September 28th, 1848 (Thursday)

September 28, 2010

Gibbs came. While I was in Ireland last vacation, Roby (the butler) went away, and testimonials were forwarded to me in favour of a man named Sims. I confess to some misgivings when I saw him on my return. But a lady of fortune, with whom he had lived for years, having written strongly in his favour, assigning as here reason for parting with him that she was giving up her London establishment, seemed to cut away all a priori antipathies. However, I very soon perceived the odour of drink on him in the morning, which was sufficiently alarming. Then the Servitors told Mrs Burky that he used to go 4 or 5 times a day to the cellar on private expeditions, the object of which no one who could see his face, or hear his voice, could doubt for a moment. At length, last night, he took drink till he was more than fuddled. So I hurried him off to bed, and did not go to my own until his candle was extinguished.

This day summoned him, and informed him that it was impossible to keep in an office of authority over the servitors, a man who was ever more or less stupid from beer-drinking, and whose influence, so far as he had any, must be most mischievous. He denied that he was unfit for his duty last night, whereas he was not only unable to walk without reeling, but when standing close to the pantry fire, he had thrown down a [clothes] horse, or a chair, or something of that kind, and glass cloths which were hanging to dry ignited, and were half burnt before he knew his danger.

He was proceeding in an effort to convince me that he was the soberest, best behaved, man in England, – but I cut the matter short, by telling him that it was quite obvious he was a hoary sot, and requesting him to leave the house before the dangers of candle-light returned; adding that he had better not apply to me for a character, for that I should do what his late employer did not do, – give him a true one.

White has been here this long time tuning and settling the action of the organ. He went away today. The tune of the great organ is the most perfect I ever heard. When there are scores of pipes sounding, the effect is almost that of one single tone. But the trouble and time which it takes is immense, and therefore the cost most serious, so that no builder could venture on such accuracy. Only that Monk and I relieved each other at the key-board it could not have been done at all.

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