LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
R. Plumer Ward XXII

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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The following letters will, for the most part, speak for themselves.

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Okeover, July 5, 1841.

My dear Patmore,—Though I have neither head nor heart for writing—the one being tortured with rheumatism, and the other weighed down with anxiety,—I seem to have treated you so ill by my long silence, that I make the attempt.

“You know, perhaps, by this, that I did not accompany my mournful wife and the poor invalid to town.

“I stayed behind partly because I could not brave London, when my heart was so full upon so sad an occasion, where daily suspense, too, as to her fate, was worse than bereavement; partly because, in case we were ordered to
change the climate, I had many things previously to prepare and settle here.

“I have, however, only reaped greater uneasiness from it, in consequence of the daily miseries of the post.

Latham is not yet decided upon anything, except that there is terrible mischief, and all the good I gather is, that she is not worse.

“Well, this is a long tale, nor do I know that it will explain, as I intend it, why I have not been able to perform my promises to you of renewing the subject of your MS., though it will account for my not calling upon you, at which you must have wondered.

“I have been reading your letter of the 20th June again, and though, under your management, I absolutely long to see the plot of your striking tale altered, I fear I cannot hope for an effort of such magnitude. I enter, too, into your reasons, founded on the example of Othello, for making the king fall by the hand of Evadne, and in their very bed. But, then, I think, you should prepare us for it more; nay, make us ardently expect and wish for it, by a great deal more than appears of the feeling about it in
Melantius; and infinitely more, in regard to so wonderful a change in the character of Evadne, before such a change in our expectations could be effected.

“I am the more urgent about this, because I think it is the very subject in which your pen will shine, if you will undertake it. Remember, if you do, you must not be idle, or leave anything to conjecture, or suppose it the affair of a few lines; but must gird yourself to it—summon all your power of pathos, which is great,—in short, comply with Horace’s forcible direction to the true poet,
“‘Qui pectus inaniter angit,
Irritat, mulcet, falsis terrorisms implet,
Ut magus.’

“Be the magus in this, and I will excuse you the other (I own) adventurous attempt I proposed.


R. P. W.”
R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Brighton, August 29, 1841.

My dear Patmore,—Your letter announces great events; and, supposing the annunciation confirmed, most truly rejoices
me. Do you know that the moment I heard of poor
Hook’s death, which was from Dr. Croly, at a dinner at Horace Smith’s, my instant thought was that you ought, and probably would, succeed him; and I had actually prepared to write to you, to persuade your making the attempt, which, happily, it should seem, C. himself has forestalled. I need not say how I wish it, and my anxiety for it perhaps a little influences me in the answer I am about to give your letter of yesterday, for the first thing that occurred to me was that, until the thing was certain, and that you were actually installed in your new dignity, you should wave the immediate prosecution of your views as to your own intended publication.

“Even without a seeming leaning towards this in your letter, my opinion on this head had forcible hold of me, and I should have written as strongly as I could to advise it. You must, however, yourself be at least as forcibly impressed with the absolute necessity there is of allowing nothing extraneous to interfere, so as to hazard a possibility of losing so great an object.

* * * * * *

“I wish I could tell you anything good of my feeble girl. I hope it is not indication of the reverse, but we are totally prohibited from thinking of Okeover again, or even of England, for the next twelve months; so that our views (and that immediately) are directed to the Continent, but in the first instance to town, where we think of being in the next month.

“The blow to all my comforts, in the wane of life, is more than I can tell you, or would like to do if I could. Yours,

“R. P. W.”
R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Brighton, Sept. 3, 1841.

Dear Patmore,—Your letter has relieved me from no little anxiety on your account. * * * *

“I will certainly give you some days’ notice if we go to France. Upon this head, and indeed our whole position, I am really quite unhappy. The poor sufferer is rather worse than better, and but yesterday it was quite settled that we should embark next week for Dieppe, and thence by land to
Pau. Warning was given to some of the servants, and I had the misery of thinking I should not see England for a twelvemonth—perhaps leave my bones abroad—at any rate, feel my whole plan of life broke up. To-day we have all taken fright at dragging a poor worn-out invalid six hundred miles through the dirty towns of France, and nothing is thought of but Torquay or Clifton.

“Meanwhile, the climate here and weather are of the very devil. I am burning with heat, pierced with cold, and most uneasy in mind—in short, anything but ‘mens sana in corpore sano’—which one ought to be to give sweet counsel to a friend.

“Still, wherever I am, or in whatever condition, yours, my dear P., very truly,

“R. P. W.”
R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Windsor House, Southampton,
“Oct. 20, 1841.

My dear Patmore,—Though I am as willing as most to think no news good news, yet to know nothing for a month of an
affair interesting in itself, and, as we suppose, at least not standing still, is somewhat trying to curiosity; so I write, though for little else, to ask what you are doing or going to do. I only hope you are not ill, as, since your last accounts, might, I fear, be not unreasonably supposed.

