Tuesday September 15th, 1868

My dear good faithful retriever! He left at two-thirty, and I declare I was almost as sorry as I should be if some shower of rain came and spoilt my tiniest most becoming bonnet. I put his image carefully away into a corner of my memory to be reproduced over at Leigh [Alice’s grandfather’s house in Somerset], as here my time is too short and consequently precious to be wasted in the indulgence of any such weakness.

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First, and by way of doing a little stroke of business, I devoted myself to his friend Col Eyre, and won him over at once. There is nothing like having a man’s greatest friend devoted to your interest. You many never require his services, it is true, but again it is possible that a case might occur where he would be useful and most important to your success. His astonishment at what he is pleased to term ‘Morland’s bewitcher’ is something comic.

I looked over his shoulder today and saw the most absurd sketch of my retriever kneeling at my feet, done in the style of Lear’s Book of Nonsense, and written under it:

I have a friend called Morland Hutton
Who swore that he cared not a button
For women fair and their wiles
Till lovely Miss Miles
Taught him better at John Manners Sutton

He then threw it into the fire when he saw me looking over his shoulder but not before I had had time to read it.

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