[London—Tuesday, 20 July 1869]
Tuesday. Went to dine & pass the night with Mr. Macmillan. He drove us through a part of London we had never visited before and carried us to Mr. Carlyle’s door. The great man had unfortunately for us gone to the country, his health being broken by lack of sleep just now. A queer little maid with a most intelligent ready way with her came and shut the carriage door after Mr. Macmillan. Carlyle lives in the same old house & pretty old and uninteresting it looks now where he has lived for 30 years. Mrs Carlyle had great taste his friends say and it always looked pleasant in her time, inside.
Went to Gabriel Rossetti’s studio. If his work could be considered as freaks of genius which he hardly understood himself (and to tell the truth it seems like this to me), it would be worthy of the high regard one cannot help feeling for the enbodied ideal. Everything he does is stamped all over with thought and feeling. His head and face remind one of the bust of Shakspeare—the portrait in the first edition, and his work is grand in its intensity. His Hamlet and Ophelia is most impressive, also the Christ beckoning to Magdalene. His portraits too of Jane Morris are weird and powerful. The house in which he lives faces the Thames at Chelsea much as ours stands in relation to the Charles behind. The house is put up with the utmost quaintness—glasses, screens, lamps, china medieval, and fine in color. There is nothing modern there.