LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
[Henry Southern]
Leigh Hunt's Lord Byron.
London Magazine  Vol. NS 10  (February 1828)  211-33.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH



FEBRUARY 1, 1828.


Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries; with Recollections of the Author’s Life, and of his Visit to Italy. By Leigh Hunt. London. Colburn. 1828.

Mr. Leigh Hunt is so naturally prone to unbosom himself to the public, with whom he always in his writings strikes up a friendly confidential intercourse, that previous to the appearance of this work the world was well acquainted with the character of all his friends of public notoriety—with his opinions on all possible topics, and more particularly with his opinion of himself. We looked for, and we have found nothing new in this volume, save that which relates in some way or other to the author’s visit to Italy; for since that event in his life he has had little opportunity of communicating with his dear friend, his pensive public, or we should have as little to learn of the latter as of the former part of his life. It is thus that our attention is chiefly attracted to Mr. Hunt’s account of Lord Byron; for he, though not entirely a new acquaintance, only became thoroughly well known to him in Italy.  Of Moore, Lamb, Campbell, &c., we are familiar with all that the author has said or would repeat for the last or next twenty years. It is a novelty at any rate for one man of genius honestly to give a minute and apparently honest account of the real private character of another: but the privileges of the order to which both parties in fact belong, may excuse the hardihood and the singularity of the scheme. Posterity invariably attempts to rake up every peculiarity or characteristic trait from the memory of every great man; and it is always loudly lamented when neither the investigations of antiquaries nor the researches of ardent admirers can bring to light all that it is wished to discover. Mr. Leigh Hunt has saved posterity any trouble in the case of Lord Byron. We have his portrait here drawn by an acute observer and a shrewd metaphysician, who had the advantage of living with him on terms of intimacy—under the same roof. Cause of complaint seems to have existed between the parties, and the unfortunate death of Mr. Shelley rendered the situation of Mr. Hunt, in relation to Lord Byron, one of peculiar delicacy: we cannot allow that these circumstances could in the mind of Mr. Hunt lead to any wilful misrepresentation; but it is not improbable that they may have lent an unjust interpretation to circumstances meant to be taken otherwise, and it is therefore necessary to state in the outset this caution. Mr. Hunt, too, during their intercourse suffered all the pains of dependance: it is needless to remark how sensitive and captious such a situation is calculated to make a man, who if not proud in the ordinary sense of the word, is proud of the levelling
212Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
claims of genius, and who saw with disgust that such claims were not allowed to constitute equality with rank and wealth. Mr. Leigh Hunt’s title to entire belief, when due allowance is made to the natural influence of these partly unconscious and secretly operating causes, no one will be hardy enough to deny; and when the denial is made, a look only upon the open, candid, blushing and animated face of the book itself will be sufficient to contradict it. If ever internal evidence was strong enough to quell the very thought of a suspicion, an instance is to be found here.

