Wednesday. April 18.
Mrs. Cliffe & Eliza took Arabel & me to Malvern; & it began to rain before we arrived at our gate, & rained all the way. Annie met us at the door of Ruby Cottage. She is going tomorrow, if Mr. Roberts comes tonight—which he wont do—or on Saturday. Went into the dining room. I felt so depressed, that I should have been merciful, in letting myself cry. But I would not permit that. Soon into Mr. Boyd’s room. He received me kindly, & asked if I had heard any more harm of him. I said, no. And then he told me of Mrs. Boyd having repeated to him an “extraordinary” expression which she had made use of, in her letter to Arabel—that he had only one objection to quitting Malvern; namely his dislike of traveling!! I [H.S.B.] said to Mrs. Boyd—“That was a a [sic] very extraordinary observation for you to make. Miss Barrett will suppose that I have no objection to leaving her. Mrs. Boyd’s answer was, “Ba knows she is going away herself”. I observed she seems to have doubts of it sometimes. “Then,” replied Mrs. Boyd, “she is very foolish.” Besides, he said, Mrs, Boyd’s expression was incorrect in every way. I have an objection to leaving Malvern on account of my health, which has been better here than any where else.” He asked me, why I had not written to him as usual, about Synesius; & had not received my letter. Talked about Synesius. I told him, that I preferred the 3d. & 7th., to the 5 & 6th. hymns which he & Mr. Joseph Clarke selected for admiration. Mr. Clarke’s observation, with regard to the 3d hymn being a mere string of epithetical appellations, is decidedly incorrect. Miss H M had asked Mrs. Boyd, if Miss Mushet might come into the room for a little while; because she wished to talk to me. Mr. Boyd was obliged to agree. So she came in & sate working a provokingly long time, while Mr. Boyd & I disputed about Calvinism, & the claims of metaphysical & physical science. He told me afterwards that I was very cunning; that I did not argue so well when he & I were together, as when other persons were present—that he never heard me so powerful in argument as today. I could not forbear smiling. That was not a compliment. He asked me if I observed any similarity between Synesius & Pindar. Surely not.
He let me stay in the room while he dined; but by my request. We did not go away until five. They all came to the door, & I proposed going to the Wyche tomorrow or next day, & running down to see them.
Mr. Boyd spoke to me about Arabel,—& sent me a long message to be delivered gravely, tho’ meant jokingly, to convince her of his little degree of respect for her veracity. He assured me, that if the question of an untruth having been told by either, was between Annie, & me—he wd. acquit me at once.
Pouring all the way home. Mrs. Cliffe afraid to face Papa, put Arabel & me out of her carriage,—below the first gate,—& home we had to wade in mud & thin shoes. They were in the middle of dinner!!! B came out, to ask me to go to bed! We went up stairs to dress & have dinner in my room,—& were not scolded after all. Little Fanny Hanford here. She too, was caught in the rain. An intelligent little girl.
1. Possibly the Rev. George Roberts, who later married Miss Henrietta Mushet.
2. Although slightly confusing at first reading, we decided to leave the quotation marks in this passage exactly as E.B.B. wrote them.
3. Clarke’s Concise View, ed. cit., II, 131–132: “Hymns.—These are by far the most elegant of Synesius’ productions; still however, though hymns, they are very defective in theology, a science in which this Bishop by no means excelled; … the third is little else than periphrastic names for God, with a few beautiful lines here and there, such as 380–400; the fifth and sixth are highly poetic, however defective in doctrine; the seventh represents Christ as going down into hell to recover (βοηθοος) the damned; (l.37); and the same doctrine is more full in the ninth, (l.9–20), which is far, very far, superior as a Poem to all the rest; … the language is exalted, the thoughts sublime, and the composition inimitable.—”
4. Frances Hanford (1823–75), the daughter of Mrs. Martin’s friend, Mrs. Hanford, of Woolashill Hall.