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which constitutes a welcome change and relief. But the laborious man of letters spends his working hours alone, in silence within his own four walls; when the sand of his intellectual hourglass has run out, he needs variety, and the reviving influences afforded by social and festive pleasures. If the Irish temperament happen to be superadded, the want is, by so much, intensified. Again, the strongest endeavours were used to prevail on Mrs. Moore to accompany her husband into the world; to Bowood especially, the house at which he was the most frequently himself a guest, Moore often strove to persuade her to accept Lord and Lady Lansdowne's many cordial invitations, but to little purpose. We cannot wonder at this. Mrs. Moore wanted the inclination to mix in the society of persons with whom she had no familiar acquaintance, and she was too proud (Moore says) to be at her ease with such as she knew and felt to be her superiors in birth and education, though not in personal beauty or native talent. And farther, she could afford neither fine clothes nor carriage; she was the habitual nurse-mother to sickly children, whilst her own health gave her but too frequent cause for failing her social engagements. Thus Moore must have gone into company without her or stayed by her side; an alternative which, as a rule of conduct, both he and Mrs. Moore knew and felt to be far from advantageous to either, however glad he might feel to fly back to it when the needful stimulus was over. Moore might be said to belong to a numerous “proprietary,” among whom his wife unquestionably held the greatest number of “shares.” But Mrs. Moore had far too much sense and feeling to wish or expect K
to monopolise so gifted, so mercurial a being. She was, nevertheless, throughout life, the chief object of his tender, admiring affection, as well as of his grateful esteem; and this must have consoled her (as it has doubtless done other women, also united to men of genius) for not being the whole and sole occupant of a large, impressionable heart, and a restless imagination. The duties of editorship of these volumes have been apparently limited by Lord John Russell to the handing over the manuscript to the printer (after making a tolerably free, though insufficient use, we think, of the scissors), and the composing a friendly introduction to the first and sixth volumes. What additional value might have been imparted to the book by judicious commentary and interpretation, we will not inquire too curiously; since, if a man will have a minister of the Crown, and nothing less, for his executor, it is not to be expected that his “remains” should be so expertly, or so carefully, prepared for publication as by a practised literary hand. But it has been remarked, and we think justly, that some key ought to have been furnished to the numerous acquaintances in whose society Moore passed so much of his time in the country. It would have been easy to append, in foot-notes or otherwise, a slight indication of their personal history, and their provincial standing and connexion, and thus have enabled us to follow with greater interest the records of many happy days spent among “Houltons,” “Fieldings,” “Douglasses,” “Smiths,” “Phipps's,” “Storys,” and others, whose names figure so prominently in the Diary. Whilst neglecting to supply
useful information such as this, the noble editor thought fit to insert a note which has had the effect of involving him in an acrimonious correspondence with an eminent literary character, wherein, we regret to own, the latter seems to us to have the advantage over his Lordship. The “note” in question was, in truth, a gratuitous personal sarcasm against Mr. Croker: and the manner in which this has been repelled certainly leaves both Lord John and his friend Thomas Moore on lower ground than it is at all agreeable to us to see them occupy. It would also have been a useful exercise of editorial industry, had Lord John afforded us some explanation respecting Moore's sudden change of tone towards the Regent: passing from the relation of almost familiar intimacy to an attitude of hostility. Moore gives none himself, whilst his disappointment in not going to India with Lord Moira occurred, not before, but after, he had assailed the Regent with such felicitous acerbity. Still, notwithstanding these deficiencies, the book, as it stands, will be gladly accepted as a microcosm of a social world concerning which tradition is becoming daily less and less distinct, and whose parallel, it is probable, will never be reproduced; whilst those individuals who are yet living, and who took part in it, will find many a delightful reminiscence of bygone days preserved in the pages of one of their most brilliant, as well as most popular, contemporaries. Some excellently engraved “illustrations” confer a welcome additional attraction on the work.