The portrait will be acknowledged to be one of those which all who do not know the original subject, from the reality of its look, and the force and nature of its impression, will pronounce to be a perfect likeness; and they who did know it would place the question beyond suspicion, unless indeed the picture is too close a resemblance to be flattering, unless, contrary to the usage of artists, it represents deformities as well as beauties. The ravages of the small-pox are never copied in a portrait. Biographies are generally all so much alike, that the changes of a few names and circumstances would make one pass for another. Eulogies deal in generals, and if a foible is confessed, it is commonly one possessed by all mankind. Characters are seldom attempted, except by historians and novelists; in both cases the original dwells only in the author’s fancy. Viewed in this light, the character of Lord Byron is perhaps the very first that was ever drawn from life with fidelity and skill; we have him here as his intimate friends knew him—as those who lived with him felt him to be by hourly experience. Now, is this exposure right? a man’s private and domestic qualities do not affect the public; it requires only from a man virtues of a different kind—decorum, honour, justice, and such like. The intricacies of temper, the caprices of vanity, the fluctuations of temperament, and all those shades which distinguish one man from another, at bed and board, are matters which do not interfere with the performances of citizenship; these are the qualities according to which the friendship of men, the love of women, the affection and respect of children, are regulated. Shall, then, the public be informed of that which does not concern it; or shall we accuse the publisher of such information of a breach of faith—of a treacherous betrayal of that which is only revealed under the sacred confidence of domestic intercourse? We confess that these fine words fall dead upon our ears. We see no reason that men should not be known as they really are, but many for it; it is the first step to amendment. Had all the published lives and characters been written in their true colours, the world would have been much further advanced in virtue. This hypocrisy in glossing over vice—in smoothing down the roughness and defects of character, is a kind of premium upon the indulgence of evil passion. Though the world may have little to do with the private virtues directly; inasmuch as these constitute by far the greater portion of its aggregate of happiness; there is no more important subject can be discussed before it than the excellencies and failings of eminent individuals. Neither can we discern the treachery spoken of—the treachery which is laid to the charge of Captain Medwin is of a different nature. That gentleman published loose conversations which could only have been uttered under the idea that they would go no further, and certainly not directly to the world,
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.213
This is a breach of a tacit agreement; but no man has a right to imply such an agreement regarding the opinions that may be formed of himself; this would be a too convenient veil, of which the worst men would be the readiest to avail themselves. No; it is a question not to be mooted, that if the world can be benefitted by a true portraiture of a man’s character without the violation of a direct confidence, or without inflicting pain on the living by drawing their qualities into discussion, it may be done rightly. We have argued the matter generally. The particular case is a peculiarly favourable one. Lord Byron wrote about himself to all the world, and all the world has a right to know whether his account of himself was true. He made his private affairs matters of public notoriety, and in his private dealings confided always in the person next him—showed the most private of his letters—and was guilty of the most remarkable incontinence respecting both himself and others. Having thus despatched our preface, we shall proceed to the easy task of selecting the passages which, in the briefest space, convey Mr. Leigh Hunt’s opinion of Lord Byron, and give the best picture of the ways of our popular poet in Italy.

First of all, let us quote a description of the circumstances under which Mr. Hunt’s first visit was paid; it quickly introduces us to the members of Lord Byron’s family:—

“In a day or two I went to see the noble bard, who was in what the Italians call villeggiatura at Monte-Nero; that is to say, enjoying a country-house for the season. I there met with a singular adventure, which seemed to make me free of Italy and stilettos, before I had well set foot in the country. The day was very hot; the road to Monte-Nero was very hot, through dusty suburbs; and when I got there, I found the hottest-looking house I ever saw. Not content with having a red wash over it, the red was the most unseasonable of all reds, a salmon colour. Think of this, flaring over the country in a hot Italian sun!

“But the greatest of all the heats was within. Upon seeing Lord Byron I hardly knew him, he was grown so fat; and he was longer in recognizing me, I had grown so thin. He was dressed in a loose nankeen jacket and white trowsers, his neckcloth open, and his hair in thin ringlets about his throat; altogether presenting a very different aspect from the compact, energetic, and curly-headed person, whom I had known in England.

“He took me into an inner-room, and introduced me to a young lady in a state of great agitation. Her face was flushed, her eyes lit up, and her hair (which she wore in that fashion) looking as if it streamed in disorder. This was the daughter of Count Gamba, wife of the Cavaliere Guiccioli, since known as Madame, or the Countess, Guiccioli,—all the children of persons of that rank in Italy bearing the title of their parents. The Conte Pietro, her brother, came in presently, also in a state of agitation, and having his arm in a sling. I then learned, that a quarrel having taken place among the servants, the young Count had interfered, and been stabbed. He was very angry; Madame Guiccioli was more so, and would not hear of the charitable comments of Lord Byron, who was for making light of the matter. Indeed there was a look in the business a little formidable; for, though the stab was not much, the inflictor of it threatened more, and was at that minute keeping watch under the portico with the avowed intention of assaulting the first person that issued forth. I looked out of window, and met his eye glaring upward, like a tiger. The fellow had a red cap on, like a sans-culotte, and a most sinister aspect, dreary and meagre, a proper caitiff. Thus, it appeared, the house was in a state of blockade; the nobility and gentry of the interior all kept in a state of impossibility by a rascally footman.

214 Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.

