LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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My Friends and Acquaintance
R. Plumer Ward XVII

Vol I Contents
Charles Lamb I
Charles Lamb II
Charles Lamb III
Charles Lamb IV
Charles Lamb V
Charles Lamb VI
Charles Lamb VII
Charles Lamb VIII
Charles Lamb IX
Charles Lamb X
Thomas Campbell I
Thomas Campbell II
Thomas Campbell III
Thomas Campbell IV
Thomas Campbell V
Thomas Campbell VI
Thomas Campbell VII
Lady Blessington I
Lady Blessington II
Lady Blessington III
Lady Blessington IV
Lady Blessington V
R. Plumer Ward I
R. Plumer Ward II
R. Plumer Ward III
R. Plumer Ward IV
R. Plumer Ward V
R. Plumer Ward VI
Appendix vol I
Vol II Contents
R. Plumer Ward VII
R. Plumer Ward VIII
R. Plumer Ward IX
R. Plumer Ward X
R. Plumer Ward XI
R. Plumer Ward XII
R. Plumer Ward XIII
R. Plumer Ward XIV
R. Plumer Ward XV
R. Plumer Ward XVI
‣ R. Plumer Ward XVII
R. Plumer Ward XVIII
R. Plumer Ward XIX
R. Plumer Ward XX
R. Plumer Ward XXI
R. Plumer Ward XXII
R. Plumer Ward XXIII
Horace & James Smith I
Horace & James Smith II
William Hazlitt I
William Hazlitt II
William Hazlitt III
William Hazlitt IV
William Hazlitt V
William Hazlitt VI
William Hazlitt VII
William Hazlitt VIII
Appendix vol II
Vol III Contents
William Hazlitt IX
William Hazlitt X
William Hazlitt XI
William Hazlitt XII
William Hazlitt XIII
William Hazlitt XIV
William Hazlitt XV
William Hazlitt XVI
William Hazlitt XVII
William Hazlitt XVIII
William Hazlitt XIX
William Hazlitt XX
William Hazlitt XXI
William Hazlitt XXII
William Hazlitt XXIII
William Hazlitt XXIV
William Hazlitt XXV
William Hazlitt XXVI
Laman Blanchard I
Laman Blanchard II
Laman Blanchard III
Laman Blanchard IV
Laman Blanchard V
Laman Blanchard VI
Laman Blanchard VII
Laman Blanchard VIII
R & T Sheridan I
R & T Sheridan II
R & T Sheridan III
R & T Sheridan IV
R & T Sheridan V
R & T Sheridan VI
R & T Sheridan VII
R & T Sheridan VIII
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We now arrive at what must be considered as the most interesting era of Mr. Ward’s literary life—that, namely, which included the composition and publication of “De Clifford; or, the Constant Man.

I do not believe the history of modern literature offers any parallel to the case of a writer who, after achieving a reputation second to none of his day, in the highest and most difficult department of the literature of that day (for such, surely, the department must be deemed which claims almost exclusively such names as Scott, Bulwer, Dickens, D’Israeli, and Thackeray), conceives and executes, between the ages of seventy-five and seventy-six years, a work of similar length and character to his previous works, and, at the very least, equal to any one of those in all the various and rare quali-
ties necessary to the creation of such works. For artistic skill in design and construction; for sustained power of execution; for keen insight into, and masterly delineation of, character; for subtle and searching knowledge of the human heart; for extensive acquaintance with existing society in all its grades, and with the influence of its institutions on the manners and moral feeling of the time; for power and precision of intellectual portraitpainting, vigour and justness of thought, healthfulness and warmth of feeling, and loftiness and purity of moral tone; finally, for its general result in a sustained and growing interest from beginning to end, throughout an amount of material greatly exceeding that of any other similar production of the day;*—for each and all of these qualities, “
De Clifford” is, at the very least, on a par with either of its two remarkable predecessors, “Tremaine” and “De Vere.” And this work was conceived, composed, and produced to the world between the seventy-

