Charles Greville on Lord and Lady Holland from 1841

Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville (1794 – 1865)  kept a journal during his many years as an associate of the poltical and social leadership of Great Britain.  He was essentially a well-born gentleman of leisure who knew “everyone” and went “everywhere.”  You can access all his work on-line at Project Gutenberg.  Greville characterizes Lady Holland’s domineering style as she chides a respected historian, below.

Charles Greville
From The Greville Memoirs (Second Part), “A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1852″   (Volume 1 of 3)  by Charles C. F. Greville
“December 31st, 1840:
The end of the year is a point from which, as from a sort of eminence, one looks back over the past… That which has made the deepest impression on society is the death of Lord Holland. I doubt, from all I see, whether anybody (except his own family, including Allen) had really a very warm affection for Lord Holland, and the reason probably is that he had none for anybody. He was a man with an inexhaustible good humour, and an ever-flowing nature, but not of strong feelings; and there are men whose society is always enjoyed but who never inspire deep and strong attachment. I remember to have heard good observers say that Lady Holland had more feeling than Lord Holland–would regret with livelier grief the loss of a friend than this equable philosopher was capable of feeling. The truth is social qualities–merely social and intellectual–are not those which inspire affection. A man may be steeped in faults and vices, nay, in odious qualities, and yet be the object of passionate attachment, if he is only what the Italians term ‘_simpatico_.’…
Henry Vassall Fox, 3rd Baron Holland, c. 1795
“January 21st, 1841: I dined with Lady Holland yesterday. Everything there is exactly the same as it used to be, excepting only the person of Lord Holland, who seems to be pretty well forgotten. The same talk went merrily round, the laugh rang loudly and frequently, and, but for the black and the mob-cap of the lady, one might have fancied he had never lived or had died half a century ago. Such are, however, affections and friendships, and such is the world.

Holland House, 1896
“Macaulay dined there, and I never was more struck than upon this occasion by the inexhaustible variety and extent of his information…It is impossible to mention any book in any language with which he is not familiar; to touch upon any subject, whether relating to persons or things, on which he does not know everything that is to be known. And if he could tread less heavily on the ground, if he could touch the subjects he handles with a lighter hand, if he knew when to stop as well as he knows what to say, his talk would be as attractive as it is wonderful. What Henry Taylor said of him is epigrammatic and true, ‘that his memory has swamped his mind;’…
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)
“We had yesterday a party well composed for talk, for there were listeners of intelligence and a good specimen of the sort of society of this house–Macaulay, Melbourne, Morpeth, Duncannon, Baron Rolfe, Allen and Lady Holland, and John Russell came in the evening. I wish that a shorthand writer could have been there to take down all the conversation, or that I could have carried it away in my head;…
Elizabeth, Lady Holland (1770-1845), c. 1793
” …and then the name of Sir Thomas Munro came uppermost. Lady Holland did not know why Sir Thomas Munro was so distinguished; when Macaulay explained all that he had ever said, done, written, or thought, and vindicated his claim to the title of a great man, till Lady Holland got bored with Sir Thomas, told Macaulay she had had enough of him, and would have no more. This would have dashed and silenced an ordinary talker, but to Macaulay it was no more than replacing a book on its shelf, and he was as ready as ever to open on any other topic….
sketch by Sir Henry Landseer of Lady Holland, Lord Holland and Mrs. Brown (maid)
c. 1833, National Portrait Gallery
” It would be impossible to follow and describe the various mazes of conversation, all of which he threaded with an ease that was always astonishing and instructive, and generally interesting and amusing…. ‘I remember a sermon,’ he said, ‘of Chrysostom’s in praise of the Bishop of Antioch;’ and then he proceeded to give us the substance of this sermon till Lady Holland got tired of the Fathers, again put her extinguisher on Chrysostom as s
he had done on Munro…

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