“How long things had continued in this state I cannot say; but the hour was come when Lord Byron and his friends took their evening ride, and the thing was to be put an end to somehow. Fletcher, the valet, had been dispatched for the police, and was not returned. It was wondered, among other things, how I had been suffered to enter the house with impunity. Somebody conceived, that the man might have taken me for one of the constituted authorities; a compliment which few Englishmen would be anxious to deserve, and which I must disclaim any pretensions to. At length we set out, Madame Guiccioli earnestly intreating ‘Bairon’ to keep back, and all of us waiting to keep in advance of Conte Pietro, who was exasperated. It was a curious moment for a stranger from England. I fancied myself pitched into one of the scenes in ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho,’ with Montoni and his tumultuous companions. Every thing was new, foreign, and violent. There was the lady, flushed and dishevelled, exclaiming against the ‘scelerato;’ the young Count, wounded and threatening; the assassin, waiting for us with his knife; and last, not least, in the novelty, my English friend, metamorphosed, round-looking, and jacketed, trying to damp all this fire with his cool tones, and an air of voluptuous indolence. He had now, however, put on his loose riding-coat of mazarin blue, and his velvet cap, looking more lordly than before, but hardly less foreign. It was an awkward moment for him, not knowing what might happen; but he put a good face on the matter; and as to myself, I was so occupied with the novelty of the scene, that I had not time to be frightened. Forth we issue at the door, all squeezing to have the honour of being the boldest, when a termination is put to the tragedy by the vagabond’s throwing himself on a bench, extending his arms, and bursting into tears. His cap was half over his eyes; his face gaunt, ugly, and unshaved; his appearance altogether more squalid and miserable than an Englishman would conceive it possible to find in such an establishment. This blessed figure reclined weeping and wailing, and asking pardon for his offence; and to crown all, he requested Lord Byron to kiss him.

“The noble Lord conceived this excess of charity superfluous. He pardoned him, but said he must not think of remaining in his service; and the man continued weeping, and kissing his hand. I was then amused with seeing the footing on which the gentry and their servants stand with each other in Italy, and the good-nature with which the fiercest exhibitions of anger can be followed up. Conte Pietro, a generous good-humoured fellow, accepted the man’s hand, and shook it with great good-will; and Madame Guiccioli, though unable to subside so quickly from her state of indignant exaltation, looked in relenting sort, as if the pitying state of excitement would be just as good as the other. In fine, she concluded by according the man her grace also, seeing my Lord had forgiven him. The man was all penitence and wailing, but he was obliged to quit. The police would have forced him, if he had not been dismissed. He left the country, and called in his way on Mr. Shelley, who was shocked at his appearance, and gave him some money out of his very disgust; for he thought nobody would help such a fellow if he did not.”—pp. 9—12.

Of the lady here mentioned, and who must now take her station among those celebrated persons to whom the world has always been singularly charitable, the mistresses of poets and painters, a more copious account is given: the hand that paints her portrait is that of a master.

“But to return to the Gambas. The way in which the connexion between the young Countess and Lord Byron had originated, and was sanctioned, was, I thought, clear enough; but unfortunately it soon became equally clear, that there was no real love on either side. The lady, I believe, was not unsusceptible of a real attachment, and most undoubtedly she was desirous that Lord Byron should cultivate it, and make her as proud and as affectionate as she was anxious to be. But to
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.215
hear her talk of him, she must have pretty soon discerned, that this was impossible: and the manner of her talking rendered it more than doubtful whether she had ever loved, or could love him, to the extent that she supposed. I believe she would have taken great pride in the noble bard, if he would have let her; and remained a faithful and affectionate companion as long as he pleased to have her so; but this depended more on his treatment of her, and still more on the way in which he conducted himself towards others, than on any positive qualities of his own. On the other hand, he was alternately vexed and gratified by her jealousies. His regard being founded solely on her person, and not surviving in the shape of a considerate tenderness, had so degenerated in a short space of time, that if you were startled to hear the lady complain of him as she did, and that too with comparative strangers, you were shocked at the licence which he would allow his criticisms on her. The truth is, as I have said before, that he had never known any thing of love but the animal passion. His poetry had given this its gracefuller aspect, when young:—he could believe in the passion of Romeo and Juliet. But the moment he thought he had attained to years of discretion, what with the help of bad companions, and a sense of his own merits for want of comparisons to check it, he had made the wise and blessed discovery, that women might love himself though he could not return the passion; and that all women’s love, the very best of it, was nothing but vanity. To be able to love a quality for its own sake, exclusive of any reaction upon one’s self-love, seemed a thing that never entered his head. If at any time, therefore, he ceased to love a woman’s person, and found leizure to detect in her the vanities natural to a flattered beauty, he set no bounds to the light and coarse way in which he would speak of her. There was coarseness in the way in which he would talk to women, even when he was in his best humour with them. I do not mean on the side of voluptuousness, which is rather an excess than a coarseness; the latter being an impertinence, which is the reverse of the former. I have seen him call their attention to circumstances, which made you wish yourself a hundred miles off. They were connected with any thing but the graces with which a poet would encircle his Venus. He said to me once of a friend of his, that he had been spoilt by reading
Swift. He himself had certainly not escaped the infection.

