Saturday November 14th

It really is a pleasure to write to old men, they are so charming. Two days ago I wrote to Major GH Courtenay the oldest living old Westminster who was at Westminster in 1826 and now (aged 94) lives near Powderham. I had a superlative letter so exquisitely written that it deserves to be framed from Waterfield, who knows him, saying I might perhaps get some information from him so I wrote. Maj. Courtenay not being a Grantite however couldn’t help me at all but ends his letter ‘I am always ready to give any recollections in my power to any who seek them it is one of privileges of extreme age.’ This bears out what I always maintain: the older the man, the more delighted he is to give away any help in his power.

I shall never forget when I stayed a weekend with Sir Clements Markham. I had not known him before and one of the first things he said to me when I arrived was ‘all my life I have always regretted that I didn’t ask questions when I was young, I might have preserved so much’, this was sufficient to put me at once at one’s ease.

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