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He spoke with his wonted extravagance (he was always in extremes) of Prince Louis Napoleon: "I have seen all the great men that have appeared in Europe during the last half-century, and he is the ablest of them all. Had his uncle had but a tithe of his ability, he would never have died at St. Helena. The last time I saw the Prince before he went over to France, he said to me, 'Good-bye, Mr. Landor; I go to a dungeon or a throne.' 'Good-bye, Prince,' I answered. If you go to a dungeon, you may see me again; if to a throne, never!' He told me a long story of some Merino sheep that had been sent him from Spain, and which George III. had "stolen." He seemed to imply that this was a greater crime than throwing away the American colonies, and a perfidy of which only kings could be capable. I confess that I thought the sheep as shadowy as those of Hans in Luck, for I was not long in discovering that Landor's memory had a great deal of imagination mixed with it, especially when the subject was anything that related to himself. It was not a memory, however, that was malignly treacherous to others.
I mentioned his brother Robert's "Fountain of Arethusa"; told him how much it had interested me, and how particularly I had been struck with the family likeness to himself in it. He assented; said it was family likeness, not imitation, and added: "Yes, when it came out many people, even some of my friends, thought it was mine, and told me so. My answer always was, I wish to God I could have written it!"" He spoke of it with unfeigned enthusiasm, though then, I believe, he was not on speaking terms with his brother. Whenever, indeed, his talk turned, as it often would, to the books or men he liked, it rose to a passionate appreciation of them. Even upon indifferent matters he commonly spoke with heat, as if he had been contradicted or hoped he might be. There was no prophesying his weather by reading the barometer of his face. Though the index might point never so steadily to Fair, the storm might burst at any moment. His quiet was that of the cyclone's pivot, a conspiracy of whirlwind. Of Wordsworth he spoke with a certain alienated respect, and made many abatements, not as if jealous, but somewhat in the mood of that Athenian who helped ostracize Aristides. Of what he said I recollect only something which he has since said in print, but with less point. Its felicity stamped it on my memory. "I once said to Mr. Wordsworth, 'One may mix as much poetry with prose as one likes, it will exhilarate the whole; but the moment one mixes a drop of prose with poetry, it precipitates the whole.' He never forgave me!" Then
followed that ringing and reduplicated laugh of his, so like the joyous bark of a dog when he starts for a ramble with his master. Of course he did not fail to mention that exquisite sea-shell which Wordsworth had conveyed from Gebir to ornament his own mantel-piece.
After lunch, he led us into a room the whole available wall-space of which was hung with pictures, nearly all early Italian. As I was already a lover of Botticelli, I think I may trust the judgment I then inwardly pronounced upon them, that they were nearly all aggressively bad. They were small, so that the offense of each was trifling, but in the aggregate they were hard to bear. I waited doggedly to hear him begin his celebration of them, dumfounded between my moral obligation to be as truthful as I dishonestly could and my social duty not to give offense to my host. However, I was soon partially relieved. The picture he wished to show was the head of a man, an ancestor, he told me, whose style of hair and falling collar were of the second quarter of the seventeenth century. Turning sharply on me, he asked: "Does it remind you of anybody?" Of course this was a simple riddle; so, after a diplomatic pause of deliberation, I replied, cheerfully enough: "I think I see a likeness to you in it." There was an appreciable amount of fib in this, but I trust it may be pardoned me as under duress. "Right!" he exploded, with the condensed emphasis of a rifle. "Does it remind you of anybody else?" For an instant I thought my retribution had overtaken me, but in a flash of inspiration I asked myself, "Whom would Landor like best to resemble?" The answer was easy, and I gave it forthwith: "I think I see a likeness to Milton." "Right again!" he cried triumphantly. "It does look like me, and it does look like Milton. That is the portrait of my ancestor, Walter Noble, Speaker of one of Charles First's parliaments. I was showing this portrait one day to a friend, when he said to me, 'Landor, how can you pride yourself on your descent from this sturdy old cavalier-you who would have cut off Charles's head with the worst of 'em?' 'I cut off his head? Never!' 'You would n't? I'm astonished to hear you say that. What would you have done with him?' 'What would I have done? Why, hanged him, like any other malefactor!'" This he trumpeted with such a blare of victory as almost made his progenitor rattle on the wall where he hung. Whether the portrait was that of an ances tor, or whether he had bought it as one suitable for his story, I can not say. If an ancestor, it could only have been Michael (not Walter) Noble, Member of Parliament (not Speaker) during the Civil War, and siding with the Commons against the King. Landor had con
founded him with Sir Arnold Savage (a Speaker in Henry Seventh's time), whom he had adopted as an ancestor, though there was no probable, certainly no provable, community of blood between them. This makes the anecdote only the more characteristic as an illustration of the freaks of his innocently fantastic and creative memory. I could almost wish my own had the same happy faculty, when I see how little it has preserved of my conversation, so largely monologue on his part, with a man so memorable.