“For ourselves, illness seems to have taken up her permanent abode in our once happy home—happy no longer. The poor sufferer is entirely given up by the regular physicians, so as a forlorn hope we have admitted an illegitimate one, who came all the way from Plymouth to try inhaling. The process is only just begun, and a few days, I am told, will decide—not a cure—but the possibility of it—in itself more comfort than we have hitherto been allowed.

“In regard to myself, there never was a more complete overthrow to all the happiness of my life—all old habits broken up, and, what is worse, replaced by none; so that I should be a prey to the lassitude I feel, and which is such as I never knew, if even I had no grief to feed by brooding on it.
I can settle to nothing; can think of nothing; and would willingly write for
Colburn gratis, if he would but tell me what.

“Meantime, I cannot read anything but (I must not say) trash, though all I attempt are a few Novels, which by me ought not to be so vilified. And yet there are few I can get through. The authors, however, may say the same of mine, and I, at least, give them fair play.

“By the way, how is it that your certainly very clever friend, Mrs. Gore, cannot do more for me than skim along the surface? I never knew so much real talent in seizing the outside of characters, and drawing magic lantern pictures, so entirely fail in creating permanent interest. I have sent home ‘Mrs. Armytage’ a second time, without getting quite half through, and yet how clever the individual portraits!

“So I may say of Galt, Gleig, cum multis aliis.

“Not so ‘Charles Chesterfield;’* at least there the portraits are themselves so over

* By Mrs. Trollope.

powering, that they redeem the want of skill in the story tenfold.

“By the way, who was published first, ‘De Clifford’ or ‘Chesterfield’? For Marchmont, and Paragraph, and Sourkrout, as far as the story goes, are so alike, as well, indeed, as the general account of reviewing, that, unless one copied the other, the coincidence is astonishing. I particularly mean Marchmont’s use of phrases, ready cut and dried, for books he had not read. But Marchmont is, at all events, inimitable, and true, I am sure, though I bother my brains in vain to know the original. You, who have so much more knowledge, pray tell me. I am really anxious about it.

“I suppose ‘De Clifford’ has seen its zenith, and is on the wane; yet I continue to receive letters from strangers, as well as friends, about it; and —— tells me the Duchess of —— told her it was ‘making quite a sensation on the Continent, where everybody was reading and liking it.’

“There’s for you! Ought I not to have the Guelph? I think I shall ask for it! God help me for a blockhead, with all my
years and miseries bowing me down, to write even jokingly of such gewgaws! Yet here I am in a beautiful town, and a house good enough for a marquis (
Conyngham), who has just quitted it, moralizing, forsooth, on the nothingness of life. O! we are very consistent people, we mortals and authors! Yet, in truth, tell me whereabouts you are in verse and prose, and who Marchmont is, and then I will tell you how much I am yours,

“R. P. W.”

The following letter relates to some criticisms on those “Tales of the Olden Time” before referred to, and which were now just published, under the title of “Chatsworth; or, the Romance of a Week: edited by the author of ‘Tremaine,’ ‘De Vere,’ &c.” To the surprise and confusion of its author, the whole of this work—not merely the modern introductory framework, but the antique tales themselves—was (as before related) universally described by its critics as “evidently” the production of Mr. Ward’s own
pen; and his ostensible editorship was treated as a mere ruse. Fearing that he would be—as I felt that he justly might be—displeased and annoyed at this wholly unlooked-for result of his friendly good-nature, in assisting to call public attention to what would other» wise have missed it, I had, immediately on the appearance of two of the most conspicuous criticisms to the above effect, written to him expressing my extreme surprise and regret at the ridiculous dilemma in which his partial good-nature had placed him, and offering to do anything in the matter that he might suggest, short of openly avowing the authorship of the work, which, at that time, I earnestly wished to avoid. The following note is his reply:—

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Brook Street, Sunday.

Dear Patmore,—The solemnity of the first part of your letter frightened me out of my wits. I thought that both author and editor were damned beyond recovery, and that all your modest fears about looking me
in the face, arose from some atrocious abuse of me; when, behold, it was all praises, and turned all my anxiety into amusement. Certainly, nothing can be more comically ridiculous than the deep sagacity shown by those Thebans. As certain, that if any one is to be annoyed at it, it is not I; though I ought not to array myself in borrowed plumes. If only, therefore, for your sake, the Thebans, by some means or other, ought to be undeceived. As I know ——, I was thinking of writing to him a mere line of negation, of course, without informing him who the author is. I own I should not wish the mistake to spread, having, in fact, no right to what so exclusively belongs to you; and if you quit your incognito, which I suppose you will, it may make it more difficult. I am therefore very glad
Blanchard is not deceived, as well as that he is favourable.

“This is all I will say at present, except that if you think I have answered your questions with sufficient favour, and you really have anything of importance enough to justify the inconvenience of quitting your
dressing-gown, to visit me in mine by twelve to-morrow, I shall be glad to see you. And so we heartily bid you be of good cheer. Your sincere Jack Daw,*

“R. P. W.”

* Alluding to the “borrowed plumes.”