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To take Macaulay out of literature and society, and put him in the House of Commons, is like taking the chief physician out of London during a pestilence.
"OH yes! we both talk a great deal, but I don't believe Macaulay ever did hear my voice," he exclaimed laughing. Sometimes, when I have told a good story, I have thought to myself, Poor Macaulay! he will be very sorry some day to have missed hearing that."
I ALWAYS prophecied his greatness from the first moment I saw
"When an inquisitive quidnunc who squinted, asked Talleyrand how he thought certain measures would go, he replied 'comme vous voyez.’
"A council of the ministry having sat upon some question an eminent nobleman met him as he came from the meeting: Que s'est-il passé dans ce conseil?' to which he replied, Trois heures!'
"In a period of rapid political change in Paris he was asked what he thought of it: Why,' he replied, 'in the morning I believe; in the afternoon I change my opinion, and in the evening, I have no opinion at all.'
When he was Minister for Foreign Affairs and there was a report in Paris of the death of George III., a banker, full of speculative anxieties, asked him if it was true. 'Some say,' he replied, 'that the King of England is dead, others say that he is not dead;, but do you wish to know my opinion? 'Most anxiously, Prince!' 'Well, then, I believe neither! I mention this in confidence to you; but I rely on your discretion; the slightest imprudence on your part would compromise me most seriously!"
To these may be added a brace of anecdotes from the recently-published Journal of Thomas Raikes :
"A certain Vicomte de V, friend of Talleyrand, who with him frequented some distinguished soirées, where high play was encouraged, had incurred some suspicions not very creditable to his honour. Detected one evening in a flagrant attempt to defraud his adversary, he was very unceremoniously turned out of the house, with a threat, that if he ever made his appearance there again, he should be thrown out of the window. The next day he called upon M. de Talleyrand to relate his misfortune, and protest his innocence: Ma position est très embarrassante,' said the Vicomte, 'donnez moi donc un conseil.' 'Dame! mon cher, je vous conseille de ne plus jouer qu'au rez de chaussée' (the ground floor).
“When the Duchesse de Berri had disappeared from La Vendée in 1832 there were reports that she had been seen in various places in France but always disguised. Talleyrand remarked: 'Je ne sais pas si vous la trouverez en la Vendée, ou en Italie, ou en Hollande, mais ce qu'il y a de sur, c'est, que vous la trouverez en homme.."
him, then a very young and unknown man on the Northern Circuit. There are no limits to his knowledge, on small subjects as well as great; he is like a book in breeches.
YES, I agree, he is certainly more agreeable since his return from India. His enemies might have said before (though I never did so) that he talked rather too much; but now he has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful. But what is far better and more important than all this is, that I believe Macaulay to be incorruptible. You might lay ribbons, stars, garters, wealth, title, before him in vain. He has an honest genuine love of his country, and the world could not bribe him to neglect her interests.
ОH don't read those twelve volumes till they are made into a consommé of two. Lord Dudley did still better; he waited till they blew over.
Lord Dudley was one of the most absent men I think I ev met in society. One day he met me in the street, and invited me to meet myself. "Dine with me to-day; dine with me, and I will get Sydney Smith to meet you." I admitted the temptation he held out to me, but said I was engaged to meet him elsewhere. Another time, on meeting me, he turned back, put his arm through mine, muttering, "I don't mind walking with him a little way; I'll walk with him as far as the end of the street." As we proceeded together, W. -passed: "That is the villain," exclaimed he, "who helped me yesterday to asparagus, and gave me no toast." He very nearly overset my gravity once in the pulpit. He was sitting immediately under me, apparently very attentive, when suddenly he took up his stick, as if he had been in the House of Commons, and tapping on the ground with it, cried out in a low but very audible whisper, "Hear! hear! hear !”*
* There is a more famous anecdote of Lord Dudley's absence of mind. He was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Canning's Administration, when, at an important moment too, shortly before the battle of Navarino, he addressed a letter intended for the French Ambassador Polignac, to the Russian Ambassador, Prince Lieven. The latter took it for a hoax, and promptly
I THINK it was Luttrell who used to say reminded him of boiled mutton and near relations.
's face always
returned it. He remarked it was a good trick, but he was "trop fin," and a diplomatist of too high a standing to be so easily caught. Lord Dudley's habit of soliloquizing in company probably furnished the original of a character in Theodore Hook's Gilbert Gurney, the East India Nabob, Mr. Nubley, who carries on polite conversations with his friends, with a sotto voce accompaniment of his real and less complimentary opinions. Lockhart, in an admirable sketch of Dudley in the Quarterly Review, relates one of these adventures: "He had a particular dislike to be asked to give any one a lift in his carriage, in which he thought over the occurrences of the day, more, perhaps, than half the members of the Royal College of Physicians. An ingenious tormentor of Brookes's begged him to give a cast to a homeward bound, unconscious victim. It could not be refused. The unhappy pair set out in their chariot, and arrived, silently, near Mount street, when Lord Dudley muttered audibly, 'What a bore! It would be civil to say something. Perhaps I had better ask him to dinner. I'll think about it.' His companion, a person of infinite fancy, and to whom Lord Dudley afterward took a great liking, re-muttered, after a due pause, What a bore! should ask me to dinner! What should I do? I'll think about it."" Moore, in his diary, has frequent mention of Ward. He notices "his two voices; squeak and bass; seeming, as some one remarked, as if Lord Dudley were conversing with Lord Ward.' Somebody who proposed a short walk with him, heard him mutter to himself, introspectively, “I think I may endure him for ten minutes." One day that he had Lord Lansdowne to dinner with him, Lord Dudley took the opportunity to read to himself Hume's History of England.
