Letters from England

第24章 LETTER:To Mr.and Mrs.I.P.D.

LONDON,June 20,1847

My dear Uncle and Aunt:

On the 19th,Saturday,we breakfasted with Lady Byron and my friend,Miss Murray,at Mr.Rogers'.He and Lady Byron had not met for many,many years,and their renewal of old friendship was very interesting to witness.Mr.Rogers told me that he first introduced her to Lord Byron.After breakfast he had been repeating some lines of poetry which he thought fine,when he suddenly exclaimed:"But there is a bit of American PROSE,which,I think,had more poetry in it than almost any modern verse."He then repeated,I should think,more than a page from Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast,"describing the falling overboard of one of the crew,and the effect it produced,not only at the moment,but for some time afterward.Iwondered at his memory,which enabled him to recite so beautifully a long prose passage,so much more difficult than verse.Several of those present with whom the book was a favorite,were so glad to hear from me that it was as TRUE as interesting,for they had regarded it as partly a work of imagination.Lady Byron had told Mr.Rogers when she came in that Lady Lovelace,her daughter (Ada)wished also to pay him a visit,and would come after breakfast to join us for half an hour.She also had not seen Rogers,I BELIEVE,ever.Lady Lovelace joined us soon after breakfast,and as we were speaking of the enchantment of Stafford House on Wednesday evening,Mr.Rogers proposed to go over it and see its fine pictures by daylight.He immediately went himself by a short back passage through the park to ask permission and returned with all the eagerness and gallantry of a young man to say that he had obtained it.We had thus an opportunity of seeing,in the most leisurely way and in the most delightful...On Tuesday Mr.Hallam took us to the British Museum,and being a director,he could enter on a private day,when we were not annoyed by a crowd,and,moreover,we had the advantage of the best interpreters and guides.We did not even enter the library,which requires a day by itself,but confined ourselves to the Antiquity rooms....As I entered the room devoted to the Elgin marbles,the works of the "divine Phidias,"I stepped with awe,as if entering a temple,and the Secretary,who was by my side,observing it,told me that the Grand Duke Constantine,when he came a few days before,made,as he entered,a most profound and reverential bow.This was one of my most delightful mornings,and I left the Antiquities with a stronger desire to see them again than before I had seen them at all.

Sunday,June 27th ...I went on Wednesday to dine at Lord Monteagle's to meet Father Mathew,and the Archbishop of Dublin (Dr.Whately)also dined there.

Father Mathew spoke with great interest of America and of American liberality,and is very anxious to go to our country.He saw Mr.

Forbes at Cork and spoke of him with great regard....On [Saturday]Mr.Bancroft went to the palace to see the King of the Belgians,with the rest of the Diplomatic Corps.After his return we went to Westminster Hall to see the prize pictures,as Lord Lansdowne had sent us tickets for the private view.The Commission of Fine Arts have offered prizes for the best historical pictures that may serve to adorn the new Houses of Parliament,and the pictures of this collection were all painted with that view.One of those which have received a prize is John Robinson bestowing his farewell blessing upon the Pilgrims at Leyden,which is very pleasing.It was to me like a friend in a strange country,and Ilingered over it the longest.

July 2d Wednesday [evening]we went to Lady Duff Gordon's,who is the daughter of Mrs.Austin,where was a most agreeable party,and among others,Andersen,the Danish poet-author of the "Improvisatore."He has a most striking poetical physiognomy,but as he talked only German or bad French,I left him to Mr.Bancroft in the conversation way.

The next morning before nine o'clock we were told that Mr.Rogers,the poet,was downstairs.I could not imagine what had brought him out so early,but found that Moore,the poet,had come to town and would stay but a day,and we must go that very morning and breakfast with him at ten o'clock.We went and found a delightful circle.Isat between Moore and Rogers,who was in his very best humor.Moore is but a wreck,but most a interesting one.

Elizabeth Davis Bancroft