At Lady Molesworth’s
Lady Molesworth, indeed, although by no means brilliantly intellectual herself, possessed a mysterious power of drawing out clever people and making them talk — a social quality of the highest possible value.... She used to give two different kinds of dinner-parties, some large, of from fifteen to twenty people, mostly drawn from the fashionable world, and others small, at which some six or eight of the best brains in London could exchange ideas. Bishop Wilberforce, Dr. Quin (a celebrated wit of that day), Lord Houghton, and Sir Edwin Landseer, were amongst the many clever men whom one met constantly at her entertainments. I remember an occasion on which Lady Waldegrave, being anxious to have Charles Dickens as one of her guests, had persuaded Mr. Bernal Osborne [mp] to bring the great novelist to dine, the latter’s aversion to fashionable society having with difficulty been overcome. A number of very fashionable people were present, and all agog as to how amusing Dickens would be, as is the wont of many of their kind who imagine clever men are going to turn intellectual somersaults in consideration of being dragged into a society which is quite incapable of either understanding or appreciating their genius.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.