The letters which follow can lay no claim to importance, but they illustrate pleasantly the more playful as well as the more lovable side of his nature. They are at least more interesting, and bear more clearly the stamp of the writer's character, than many of Goethe's to the Frau von Stein. Landor has not, it is true, the literary or historical importance of Goethe, but he was one of the most remarkable men of a remarkable generation, and of rarer type, perhaps, than any of them as a conscious artist in words. The letters will add nothing to his fame and little to our knowledge of him, but they will be welcome to those who already value him, and may awaken some curiosity about him in others. They give an amiable picture of him without his armor, and in an undress, though never a careless or slovenly one. That on the death of his dog Pomero is especially worth having, and the slapdash judgments upon artists in others are very characteristic. They were written, in various years, to Miss Mary Boyle. That sister to
MY DEAR MISS BOYLE: Your letter is really a most delightful ramble. I believe I must come and be your writing-master. Certainly, if I did nothing else by drilling, I should make rank and file stand closer.
We must now be serious. I am grieved and shocked at the idea of any dog in existence, quadruped or other, tearing your handkerchief. Hampton Court indeed any court upon earth would loudly protest against such an outrage. I, who am too low for ambition, take out my pencil and try my hand at accounts, and find that two such handkerchiefs as ladies now carry are worth in hard cash somewhat more than the purchase of a villa (freehold, delightfully situated, furnished, etc., etc.) on the Southampton-water. If you can trust me in the making of a bargain, I will go forthwith to my neighbour and acquaintance Lord Ashtown, with the fragments of yours in my
*Miss Boyle's large Sardinian greyhound. t Mr. G. P. R. James, the novelist.
whom he sends messages was Miss Carolina Boyle, for many years maid of honor to Queen Adelaide. As Landor seems almost never to have dated his letters, it is impossible to assign any but a conjectural order to them. The postmark of one enables us to pin it down to 1842. The annotations are Miss Boyle's.
I was going to say that more than fif- but I feel Cynthius at my ear, and shall say instead, that in honor of Miss Mary Boyle, Silvio Pellico, just released from his Prigioni, wrote some of those facile verses that sing in Italian, but are apt to have bad colds in English. Indiscreet readers may look up the date if they will. Miss Boyle bears no discoverable relation to dates. Asnobody ever knew how old the Countess of Desmond was, so nobody can tell how young Miss Mary Boyle is. Known formerly as a vivacious amateur authoress, her recent historical and biographical catalogues of the art treasures at Longleat and Panshanger have a serious value. No knock could surprise the modest door of what she calls her Bonbonnière in South Audley street, for it has opened and still opens to let in as many distinguished persons, and, what is better, as many devoted friends, as any in London. However long she may live,—and may so excellent a woman live as long as she chooses!-hers can never be that most cheerless of fates, to outlive her friends, while cheerfulness, kindliness, cleverness, and contentedness, and all the other good nesses have anything to do with the making of them.
James Russell Lowell.
hand, and offer them to him for his, which is a very pretty and commodious one. If you consent to it, I will allow him to remove the pictures. This will not materially diminish any little advantage in the transfer: so do not stand out for them. I like to do things handsomely, particularly at another's expense. I must fit Grison's face to mine, and reason with him amicably on running away with a treasure which he can neither make use of nor lay up..
You cannot overvalue † James. There is not on God's earth (I like this expression, vulgar or not) any better creature of his hand, any one more devoted to his highest service, the office of improving us through our passions. You are destined and gifted by the same Power for the same glorious work. I am curious to see your sister's two petitions. Her commands may assume that form, but they are commands nevertheless, and must be executed. This morning at breakfast I wrote some verses on the Chinese war. Here they are.
There may be many a reason why,
Of thy indwellers run more fleet.
Altissimo Poeta, non è vero?
Are you acquainted with the Eltons at Southampton? The girls are most delightful; the father an excellent man and good poet. I have a great regard for all the family.
