« EdellinenJatka »
April 1.—I walked to Sandwich in hopes of finding Witty there, as I had written to Brooks to send her, but she was not come. Caroline's [the second Miss Smith's] birthday. She is thirteen years old.
Wednesday, April 2.—I went to Sandwich and found Witty.
Thursday, April 3.−I had Witty clipped all over by Southey.
And the following entries in the account-book have evident
reference to “Witty’:—
s, d. s, d.
In case any good-natured person should think that the boy had exhausted all his pocket-money in supplying his dog's wants, it may be well to add the following entry:
Thus ‘Mrs. Witty’ was, on the whole, an expensive dog. Thenceforward, however, “Witty' was her master's constant companion till, at the end of 1807, his diary for that year closes with the brief entry “Witty was killed.” “No documents from an authentic source relate the cause of her death, but a grave suspicion unfortunately rests on her
* The Right Hon. William Adam was the Duke's agent.
memory. In a letter to his brother, Lord William writes— ‘I hope Witty enjoys her health; has she killed any pheasants lately 2' Is it possible that, in the Liberal atmosphere of Woburn, the dog that belonged to the boy who, as a man, was to aid in repealing the old game laws, suffered death as a poacher? Reading, writing, walking, riding, shooting, working, the boy was evidently passing a very happy life. Compared with other boys, indeed, he was backward in his studies. He only began to learn the Greek alphabet on reaching Woodnesboro’, and he only commenced reading Virgil in February 1806.
Thursday, 6th.-I read an account of Virgil.
Monday, Ioth.-I begun [sic] Virgil, and shot at the same place as on Saturday.
He had hardly begun his Virgil, however, before he determined on turning it into English verse.
How to incline the peasant's useless field
About the same time he composed a much better version of another poem addressed to Maecenas. The following lines, certainly composed before their author was fifteen, are surely an excellent translation of Horace :
The merchant fears to find his grave
In June the holidays began. But Lord John shall tell his own story.
4/onday, 9th.-I got all mythings ready, and set off in a chaise for Canterbury, where we met Captain Munro (who had invited me to dine with him). We dined in the mess at five o'clock. The dinner was very fair, and the officers nice quiet fellows. I had some tea with Captain Munro, and he then went with me to the Fountain, where the mail had just come in. But how depressed I was when I found it was full. Luckily, Lord A. Gordon had had the same disappointment, and we agreed to go in a chaise together, which made me quite merry again. A man wanted to come with us, but we would not let him. We came a very good pace all the way. We had some cold supper at Rochester; the waiter helped the beef, which was rather the worse for wear. He asked Lord A. if he should assist him to some beef. We got into town about six o'clock. I had a cup of tea with Lord A. at his lodgings in St. James's Street, and then came to Stable Yard [his father's house which the Duke had lent to Mr. Fox]. I went to bed, breakfasted with Mrs. Fox. I walked with William to the exhibition, Somerset House. I did not like it very much. . . . I then went to Oxford Street to see some onyx rings of Pitt, Nelson, and Fox, but the price was six guineas. I then saw written up “Striking likenesses taken in a minute.' I went in. A very pretty girl opened the door, and said the person was not at home. I then came home, but soon went out again, and ordered ‘Broad Grins’ at Chappell's, &c. &c.
While Lord John was Mr. Fox's guest, Lord Melville was formally acquitted by the Lords of the charges brought against him. “At breakfast, Mr. Fox treated the subject with good-humoured pleasantry.” Not so Lord John. “What a pity,' he wrote in his diary, “that he who steals a penny loaf should be hung, whilst he who steals thousands of the public money should be acquitted.’
On the day after recording this, the first of his political judgments, Lord John went down to Woburn.
Monday, June 16.-The sheep-shearing begun here. " I rode to Crawley first, and then went to the farm where the business was going on. We dined at three o'clock. Tavistock in the chair. The dinner was cold. We sat down about eight o'clock. T. gave toasts after dinner; and after the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland was drank [sic] Mr. Hoare got up, made a speech, and gave my father, which was drank with three times three and loud applause. When the company separated, I went back to the Abbey and fired off my cannons," which I had done before in the morning. It was very good fun. Lord Ludlow came home ill, partly with taking too much wine.
| Lord Alexander was the son of the fourth Duke of Gordon and brother of the Duchess of Bedford. He died in 1808.
