LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
R. Plumer Ward XIII

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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Early in the summer of 1837, Mr. Plumer Ward returned to England, in renewed health and spirits, and took up his residence for a short time at Gilston Park, though, for reasons glanced at so characteristically in the foregoing letter, he never again made it his permanent residence, and not long afterwards quitted it entirely—giving it up to his son, Sir H. G. Ward, the present Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and himself residing at Okeover Hall, Staffordshire, the family seat of his step-son, Mr. Charles Okeover, then a minor under the guardianship of his mother, Mrs. Plumer Ward.

The following are Mr. Ward’s last letters to me from Gilston:—

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Gilston Park, July 18, 1837.

Dear Patmore,—I shall be too happy to oblige you in anything in my power; but I am a little puzzled to make out whether your fawn is to be killed for eating, or to be bred up as a pet. As soon as I received your letter, I summoned my keeper. Hear what he says—‘If the gentleman wishes to eat, I can easily kill; but if to have a pet, the only chance is that there may be yet one to drop, as it is impossible to catch them alive if once they can run.’ So pray tell me which is your wish, and, if for the table, you may depend upon one directly. * *

“I have been visited by such a return of my old complaint, dyspepsia, that Halford has commanded me to Bath, to which I should have gone by this, but for very great distress we have been in from the threatened loss of Mrs. P. W.’s only daughter. We hope, however, she is now out of danger; and, as soon as we can leave her, my good wife will accompany me to Bath. I have such frequent pain, that if that fails, I shall seek the
Brunnens once more, or perhaps Nice, for the winter. Four months’ east wind have saddened my life. Believe me with truth,

“Dear Patmore,
“Much yours,
“R. P. Ward.”

The allusion relative to his tale entitled “Sterling” (then in MS.), in the first paragraph of the following letter, refers to a suggestion I had made to Mr. Ward, that the subject and materials would well bear to be treated as a separate work in three volumes, instead of the one volume which it afterwards formed in the “Pictures of the World.”

The allusion in the last paragraph is to his “Essay on the Revolution of 1688,” which he was then composing, and which was shortly afterwards published in two volumes octavo.

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Gilston Park, July 21, 1837.

Dear Patmore,—Thank you for your agreeable letter—agreeable to an author, if ever there was one, for it is full of the
most delicate flattery, or (if that shocks you) encomiums, which who can withstand? My wife’s word is perhaps the best, ‘encouragement,’ for much certainly does it encourage me; but my head is at present so full of political lore (not modern, but of the Revolution), that I do not think I could recal enough of ‘Sterling’ to proceed upon your valuable hint. But as it is, I am really grateful to you, and elevated too in consequence of your opinion, which, you know, I always think a faithful barometer. * * *

“You see that I have been selfish enough to begin with my business—now for yours. Tell me when you would have the fawn killed and sent, and it shall be done. I really did not know before that it was ever served up as a table delicacy, and only wish I could have profited by the knowledge before thinning was over. The spring was so cold and backward that we have been forced to postpone venison till the middle or end of next month, and therefore prefer the fawn to the haunch.

“I will seriously think what may be done to ‘Sterling;’ but I am anything but a
lover just now, and would much rather discuss the legality of
Lord Russell’s execution, which I am quite sure of proving, as well as that Fox was the most unfair and prejudiced of embryo historians—for he was no more.

“But as dinner is served, you must excuse more than thanks for your letter. And so believe me,

“Ever much yours,
“R. P. W.”

Up to the period of his retirement from political life, Mr. Ward’s desultory reading (as I have hinted elsewhere) had been almost exclusively confined to writers preceding those of the present century; and though, on recovering his beloved leisure, he read with avidity most of the good novels and works of travel of the day, his reading did not extend to the critics and essayists of the nineteenth century, and almost as little to its poets. Nevertheless, he felt great interest and curiosity about several of them, and was especially fond of conversing about them with any one who happened to enjoy their personal acquaintance. The following letter
refers to a small portion of my personal recollections of the late
William Hazlitt, that I had noted down shortly after his death. Mr. Ward had heard that I was preparing them, and had expressed a strong wish to see the MS. As they form a subsequent part of the present work, I may perhaps be excused for inserting Mr. Ward’s opinion on them.

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Gilston Park, Aug. 11, 1837.

My dear Sir,—I am afraid you will have thought me long in answering your letter, but pray don’t think me negligent.

“I read your sketch with avidity—with a pleasure quite intense, and I read it immediately. But I have been more occupied, and worried too, by a rascally attorney, who has contracted for a part of my Suffolk property, and who will neither pay for it nor let me off. When I tell you he has broken six appointments to settle, and is as far off as ever, you may guess how he has plagued me.

“Certainly, among other inconveniences, he has prevented me from writing, though
not from reading you, and I am quite delighted.

“I have not a scruple in saying, by all means publish, and that soon.

“As you say you will follow my opinion, doing me the honour to add you confide in it, I give it you without reserve. There is a little verbal criticism, towards the end, which you will at once find out in the shape of sentences (or rather a sentence or two), seemingly involved (from lengthenings), which I presume to point out to your observation. In all other respects the style is clear, forcible, and often pathetic—as becomes the subject; and as for the subject itself, few things are more interesting.

“Your first picture of him fixed me. Nothing I have seen of yours, or anybody’s else, could be more graphic. All the incidents, too, are made the most of, and we only wish there were more. So says General Phipps (by no means a bad judge), who was charmed with it, though he never heard of Hazlitt except by name, and disliked him. On the strength of your sketch, however, he immediately set to reading him, and is so
pleased, that he means to purchase him as soon as he returns to London. I hope this will determine you to publish. * * * *

“P.S.—We leave home on Wednesday, and I hope to show Mrs. Plumer Ward Oxford and the Wye before we return.

“I took your hint as to the colour of the Conservatory, and the success is beyond imagination.”*

* The Conservatory had hitherto been painted green, all the rest of the building being of stone colour, and I had suggested that the two should be made to harmonize.