BATH, June 28 . DEAR MISS BOYLE: Your letter has followed me from Bath to Paris, and from Paris back again to Bath, not without a short delay in London. Had I been aware that you and your fair sister were at Hampton Court, I should certainly have paid you my respects there. I was in town only 5 days as I went and only 3 as I returned. No lady on earth will believe that any person can dislike Paris. I hate and abominate it: yet never in any place have I received so much civility and attention. There was no opera, and the gallery of the Louvre was open only for the exhibition of modern works. The French have no Landseer, no Stanfield, no Eastlake. I hope you have enjoyed the sight of their wonderful productions. This year, I am sorry to say, ill-health has prevented Landseer from displaying his wonderful powers, but Stanfield has a picture which I hear is sold for seven hundred guineas, representing the Island of Ischia in the beginning of a storm, to which neither Claude nor Gaspar nor Ni cotas Poussin ever painted anything equal. Eastlake's Christ weeping over the fate of Jerusalem is worthy of Domenichino, to say the least. Between the time of Hogarth and Eastlake we never had an artist who could draw. Reynolds and Lawrence are on a level in this particular.
You perhaps will wonder what could have. induced me to revisit Bath at such a season. The fact is, I abhor all popular bustle, and had I made the visits I intended to make, I should have been in the midst of contested elections, and what is worse, where some of my personal friends are opposed. This very day an election is going on here; but I neither hear, nor will go where I can hear, anything of the matter. To-morrow I will write to our friend James as great a conservative as I am,
even of his temper. With love to your sister (for nobody can give her less), believe me, ever sincerely, Yours, W. S. LANDOR.
DEAR MISS BOYLE: It is incredible to me that I should have permitted your letter to remain unanswered. So, at last, you can be enthusiastic about our artists. Take especial care to avoid the expression of your enthusiasm in good society. You know it is forbidden on all subjects, particularly on works of art or literafield, in his view of Ischia, has produced a ture, by those we may see and serve. Stannobler work, in my opinion, than the best of Claude or Poussin. I rejoice to hear that Boxall has been painting your family. He is an excellent artist and a modest man. Do not think me too obstinate in persisting to call "Letters of a myself a conservative. My Conservative" were written to bring the apostate Bishops back to Christianity; to make them useful as teachers; that the indignation of the people might not rise up against the only unreformed Church in Christendom. It would grieve me to see religion and education turned altogether, as it is in part, into those of taken out of the hands of gentlemen, and the uneducated and vulgar. I would rather see my own house pulled down than a catheof Lords as Barons, voting against no corrupdral. But if Bishops are to sit in the House tion, against no cruelty, not even the slavetrade, the people ere long will knock them on the head. Conservative I am, but no less am I an aristocratic radical like yourself. I would eradicate all that vitiates our constitution in church and state, making room for the gradual growth of what altered times require, but preserving the due ranks and orders of society, and even to a much greater degree than most of the violent tories are doing.
You have here my profession of political faith, explicit, and without mystery.
Remember me to your brother, and present me with your usual grace to Lady Boyle and your sister. Above all, believe me very sincerely
Remember me to your sister, if she is awake, but do not waken her on purpose, and to your brother, and believe me, dear Miss Boyle, Yours very sincerely, W. S. LANDor.
BATH, January 5.
You ask me whether I have ever seen Burleigh.* worth mentioning. I have given strict orders Yes; nearly a half-century ago. Nevertheless, not even to have it advertised, much less puffed. I have not forgotten its magnificence. No Nevertheless it is not unlikely that it will be place ever struck me so forcibly. And then puffed-puffed away, when it reaches Burleigh. the grounds! Surely they were made expressly I shall give orders this moment for it to be sent for the grand attitudinarian Grison. Being to you. but a boy when I saw Burleigh, I admired, as most people do to the end of their lives, by prescription. I had not then learnt pictures by costly experience, and the probability is, that I admired a celebrated work by the vilest and least imaginative of painters even more than the Domenichino to which you allude. The Christ breaking the bread, by Carlo Dolce, is the most celebrated in England of that painter's works. I happen to possess the one which is the most celebrated in Italy, the one in which the pearls of the Madonna (they tell you, and tell you truly) "paiono vere": I gave, out of wantonness, sixty louis for it, the real value is three farthings. How many thousand of such fellows as Carlo Dolce and Sasso Ferrato are worth less than a finger's breadth of Domenichino. In regard to his frescoes you are nearly right. But it is impossible to conceive the perfection of frescoes out of Siena. Not Michelangelo, nor even Raffael himself, quite understood the coloring. Razzi, Beccafumi, and their contemporaries in Siena, did perfectly. Nearest to them is Andrea del Sarto.
But all their works, with Michelangelo's included, are incomparably less than equivalent to the Incendio del Borgo. Well, let us be contented. The cartoons make us nearly as rich as Italy herself in painting, and all the sculpture in Italy is not worth the single figure of the Ilyssus in the Elgin marbles. We are pleased to underrate our contemporaries, partly thro' ignorance, and partly thro' malignity. But I question whether the twelve of the greater Gods, by any ancient, were comparable to the twelve Apostles of Thorwaldsen.