Lord Dudley was, in his youth, at Edinburgh, in the family of Dugald Stewart, studied at Oxford, and entered Parliamentary life early. The family estate, derived from the coal and iron mines of Worcester, was enormous. Lord Dudley's income was some eighty thousand pounds a year. With this extraordinary wealth at command, and a fine classical culture, endeared, by his virtues, to the best London society, and fond of gathering its members about him, he passed much of his time unhappily, in consequence of an organic malformation of the brain, which he traced to an early neglect of physical training. 'Melancholy marked him for her own." His "Letters" to his friend Copleston, the Bishop of Llandaff, published after his death, afford many proofs of this.
As a speaker in Parliament, where, with a few exceptions, he was always on the strong conservative side, he was celebrated for his fine, studied speeches. Rogers burlesqued his method in an exceedingly neat, malicious epigram, which Byron, in conversation with Lady Blessington, pronounced one of the best in the English language, with the true Greek talent of expressing, by implication what is wished to be conveyed:"
very disagreeable? "Why, he was as disagreeable as the occasion would permit," Luttrell said.
LUTTRELL used to say, I hate the sight of monkeys, they remind me so of poor relations.
Mrs. Sydney was dreadfully alarmed about her side-dishes the first time Luttrell paid us a visit, and grew pale as the covers were lifted; but they stood the test. Luttrell tasted and praised. He spent a week with us, and having associated him only with Pall Mall, I confess I was agreeably surprised to find how pleasant an inmate he made of a country-house, and almost of a family party; so light in hand, so willing to be pleased. Some of his Irish stories, too, were most amusing, and his manner of telling them so good. One: "Is your master at home, Paddy?" "No, your honour." "Why, I saw him go in five minutes ago." "Faith your honour, he's not exactly at home; he's only there in the back-yard a-shooting rats with cannon, your honour, for his devarsion."
Luttrell came over for a day (writes Smith, to Lady Holland, "Ward has no heart, they say, but I deny it;
He has a heart, and gets his speeches by it.
Dudley, (as Lockhart remarks), took capital revenge, in a review of Roger's Columbus, in the Quarterly, a specimen of cool, exhausting criticism. Rogers comes out of it like a cat taken, at the last gasp, from the receiver of an air-pump. There are several other examples of Dudley's powers as a reviewer, in his articles in the Quarterly, on Horne Tooke, Charles James Fox, and Miss Edgeworth.
Luttrell, by the way, had his couplet on "the joke about Lord Dudley's speaking by heart." Moore preserves it in his Diary :—
"In vain my affections the ladies are seeking :
If I give up my heart, there's an end to my speaking."
Lady Blessington also tried an adaptation of it :
"The charming Mary has no mind they say;
I prove she has it changes every day.
It was Lord Dudley who made the remark, when he heard of Sir Walter Scott's pecuniary disasters: "Scott ruined! the author of Waverley ruined! Let every man to whom he has given months of delight give him a sixpence, and he will rise to-morrow morning richer than Rothschild."
The Earl of Dudley died, unmarried, at the age of fifty-two, in 1833.
from Combe Florey, in 1829), from whence I know not, but I thought not from good pastures; at least, he had not his usual soup-and-pattie look. There was a forced smile upon his countenance, which seemed to indicate plain roast and boiled; and a sort of apple-pudding depression, as if he had been staying with a clergyman.
I was at Bowood last week (says Smith in another letter about the same); the only persons there were seashore Calcott and his wife-two very sensible, agreeable people. Luttrell came over for the day; he was very agreeable, but spoke too lightly, I thought, of veal-soup. I took him aside, and reasoned the matter with him, but in vain; to speak the truth, Luttrell is not steady in his judgments on dishes. Individual failures with him soon degenerate into generic objections, till, by some fortunate accident, he eats himself into better opinions. A person of more calm reflection thinks not only of what he is consuming at that moment, but of the soups of the same kind he has met with in a long course of dining, and which have gradually and justly elevated the species. I am perhaps making too much of this; but the failures of a man of sense are always painful.
Again, in 1843:—
Luttrell is staying here. Nothing can exceed the innocence of our conversation. It is one continued eulogy upon man-and-womankind. You would suppose that two Arcadian old gentlemen, after shearing their flocks, had agreed to spend a week together upon curds and cream, and to indulge in gentleness of speech and softness of mind.*
*Luttrell's couplets, epigrams, puns, and parodies, his vers de société, were always of the neatest. He "talks more sweetly than birds can sing," writes Sydney Smith. Rogers said none of the talkers whom he met in London society could "slide in a brilliant thing with such readiness." Luttrell wrote verses of the day, for the Times Newspaper. His "Letters to Julia in Rhyme," a third improved edition of which appeared in 1822, brought him to the notice of the public. It is a vehicle for the description of London manners and ideas. Julia is an ambitious coquette, a widow, to whom the epistles are addressed by a friend of her lover. The sufferings of the inamorato, and the amusements of the town, from which he is driven by the lady's ill-treatment, furnish the themes, which are elegantly presented in a pure witty strain of verse. Luttrell wrote also "Crockford House, a Rhapsody,"