* “De Clifford” occupies four thickly printed volumes, and contains an amount of reading equal to considerably more than two ordinary three volume novels.

fifth and seventy-sixth birthdays of its writer—that writer having no stronger personal inducement to such intellectual exertion than the desire for an agreeable occupation of that leisure which, if not so occupied, would never for a moment have hung heavy on his hands; for no man was ever blessed by Heaven with a more earnest and sincere love for the pure and simple home-pleasures of a country life, or more favoured by fortune with the means of enjoying them. There have been a few instances of distinguished men retaining thenfaculties in full health and vigour to as late a period of life as that at which Mr. Ward produced “De Clifford;” but in no instance that I am aware of have those faculties been so taxed, or, if taxed, have they yielded a result that can be compared with the one in question.

I will here refer to a passage on this subject which occurs in one of Mr. Ward’s subsequent letters. On seeing (before its publication) his touching dedication of “De Clifford” to Lady Frederick Bentinck, I ventured to suggest the policy of his omitting from it any formal mention of his age;
the alleged ground of my suggestion being the ill-natured and offensive use that might possibly be made of it, by those adverse critics whom his former party connexions, and still avowed party feelings, had raised up against him. But he at once and without hesitation refused to adopt my suggestion,—as I now think most wisely; for the highest intellectual triumph of his life is unquestionably to be found in the fact I am alluding to. The first of the following letters contains Mr. Ward’s first direct mention of “De Clifford”—under the proposed title of “Bardolfe; or, the Decayed Gentleman”—a title which, at my persuasion, he altered to that which the work at present bears.

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmre.
“Okeover Hall, Aug. 27, 1840.

My dear Patmore,—Be so good as to tell me what has become of you, and whether you are still the principal feature of that little closet in which I last saw you, like a little German sovereign of his little domain, on the Elbe, Weser, or Rhine, as the case may be?


“For me, I have not stirred since February, except, now and then, by way of excursion to Matlock, Dovedale, and Johnson’s ‘happy valley’ of Ham—all very beautiful; not to mention Rousseau’s cave, at Wooton. With more or less health, I have been leading a life of happiness,—thanks to Him who gave it; and not the less because, at seventy-five, I feel my summons approaches nearer and nearer, every day and every hour.

“However, I did not mean to sermonise when I began, but to tell you that I have at length finished the work I have been so long employed upon—‘Bardolfe; or, the Decayed Gentleman,’—at your service.

“By this you will perhaps think, after what I have just said of the summons and seventy-five, that I mean myself. No such thing. The decay is of his family, from being old Norman peers to the lot of a gentleman farmer. On the other hand, after many vicissitudes and adventures, in which there are many pictures of life, he restores it. There is, as usual, a great deal of the didactic, having, in fact, three notable instructors: one an enlightened college
tutor; one a decided ci-devant man of the world, but retired from it; the third an active, but philosophic, minister of state, in the midst of it. But the principal feature is what you have had no small share in producing. It is a decided love tale; nay more—is carried through three whole volumes, with a beginning, a middle, and an end; with two heroines: a sort of (I am afraid inferior) Georgina, and a decidedly superior woman of fashion, but of greater sense and goodness, whom I am myself in love with.

“Well, what do you think of it?

* * * * * *

“Perhaps, after all these elucidatory particulars, you may not be in town. In truth, though to my loss, I hope you are not; for your health (precious to more than your mere self) will suffer from your too intense exertions. This I have long thought, and I do hope you have corrected that most suicidal custom of sitting up all night. I shall be therefore glad if you have fled from Marylebone, and if to your lady-love, Mrs. G—, at Paris, so much the better, whatever
Mrs. Patmore may think. Adieu, good friend.

“Ever much yours,
“R. P. W.

“P.S.—The season for fresh legs of pork and turkeys is not yet come. When it does, some of them shall call at your door. I have three fine hogs, five cows, fifty-two turkeys, forty ducks, a hundred chickens, ten guinea fowls, and my wife handsomer and kinder than ever. Beatus ille qui procul!

