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whole length of the Corso was thronged with a double line of carriages. The day of our arrival in Rome, I may add, was Thursday, 9th January 1845.
Good genial old Pio Nono was then on the Papal throne.
This Pope was, in many ways, a thorough man of the world, and possessed a very keen sense of humour. When Fanny Elsler, in the Forties, delighted the Eternal City with her dancing, some of her admirers subscribed the sum of 12,000 lire, which was the price asked by the jeweller for an intended presenta golden wreath.
The wreath was finished and ready to be presented to the fair Fanny, when the consciences of the faithful Catholics were disturbed by the doubt whether such a demonstration might not be distasteful to the Pope. Accordingly, it was resolved to consult His Holiness on the matter. Pio Nono answered: "You do not need my consent for what you intend to do. Give the wreath to the dancer, if this affords you pleasure; but allow me the remark that you do not seem to have been fortunate in the choice of the keepsake which you have decided upon. I should have preferred a garland, a bouquet, or something of the sort; for I thought, till now, that wreaths were meant for the head, not for the feet." This shows that the Pope, as little as any other man, could resist the opportunity of making a joke. However, he made atonement for it in giving 4000 lire to the poor on the day the golden wreath was presented to the fascinating danseuse.
It was during our tour abroad that I first met Mr. Watts then a young man at Florence.
His death in 1904 left a void of a peculiar kind, which, in all probability, will never be exactly filled.
His one aim was the elevation of humanity, and in a materialistic age he stood out from the crowd as a soul apart. Honours and distinctions, which most. of the world holds so dear, he prized not at all. Though taking the greatest delight in everything which seemed to give promise of fulfilling the high ideals which he loved and believed lay in store for his fellow-men, his real life was passed in a world of his own creation. At work in his studio he was mentally in communion with the great souls of all ages, and here at least he could picture a universe nearly fashioned to his heart's desire. Delicate from youth upwards, a secluded life had always been more or less of a necessity to him, and, indeed, became a necessity in his last years. For this reason the rare occasions when I had an opportunity of renewing a friendship which had begun in another era were the more pleasurable to me, and I think Mr. Watts also enjoyed them. During our last meetings he never failed to greet me with an embrace. In the Sixties, I remember, he used to live at the quaint little old-fashioned residence which was known as "Old Little Holland House." The main features of this were a low thatched porch, a sunny lawn, and a little pond, whilst a delightful sense of peaceful calm reigned throughout the frescoed rooms. Old Little
Holland House, however, in course of time, was offered up on the altar of commercial progress, and with the building of Melbury Road it disappeared; but Mr. Watts, devoted to the recollections of his old home, built almost upon its site another peaceful abode which he called by the familiar name of the old one. Here he continued to work, not for gain but for the joy of working, for he was indifferent to most of the earthly things which men prize, his whole soul being concentrated upon the realization of his high ideals. Art for Art's sake was not a cry which appealed to his essentially altruistic nature, and of this gospel of refuge for materialistic minds he spoke with contempt. His work was a protest against the modern opinion that Art has no intellectual message. His idea was that it should say a good deal. This belief he succeeded in putting into triumphant practice, appealing in a universal language to the highest instincts of humanity.
Owing to his constitutional delicacy Mr. Watts' health was always precarious, but, fortunately, kindly providence provided him with a kindred soul to whose loving care he was undoubtedly indebted for the prolongation of his industrious and useful life. Mrs. Watts, I should add, still carries on the noble traditions which the great painter loved so well.
A conversation with Mr. Hyndman-Why Unionism has lost ground -Disastrous apathy-An apologetic party-Hedging and quibbling— Lord Beaconsfield's methods of recruiting clever young men-Enemies in the House of Commons, intimates in private life-Labour and Capital - Semi-education - Anecdotes - Setting class against classPolitical renegades-Mr. Lloyd-George-Chartism-Misguided zealAn outspoken Divine-History repeats itself
N his most interesting recollections, "The Record of an Adventurous Life," Mr. H. M. Hyndman has been good enough to speak approvingly of a summary I once gave him (in the early Eighties of the last century) of what I considered to be the attitude of the aristocracy towards modern, social, and political developments. According to him, and as far as I can recollect his summary is correct, speaking as a Conservative, I then said: "We have had an excellent innings, I don't deny that for a moment: an excellent innings; and the turn of the people will come some day. I see that quite as clearly as you do. But not yet, not yet. You will educate some of the working class; that is all you can hope to do for them. And when you have educated them we shall buy them; or, if we don't, the Liberals will, and that will be just the same for you."
As the sequence of events has turned out, it is the Liberals who have made the purchase in question, and acquired complete control of the country-largely, let it be added, through the ineptitude and obtuseness of the modern Conservatives, who, without doubt, are far less clever organizers and tacticians than their predecessors. England has altered a good deal since the days of my conversation with Mr. Hyndman, and can now no longer lay claim to possessing the most astute aristocracy in the world.
Since the death of Queen Victoria the mental attitude of the populace seems to have undergone considerable change, a good deal of that respect for old institutions which was formerly such a characteristic of certain classes of the population having seemingly ceased to exist, whilst a new feature is the general distrust (well deserved, it must be confessed) of both political parties, and especially of official Unionism.
The Boer war undoubtedly also dealt a great blow to the Conservatives.
Though in all probability inevitable, there can be no doubt that the unfortunate struggle in question largely contributed to the eventual downfall of the Unionist party. A generation which knew nothing of war except what they had read in highly coloured narratives describing the prowess of their ancestors under the great captains of the past, were not unnaturally disillusioned when they found the armies of England held at bay by a comparatively small number of Boer farmers; and after a more or less