Very fine ― but cold E. wind. How old! ―
Health better somewhat: ― great inconvenience & weight in the Abdomen still ― but hardly any pain: ― & no stoppage.
Breakfast with Arthur.
After Lunch, walked with A. to Beechen Cliff, ―――― ? & Bathwick ― & back by 5.30.
Dinner ― woe is me! a Dr. Lloyd, & a Mr. & Mrs. Leach ― he half brother to Mrs. S. Rawson of Wastdale. Conversation extremely perplexing, & foolish, & I, (always falling back on the sad past if I cannot join in what goes on ― & how should I on balls & Bath follies?) ― was, I fear, gloom: which, vû kind good Mrs. Empson’s heartiness, I did not wish to be, but could not help.
Mr. Lloyd spoke of “that interesting Volcano Vesuvius, down which Socrates threw himself (!)”――1
I was bored, but that good Arthur set me a lesson of patience. ― Yet Mrs. Leach was really a very deadly vulgar bore!
But the visit is happy & good: tho’ Bath would not do for me.
[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]
- The philosopher said to have committed suicide by throwing himself into Mount Etna is Empedocles. Matthew Arnold’s poem Empedocles on Etna, a narrative of the philosopher’s last hours before he jumps to his death in the crater was first published in 1852. A suicide by leaping into the mouth of Mount Vesuvius closes the French opera La Muette de Portici (1828), by Daniel-François-Esprit Auber; several dubious cases had also been reported. [↩]