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Okeover Hall, Sept. 27, 1840.

Dear Patmore,—Welcome back to England, for back you are come, if there is faith in the greatest of publishers, though a little man. But if you liked Wiesbaden as well as I did, you will soon wish yourself back again. Could I have got that pretty house on the hill called the Palais, which the duchess, I am told, has bought, I believe I should be there still. The owner asked 2400 florins a-year for it, only a fourth part
furnished, and I agreed to give it. He then refused to do anything but sell it, and demanded 35,000 florins, which was beyond me,—luckily for him, for he has got 50,000 from her Royal Highness. Pray did you see her?

“I wish I was in town to have a gossip with you about this pretty town and patriarchal government. I suppose you walked, as I did, to Sonenberg every day. But if I go on about Wiesbaden I shall have no room for Mr. De Clifford, who leaves this for London next Tuesday, and whom I beg to introduce to your best civilities in Colburn’s name and mine.

“I am quite glad to have agreed with that modern Lintot, for I should have been sorry to have gone to anybody else. In truth, I think him friendly, fair, and straightforward. He gives me —— for 1250 copies, and —— more for a second edition.

“You see I have taken your advice about Bardolfe, as to which name I had as many scruples as you, and for the same reason, the hell-fire nose, and the flea frying on it, the only thing which ever put Falstaff in mind
of a soul in torment. Having, however, alluded much to a Bardolfe castle and estate in the work, as well as to the family as the ancestors of the hero, I did not like altogether to part with the descent, and luckily discovering that Sir W. Clifford married the coheiress of the Earl Bardolfe (temp. Rich. II.), I availed myself of that finer name, to which
Colburn clapped on a De, and so here we are.

“What you will say to it I know not. Judging from your too kind partiality displayed in your letter, I ought not to be afraid, and there are things in it which I am myself much pleased with (the whole work no doubt, you will say); but I can be no judge.

“I have submitted my refined lady to another lady of quality, Lady ——, who has been passing a fortnight with us, and she has set her seal to it, particularly an interesting discussion upon the real nature of fashion and vulgarity, introduced by way of instructing the hero, while in his novitiate, on that difficult and puzzling question.


“There are some situations which I am not without the hope will interest you. The didactics, however, are most interesting to myself, though I shall be very glad if you do not think them too long.

“I am willing to hope, on the other hand, that the story is rather original, certainly not common place.

“There is one part for which I will beg your particular attention. It is a dissertation (far from compromising) upon the jobbing of the modern system of reviewing— what I call the criticism of the shop. Pray do you know anything of a Mr. Reid, who attacked it boldly and cleverly in a short tract, called ‘Reviewers Reviewed’?

“I fear to bore you, or rather rob you of your valuable time, or I could say many things; but this I feel to be more than quantum suff. I will only therefore revert a little to your letter, which was very agreeable both to Mrs. P. W. and me, particularly for liking Wiesbaden so well. We wondered, by the way, whether you ever met with some friends we were very fond of—Comtesse Mathilde Dumontz, dame d’honneur to Princess
Frederica of Prussia, and Comtesse de Grüen, her sister. There was also a family of the Baronne de Marechale, at the head of everything there, and very charming. But the most charming of all was the duchess herself, not the less so for reading and speaking English—having read ‘
Tremaine’ and ‘De Vere,’ and, with the duke, having sent me a pretty message for what I said of them and their subjects in ‘Human Life.’

“I am afraid you will think, if you don’t say, what a coxcomb! Yet it is not surely mere vanity that makes me take pleasure in having pleased persons I so very much liked and respected.

“Well,—pour revenir à nos moutons,—though now an old stager, I shall be tremblingly alive to what you will say of me; so have mercy upon my youthful sensibility!

