very much looked at in our turn, and the King, on passing out, did me
the honour to say a few civil words, which produced a great sensation.
Mad. la Dauphine and Mad. de Berri curtsied, smiled, and looked
extremely gracious; and smiles, bows, and curtsies rained on us like
odours, from all the courtiers and court ladies of the train. We were
conducted by an officer of the Royal Gardes du Corps to a convenient
place in chapel, where we had the pleasure of hearing the grand mass
performed with excellent music.
I had a perfect view of the King and royal family. The King is the same
in age as I knew him in youth at Holyrood House - debonair and courteous
in the highest degree. Mad. Dauphine resembles very much the prints of
Marie Antoinette, in the profile especially. She is not, however,
beautiful, her features being too strong, but they announce a great deal
of character, and the princess whom Bonaparte used to call the _man_ of
the family. She seemed very attentive to her devotions. The Duchess of
Berri seemed less immersed in the ceremony, and yawned once or twice.
She is a lively-looking blonde - looks as if she were good-humoured and
happy, by no means pretty, and has a cast with her eyes; splendidly
adorned with diamonds, however. After this gave Mad. Mirbel a sitting,
where I encountered _le gÃ©nÃ©ral_, her uncle, who was _chef de
l'Ã©tat major_ to Bonaparte. He was very communicative, and seemed an
interesting person, by no means over much prepossessed in favour of his
late master, whom he judged impartially, though with affection.
We came home and dined in quiet, having refused all temptations to go
out in the evening; this on Anne's account as well as my own. It is not
quite gospel, though Solomon says it - the eye _can_ be tired with
seeing, whatever he may allege in the contrary. And then there are so
many compliments. I wish for a little of the old Scotch causticity. I am
something like the bee that sips treacle.
_November_ 5. - I believe I must give up my Journal till I leave Paris.
The French are literally outrageous in their civilities - bounce in at
all hours, and drive one half mad with compliments. I am ungracious not
to be so entirely thankful as I ought to this kind and merry people. We
breakfasted with Mad. Mirbel, where were the Dukes of Fitz-James, and, I
think, Duras, goodly company - but all's one for that. I made rather
an impatient sitter, wishing to talk much more than was agreeable to
Madame. Afterwards we went to the Champs ElysÃ©es, where a balloon was
let off, and all sorts of frolics performed for the benefit of the _bons
gens de Paris_ - besides stuffing them with victuals. I wonder how such a
civic festival would go off in London or Edinburgh, or especially in
Dublin. To be sure, they would not introduce their shillelahs! But in
the classic taste of the French, there were no such gladiatorial doings.
To be sure, they have a natural good-humour and gaiety which inclines
them to be pleased with themselves, and everything about them.
We dined at the Ambassador's, where was a large party, Lord Morpeth, the
Duke of Devonshire, and others - all were very kind. Pozzo di Borgo
there, and disposed to be communicative. A large soirÃ©e. Home at eleven.
These hours are early, however.
_November_ 6. - Cooper came to breakfast, but we were _obsÃ©dÃ©s partout_.
Such a number of Frenchmen bounced in successively, and exploded, I mean
discharged, their compliments, that I could hardly find an opportunity
to speak a word, or entertain Mr. Cooper at all. After this we sat again
for our portraits. Mad. Mirbel took care not to have any one to divert
my attention, but I contrived to amuse myself with some masons finishing
a faÃ§ade opposite to me, who placed their stones, not like Inigo Jones,
but in the most lubberly way in the world, with the help of a large
wheel, and the application of strength of hand. John Smith of Darnick,
and two of his men, would have done more with a block and pulley than
the whole score of them. The French seem far behind in machinery. - We
are almost eaten up with kindness, but that will have its end. I have
had to parry several presents of busts, and so forth. The funny thing
was the airs of my little friend. We had a most affectionate
parting - wet, wet cheeks on the lady's side. The pebble-hearted cur
shed as few tears as Crab of dogged memory.
Went to Galignani's, where the brothers, after some palaver, offered me
Â£105 for the sheets of Napoleon, to be reprinted at Paris in English. I
told them I would think of it. I suppose Treuttel and Wurtz had
apprehended something of this kind, for they write me that they had made
a bargain with my publisher (Cadell, I suppose) for the publishing of my
book in all sorts of ways. I must look into this.