“What completed the distress of this connexion, with respect to the parties themselves, was his want of generosity in money-matters. The lady was independent of him, and disinterested; and he seemed resolved that she should have every mode but one, of proving that she could remain so. I will not repeat what was said and lamented on this subject. I would not say any thing about it, nor about twenty other matters, but that they hang together more or less, and are connected with the truth of a portrait which it has become necessary to me to paint. It is fortunate that there are some which I can omit. But I am of opinion that no woman could have loved him long. Pride in his celebrity, and the wish not to appear to have been mistaken or undervalued on their own parts, might have kept up an appearance of love, long after it had ceased; but the thing would have gone without doubt, and that very speedily. Love may be kept up in spite of great defects, and even great offences,—offences too against itself. Lord Byron, out of a certain instinct, was fond of painting this in his poetry. But there are certain deficiencies, which by depriving a passion of the last resources of self-love necessary to every thing human, deny to it its last consolation,—that of taking pity on itself; and without this, it is not in nature that it should exist. Lord Byron painted his heroes criminal, wilful, even selfish in great things; but he took care not to paint them mean in little ones. He took care also to give them a great quantity of what he was singularly deficient in,—which was self-possession: for when it is added, that he had no address, even in the ordinary sense of the word,—that he hummed and hawed, and looked confused, on very trivial occasions,—that he could much more easily get into a dilemma than out of it, and with much greater skill wound the
216Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
self-love of others than relieve them,—the most commonplace believers in a poet’s attractions will begin to suspect, that it is possible for his books to be the best part of him.” - - - - -