“I will only add my hope that your pleasant excursion has had the effect which all your friends must wish upon your health, which must be valuable to them and your family, whatever it may be to yourself. For I must again scold you for your way of life, which you seem to consider, as Mr.
Macnamara did a disease he had contracted. ‘How do you trate it?’ said a friend. ‘Trate it?’ said he. ‘With the utmost contempt.’

“Pray copy me, who think the world still worth living for, and who, not very far from seventy-six, feel freer from illness than ever I did in my life; and so no more at present from your loving friend,

“R. P. W.”
R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Okeover Hall, Oct. 7, 1840.
“Dear Patmore,—
* * * * * *

“I am particularly desirous of your thoughts on the parts [of De Clifford] to which that name [Sourkrout] as you will see, belongs. I really had no particular person in view, as to him, or Paragraph, or Spleenwort; but put them generally for the tribe of self-sufficient, malignant critics, wherever found.

“But I forget all this is in the third volume. Au reste, I hope Bertha, and Lady Hungerford will please you, and Fothergill, and
Manners, which last I own particularly pleases myself, though, being the channel of the Ethics and Didactics, I doubt the world. I will only add, that to Lady ——, a perfect Lady Hungerford as to mind, and as to experience of the highest monde, (being herself one of it)—I submitted all the chapters on Fashion, Vulgarity, &c., during a long visit she has been paying us, and she gave me an unqualified imprimatur.

“There! I have unburthened myself, and, as I know how valuable your time is, I will just sign my name and farewell.

“R. P. Ward.”
R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Okeover Hall, Ashbourn, Oct. 20, 1840.
“Dear Patmore,—
* * * * * *

“Well, and so you have received all my packets safe, viands and all. As you like the latter so well, I think they ought to be repeated.

* * * * * *

“But now to the more refined, viz., the critical parts of your letter. Be assured, in goading you as I did, I did not expect or
imagine you could give any opinion of the work, far less a notice of such good augury as you are pleased to send. My anxiety was, lest there should have been a miscarriage of any of the packets, which would have been irreparable. As it is, I own you have comforted me greatly with your impressions of the first one hundred and fifty pages, the extent of your reading, for it is about there that I have been most anxious, fearing particularly that the school delineations might be thought uninteresting and childish. But if you think of these as you seem to do, I am not so much afraid of your opinion of the rest, which I trust you will find less didactic, particularly when Mr. De Clifford gets away from his master, Fothergill.

“And now I will wait upon my oars till to-day’s post arrives, glad if I do not receive a scold from you in return for mine. It may, however, diversify a lonely day; for my wife, whose society, when she leaves me, I more and more miss, is gone with her father, Sir George, to leave all our duties with the Queen Dowager—a piece of etiquette which we find all our neighbouring families have pursued.


“Thank heaven, I myself have done with etiquette, and have reached that happy time when I have a legitimate right (which you have only usurped), to sit all the morning, and even pace my garden, en robe de chambre. In short (except that I am far happier in a wife, with whom I am absolutely every hour more and more in love, in even the admiring sense of the word), there is a certain Mr. Manners in the MS. between whom and myself I request and desire you will discover, a considerable affinity. This I tell you for your comfort, against the time when you will be near seventy-six. It is really certain, that much as I expended myself in my youth, I am, I believe I may say, happier than ever I was in my life; and as this place, though it may not be the cause, is certainly the scene of my happiness, you must not be surprised if your anticipations as to Mr. De Clifford are not realised, and that the winter will probably not see me among you.

“Though not so splendid, I love this abode, particularly the exterior, and I also love my society better than in Hertfordshire. I have not so fine a park, but I have Dove-
dale; I have not a house that covers an acre of ground, but neither does it cost me above 300l. a-year to keep it warm.

“On the other hand, I am here not one of a band of cockneys, whose hearts are all day in the city, though their bodies affect groves and fields—sprung up, too, like mushrooms; but for a time at least, feel the representative (though ‘jure uxoris et vitrici’) of a family of nine hundred years, flourishing and fructifying all that time on the same spot.

