parliament meets, move that all Sidney Herbert's distressed needlewomen be sent out at once to Mount Athos! By this dodge all the 5000 monks young and old will be vanquished:—distressed needle-babies will ultimately awake the echoes of ancient Acte, & the whole fabric of monkery, not to say of the Greek church will fall down crash & for ever. N.B. Let the needlewomen be all landed at once, 4000 at least, on the South-east side of the peninsula & make a rush for the nearest monastery, that subdued, all the rest will speedily follow.

CORFU, May 1, 1857.

My dear 40scue, May 4. Which the above was writtle flee days ago, but this very mominlet comes a letter from you, date Apl. 23? as usual always one of my regular pleasures. Now, this letter will neither be a nice one nor a long one, but, just the hopposit for it is to say I am coming to England fast as I can, having taken a redboom at Hansens 16. Upper Seymour Street, Squortman Pare, and also a rorkwoom or Stew-jew at 15 Stratford Place.

My big picture is in a mess, & without Holman Hunt's help I can't get on with it, though it is done {49} as to what must necessarily be done here, and requires but 2 months of cropping and thought. Pray heaven I may sell it. I bring to England my drawings of Athos, I hope, for publication. Also sketches of Corfû for separate lithogrofigging, & sale here. Also one or two paintings to finish. Why are you coming say you? because I can't stay here any longer—without seeing friends & having some communion of heart & spirit—with one who should have been this to me, I have none. And I can't bear it. And I want to see my sister. And also another sister who is going to N. Zealand, before she goes. And some Canadian cousins. And you. And my dear Daddy Holman Hunt, & other people. So I'm off.

What a talk we will have! B[owen] goes about saying that Mauritius is very angry that L[abouchere][22] sent them out a Doctor,[23] and beg for him. . . . I am glad T. Baring is M.P.[24] he is a good-hearted boy. I shall do you the little Jerusalem con amore. Don't pollygize about your not writing: I gnoo how bizzy u were. I didn't go off East, because Clive did not come, he stood for Derbyshire and failed. I hope I may see Strawberry Hill with you. Give my remembrances to Lady Waldegrave.


How I long to have a talk with you.. You seem to me to be much more be firm-ified & be-moral-strengthefied and goaheady since we parted. I don't know what to say about the Secretaryship for the Colonies.[25] Personally I should like you there naturally:—but the place ought to be filled by one who KNOWS and studies the subject thoroughly. (Stanley[26] for instance.) But I don't say you wouldn't or couldn't. Do not decide hastily on non-application for it. But who is going out of it? Just a beastly letter as this never was! O life! life! life ! What is the next to be?

Lear to Lady Waldegrave.

RED HOUSE, ARDEE, 14. Sept., 1857.

DEAR LADY WALDEGRAVE,—I think you may be amused by my writing you some account of my visit to Ireland, if you have courage to look at such an alarming sheet of paper as this is: but if it appears too frightful you can easily tear it up, or at least not read it. You will have heard from Charles Braham that we were very comfortable at Ravensdale:—really I never saw a more delightful place, nor a better house than Lord Clermont's, & the days I passed there were most pleasant. I had known Lord & Lady Clermont {51} years ago in Rome, (even before I knew the Fortescue,) & as they are extremely nice persons, Ravensdale, including possessors, grounds, gardens, house, hills, heather, views, peacocks, & rabbits, rivers, dinners, with all the objects and things in general, seemed to my thinking a first rate place. Nevertheless I was curious to see RD, & the Red House, & above all the Aunt, so that I was not sorry to come here, the rather that I am always more or less disagreeable if I am not at work.

