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i66                           A FEW MEMORIES
forming him that I had never been to Italy before. "What!" he exclaimed; " going into that glorious country for the first time, and in the flush of youth! I am selfish enough to envy you." The conversation which followed between Henry James and Mr. Lowell made me all the more eager to start for the land of sunshine and song. Mr. Lowell as an after-dinner speaker was justly renowned. I had the privilege of hearing him once. It was at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Gosse had taken me to see the unveiling of Thornycroft's beautiful bust of the poet Gray. Mr. and Mrs. Alma - Tadema were with us. We were a happy party, and Mr. Tadema's appreciation of the beauty of the country in its fresh spring garb made us see many charming effects of light and color which otherwise would have passed unnoticed. The Master of Pembroke, whose guests we were to be overnight, showed us several Gray relics, among them his " Common-book." This contained the poet's admirable drawings of the various fish and insects he had studied, and descriptions of them in his own handwriting, which was beautifully clear. The bust was placed near the seat that Gray had occupied at table. Of all the speeches on that