* From a memorandum dictated to Lady Russell in 1871.
* In the early years of the century the sheep-shearing at Woburn was the occasion of a profuse hospitality. There is a large picture of it at Woburn by Garrard, A. R.A., which was engraved in aquatint in 1811. The engraving differs in some respects from the original, and notably in introducing prominently into the foreground the figures of Lord John and his brother Lord William.
Two days after the festival the boys left Woburn, and drove through Coventry and Birmingham to Lord Bradford's place at Weston.” On the 23rd—
We set off at six o'clock in the morning for Ireland. We arrived at Capel Curig about two o'clock in the morning. We went to bed, and set off again at six. . . . We breakfasted at Bangor Ferry, crossed, and went on to Holyhead, where we dined ; and, finding my father had sent a packet for us, we set off about six in the evening with a fair wind. I was soon sick, and then went to bed and did not wake again till the next morning. I got up and breakfasted, and then went . on deck, when I found we had becalmed in the night. . . . We arrived in the Pigeon House about five, and set out in a chaise Mr. Draper lent us for the Phoenix Park. We passed through Dublin ; one or two parts of it very beautiful. Every other house a punch house. No gentilities walking.
Lord John stayed at the viceregal lodge till September 15, and passed his time riding, shooting, playing cricket, and, of course, when opportunity offered, going to the theatre, where his ‘father and the Duchess were received with great applause.' He had eyes and ears open during the whole period. When he played backgammon he noticed ‘that they used Iod, and 5d here instead of 12d. and 6d.” “When people are asked to dinner here,' he writes on another occasion, “they say they are provoked. A great many were provoked to dinner here to-day.' On August 12 the Duke gave a grand dinner, and the Duchess a fancy ball in honour of the Regent's birthday. Lord John, who appeared as a Swiss peasant, “had on a red jacket, blue breeches, silk stockings, and no waistcoat;’ and six days later he brought a volume of his diary to a conclusion by the following record of a more important anniversary :— * The week before he had bought two brass cannon, and men to fire at, in London for eight shillings.
* Lord Bradford married the eldest daughter of the fourth Lord Torrington, and was therefore uncle by marriage to the subject of these memoirs.
Monday, Aug. 18.—My birthday. I am fourteen years old. I played at cricket, and afterwards went to the play with Mrs. Seymour to see ‘The Duenna' and some farce. I am 4 feet 93 inches high, and about 5 stone 3 weight, being 3% inches taller than I was this day last year.
The boy was at last growing in body as well as in mind, and recovering from his early delicacy.
The new journal and account book, which the boy opened on commencing his fifteenth year, has a characteristic titlepage :—
The Journal and Accounts of Johannes Russell, &c. &c. &c. The whole collected, compiled, written, observed, arranged, beautified, corrected, amended, expunged, published, and read by himself, Vol. 2nd, with additions. The whole being a facsimile of his writing. From August 19, 1806. Phoenix Park.
The story of my life,
That I have passed.
I wish no other herald,
During the remaining days of August Lord John—so it seems from the diary—had three days' grouse-shooting without getting a shot at a grouse ; and, on September 5, he set out with Lord Tavistock and Captain Ponsonby for England. After a very rough passage of eight and a half hours, in which he was ‘sick all the way,’ he reached Holyhead safely, slept at Capel Curig, and drove vić Birmingham to Woburn. Hence, after spending a few days' shooting and going to the Bedford races, the boys left for London, where, probably because of Mr. Fox's death, they stayed at Reddish's Hotel, going, as a matter of course, “to see Kemble in “The Octavian ; ”’ and on the 21st arrived at Woodnesboro.' On October 8—
Tavistock and Mr. Smith went to town to attend the funeral of Mr. Fox, which will be on Friday. He died on September 13, and deprived England of more mental energy than will perhaps be united again in one man for many many years.