The Irish are funny people, & the moment one lands here it is evident that England & Ireland are very different countries in many respects. Among other odd ways of speech, the common people never by any chance say Yes, or No,:—eg. Is it time to go? "It is not Sir" or "It is Sir" Have you cleaned my boots. "I have Sir" or "I have not Sir." When we asked at Dublin if the Scientific Association meeting was over, they said "Indeed & it isn't, but the strength of it is pretty well broken," as if it were a revolution. But one of the best absurdities is told of an old woman here, who though pretty well off grumbled horribly, & when they said to her that for good clothes, prosperous children, a kind husband & comfortable house she ought to thank God—"And sure don't he take it out of me in Corns!" said she. I go into fits of laughing here, when they call after Fortescue, "MIMBER!" and it is also very queer to hear them congratulate him on being at home again.

But the wonder and crowning part of Redhouse is {52} the Aunt, Mrs. Ruxton:—I never saw such a delightful or so extraordinary an old lady:—at 85, she has all the activity of mind and body of persons at 60 in usual life, & far more of the bright intelligence, absolute fun, constant cheerfulness, unselfishness, good sense and judgment, kindness of thought & deed than usually can be found united in any individual of any age. Only she is a little deaf, but that at times, not always. It is quite singular to observe how she enters into the interest of all kinds of matters, & never seems to tire, tho' she is out in the garden by 7, & goes to bed not before 11 at night! What with her garden, the grounds, the house, writing letters, visiting her poor people, attending her schools, (she drives herself about in a pony-chaise) reading and talking, she never seems to have an unoccupied moment, & tho' at first I thought this might be an unusual state of things, I find she is exactly the same day by day. The old lady has still the remains of great beauty & her expression is one of the most perfectly benevolent & animated you can imagine. She is immensely fond of Fortescue, & no wonder, for he is just like a son to her. Chichester Fortescue has in fact appeared to me quite in a new light since I saw him here: I always knew many of his qualities well, his good and general taste in matters of literature, art, &c., his great truthfulness & his warm and generous disposition: but I was not prepared to find him so active in all county & parochial business, nor had I ever seen him in the position of a most affectionate child as he is to Mrs. {53} Ruxton. It is always a great thing to find that longer and closer knowledge of character makes it more esteemed & liked, and my stay here has already caused me to think higher of Chichester Fortescue & to like him better than I ever did before, & that is saying no little.

Another point of Mrs. Ruxton's character is her quiet & regular piety, though that you might assume from my description of her goodness: she is in a word a tip top Christian multiplied by 20 & I never believed I could see so much to admire in any old lady.

Our party is small here only Chichester Hamilton, Fortescue's nephew, a good quiet lad. (They are all anxious enough about his brother John,[27] who is near Benares). And a fourth person is a lady, formerly governess to Miss F[ortescue].[28] A very good person also, but given to enunciate sentences & ask questions as if she were reading from a book in a manner that tries our gravity now & then. "Have you ever, Mr. Fortescue, been induced to tempt the tempestuous waves of the remote Atlantic in order to visit the wondrous New World?" "Tea is an innoxious & wlolesome beverage & is acceptable at all times," are specimens of what I mean:—but Miss B. is very full of information & very amiable & attentive to Mrs. Ruxton. After prayers & breakfast, I collapse into a {54} small studio which they have given me, where I paint away till luncheon time, & again afterwards till 6, when I walk with C. F. till 7: but I am not sure that the experiment of working in a friends house is a good one, seeing that I am always wrapped up in what I am about, and as I rarely succeed as I wish, am in proportion cross and disgusting. Meanwhile everybody is very kind and good natured and lets me do as I please, so that I have nothing particular to growl at, not even having corns, like the old lady above mentioned.


