The Lord High Admiral came in, a hale gentleman close upon seventy and bronzed by the suns and storms of many climes and scarred by the wounds got in many battles, and I told him how I had seen him sit in a high-chair and eat fruit and cakes and answer to the name of Johnny. His granddaughter (the eldest) is but lately married to the youngest of the Grand Dukes, and so who knows but a day may come when the blood of the Howellses may reign in the land? I must not forget to say, while I think of it, that your new false teeth are done, my dear, and your wig. Keep your head well bundled with a shawl till the latter comes, and so cheat your persecuting neuralgias and rheumatisms. Would you believe it?—the Duchess of Cambridge is deafer than you—deafer than her husband. They call her to breakfast with a salvo of artillery; and usually when it thunders she looks up expectantly and says, “Come in.” But she has become subdued and gentle with age and never destroys the furniture now, except when uncommonly vexed. God knows, my dear, it would be a happy thing if you and old Lady Harmony would imitate this spirit. But indeed the older you grow the less secure becomes the furniture. When I throw chairs through the window I have sufficient reason to back it. But you —you are but a creature of passion.
The monument to the author of ‘Gloverson and His Silent Partners’ is finished.—[Ralph Keeler. See chap. lxxxiii.]—It is the stateliest and the costliest ever erected to the memory of any man. This noble classic has now been translated into all the languages of the earth and is adored by all nations and known to all creatures. Yet I have conversed as familiarly with the author of it as I do with my own great-grandchildren.
I wish you could see old Cambridge and Ponkapog. I love them as dearly as ever, but privately, my dear, they are not much improvement on idiots. It is melancholy to hear them jabber over the same pointless anecdotes three and four times of an evening, forgetting that they had jabbered them over three or four times the evening before. Ponkapog still writes poetry, but the old-time fire has mostly gone out of it. Perhaps his best effort of late years is this:
O soul, soul, soul of mine!
Soul, soul, soul of throe!
Thy soul, my soul, two souls entwine,
And sing thy lauds in crystal wine!
This he goes about repeating to everybody, daily and nightly, insomuch that he is become a sore affliction to all that know him.
But I must desist. There are draughts here everywhere
and my gout is
something frightful. My left foot hath resemblance to a snuff-bladder.
God be with you.
These to Lady Hartford, in the earldom of Hartford, in the upper portion of the city of Dublin.
Mark Twain and copyright