LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
R. Plumer Ward XII
Robert Plumer Ward to Peter George Patmore, 1 March 1837

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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“Lausanne, March 1, 1837.

My dear Sir,—Your letter, though dated the 19th, is only just arrived, and I lose not a moment in telling you what pleasure it gives me. It would be the grossest affectation not to say that it pleased me in every way I could wish; for I know your sincerity, as well as your ability and powers of judging, and this, set off with its most friendly tone, left me nothing to desire. I shall be too happy if the world agree with you in half of what you are pleased to say. * * * *

“As I am serious in all this,* I will thank you much if in confidence you will advise me as to a publisher,—Murray, Saunders and Otley, Bentley, or any other. I will keep your secret. I am particularly annoyed that you have not seen ‘Rheindorf,’† which I think is of a higher cast than my others; and if an author can judge of himself, I think ‘Sterling’ (the miseries of ambition beyond your place) a very impressive moral

* The matters here alluded to have been omitted.

† Then in MS.

tale. On both these I long for your opinion. * * * * I have been so selfish as to notice these comparative trifles before adverting to much the most serious part of your letter, which gave me great and sincere concern. Your account of yourself is alarming, and scarcely allayed by the little consolatory improvement with which you end.

“ * * * * I wish you had consulted me about them,* at least if I could have

* I suppose this allusion refers to something I may have said in the letter to which this is a reply, relative to certain unlucky differences between a well-known publisher and myself, arising out of legal proceedings that I had been compelled to take against him, and which, in causing a separation between us, had for the moment greatly reduced my income. In allowing these and other similar expressions of feeling on the part of Mr. Ward, as to the worldly as well as literary position of the person addressed, to remain uncancelled, I do so simply because they are characteristic of their writer—in whom there was an apparent (for it was only an apparent) inconsistency on points of this nature. With the simplest natural tastes, and the sincerest love for those pleasures and pursuits which money cannot purchase, or place and position promote, he had nevertheless acquired, by a life-long association with the great and wealthy, and with scarcely any others, the most magnificent notions and habits as to income and expenditure—notions and habits which, until quite late in life, when he came into possession of the large Gilston

spared you any part of the unpleasantness of them. My friendship for men I liked much

property, had caused his own pecuniary resources, considerable as they always were, to fall very far short of those wants which his lavish tastes and generous temper called into play. The position which his friendly interest and partiality describe (somewhat strongly) in a subsequent letter as “a downright disgrace to the world,” and which he elsewhere speaks of in similar terms that have been allowed to stand for the reason above assigned, was and is one with which its holder is and ever has been perfectly content, because he has felt and feels it to be fully and fairly proportioned to the amount of literary ability and exertion applied in acquiring and maintaining it. The truth is, that although the simple-hearted and innocent Jack Careless, leaning over his low garden wall in gossip with his rustic village neighbours; the clear-thoughted, heart-whole, happy Flowerdale, in his wise retirement from the world; and the earnest and philosophic enthusiast Manners, in his half-voluntary, half-reluctant solitude—although these, and particularly the latter, were the ideals of Mr. Ward’s likings among the numerous personal portraits scattered through his works, and those with which he was most pleased to find himself assimilated—there is no denying, nor is there now any reason to conceal, that the proud and fastidious Tremaine, the stately and magnificent Rochfort, and even the smooth, polished, courtly, accomplished, and somewhat worldly-minded Herbert, partake not a little of that self-painting which is one of the great secrets of the success of most modern works of fiction—by “modern” meaning those of our own immediate day—not to mention all modern poetry—beginning with Childe Harold and ending with In Memoriam.

less than you has cost me dear, which you will believe when I tell you that in the last two years it has drained me of full 6000l. which I shall never see. Your letter made me say to myself how hard that some of this had not been applied where it would not only have told so much better, but gratified me so much more.

“It is most material to your health, to your talents, and your exertions for your family, that this accursed dependence upon should —— be put an end to. Without it, you will never do yourself justice. You tell me you are indeed out of fear; but can you be so if not out of bonds?

“For ourselves we think of returning, after a few weeks at Paris, whither we have fixed to proceed on the 14th. But here again ——’s most annoying conduct interferes; for, as I cannot stir till I have news of the work, and indeed am waiting for some copies, and the gentleman treats me with somewhat less attention than one of his devils, I am left altogether without chart and compass till he pleases to allow them.

“About May, however, we hope to be in
England, though probably not at Gilston; for not only I established my son and his eight children there when I left it, but many things combine to make me think I shall not return. In the first place, it has been the tomb of three beings whom I loved better than myself, and every bed and chamber in it is the bed of sickness or chamber of death,—full, therefore, of most unhappy associations. This, added to the radicalism of many of my neighbours, would indispose me to live again at Gilston if I could avoid it; and with these thoughts it does so happen that my little step-son
Okeover, whom I believe you saw at Gilston, has just succeeded, by the death of his uncle, to Okeover Hall and Park, together with near 6000l. a-year, in Staffordshire, and his mother being guardian, the trustees offer us the Hall till he comes of age; and as this would be her family place, and mine would be only hers for the short space of life that remains to me, we think seriously of leaving my son at Gilston, and living at her son’s, which I am. told is a most beautiful spot. But all this is but
embryo, and cannot be matured till we are on the spot.

“Adieu. If you can write so as that I can receive it on or before the 13th, pray direct here. Meantime believe me, with great truth, your obliged,

“R. P. W.”