Dined with Marshal Macdonald and a splendid party; amongst others,
Marshal Marmont - middle size, stout-made, dark complexion, and looks
sensible. The French hate him much for his conduct in 1814, but it is
only making him the scape-goat. Also, I saw Mons. de MolÃ©, but
especially the Marquis de Lauriston, who received me most kindly. He is
personally like my cousin Colonel Russell. I learned that his brother,
Louis Law, my old friend, was alive, and the father of a large
family. I was most kindly treated, and had my vanity much flattered by
the men who had acted such important parts talking to me in the most
In the evening to Princess Galitzin, where were a whole covey of
Princesses of Russia arrayed in tartan! with music and singing to boot.
The person in whom I was most interested was Mad. de Boufflers,
upwards of eighty, very polite, very pleasant, and with all the
_agrÃ©mens_ of a French Court lady of the time of Mad. SÃ©vignÃ©, or of the
correspondent rather of Horace Walpole. Cooper was there, so the Scotch
and American lions took the field together. - Home, and settled our
affairs to depart.
_November_ 7. - Off at seven; breakfasted at Beaumont, and pushed on to
Airaines. This being a forced march, we had bad lodgings, wet wood,
uncomfortable supper, damp beds, and an extravagant charge. I was never
colder in my life than when I waked with the sheets clinging round me
like a shroud.
_November_ 8. - - We started at six in the morning, having no need to be
called twice, so heartily was I weary of my comfortless couch.
Breakfasted at Abbeville; then pushed on to Boulogne, expecting to find
the packet ready to start next morning, and so to have had the advantage
of the easterly tide. But, lo ye! the packet was not to sail till next
day. So after shrugging our shoulders - being the solace _Ã la mode de
France_ - and recruiting ourselves with a pullet and a bottle of Chablis
_Ã la mode d'Angleterre_, we set off for Calais after supper, and it was
betwixt three and four in the morning before we got to Dessein's, when
the house was full, or reported to be so. We could only get two wretched
brick-paved garrets, as cold and moist as those of Airaines, instead of
the comforts which we were received with at our arrival. But I was
better prepared. Stripped off the sheets, and lay down in my
dressing-gown, and so roughed it out - _tant bien que mal_.
_November_ 9. - At four in the morning we were called; at six we got on
board the packet, where I found a sensible and conversible man - a very
pleasant circumstance. The day was raw and cold, the wind and tide surly
and contrary, the passage slow, and Anne, contrary to her wont,
excessively sick. We had little trouble at the Custom House, thanks to
the secretary of the Embassy, Mr. Jones, who gave me a letter to Mr.
Ward. [At Dover] Mr. Ward came with the Lieutenant-Governor of the
castle, and wished us to visit that ancient fortress. I regretted much
that our time was short, and the weather did not admit of our seeing
views, so we could only thank the gentlemen in declining their civility.
The castle, partly ruinous, seems to have been very fine. The Cliff, to
which Shakespeare gave his immortal name, is, as all the world knows, a
great deal lower than his description implies. Our Dover friends, justly
jealous of the reputation of their cliff, impute this diminution of its
consequence to its having fallen in repeatedly since the poet's time. I
think it more likely that the imagination of Shakespeare, writing
perhaps at a period long after he may have seen the rock, had described
it such as he conceived it to have been. Besides, Shakespeare was born
in a flat country, and Dover Cliff is at least lofty enough to have
suggested the exaggerated features to his fancy. At all events, it has
maintained its reputation better than the Tarpeian Rock; - no man could
leap from it and live.
Left Dover after a hot luncheon about four o'clock, and reached London
at half-past three in the morning. So adieu to _la belle France_, and
welcome merry England.
[_Pall Mall_,] _November_ 10. - Ere I leave _la belle France_, however,
it is fit I should express my gratitude for the unwontedly kind
reception which I met with at all hands. It would be an unworthy piece
of affectation did I not allow that I have been pleased - highly
pleased - to find a species of literature intended only for my own
country has met such an extensive and favourable reception in a foreign
land where there was so much _a priori_ to oppose its progress.
For my work I think I have done a good deal; but, above all, I have been
confirmed strongly in the impressions I had previously formed of the
character of Nap., and may attempt to draw him with a firmer hand.
The succession of new people and unusual incidents has had a favourable
effect [on my mind], which was becoming rutted like an ill-kept highway.