3. October, 1857.

I have at last left the Red House and its happy family, for so they really are. I cannot remember to have been so happy for a long while past. As for Mrs. Ruxton, she is certainly a more extraordinary and delightful old lady than any description can convey an idea of: she is so constantly the same and yet with such varied interest and liveliness that one cannot help liking her more and more each day. I am so glad to have a photograph of her with Fortescue, which is very good I think.[29] On the 26th F. & I went to Newcastle, which is not in Northumberland as the school books tell us, but in the county of Down, & is a village by the side of the omnivorous ocean. Lord & Lady Clermont had a house there, & the scenery all about the place is very charming. One {55} day we passed at Tullamore Park,[30] a really fine place, full of beautiful ruins & bridges & trees & roads & mills & hills, & lawns & laurels & a high mounting above all, up to the top of which, Lady C. F., Miss Hamilton,[31] & I walked, which was not an easy task because we 3 had to go at such a pace to keep up with Fortescue,[32] who, having the luncheon in his pocket, insidiously endeavoured to distance us, to eat it, so our fears told us, clandestinely, before we reached him. Nevertheless we all reached the top together, & behaved very well & amiably, all of us. In coming down thro' the woods we were seized with frightful pangs of hunger, & devoted some time to the immoderate consumption of blackberries. After that we found a place where there had been a picnic, & we amused ourselves very intellectually for a long period in shying stones at a bottle, which nobody hit, tho' after Lady Clermont & I turned & left the spot, 40scue & his niece basely made a tinkling sound on the glass, & declared they had thrown at it successfully. After that we found a million of bits of blue paper, torn up by the picnic-makers in triumphant certainty that oblivion would rest upon their names thus destroyed: but we employed a considerable space in sedulously joining all the little bits, & finally made out two cards & addresses, viz, "Miss Maconochie" & "Dr. Forde" {56} which we left openly in the middle of the road, to the dismay & disgust of all deceitful & presumptious lovers hereafter.

On Tuesday the 29th we all broke up, & C. F. & I returned to Red House. A letter came yesterday from John Hamilton at Dinapore, but to his father,[33] so its contents were unknown: but the fact of its being sent seems to be good news, at least of his safety.

O dear! such a many people have rushed upon me, that I must leave off:—This good kind Lord & Lady Seaton are exactly the same as they used to be 10 years ago. Excuse my detached & absurd note, because I am so distractable.

Lear to Fortescue.

ROYAL HOSPITAL Oct. 3. 1857,


[picture p. 57]I shall write you a line, though there aint much to say. I got to Dublin safely, only discompozed a little because the only person in the Railway compartment I got into was a very fat woman, just exactly like a picture of Jonah's whale I used to see when a child in a picture bible. I was horribly afraid she would eat me up & sat expecting an attack constantly, till the arrival of the train relieved me of apprehension. At the Bilton I found a note from that kind good Lady {57} Seaton, saying as an old acquaintance of mine, Mr. Drummond & others had left suddingly,—& there vos beds to spear. So I went on, and passed a very pleasant evening. Some of the party were excursing in Wicklow, & among them the fair De Salis[34] who only came in late, & I don't think I delight in her appearance or manners any more than I used to do.

[picture p. 58]

The Pictures gave great pleasure, & I had a good deal of talk with fine old Lord Seaton[35] about the Indian Revolt. He believes that Havelock will succeed at Lucknow.[36] I have pretty well made up my mucilaginous mind to cross to Liverpool to-night. The day {58} is highly beastly & squondangerlous, & there is no fun in going about in the pouring rain in a car to make calls, so I shall write to Archd. Strong, & send a book to Dudgeon's children, whereby you see, albeit I quiet my conscience, yet I am not so virtuous as You thought. However, it is all on your shoulders.

So, I shall very probbabbly be in the great Exbtion. on Tuesday, after all. Stand at the 2nd arch-place marked X—and looking through the door D. you will see Syracuse.

I wish I was at Redhouse, a dispensing of Butter. Goodbye, my dear Mimmbr.

A fortnight or so later, after a series of visits to Henry Bruce afterwards Lord Aberdare, another patron of his Gambier Parry, and many others in the South and West of England, he finds himself at Wells, with his old friend Church, now Dean of Wells, and shortly afterwards he writes in Greek from Hackwood:


Novbr. 2, 1857.

[letter in Greek pp.59-60][37]

Which is to say, if the Beadons aint at home, what time shall you be where & when & which? If I get no note from them I will call on you at any hour you will name in a note sent to 16 Upper Seymour St. or be at the Blue Posts &c.