20 January: I staid at home till 12 o’clock reading Italian – Then the morning being fine I walked out and had a very agreeable walk of 7m. perhaps to Norward (sic) at the far end of which lives Mr. John Hays – I had not been at N: since Hamond’s suicide in 1820 – So many new houses that I hardly recognised the place – At Mr. H’s I found my old friend Miss H: a sad invalide, she has been confined to her room for some months. Mr. H: whom I always highly respected I liked today better than ever – He was unfortunate lately – he spoke of his commercial failure with such good feeling and good sense, that in every way he has risen in my esteem – He is in business again – he did not go into the Gazette – A more painful subject almost than this was the ill treatment he has received from his two daughters in law, who on the late death of their mother, have insisted on Mr. H’s giving up to them every article of property purchased by Mrs. H: with her own separate fortune – It is a nice question in law, but Mr. H: was a most affectionate father-in-law – The conduct of the children has been most ungrateful – Mr. & Mrs. Brown were there – …
3 March: … I want to the Athen: and meant from thence to go and dine with Mr. Hays but I was alarmed by missing my keys – This quite spoiled my day – I was in great alarm – I found all safe at home and with the aid of the laundress’ key, took a cold dinner at home – then I went to Mrs. Collier whom I found better than I fear’d and after chatting a couple of hours and taking tea with them I called on the Aders – A chearful lounge with them and I concluded the evening at the Athen where I did not get beyond the papers of the days!
10 March: I spent great part of the forenoon at home – I went on reading Herm: & Dor: which I have since finished – I hold it to be one of the most delightful of all G’s works – Not one of his philosophical works which the exclusives exclusively admire, but one of the most perfectly moral as well as beautiful. It leaves every requisite on a man of genius filled. I shed tears over it repeatedly but they were mere tears of tenderness at the perfect beauty of the characters and sentiment – Incident there is none. I walked down to the new house of Mr. Hays in Camb: Road where I saw Miss H: and heard from her bros account of the controversies in which Mr. H: is involved – He seems to have been most shamefully treated by his two daughters in law and Salmon the husband of one of them. I walked back to the Athen: where I dined and then I want to Miss Flaxman and Denman where I took tea. Mrs. Niven was there – We lounged over children’s books. Mrs. N: executed a codicil to her will which I am to take to Mr. Drewett. I returned again to the Athen: where I lounged with various parsons. H: Gurney still rather savage about my article on the Mass.
12 March Tuesday: I spent the forenoon at home being fully employed on my article on Goethe . . . Also a call, a late one, from T: Nash – a severe judge of his acquaintance but a very honest man – he is, I fear breaking in his health. I dined with Mr. Hays and had a four hours’ conference with him about his unhappy disputes with his wife’s children – he has always been to them a kind father in law – The instant their mother’s breath was out of her body they would have taken away everything their mother had bought with her own money!!! I do not understand Dr Lushington’s opinion who seems to think that this may be done where the wife has a separate fortune – Is not husband bound to maintain her and find her with clothes? and can she lay up and bequeath by will her accumulation? – To be inquired into. I dissuaded H: from an action for libel or defamation. I went late to the Athen: being indisposed to read.
I am sorry to perceive that Tom Nash seems not to have a very high opinion of [ ] Fordham He thinks him vain and ambitious. Neither does he speak well of Mr. Hays whom he calls and perhaps truly a shallow man Hays of himself says that he is sharp and selfish but neither insinuates anything against the honour or integrity of the other. They have lost money together.
16 April: … After taking tea with Sam Robinson I went to Mr. Hayes with whom I took a second tea and sat two hours and I was pleased to perceive that my visit gave pleasure. We had both family talk and talk about books. Mrs. M: Hays is very much recovered indeed. I concluded the evening by a call on the Aders and I gossipped with them. I feared to find A: very ill but he was tolerably well. Today therefore Idischarged several matters of business – calls of kindness which form great part of the business of my life.
23 December: … After tea in spight of bad weather I made a call on Mr. Hays and took tea with him and Mrs. Mary H: - I was glad to hear that the Law-suit between H: and the children of his late wife was at an end – The arbitration had decided in his favour as to the portion of his late wife’s effects coming to him – He has also entered into a new partnership which is very promising – The family in good spirits but Miss H: is unwell – living with her brother and at her age, her misfortunes have been no injury but perhaps a service to her. Field, just arrived, also to Lady Blessington having this evening received a letter from Landor enclosing verses for her – Read also some articles in the Edinb: Rev: