Fine early ― but then dark, & at 10 ― snow. Also a ‘favourable’ notice of ‘Masada’ in the Times,1 but which of these occasioned the other ― the snow or the critique, I am at a loss to say. Wrote to Sir R. Bethell. ― C.F. & Mrs. Davidson.

Painted for some hours at the foreground of Interlaken. Alfred Tennyson came ―; he was particularly nice & friendly, ― & I was wholly wrong in thinking he had got into Pattledom ― since he & the Welds went about in a cab yesterday to all sorts of Strafford, & Stafford places & streets!! ―

Soon after he went came Dr. & Mrs. Gray & Mrs. Stokes: ― I had my Egyptian drawings out ― & after a time they became interested in them. Then came William Lushington. ― ― All went at 4.30 ― except W.L. who & I, walked down to Whitehall Gardens. Sir Walter, good slow Sir dreamy Walter! ― & kindly & almost perfect Lady James! ― fancy ― their daughter is 17!!

Walked with W.L. as far as Belgravia, & then returned, to dine at St. James’s Hall. ―

Home by 7.30.

Wrote to Mrs. Empson.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

  1. “… for truth and conscientious work,, perhaps the most noticeable thing in these rooms, is Mr. Lear’s large picture of the ‘Rock Fortress of Masada, on the Dead Sea’ (349). The time is early morning; from a foreground of arid cliff rise  the yellow sandstone buttresses, on the very top of which stand perched the scanty ruins of the stronghold of Eleazar, overlooking the deep slaty blue of the plain that stretches to the Dead Sea, whose steely waters are  backed by the wall-like mountains of Moab. Overhead is a limpid, gray sky, with a few wreaths of cloud.” “Exhibition of the British Institution.” The Times, 11 February 1861, 10. For more reviews, see Blog of Bosh. []