Of course, if Phidias was the sculptor, they were; but we hear only of his Zeus and Pallas. I have no doubt that he not only designed but finished the Ilyssus and Theseus. These fragments are the only remains of any very great Greek sculptor. Happily they are of the very greatest the unapproachable Zeus of sculptors.
And now let me turn to the work which you are about. Jamest would no more tell you to throw it into the fire, than he would tell you to throw fire into it. The one would be an arson for which there would be a thousand prosecutors, all of whom would have lost valuable property by it, and the other (the throwing fire into it), I am certain, is done already. What I myself have been doing is hardly
Seat of the Marquis of Exeter. + Mr. G. P. R. James.
DEAR MISS BOYLE: Everybody who writes to you begins with "I am delighted, I am charmed," etc., etc. For my part, I am quite incapable of originality and must say the same thing. Jamest wrote to me also. It appears the Duke of Wellington asked him whether it would be possible to establish a Newspaper which should tell the truth. Alas! what a question for a wise man for a man of experience above all, for a politician — for a minister of state!
If the thing is to be done, he must do it himself. But you are very capable of furnishing one good article — take care it is quite true. The paragraph may run somewhat thus: "On Tuesday last Miss Mary Boyle, accompanied by her cousin the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Boyle, did Mr. Landor the honour of calling on him on his ground-floor No. 35 St. James Sq., Bath.
They found him writing some nonsense verses, by which he acquired great distinction both at school, and since. We are enabled, by the favour of our fair correspondent, to give the reader a sample.
"The leaves are falling; so am I;
The few late flowers have moisture in the eye;
Scarcely on any bough is heard
The whole wood through.
Let him! now heaven is overcast
Melcha colpisce fortemente - Mora più ancora
I have broken my word to myself, all thro'
Tell the Maid of Honour I wd rather the Queen* gave her a thousand pounds than any one else gave her qualsi voglia somma.
You see I have learnt to write from youonly I can sometimes get three or four words into a line-which you can never do for the life of you. But there are several in which I find two entire ones. I do not like to spoil the context, otherwise I would order them to be glazed, and framed in gold.
The Grand-duke of Tuscany has completed his collection of hieroglyphics, so I need give you no assurance that I will not make money of those I expect.
I was at a pic-nic on Saturday. The dancing did not tire me. I can only account for it from having used my eyes only. I like the Polka amazingly, and many years shall not elapse before I take a lesson or two. I do not promise to dance at your wedding, but I will promise to dance at your eldest daughter's if I receive an invitation. Addio, Carina.
I HOPE you have enough of appellatives. For my part, I have no notion of giving any to young ladies, unless it be such as they, by acceptance at the altar, have fairly taken. Godfathers and godmothers are small authority for me. Many a man has admired the pitch of his courage, and the charms of his handwriting, at that pretty word Dear, preceding a name that always has a long and sweet quaver in it, be its constituent vowels and consonants what they may. I myself, in times past, have looked at the two together so long that it required an effort to make the pen follow the flutterings of the heart. For be it known, hearts were worn then. So, you are resolved to have a name, are you? I suspected as much at the very first page of yours I ever read. But how can you expect an author to call you dear, or any such thing? or even to say, what all men of sound judgment agree in, and many whose judgment is thrown a trifle off the balancethat "Mary" has the sweetest sound of any? Before I am driven into a letter, I usually think I have been in the presence of, if not still conversing with the person I write to. Otherwise I doubt whether I could overcome my disposition to idleness in the fingers at least. When I have called you dear, pray tell me how I must go on and whether when I have written the next word, I am to put a
*Alluding to the marriage portion of maids of honor.
comma or a mark of admiration. If you leave it to me indeed whether you do or not - I am for the! Three generations, you tell me, were present at your triumphal entry to Marston. This is not enough for me. When you can muster four, I shall take it unkind of the hospitable rector if he does not invite me again. Should he forget it, I will sit upon the parkgate and write a squib on every soul that enters. I wonder by what right or reason they presented you with anything like freedom. You who have made so many wish to lose it, ought to forfeit it forthwith. And now which of your lords is to take you to the concert? Lord Cork, Lord Dungarvon, or that lord who will be prouder than either, seeing that certain rights and privileges are conferred on him under your sign manual. I leave this place, Torquay, after the Regatta, the end of next week, and shall be then at Llanbedr Hall, Ruthin. It isrich in orange-flowers-so you need not provide any for me if you summon me to Marston. Furthermore, the waistcoat I had ordered for the Regatta ball shall be kept unopened. I will descend no farther to particulars, but assure you that you shall have a name, and that I am very sincerely and affectionately yours,