[London—Wednesday, 23 May 1860]

Wednesday 23d A little tired, but it was the great Derby day, the English holiday of the year, and early the streets were in a bustle. Jamie was up to see the fittings out and Mr Cooke came round at eleven to see if we could not make up our minds to go, nevertheless we held firmly to our determination not to decoyed. We left instead at 2 o’clk for Hampton Court. On our way we met Mr and Mrs Tom Taylor who asked us to tea with them at Clapham on our return. We found ourselves at Hampton Court about 3 o’clk and taking a fly at once we drove through the chesnuts in Bushy Park now snowy with their fragrant winter of blossoms and from thence to Twickenham to call upon Mrs Bohn. Here we were loaded with kindnesses, flowers & dinner but were compelled to make a speedy retreat towards Richmond Park, Professor Owen’s and thence to Mr Jesse’s. We found the dear old people just at dinner, sat with them while they sipped the wine, gathered still more flowers for us and sent us rejoicing on our way to Clapham where we arrived at ½ past nine. At the sound of the carriage wheels Mr Taylor came out to meet us in the hall of his most picturesque house. He brought us at once into the dining room where his wife was sitting writing at the table. They received us very cordially and showed us their charming collection of pictures with evident pleasure and afterward she sang to us Tennyson’s songs which she had herself set to music. “The brook” was particularly beautiful, soothing and peculiar in the flowing of the sound as is the brook itself. The bugle song I felt was fine also and well adapted but I fancied she was not just in the mood for this herself, then came the Gardener’s daughter, sang with remarkable feeling. At parting Mr Taylor gave us a photograph of Carlyle which was hanging on the wall and kindly walked to the station with us telling us as we went stories of the wonderful musical talent of his wife and its early manifestation. The sketch of her by Watts is full of music & exceedingly like her. They are fortunate in the possession of several of D. Coxe’s pictures, some of Burtons and many of her sisters. They are all fine. T.T. has given his life to the thorough study of Art, and probably knows and writes as well of it as any living man.


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