Monday, December 22, 2008

02Jul1863, A Northern Yankee

LONDON, Thursday, July 2nd, 1863.
—A most delightful clever breakfast. At the table (1 of 3) where I was sat Papa, Mr. Monckton Milnes, Mr. Herbert of Muckross, Miss Stanley, Count Struzlecki (there is no spelling his name), and a Northern Yankee, Mr. Cyrus Field. I'm afraid I shd have preferred being disgusted with the latter ; but truth compels me to say that he was agreeable, and seemed to be candid and modest—the very last 2 qualities I shd have looked for. Also free from twang properly speaking, tho' his accent and pronunciation were curious. He said "poblic," "Onquestionably," "South Car'lina," and once "no thing" in 2 distinct words. He spoke with contempt of Lincoln to whose inanity he attributed the duration of the war, said that he wished no ex-president cd be re-elected, or given any government office, as according to what it is now, presidents are more occupied in the effort to secure future votes than in their duty to the country. This he implied: and said the whole war might have been crushed in the bud, if President Buchanan had not been thinking of the Southern votes. A nice state of things indeed ! The expenses of the war hitherto amount to half our national debt ; but he said much of the money spent circulated profitably in the country.
Beautiful select concert at the Aumales' to which Papa and I went, kindly lifted by Lord Harrowby. Mario, Grisi, Alboni and Delle Sedie sang, and Thalberg played ; and tho' Grisi's voice is much gone, and Mario's high notes a little strained sometimes, it was glorious. The Duc de Chartres [FN: perhaps Duc de Guise?] was there with his nice young bride : also the Comte de Paris ; it was nice to see the two brothers' evident affection for each other. Ld. Amberley [FN: Son of Earl Russell, the Prime Minister, and father of the present Earl and Mr. Bertrand Russell.] took me to supper ; a very small, scrubby-looking youth, but full of intelligence and with pretty manners.

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