My thoughts have for some time flowed in another and pleasanter channel
than through the melancholy course into which my solitary and deprived
state had long driven them, and which gave often pain to be endured
without complaint, and without sympathy. "For this relief," as Francisco
says in Hamlet, "much thanks."
To-day I visited the public offices, and prosecuted my researches. Left
inquiries for the Duke of York, who has recovered from a most desperate
state. His legs had been threatened with mortification; but he was saved
by a critical discharge; also visited the Duke of Wellington, Lord
Melville, and others, besides the ladies in Piccadilly. Dined and spent
the evening quietly in Pall Mall.
_November_ 11. - Croker came to breakfast, and we were soon after joined
by Theodore Hook, _alias_ "John Bull"; he has got as fat as the
actual monarch of the herd. Lockhart sat still with us, and we had, as
Gil Blas says, a delicious morning, spent in abusing our neighbours, at
which my three neighbours are no novices any more than I am myself,
though (like Puss in Boots, who only caught mice for his amusement) I
am only a chamber counsel in matters of scandal. The fact is, I have
refrained, as much as human frailty will permit, from all satirical
composition. Here is an ample subject for a little black-balling in the
case of Joseph Hume, the great Ã†conomist, who has [managed] the Greek
loan so egregiously. I do not lack personal provocation (see 13th March
last), yet I won't attack him - at present at least - but _qu'il se garde
"I'm not a king, nor nae sic thing,
My word it may not stand;
And Joseph may a buffet bide,
Come he beneath my brand."
At dinner we had a little blow-out on Sophia's part: Lord Dudley, Mr.
Hay, Under Secretary of State, [Sir Thomas Lawrence, etc.] _Mistress_
(as she now calls herself) Joanna Baillie, and her sister, came in the
evening. The whole went off pleasantly.
_November_ 12. - Went to sit to Sir T.L. to finish the picture for his
Majesty, which every one says is a very fine one. I think so myself; and
wonder how Sir Thomas has made so much out of an old weather-beaten
block. But I believe the hard features of old Dons like myself are more
within the compass of the artist's skill than the lovely face and
delicate complexion of females. Came home after a heavy shower. I had a
long conversation about - - - with Lockhart. All that was whispered is
true - a sign how much better our domestics are acquainted with the
private affairs of our neighbours than we are. A dreadful tale of incest
and seduction, and nearly of blood also - horrible beyond expression in
its complications and events - "And yet the end is not;" - and this man
was amiable, and seemed the soul of honour - laughed, too, and was the
soul of society. It is a mercy our own thoughts are concealed from each
other. Oh! if, at our social table, we could see what passes in each
bosom around, we would seek dens and caverns to shun human society! To
see the projector trembling for his falling speculations; the voluptuary
rueing the event of his debauchery; the miser wearing out his soul for
the loss of a guinea - all - all bent upon vain hopes and vainer
regrets - we should not need to go to the hall of the Caliph Vathek to
see men's hearts broiling under their black veils. Lord keep us
from all temptation, for we cannot be our own shepherd!
We dined to-day at Lady Stafford's [at West-hill]. Lord S. looks
very poorly, but better than I expected. No company, excepting Sam
Rogers and Mr. Grenville, - the latter is better known by the name
of Tom Grenville - a very amiable and accomplished man, whom I knew
better about twenty years since. Age has touched him, as it has
doubtless affected me. The great lady received us with the most cordial
kindness, and expressed herself, I am sure, sincerely, desirous to be of
service to Sophia.
_November_ 13. - I consider Charles's business as settled by a private
intimation which I had to that effect from Sir W.K.; so I need negotiate
no further, but wait the event. Breakfasted at home, and somebody with
us, but the whirl of visits so great that I have already forgot the
party. Lockhart and I dined at an official person's, where there was a
little too much of that sort of flippant wit, or rather smartness, which
becomes the parochial Joe Miller of boards and offices. You must not be
grave, because it might lead to improper discussions; and to laugh
without a joke is a hard task. Your professed wags are treasures to this
species of company. Gil Blas was right in censuring the literary society
of his friend Fabricio; but nevertheless one or two of the mess would
greatly have improved the conversation of his _Commis_.
Went to poor Lydia White's, and found her extended on a couch,
frightfully swelled, unable to stir, rouged, jesting, and dying. She has
a good heart, and is really a clever creature, but unhappily, or rather
happily, she has set up the whole staff of her rest in keeping literary
society about her. The world has not neglected her. It is not always so
bad as it is called. She can always make up her soirÃ©e, and generally
has some people of real talent and distinction. She is wealthy, to be
sure, and gives _petit_ dinners, but not in a style to carry the point
_Ã force d'argent_. In her case the world is good-natured, and perhaps
it is more frequently so than is generally supposed.
