0Saturday. 6th March [1897]—3 Savile Row
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6 March 1897 — 3 Savile Row
Saturday. 6th March [1897]. Painted from model all morning & Mr Vigor gave us lesson. He was very dissatisfied with us & settled we are to go back to drawing & leave painting alone. Lady Gregory came to luncheon & she & I went round on foot to the New Gallery to see Watt’s exhibition of pictures which greatly delighted me. It proves what a wonderful & versatile artist he is– There is no monotony either in idea or execution. After spending nearly 2 hours there we drove to pay calls & I left Augusta at her friend’s near Regent’s Park & I went on to call on Maria. I found her just going out driving so I came home at 4.30. Ola & Julia Du Cane came to tea & also Eliza & Mrs Holmes White. I read for an hour before dinner Laings “Modern Thought” which delights me. Arthur (my brother) & Elaine Guest, Mr John Fraser & Mr Wyld dined with me—& we had a pleasant evening. Arthur was in very good spirits. He told us of a new discovery by a young Italian gentleman by which one can telegraph without the usual wire to convey the electricity. He also told me of a fact which he knew for truth. He said that when he was a member of the House of Commons he had been told by Bertie Mitford (now Lord Rosedale) the whole story of the poems of Dante Rossetti’s poems. He said that Mitford told him that when Mrs Rossetti died in a fit of despair her husband put his MSS of poems into her coffin. After 2 years his friends began to beg him to publish his poems & he had to confess that he had no copy of them & explained what he had done. The application was made to the Home Office to be allowed to exhume the body & it was permitted. Bertie Mitford told Arthur that he had been present when the coffin was opened. The face & hands were black & decomposed & on her breast lay the book which was taken out & disinfected, but the whole coffin seemed filled with her beautiful hair which had been spread over her when she was put in the coffin & which had probably grown after death as it is known to do– Lord Aberdare was Home Minister at the time & Arthur asked him if this was all true & he confirmed the whole account. I reminded Arthur that when Henry saw the body of Charles V at the Escurial he had noticed how the beard had evidently grown after death & in its original reddish colour—& I showed him the sketch I have done by Palmaroli at the time that we saw the body of Charles V. Arthur said he had never written down the story of Rossetti’s Poems but wish I would do so in this journal—& I do so tho’ I believe it is known by many others also.

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