LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Literary Life of the Rev. William Harness
William Harness to A. G. K. L'Estrange, 27 February 1869

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
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“Kensington Gore,
“Feb. 27, 1869.

“Many thanks, my dear L’Estrange. for your present, with which my brother and I opened our dinner yesterday. They are excellent and most acceptable.

“I enter my eightieth year to-morrow fortnight! All my romance about convent life is put to flight for ever; and I am told, by those who have seen the nuns, that their ugliness is past belief. I think it would be an excellent thing—as very many Roman Catholics do—that it would be a great reform of their ecclesiastical system, if the clergy were allowed to marry, i.e., if no vow of celibacy were enforced on ordination; but I must condemn the man who first voluntarily takes the vow, and then considers himself justified in breaking it.

“I don’t understand about zoophytes; you must teach me. I was very much shocked to hear of poor Delawarr’s death. He was an excellent and charming person. Considering that he always looked delicate and consumptive in early life, it was a marvel that he lived to be so old. He and I were, great friends once; but I never could be at the trouble of keeping up noble friendships, unless the coronet did two-thirds of the business.

“I believe there was no actual quarrel with
Byron. It was simply a case of incompatibility. The ardour of B. was more than D. could adequately meet. But I must be off to read the Chief Justice’s charge anent the nuns; and I have very little time to do it in, as I must go and see poor Dyce, who is very ill indeed. Mrs. Disney is dead. The Dean is in deep grief.

“My sister’s kind remembrances.

“Yours ever affectionately,
William Harness.”