9. Via Condotti. Roma.

Janry. 24. 1859.

To-day has brought me yours of the 15th, which oily rejoiced me. I won’t go to church to-day, like a good boy, & will write to you instead. I heard of you two days back when Lady Bethell wrote to me, & said she had been talking with “an extremely nice friend” of mine at Lord Palmerstons.

I seem to have a great deal to say, but am scattery, & shan’t write connectedly. I am not rejoiceful in Rome & cannot “set myself in any good way.” I have no one with whom to sympathize at all closely. S.W. Clowes is the kindest hearted & best fellow possible, but he has no application to or taste for much I would always lean to, nor could I talk with him as I do with you on many subjects. I wish indeed you were here for a time, but I trust to see you in Ireland or England before next winter. ― The mass of people here pass their lives in mere pleasure, a regular Bath & Brighton life ― & I don’t care to know them. Others are naturally using every moment in seeing sights & learning Rome. Others have jealousies & smallnesses & professional quirks from wh. I wholly stand aloof. O Lord! I wishes I was a beadle!1

All my smaller painting’s here have been bought ― {130} 3 by a dear delightful chap ― one Aubrey de Vere Beauclerk,2 who lives somewhere near Belfast.

Lord Stratford was here for nearly two hours the other day & really delightful: he spoke of you in very nice terms. The Youngs & all the Palace party are coming here directly. Do you think Dizzy selected Sir H. Stork3 on purpose that being called King Stork, his predecessor might for ever be dubbed King Log?

We have the Prince of Wales here, who seems a very nice looking & prepossessing lad. ―

15th. Febry. ― I think I shall send this off to-day. I hear a Colonel Dunn4 is appointed in the room of G. F. B. Gladstone appears to be making a great mess. Do you know Spring rice-ious people? I dined with some to-day. I wish one could know if there is likely to be war or not: it would be a bore to be boxed up here in the middel of hennemies. Do you know Odo Russell our new envoy here? All the English fribble-world is irate about a Miss Cavendish, whom Mrs. Hare a pervert, (sister of Sir John Dean Paul,) has cajoled & bebaptismalized, unbeknown to {131} her parents.5 Manning6 is preaching most atrocious sermons here, to which nevertheless, all heaps of fools go. A vile beastly rottenheaded foolbegotten brazenthroated pernicious piggish screaming, tearing, roaring, perplexing, splitmecrackle crashmecriggle insane ass of a woman is practising howling below-stairs with a brute of a singingmaster so horribly, that my head is nearly off.

P.S. ― Has Cramer published my songs yet?

  1. The beadles who stand outside the palaces of the great Roman nobles are still objects of admiration. The magnificence of their traditional costume no doubt attracted both the artist and humourist in Lear. []
  2. Of Ardglass Castle, Co. Down. []
  3. Sir Henry Storks was appointed Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands in February, 1859, and remained there till the protectorate was resigned. He was afterwards Governor of Malta and Jamaica. []
  4. Possibly Colonel F. P. Dunne, who was secretary and aide-de-camp at this time to Lord Eglinton, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Henry Drummond Wolfe, was, however, appointed secretary in the place of Sir George Bowen. []
  5. A daughter of Admiral Cavendish. The “Mrs. Hare” here mentioned was the mother of Augustus J.C. Hare, “Italima” in the “Story of my Life,” and in vol. ii. p. 97 he tells a story of his mother’s earlier acquaintance with Miss Cavendish in August, 1858. []
  6. The following year Cardinal Manning became domestic prelate to the Pope. []