“Prejudice and illusion, you will say, and say truly; to which I reply, how much happier in a thousand instances than reality! In short, ever since I could read, I felt that I would rather be Sir Roger de Coverley than Cæsar; and here, at least, I am more like him than at Gilston.

* * * * * *
R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Okeover Hall, Nov. 27, 1840.

Dear Patmore,—I cannot let your letter, so kind and so gratifying, remain another day unanswered, especially as it relieved my anxiety lest you should think the interest in the first volume of ‘De Clifford’ in danger.

“I wish I could as fully relieve myself from another anxiety, almost as great, to know how far, that is, what proportion, I deserve of the honouring (I might almost say), the pathetic things you say of my lucubrations. Gladly would I compound for a sixth, nay, a tenth part of them, which would have satisfied even my earlier vanities. What must they be now, when vanity itself is fast wearing out with the rest of my frailties, like rats abandoning a falling old body? How I have deserved the partiality you so eloquently indulge, unaffectedly I cannot tell. Yet I cannot believe but that you are an honest man, and too proud to flatter, even were I anything more than a worn-out old Tory, totally without power, and whose interests are almost reduced to the flock of hens and turkeys he beholds from his windows.

“Well, I at least feel sure of your sin-
cerity, though the test of it is to me a strange, and would be a doubtful one, if it did not come from you, that I leave an impression with you like that of
Wordsworth. By the way, were you not thinking of Laoda-mia when you inadvertently wrote Laod-iceâ
‘Mittit et optat amans quo mittitur ire, salutem,
Æmonis, Æmonio, Laodamia viro;’
in short, the wife of Protesilaus?

* * * * * *

The passage in the following letter, alluding to his exploits in the long gallery of Okeover Hall, is very characteristic, and will have a peculiar interest for those who remember the
almost stately courtliness of his manner and bearing on some occasions. The passage reminds one of the great statesman who was caught on all-fours, playing at horses with his little boy. But he could appeal to the parental feelings of his visitor, and go on with his game; whereas the innocent and healthful sport of the Master of Okeover must have been enjoyed literally at the cost he speaks of.

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Okeover Hall, Dec. 16, 1840.

Dear Patmore,—I write chiefly to say I send you, per coach, a cargo of Christmas merry-makings, winch, for the honour of the seat of the Okeovers, I hope will prove good. Imprimis, a haunch of venison, doe, but delicate; item, a hare, killed yesterday; a turkey, ditto the day before; a chine, just out of salt. I wish I could add a barrel of excellent stingo, which makes the rustics smack their lips at it whenever they come into its neighbourhood. Still more, I wish I could send you our coal-pit, which makes such blazers as never were seen in London.
But who would live in London? Where there can I get a gallery eighty feet long to run about in, which I do for an hour together, singing and dancing without scruple, now that the servants begin really to believe that I am not mad. It would do you a great deal of good if you were to do so too. * *

“It is dangerous to ask a critic’s opinion, even though a friendly one; but I do hope you like Lady Hungerford.

“Adieu. Ever yours,
“R. P. W.

“P.S.—I am quite glad that I did not send off the inclosed before to-day’s letters came in, as it gives me an opportunity of adding my thanks (how due!) for all the kind and certainly gratifying things you say about points and persons, as to which I had some little anxiety. That you should speak of Manners and Lady Hungerford as you do is, I assure you, not only most pleasant but most encouraging, where, from my own doubts of the execution, I wanted encouragement. Lady A—— (an excellent judge, being herself one of the most sensible and best bred women in England, and of great experience as to others) allayed much of my fear, but you have converted it into confidence; and I own I grow so fond of Manners myself, that, setting all author feelings aside, I am fonder of you for seeming fond of him.

“In short, your letter has made me feel six inches taller than I was in the morning.

“I am also sincerely grateful to you for all you so warmly and delicately express on the progress of our intimacy, though I am distressed not a little at being the author of the passage which gave rise to it.”