“Madame Guiccioli, who was at that time about twenty, was handsome and lady-like, with an agreeable manner, and a voice not partaking too much of the Italian fervour to be gentle. She had just enough of it to give her speaking a grace. None of her graces appeared entirely free from art; nor, on the other hand, did they betray enough of it to give you an ill opinion of her sincerity and good-humour. I was told, that her Romagnese dialect was observable; but to me, at that time, all Italian in a lady’s mouth was Tuscan pearl; and she trolled it over her lip, pure or not, with that sort of conscious grace, which seems to belong to the Italian language as a matter of right. I amused her with speaking bad Italian out of Ariosto, and saying speme for speranza; in which she goodnaturedly found something pleasant and pellegrino; keeping all the while that considerate countenance, for which a foreigner has so much reason to be grateful. Her hair was what the poet has described, or rather blond, with an inclination to yellow; a very fair and delicate yellow at all events, and within the limits of the poetical. She had regular features, of the order properly called handsome, in distinction to prettiness or to piquancy; being well proportioned to one another, large rather than otherwise, but without coarseness, and more harmonious than interesting. Her nose was the handsomest of the kind I ever saw; and I have known her both smile very sweetly, and look intelligently, when Lord Byron has said something kind to her. I should not say, however, that she was a very intelligent person. Both her wisdom and her want of wisdom were on the side of her feelings, in which there was doubtless mingled a good deal of the self-love natural to a flattered beauty. She wrote letters in the style of the “Academy of Compliments;” and made plentiful use, at all times, of those substitutes for address and discourse, which flourished in England at the era of that polite compilation, and are still in full bloom in Italy.
“And evermore
She strew’d a mi rallegro after and before.”
In a word, Madame Guiccioli was a kind of buxom parlour-boarder, compressing herself artificially into dignity and elegance, and fancying she walked, in the eyes of the whole world, a heroine by the side of a poet. When I saw her at Monte-Nero, she was in a state of excitement and exaltation, and had really something of this look. At that time also she looked no older than she was; in which respect a rapid and very singular change took place, to the surprise of every body. In the course of a few months she seemed to have lived as many years. It was most likely in that interval that she discovered she had no real hold on the affections of her companion. The portrait of her by
Mr. West,
“In Magdalen’s loose hair and lifted eye,”
is flattering upon the whole; has a look of greater delicacy than she possessed; but it is also very like, and the studied pretension of the attitude has a moral resemblance. Being a half-length, it shows her to advantage; for the fault of her person was, that her head and bust were hardly sustained by limbs of sufficient length. I take her to have been a good-hearted zealous person, capable of being very natural if she had been thrown into natural circumstances, and able to show a companion, whom she was proud of, that good-humoured and grateful attachment, which the most brilliant men, if they were wise enough, would be as happy to secure, as a corner in Elysium. But the greater and more selfish the vanity, the less will it tolerate the smallest portion of it in another. Lord Byron saw, in the attachment of any female, nothing but what the whole sex were prepared to entertain for him; and instead of allowing himself to love and be beloved for the qualities which can only be realized upon intimacy, and which are the only securers at last of all attachment, whether for the illustrious or the obscure, he gave up his
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.217
comfort, out of a wretched compliment to his self-love. He enabled this adoring sex to discover, that a great man might be a very small one. It must be owned, however, as the reader will see presently, that Madame Guiccioli did not in the least know how to manage him, when he was wrong.”—pp. 23—39.

Having thus introduced to the notice of the reader the persons of the drama, we shall proceed to collect the scattered traits which Mr. Hunt detected during his uncomfortable experience of Lord Byron’s acquaintance. They are gathered from different parts of the work, and though unconnected, in our idea, complete the picture:—

“He recreated himself in the balcony, or with a book; and at night when I went to bed, he was just thinking of setting to work with Don Juan. His favourite reading was history and travels. I think I am correct in saying that his favourite authors were Bayle and Gibbon. Gibbon was altogether a writer calculated to please him. There was a show in him, and at the same time a tone of the world, a self-complacency and a sarcasm, a love of things aristocratical, with a tendency to be liberal on other points of opinion and to crown all, a splendid success in authorship, and a high and piquant character with the fashionable world, which found a strong sympathy in the bosom of his noble reader. Then, in his private life, Gibbon was a voluptuous recluse; he had given celebrity to a foreign residence, possessed a due sense of the merits of wealth as well as rank, and last, perhaps not least, was no speaker in Parliament. I may add, that the elaborate style of his writing pleased the lover of the artificial in poetry, while the cynical turn of his satire amused the genius of Don Juan. And finally, his learning and research supplied the indolent man of letters with the information which he had left at school.