_November_ 14. - We breakfasted at honest Allan Cunningham's - honest
Allan - a leal and true Scotsman of the old cast. A man of genius,
besides, who only requires the tact of knowing when and where to stop,
to attain the universal praise which ought to follow it. I look upon the
alteration of "It's hame and it's hame," and "A wet sheet and a flowing
sea," as among the best songs going. His prose has often admirable
passages; but he is obscure, and overlays his meaning, which will not do
now-a-days, when he who runs must read.
Dined at Croker's, at Kensington, with his family, the Speaker, and
the facetious Theodore Hook.
We came away rather early, that Anne and I might visit Mrs. Arbuthnot to
meet the Duke of Wellington. In all my life I never saw him better. He
has a dozen of campaigns in his body - and tough ones. Anne was delighted
with the frank manners of this unequalled pride of British war, and me
he received with all his usual kindness. He talked away about Bonaparte,
Russia, and France.
_November_ 15. - At breakfast a conclave of medical men about poor
little Johnnie Lockhart. They give good words, but I cannot help fearing
the thing is very precarious, and I feel a miserable anticipation of
what the parents are to undergo. It is wrong, however, to despair. I was
myself a very weak child, and certainly am one of the strongest men of
my age in point of constitution. Sophia and Anne went to the Tower, I to
the Colonial Office, where I laboured hard.
Dined with the Duke of Wellington. Anne with me, who could not look
enough at the _vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre_. The party were Mr.
and Mrs. Peel, and Mr. and Mrs. Arbuthnot, Vesey Fitzgerald,
Bankes, and Croker, with Lady Bathurst and Lady Georgina. One gentleman
took much of the conversation, and gave us, with unnecessary emphasis,
and at superfluous length, his opinion of a late gambling transaction.
This spoiled the evening. I am sorry for the occurrence though, for Lord
- - - is fetlock deep in it, and it looks like a vile bog. This
misfortune, with the foolish incident at - - - , will not be suffered to
fall to the ground, but will be used as a counterpoise to the Greek
loan. Peel asked me, in private, my opinion of three candidates for the
Scotch gown, and I gave it him candidly. We will see if it has
I begin to tire of my gaieties; and the late hours and constant feasting
disagree with me. I wish for a sheep's head and whisky toddy against all
the French cookery and champagne in the world.
Well, I suppose I might have been a Judge of Session this
term - attained, in short, the grand goal proposed to the ambition of a
Scottish lawyer. It is better, however, as it is, while, at least, I can
maintain my literary reputation.
I had some conversation to-day with Messrs. Longman and Co. They agreed
to my deriving what advantage I could in America, and that very
_November_ 16. - Breakfasted with Rogers, with my daughters and Lockhart.
R. was exceedingly entertaining, in his dry, quiet, sarcastic manner. At
eleven to the Duke of Wellington, who gave me a bundle of remarks on
Bonaparte's Russian campaign, written in his carriage during his late
mission to St. Petersburg. It is furiously scrawled, and the
Russian names hard to distinguish, but it _shall_ do me yeoman's
service. Then went to Pentonville, to old Mr. Handley, a solicitor of
the old school, and manager of the Devonshire property. Had an account
of the claim arising on the estate of one Mrs. Owen, due to the
representatives of my poor wife's mother. He was desperately excursive,
and spoke almost for an hour, but the prospect of Â£4000 to my children
made me a patient auditor. Thence I passed to the Colonial Office, where
I concluded my extracts. [Lockhart and I] dined with Croker at the
Admiralty _au grand couvert_. No less than five Cabinet Ministers were
present - Canning, Huskisson, Melville, [Peel,] and Wellington, with
sub-secretaries by the bushel. The cheer was excellent, but the presence
of too many men of distinguished rank and power always freezes the
conversation. Each lamp shines brightest when placed by itself; when too
close, they neutralise each other.
_November_ 17. - My morning here began with the arrival of Bahauder Jah;
soon after Mr. Wright; then I was called out to James Scott the
young painter. I greatly fear this modest and amiable creature is
throwing away his time. Next came an animal who is hunting out a fortune
in Chancery, which has lain _perdu_ for thirty years. The fellow, who is
in figure and manner the very essence of the creature called a sloth,
has attached himself to this pursuit with the steadiness of a
well-scented beagle. I believe he will actually get the prize.
