The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier

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1828 A visit by Thomas Moore

Sunday 6 January 1828. Went to church. Sad and heavy sermon from Mr Paley on a text from St Luke, Chapter 3. Blessed is the Lord God of Israel who has visited and redeemed his people etc. Mr Moore came to dinner with us. He was very amiable, as he usually is. He sang two of his songs and with me several parts of Mozart's admirable Requiem. Mr. Estcourt was drawing and listening to the music.

Bust of the famous Irish poet Thomas Moore from the BRLSI

Thomas Moore (1779-1852).
Bust held at Bath Royal Literary
and Scientific Institution.

Monday 7 January. We went with Mr Moore to see the cottage at Ray-Bridge in the hope that it could be made habitable if he is obliged to leave Sloperton which is almost in ruins; but he said that the sitting room is too small, that the house is too near the road and that the walks are not so pleasant as those around his cottage at Sloperton. So we have given up the hope of seeing him become our neighbour. We all went to a ball in Chippenham which takes place every year at this time at the Angel Inn; there was nothing very tempting about it.
However we were obliged to go to encourage the few amusements which take place in this province where the spirit of bigotry, which goes by the name of Methodism, takes possession of so many minds and fills them with a gloomy fanaticism which

condemns balls, comedies and parties which had previously taken place all over England, which they are trying to turn into a Chartreuse. There is nothing very brilliant in Chippenham. The room is large, but it was very badly lit, which made it look depressing. All the society of the neighbourhood was there, but the number of odd provincial characters who filled the place made them brillar oltra misura. It was here that I was convinced of the immense superiority of the English nobility over the middle class, which is an excellent example of that which is called vulgar, in the full force of the word, in manners, in appearance etc. - in general with very few exceptions. Lady Lansdowne was there, she looked like a queen! Lord Landsdowne, his son Lord Kerry, Mr. Guthrie were there, also Lady Theodosia Hall, sister of Lady de Clifford and the Misses Ricardo. I did not enjoy myself much, except in a conversation with the poet the Reverend Mr. Bowles who is full of enthusiasm and gaiety. They served us with tea at midnight. The whole thing was very shabbily done, but there is nothing very surprising in that if one remembers that it was given by the Landlady of the Angel who gives the ball and that each person paid only 6s for everything. We returned at two o'clock: in the morning. It was shocking weather, piercing cold and damp.

Tuesday 8 January. They went to Bowood to see the original drawings of Prout. Wednesday 9 January. Hard frost. We danced and waltzed the whole evening to teach Mr. Talbot some figures of the quadrilles. Miracolo!....