Tuesday, 22 September 1863

Showery ― all day. light & dark.

Worked an hour before breakfast ― on the 11th Lithograph ― No. 8.

Sir F.H. Goldsmid called ― & later Wade-Browne. Did not go out.

At 7. Daddy Hunt dined with me & went at 10.15.

Talking of Wolley’s fire[1] ― Daddy H. says he is sure that he burned the house himself, & that one of Egg’s servants could have given this evidence ― that (for they were all “assisting” at the fiery functions,) she also found the clothes [named] by another evidence, & thinking it strange ― there being already rumours of the Arson ― took them up ― & found them all mashed & belonging to Mr. Wolley. H. says, his character was always so very bad he never would become acquainted with him, & that Egg used to say the interior of the house was never worth much.

Where, what, which is Truth &
who ― or “wherefore”?[2]

Daddy is very shrewd ― but alquanto παράδοξος.[3]

 


[1] Lear evidently discussed the outcome of the trial for the Campden House fire. Mr. Wolley, the owner, was accused by a group of insurance compamies of setting the house on fire. Since they refused to pay for the damages, he sued and won the cause, which was settled in September 1863. See “The Burning of Campden House.” Illustrated London News, 5 September 1863, p. 234; The Annual Register; A Review of Public Events at Home and Abroad, for the Year 1863. London: Rivingtons, 1864, pp. 224-264.

[2] Ten years later, this line will be transformed into: “Who, or why, or which, or what, Is the Akond of SWAT?”

[3] “Paradoxical,” but also “admirable” (NB).


[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

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