[Cheltenham—Thursday, 28 July 1859]

Thursday 28th Capt. Robertson came in early. The most lovely and remarkable old gentleman we have ever known. We are strangely drawn to him at once because the simplicity of childhood has returned with his years, if he ever lost it. We drove to see the 7 sources of the Thames. Captain bottled some of the water which we are to take with us. He talked delightfully the whole distance, at times of his “dear Fred” and at times of the American War in which he was personally engaged as a youth under Sir Sydney Beckwith. He would have won high honors also because of his bravery but John Wilson Croker who was secretary of the minister of War at that time struck the names of all the officers wantonly off the Honor List that he might find room for some interest of his own. Another grudge against Croker!—for did he not kill John Keats!

Went again to Lord Northwick’s. Lunched at Rodney House and saw the pictures of Robertson also the few notes and papers remaining in the hands of the parents. The dear old man has made extracts from his son’s sermons which Jamie has persuaded him to publish in America for the children’s benefit. Put George the III’s ring on and went over to the Cheltenham College the most wonderful institution of the kind we have seen. Board, tuition, exercises, everything taught except music & dancing for £72 per annum $360.

Dined at 6 at Rodney House. Saw Mrs Robertson for the first time. Capt. R. told me “she is broken hearted, poor thing.” She seemed cheerful to us however, a most lovely woman, strong, simple intellectual, religious—in short the woman I hoped to find in the mother of Robertson. I knew we were to be envied sitting in their pleasant dining-room and hearing the delightful talk of the old people (Capt. R. is 72) about their children or the Captain’s early and brave exploits. Mrs Robertson gave me her son’s history. Sad, Sad enough, but he fought so gloriously. They have lost 4 daughters also. We left them rejoicing in their faith and hope, and stronger in ours.

Saw Dr Allerdice  at Lord Ns who was with Wellington at the battle of Assaye. Capt. R. was with Nelson on one of his expeditions.


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