Lord Byron’s collection of books was poor, and consisted chiefly of new ones. I remember little among them but the English works published at Basle, (Kames, Robertson, Watson’s History of Philip II. &c.) and new ones occasionally sent him from England. He was anxious to show you that he possessed no Shakspeare and Milton; ‘because,’ he said, ‘he had been accused of borrowing from them!’ He affected to doubt whether Shakspeare was so great a genius as he has been taken for, and whether fashion had not a great deal to do with it; an extravagance, of which none but a patrician author could have been guilty. However, there was a greater committal of himself at the bottom of this notion than he supposed; and, perhaps, circumstances had really disenabled him from having the proper idea of Shakspeare, though it could not have fallen so short of the truth as he pretended. Spenser, he could not read; at least he said so. All the gusto of that most poetical of the poets went with him for nothing. I lent him a volume of the Fairy Queen, and he said he would try to like it. Next day he brought it to my study-window, and said, ‘Here, Hunt, here is your Spenser. I cannot see any thing in him:’ and he seemed anxious that I should take it out of his hands, as if he was afraid of being accused of copying so poor a writer. That he saw nothing in Spenser is not very likely; but I really do not think that he saw much. Spenser was too much out of the world, and he too much in it. It would have been impossible to persuade him, that Sandys’s Ovid was better than Addison’s and Croxall’s. He wanted faith in the interior of poetry, to relish it, unpruned and unpopular. Besides, he himself was to be mixed up somehow with every thing, whether to approve it or disapprove. When he found Sandys’s “Ovid” among my books, he said, ‘God! what an unpleasant recollection I have of this book! I met with it on my wedding-day; I read it while I was waiting to go to church.’ Sandys, who is any thing but an anti-bridal poet, was thenceforward to be nobody but an old fellow who had given him an unpleasant sensation. The only great writer of past times, whom he read with avowed satisfaction, was Montaigne, as the reader may see by an article in the New Monthly Magazine. In the same article may be seen the reasons why, and the passages that he marked in that author.
218Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
Franklin he liked. He respected him for his acquisition of wealth and power; and would have stood in awe, had he known him, of the refined worldliness of his character, and the influence it gave him. Franklin’s Works, and Walter Scott’s, were among his favourite reading. His liking for such of the modern authors as he preferred in general, was not founded in a compliment to them; but Walter Scott, with his novels, his fashionable repute, and his ill opinion of the world whom he fell in with, enabled him to enter heartily into his merits; and he read him over and over again with unaffected delight. Sir Walter was his correspondent, and appears to have returned the regard; though, if I remember, the dedication of The Mystery frightened him. They did not hold each other in the less estimation, the one for being a lord, and the other a lover of lords: neither did Sir Walter’s connexion with the calumniating press of Edinburgh at all shock his noble friend. It added rather “a fearful joy” to his esteem; carrying with it a look of something “bloody, bold, and resolute:” at the same time, more resolute than bold, and more death-dealing than either;—a sort of available other-man’s weapon, which increased the sum of his power, and was a set-off against his character for virtue.” - - - - - -

“I passed a melancholy time at Albaro, walking about the stony alleys, and thinking of Mr. Shelley. My intercourse with Lord Byron, though less than before, was considerable; and we were always, as the phrase is, ‘on good terms.’ He knew what I felt, for I said it. I also knew what he thought, for he said that, ‘in a manner;’ and he was in the habit of giving you a good deal to understand, in what he did not say. In the midst of all his strange conduct, he professed a great personal regard. He would do the most humiliating things, insinuate the bitterest, both of me and my friends, and then affect to do all away with a soft word, protesting that nothing he ever said was meant to apply to myself.” - - - - -

“It is a credit to my noble acquaintance, that he was by far the pleasantest when he had got wine in his head. The only time I invited myself to dine with him, I told him I did it on that account, and that I meant to push the bottle so, that he should intoxicate me with his good company. He said he would have a set-to; but he never did it. I believe he was afraid. It was a little before he left Italy; and there was a point in contest between us (not regarding myself) which he thought perhaps I should persuade him to give up. When in his cups, which was not often, nor immoderately, he was inclined to be tender; but not weakly so, nor lachrymose. I know not how it might have been with every body, but he paid me the compliment of being excited to his very best feelings; and when I rose late to go away, he would hold me down, and say with a look of entreaty, ‘Not yet.’ Then it was that I seemed to talk with the proper natural Byron as he ought to have been; and there was not a sacrifice I could not have made to keep him in that temper; and see his friends love him, as much as the world admired. Next morning it was all gone. His intimacy with the worst part of mankind had got him again in its chilling crust; and nothing remained but to despair and joke.