Sir John Malcolm acknowledges and recommends my Persian visitor Bruce.
Saw the Duke of York. The change on H.R.H. is most wonderful. From a
big, burly, stout man, with a thick and sometimes an inarticulate mode
of speaking, he has sunk into a thin-faced, slender-looking old man, who
seems diminished in his very size. I could hardly believe I saw the same
person, though I was received with his usual kindness. He speaks much
more distinctly than formerly; his complexion is clearer; in short,
H.R.H. seems, on the whole, more healthy after this crisis than when in
the stall-fed state, for such it seemed to be, in which I remember him.
God grant it! his life is of infinite value to the King and country - it
is a breakwater behind the throne.
_November_ 18. - Was introduced by Rogers to Mad. D'Arblay, the
celebrated authoress of _Evelina_ and _Cecilia_, - an elderly lady, with
no remains of personal beauty, but with a gentle manner and a pleasing
expression of countenance. She told me she had wished to see two
persons - myself, of course, being one; the other George Canning. This
was really a compliment to be pleased with - a nice little handsome pat
of butter made up by a neat-handed Phillis of a dairymaid, instead
of the grease, fit only for cart-wheels, which one is dosed with by the
pound. Mad. D'Arblay told us the common story of Dr. Burney, her
father, having brought home her own first work, and recommended it to
her perusal, was erroneous. Her father was in the secret of _Evelina_
being printed. But the following circumstances may have given rise to
the story: - Dr. Burney was at Streatham soon after the publication,
where he found Mrs. Thrale recovering from her confinement, low at the
moment, and out of spirits. While they were talking together, Johnson,
who sat beside in a kind of reverie, suddenly broke out, "You should
read this new work, madam - you should read _Evelina_; every one says it
is excellent, and they are right." The delighted father obtained a
commission from Mrs. Thrale to purchase his daughter's work, and retired
the happiest of men. Mad. D'Arblay said she was wild with joy at this
decisive evidence of her literary success, and that she could only give
vent to her rapture by dancing and skipping round a mulberry-tree in the
garden. She was very young at this time. I trust I shall see this lady
again. She has simple and apparently amiable manners, with quick
Dined at Mr. Peel's with Lord Liverpool, Duke of Wellington, Croker,
Bankes, etc. The conversation very good - Peel taking the lead in his own
house, which he will not do elsewhere. We canvassed the memorable
criminal case of _Ashford_, Peel almost convinced of the man's
innocence. Should have been at the play, but sat too late at Mr. Peel's.
So ends my campaign among these magnificoes and potent signiors,
with whom I have found, as usual, the warmest acceptation. I wish I
could turn a little of my popularity amongst them to Lockhart's
advantage, who cannot bustle for himself. He is out of spirits just
now, and views things _au noir_. I fear Johnnie's precarious state is
I finished my sittings to Lawrence, and am heartily sorry there should
be another picture of me except that which he has finished. The person
is remarkably like, and conveys the idea of the stout blunt carle that
cares for few things, and fears nothing. He has represented the author
as in the act of composition, yet has effectually discharged all
affectation from the manner and attitude. He seems pleased with it
himself. He dined with us at Peel's yesterday, where, by the way, we saw
the celebrated Chapeau de Paille, which is not a Chapeau de Paille at
_November_ 19. - Saw this morning Duke of Wellington and Duke of York;
the former so communicative that I regretted extremely the length of
time, but have agreed on a correspondence with him. _Trop d'honneur
pour moi_. The Duke of York saw me by appointment. He seems still
mending, and spoke of state affairs as a high Tory. Were his health
good, his spirit is as strong as ever. H.R.H. has a devout horror of the
liberals. Having the Duke of Wellington, the Chancellor, and (perhaps) a
still greater person on his side, he might make a great fight when they
split, as split they will. But Canning, Huskisson, and a mitigated party
of Liberaux will probably beat them. Canning's will and eloquence are
almost irresistible. But then the Church, justly alarmed for their
property, which is plainly struck at, and the bulk of the landed
interest, will scarce brook a mild infusion of Whiggery into the
Administration. Well, time will show.
We visited our friends Peel, Lord Gwydyr, Arbuthnot, etc., and left our