The sea-like, naked turf arose,
We had been a fortnight in London, and were now inextricably entangled in the meshes of the golden web of London social life.
With much regret we gave up an invitation we had accepted to go to Durdans to dine with Lord Rosebery. We must have felt very tired indeed to make so great a sacrifice, but we had to be up until one o'clock getting ready for the next day's journey; writing, packing, and attending to what we left behind us as well as what was in prospect.
"Juvat nuper audivisse eum cujus carmen prope primum 'Folium ultimum' nominatum est, folia adhuc plura e scriniis suis esse prolaturum. Novimus quanta lepore descripserit colloquia illa antemeridiana, symposia illa sobria et severa, sed eadem festiva et faceta, in quibus totiens mutata persona, modo poeta, modo professor, modo princeps et arbiter, loquendi, inter convivas suos regnat."
It was a very rich experience for a single day: the stately abode of royalty, with all its manifold historical recollections, the magnificent avenue of forest trees, the old oaks, the hawthorn in full bloom, and the one cry of the cuckoo, calling me back to Nature in her spring-time freshness and glory; then, after that, a great London dinner-party at a house where the kind host and the gracious hostess made us feel at home, and where we could meet the highest people in the land,--the people whom we who live in a simpler way at home are naturally pleased to be with under such auspices. What of all this shall I remember longest? Let me not seem ungrateful to my friends who planned the excursion for us, or to those who asked us to the brilliant evening entertainment, but I feel as Wordsworth felt about the cuckoo,--he will survive all the other memories.
"A mystery, as are you that gaze.
Where wandering flocks went nibbling round