LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
R. Plumer Ward XIX
Robert Plumer Ward to Peter George Patmore, 8 March 1841

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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“Okeover, March 8, 1841.
“Dear Patmore,—

C. has sent me ‘The Engagement,’ which engaged me too much yesterday, being but a heathenish employment for Sunday. Two hundred and fifty pages ought not to warrant an opinion; but I own the first two hundred gave me no notion of a perform-
ance which could so please you; and for an accomplished man of the world to be actually in love with, so as to wish to marry, from mere recollection, a child of six years old, seemed a marvellous illustration of the ‘incredulus odi.’

“Then I missed originality; and though Horatia promised to be charming, I felt a want of striking character in the persons introduced.

“Then I was astonished with certain strange phrases, such as the ‘folds of one’s thoughts,’ ‘a long line’s nobility,’ and ‘a rich one’s affluence.’ The very first sentence startled me, when I found that, on a door softly opening, a young and graceful form, instead of entering, tenanted a room. I feared the announcement of affectation of style, which, with me, kills the best performance in other respects.

“Shall I own, too (I am willing to believe it my own fault), that I find the phraseology often obscure, and that I cannot easily tell what the author is at in his characters. I do not yet understand why Lady Mornington, with all her loftiness, should, when her
beloved husband is brought home a corpse, feel all, but ask nothing. I do not make out De Grey, though intended to be a most principal personage; as little, Mr. Dudley, though I see he is to be one; and young Master Lovel, not at all.

“You will say that it is quite unfair to judge by two hundred and fifty pages, and I quite agree, on the question of general merits; but still I think the mere harbingers of a story, and particularly if they are to become the actors of it, ought to be introduced with some impression. Here, also, they are commended to us principally by what the author says of them, not what they say themselves. Witness Miss Belleisle; always confining myself to my first two hundred and fifty pages, which, however, is a very great proportion of the first volume.

“You will laugh at me if I add my discontent even at the uncouth title of the hero. Where the deuce was there ever an Earl of Haslingham, much less one whose dreams were haunted by a child six years old? I own, however, and am glad to do so, that his character begins to open a considerable
promise of interest, and the narrative of his feelings and conduct towards Coningsby makes us expect something to compensate for preceding platitudes. These also are much relieved by Mrs. Percival’s amusing romance, so well described as to be (to me) the best part of the book I have yet met with, considered as a work of attraction.

“Now, before you propose to cut my throat for all this, ‘consider,’ as Tinsel says, ‘I am but a coxcomb,’ and, like a coxcomb, am hazarding a plunge without having learned to swim. I certainly confess myself rash, and even unjust, by venturing to say so much, with so very little knowledge of what is to come. I shall, therefore, have the greatest pleasure hereafter in making an ample amende; particularly if Haslingham (still confound the name!) realises the expectation founded upon the peculiarities of his character and qualities, which have begun to be opened.

“If you are very angry, luckily for me you will perhaps be too busy to vent it, and this, perhaps, is what has made me so bold. With this consolation, believe me yours, à l’ordinaire,

R. P. W.

“By the way, is any similarity intended between Haslingham and Tremaine, or Horatia and Georgina?”