[Cheltenham—Friday, 29 July 1859]

Friday 29th Mr Dobell sent yesterday to ask us to join an expedition to Bird-lip. As we were engaged we said we would drive out and pass today.

Arrived at Cleeve Tower about 1. o’clk. Mr Dobell came down the hill to meet us with his fine deerhound given him by the way by the cousin of Flora MacDonald. A warm grasp of the hand and the delightful talk of our host as we clambered up the little lane put us wholly at our ease and more fascinated us with its rarely found simplicity and truth and exquisitely applied knowledge. Mrs Dobell came out of her door to greet us among the flower beds. We talked inexhaustibly as it seemed of genius, the superiority and rarity of true wisdom wholly unattainable through knowledge of women, their position, of Tennyson’s new glory, the poem I mean, of Mrs Browning’s premature exaltation of Louis Napoleon &c. We have hardly ever met any one on this planet so full of sympathetic joys who came so near us as the Dobells. They are as one; bound in a most touching union. Mr Archer came in the evening. Enjoyed a long chat with him on painting. Dobell thinks Emerson thin—said it was like a man groping difficultly down a narrow chasm where he thought to find gems and plunging down his arm into the blackness to bring up a single diamond instead of unfolding a noble entrance to a golden mine. Browning’s last book he does not like but wept over the “Grandmother’s Apology.” “Every year I think has of attainments he said, more of character.”

Engaged at 15 and married at 20 their life has been full of the sunshine of affection but alas! they both suffer from ill health & dear Mrs Dobell will probably never be better. We slept at the cottage in the garden with the lovely panorama stretching far and silently below.

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