LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
Laman Blanchard III

Vol I Contents
Charles Lamb I
Charles Lamb II
Charles Lamb III
Charles Lamb IV
Charles Lamb V
Charles Lamb VI
Charles Lamb VII
Charles Lamb VIII
Charles Lamb IX
Charles Lamb X
Thomas Campbell I
Thomas Campbell II
Thomas Campbell III
Thomas Campbell IV
Thomas Campbell V
Thomas Campbell VI
Thomas Campbell VII
Lady Blessington I
Lady Blessington II
Lady Blessington III
Lady Blessington IV
Lady Blessington V
R. Plumer Ward I
R. Plumer Ward II
R. Plumer Ward III
R. Plumer Ward IV
R. Plumer Ward V
R. Plumer Ward VI
Appendix vol I
Vol II Contents
R. Plumer Ward VII
R. Plumer Ward VIII
R. Plumer Ward IX
R. Plumer Ward X
R. Plumer Ward XI
R. Plumer Ward XII
R. Plumer Ward XIII
R. Plumer Ward XIV
R. Plumer Ward XV
R. Plumer Ward XVI
R. Plumer Ward XVII
R. Plumer Ward XVIII
R. Plumer Ward XIX
R. Plumer Ward XX
R. Plumer Ward XXI
R. Plumer Ward XXII
R. Plumer Ward XXIII
Horace & James Smith I
Horace & James Smith II
William Hazlitt I
William Hazlitt II
William Hazlitt III
William Hazlitt IV
William Hazlitt V
William Hazlitt VI
William Hazlitt VII
William Hazlitt VIII
Appendix vol II
Vol III Contents
William Hazlitt IX
William Hazlitt X
William Hazlitt XI
William Hazlitt XII
William Hazlitt XIII
William Hazlitt XIV
William Hazlitt XV
William Hazlitt XVI
William Hazlitt XVII
William Hazlitt XVIII
William Hazlitt XIX
William Hazlitt XX
William Hazlitt XXI
William Hazlitt XXII
William Hazlitt XXIII
William Hazlitt XXIV
William Hazlitt XXV
William Hazlitt XXVI
Laman Blanchard I
Laman Blanchard II
‣ Laman Blanchard III
Laman Blanchard IV
Laman Blanchard V
Laman Blanchard VI
Laman Blanchard VII
Laman Blanchard VIII
R & T Sheridan I
R & T Sheridan II
R & T Sheridan III
R & T Sheridan IV
R & T Sheridan V
R & T Sheridan VI
R & T Sheridan VII
R & T Sheridan VIII
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I have said that Blanchard disliked the country. But this must be taken with that qualification which every broad and sweeping assertion respecting the leading features of his character would require; for, so plastic was his temperament, that he could learn to like or dislike anything or anybody, so far as the immutable principles of truth and justice did not forbid. He disliked the country, because the necessities of the social position he had imposed upon himself made it indispensable to his personal comfort and peace of mind that he should do so. He had, as it were, sold himself, body and soul, to the brilliant slavery of the periodical and newspaper press. This was the only literary employment capable of giving full play to the almost morbid activity of his mind; and, in devoting himself to it, he not only
accepted the conditions of the bond, but “made up his mind” to the belief that those conditions were “wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.”

But when Blanchard did occasionally permit himself to escape from his beloved London “to that world elsewhere,” in which he scarcely allowed himself to believe, except when he was in the presence of it, the latent sympathy with external nature which was inherent in his truly poetical temperament burst out with a force proportioned to the length of time it had been suppressed. I shall never forget the tumult of almost childish delight in which he passed part of two days with me at my house at Highwood Hill, and the sort of desperate resolution with which, at last, he tore himself away from what he seemed to regard as a perilous temptation to be false to his London allegiance.

The following is his half-unwilling attempt to escape from another proposed social meeting, every feature of which would have been agreeable to him, except that of the scene of it being ten miles from town. He
afterwards, however, joined the meeting, the day being changed to accommodate him. The invitation had been sent to him through me.

“Jan. 1, 1843.

Dear Patmore,—Friday is always a writing day with me, for the “Examiner” work, not to be done earlier or later in the week. So, unhappily (at least for me), I am obliged to write to ——, foregoing the proffered engagement. I had supposed you to be at Hendon or Harrow, by the account Hazlitt gave me, or I should have sought you in Southampton Street, whither, indeed, I was about to bend my steps, when I encountered the said Hazlitt. Ever since you strolled over here I have been “going” to do so. Your account, however, of the haymaking freaks amuses me mightily, and suggests a pretty moral as to the evils that wait on absentee landlords. The same story reminds me of Leigh Hunt’s anecdote of the two boys (his own cockney subjects), who, having reached Primrose Hill, dreaded penetrating farther into the wild and seemingly uninhabited
country. ‘I’ve heard say there’s thieves,’ says one, ‘out in them fields past the hill.’ ‘Yes,’ cries the other, ‘and some say serpents!’ Your note, besides its pleasant enclosure, opens up the agreeable prospect of seeing you all out in your rural domain. But you are not leaving London! Think of the great
Samuel. ‘Why, sir, the man who desires to leave London, desires to leave life.’

“Yours ever,
“L. Blanchard.

“What are you doing in the country?”

Here is another of his pleasant notes, written on a similar occasion, of my wishing him and his family to change a scene which had just been darkened by domestic trouble.

“Aug. 6, 1843.

My dear Patmore,—We are delighted with your kind note, which, though we could not any of us start off to take advantage of it, was the more welcome for coming in a season of trouble,—one of my little boys having had his face cut to pieces by the bursting of a soda-water bottle. It has
made my wife ten thousand times more nervous than ever; but the eye is safe and untouched, and she will get better again presently. I fear, however, most kind and tempting as your invitation is, and grateful as we feel to
Mrs. Patmore and you, that there is little chance for my wife at present, as we are almost going to Hastings in a week, where I shall not stay above a day or two, and may consequently run down to you speedily, for four-and-twenty hours, giving you notice, in order to secure you at home. I have nothing to say to-day about Sidney, except that you are very kind to him, and that he is very lucky. Your note and its explicit directions are as good as any guide book extant, and to miss one’s way is impossible.

“Our friendliest regards to Mrs. Patmore, and my especial remembrances to C. P.

“Yours ever,
“Laman Blanchard.

“I have been writing night and day about the subscription for the children of my poor old friend Elton; it is most successful.”