From novelist and poet Hermann Melville’s London diary 1849:
“I sat next to Lockhart, and seeing that he was a customer, who was full of himself & expected great homage; & knowing him to be a thorough going Tory & fish-blooded Churchman & conservative, & withall, Editor of the Ouarterly–I refrained from playing the snob to him, like the rest–& the consequence was he grinned at me his ghastly smiles.–After returning to the drawing room, coffee & tea were served, & I soon after came away. Such is a publisher’s dinner. A comical volume might be written upon it.–Oh Conventionalism, what a ninny, thou art, to be sure. And now, I must turn in. But first, let me add, that upon coming home, I found a note for me from Bogue, the publisher. I knew its contents at once–there seemed little use in opening it.–He declined; alleging among other reasons, the state of the copyright question.–So we go.”
If only Rimbaud and every other writer had kept such a London diary. This is a brilliant oasis.