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HERODOTUS VERSUS THUCYDIDES
months thus spent were felt to be well spent. They made a great addition to his knowledge, and the vantageground thus gained he never permitted himself to lose. There is no need to reproduce these diaries. One of his notes, however, I may extract as illustrating his views. Recording the completion of his reading of Herodotus Rogers writes
It is with regret that I take leave of this pleasant old man. Of his accuracy as a naturalist Boerhaave has remarked that daily observation has confirmed almost all he has said, and every page shows his diligence in collecting materials. Less severe than Thucydides, he delights in little circumstances not closely connected with his subject, and is fond of expressing on all occasions his own thoughts and feelings. Less frequent and prolix in his speeches, he sometimes rises into grandeur, and particularly in the discourse of Xerxes at the Hellespont. In one respect he has greatly the advantage. Thucydides has followed the order of times, Herodotust that of things. Perhaps his history is too much scattered, but it is written with a charming simplicity. His was the vast design of a universal history, and the Greek and the Barbarian have equal favour in his eyes. He has given us nothing, perhaps, like the oration of Pericles, or the closing scene at the siege of Syracuse, but the invasion of Scythia by Darius is incomparably simple and sublime, and perhaps no passage in any historian is so interesting as his account of the defence at Thermopylæ. The slow approach of the Persian army and that stillness of despair with which the Greeks await its
arrival, make an impression on the mind which must last for life.'
Another aspect of this Exmouth life is given in the following letters:
Samuel Rogers to Henry Rogers.
Exmouth: 23 Novr. '99.
'My dear Henry,-I answered your letter by return of post, and hope you received mine. I presume the business is in train, and that everything goes on to your satisfaction. If I am in the least wanted let me know, and I shall think little of the journey-not that I am yet tired of being here, though my friend Maltby says I shall soon be. I have never, indeed, in my life spent so many solitary hours, yet perhaps have never been so busy, and can truly say I have been less alone than I have often been in the midst of society. I have read Xenophon's "Memorabilia" and history, and am now half-way on my journey through Larcher's Herodotus; and have, indeed, a course of reading for six months before me, even in my present state of life. As to my health, I think it certainly as good as at Tunbridge, though my breast at times is very painful, but I eat and sleep and enjoy myself. My breath is rather shorter than it was, and I am a little out of humour with the roads of this country, which are very stony and admit of no pace safely but a jog-trot, which jars me. I have, however, a little bit of sandy common between me and the river, under the bank on which I live, and on that I exercise in still weather. The walk along the sands is very delightful, and con
EXILE AT EXMOUTH
tinues at low water for miles under very romantic rocks. The shore is strewed with weeds and pebbles, which afford much more amusement, particularly the last, than I had apprehended. Lord Rolle's hounds are within three miles of me; I met them this morning on the Sidmouth Road, but the distance is too great for me to derive any amusement even in my way from them.
'I am much obliged to you for the newspapers, which come regularly. Indeed, I am very luxurious in that article of news, being furnished with the three evening papers regularly after sunset from the libraries. What a strange world we live in! These consuls (how they must laugh in their sleeves!) will not immediately develop their plan, whatever it may be; but it will be amusing to see what two such men, such a head and such a hand, will do if left to themselves in Europe. Before I left town I sent Maria the receipt for bread sauce. I hope Sarah has it. I have put up a few Piranesis in my room, and they please me every hour. It is odd enough that I should find two drawings hung up there of Stothard's. Upon examining them I find they are copies of two of mine by a young lady. They look very well, and I am glad to find they make such good furniture. If John should apply to you again, may I trouble you to say, as from me, to anybody, that I believe him to be sober and diligent, and in every respect qualified to make a good servant? My present man pleases me very much; he is cheerful and obliging, and much more attentive than John. I am glad to find that Dan has settled somewhere, though I wish it had been nearer town. I hope it will improve upon him. I suppose
Bretell has acknowledged the receipt of the writings I sent him. Mr. Jackson speaks with great respect of Mr. Towgood's grandfather, and enquired much after his father. He says the picture is the best Opie ever painted. I have not yet called upon Mrs. Towgood, but certainly shall very soon. The Exeter Theatre opened last Monday with Reicher, the rope-dancer from Sadler's Wells. Everybody goes to see him. How long I shall stay here I don't know. I have taken my lodgings for a month. It is not, I think, impossible that I may fidget for a short time a little farther westward. . . . Adieu ! my dear Henry.
'Believe me, ever yours,
The interval between this letter and the next was one of studious industry. The diary of his reading for these two months fills a considerable volume. There is no reference in it to himself nor to the society he found at Exmouth; nothing but a careful analysis of his reading in Xenophon, Herodotus, and Euripides, with a plunge into Eschylus, of whom, however, he remarks: To me not half so rich or forcible as Euripides. I return to him with great pleasure.'
The new year found him still in exile, and he writes. to his sister Sarah on the 3rd of January 1800:
You fear Exmouth is dull. It is very quiet and I can almost persuade myself I like quiet. You, perhaps, may like to see the dramatis persona. Here are Mr. and Mrs. Stoughton from the Vale of Usk-neighbours of the Waddingtons, very good sort of people with whom
I have dined more than once. If you were to ask how we became acquainted we none of us know. On the first day we stared at one another, on the second we looked sociably, on the third ditto, on the fourth ditto, on the fifth we bowed, on the sixth spoke. This is the history of an Exmouth acquaintance, and indeed, what else can we do? We meet from the four quarters, and, as our object is the same, a general sympathy leads to a general acquaintance. Last week, on the underwalk, a very stately old lady, with a nod and a simper, asked me how I did, and we are now very thick : a Mrs. Chantrey, the very Plutarch of family biography, well versed in Leicestershire anecdotes, and very full of Jack Simpson's wedding, which takes place this week. Some time before, on the sands, a gentleman introduced himself to me as having seen me in town. I have no recollection of him, but he is a great acquisition-has travelled much and lived many years in Italy. His wife, Lady Charlotte Carr, is a very pleasing, sensible young woman-one of the Errolls. By the means of a sedan chair I have ventured out in an evening to them. With the Barings, a mile off, I have often dined, but my great comfort is within a door of me, by Mrs. Labouchere's fireside, where I generally find myself when my eyes ache in an evening. Her cousin, Miss Stone (whose father Mr. Raper knows as a brother director), is a very pretty girl, and has accompanied Dolly, in the heroism of friendship, to pass her winter in this retreat. They decline all acquaintance, and I believe I am the only person they see here, though they frequently visit among the Barings. I was invited to revel out my Christmas week at Cowley with the whole clan, but I did not