“In his wine he would volunteer an imitation of somebody, generally of Incledon. He was not a good mimic in the detail; but he could give a lively broad sketch; and over his cups his imitations were good-natured, which was seldom the case at other times. His Incledon was vocal. I made pretensions to the oratorical part; and between us, we boasted that we made up the entire phenomenon. Mr. Mathews would have found it defective; or rather, he would not; for had he been there, we should judiciously have secreted our pretensions, and had the true likeness. We just knew enough of the matter, to make proper admirers.” - - - - - -

“This reminds me of the cunning way in which he has spoken of that passion for money in which he latterly indulged. He says, in one of his most agreeable, off-hand couplets in Don Juan, after telling us what a poor inanimate thing life has become for him—
‘So for a good old gentlemanly vice,
I think I shall take up with avarice.’
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.219
This the public were not to believe. It is a specimen of the artifice noticed in another place. They were to regard it only as a pleasantry, issuing from a generous mouth. However, it was very true. He had already taken up with the vice, as his friends were too well aware; and this couplet was at once to baffle them with a sort of confession, and to secure the public against a suspicion of it. It was curious to see what mastery he suffered the weakest passions to have over him; as if his public fame and abstract superiority were to bear him out privately, in every thing. He confessed that he felt jealous of the smallest accomplishments. The meaning of this was, that supposing every one else, in all probability, to feel so, you were to give him credit for being candid on a point which others concealed; or if they were not, the confession was to strike you as a piece of extraordinary acknowledgment on the part of a great man. The whole truth of the matter was to be found in the indiscriminate admiration he received. Those who knew him, took him at his word. They thought him so little above the weakness, that they did not care to exhibit any such accomplishment before him. We have been told of authors who were jealous even of beautiful women, because they divided attention. I do not think Lord Byron would have entertained a jealousy of this sort. He would have thought the women too much occupied with himself. But he would infallibly have been jealous, had the beautiful woman been a wit, or drawn a circle round her pianoforte. With men I have seen him hold the most childish contests for superiority; so childish, that had it been possible for him to divest himself of a sense of his pretensions and public character, they would have exhibited something of the conciliating simplicity of
Goldsmith. He would then lay imaginary wagers; and in a style which you would not have looked for in high life, thrust out his chin, and give knowing, self-estimating nods of the head, half nod and half shake, such as boys playing at chuck-farthing give, when they say, ‘Come; I tell you what now.’ A fat dandy who came upon us at Genoa, and pretended to be younger than he was, and to wear his own hair, discomposed him for the day. He declaimed against him in so deploring a tone, and uttered the word ‘wig’ so often, that my two eldest boys, who were in the next room, were obliged to stifle their laughter.” - - - - - -

“His love of notoriety was superior even to his love of money; which is giving the highest idea that can be entertained of it. But he was extremely anxious to make them go hand in hand. At one time he dashed away in England and got into debt, because he thought expense became him; but he looked to retrieving all this, and more, by marrying a fortune. When Shelley lived near him in Switzerland, he appeared to be really generous, because he had a generous man for his admirer, and one whose influence he felt extremely. Besides, Mr. Shelley had money himself, or the expectation of it; and he respected him the more, and was anxious to look well in his eyes on that account. In Italy, where a different mode of life, and the success of Beppo and Don Juan, had made him conclude that the romantic character was not necessary to fame, he shocked his companion one day, on renewing their intimacy, by asking him, whether he did not feel a real respect for a wealthy man, or, at least, a greater respect for the rich man of the company, than for any other? Mr. Shelley gave him what Napoleon would have called ‘a superb no.’ It is true, the same question might have been put at random to a hundred Englishmen; and all, if they were honest, might have answered ‘Yes;’ but these would have come from the middling ranks, where the possession of wealth is associated with the idea of cleverness and industry. Among the privileged orders, where riches are inherited, the estimation is much more equivocal, the richest man there being often the idlest and stupidest. But Mr. Shelley had as little respect for the possession or accumulation of wealth under any circumstances, as Lord Byron had the reverse; and he would give away hundreds with as much zeal for another man’s comfort, as the noble Lord would willingly save a guinea even in securing his pleasures. Perhaps, at one period of his residence there, no man in Italy,
220Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
certainly no Englishman, ever contrived to practice more rakery and economy at one and the same time. Italian women are not averse to accepting presents, or any other mark of kindness; but they can do without them, and his Lordship put them to the test. Presents, by way of showing his gratitude, or as another mode of interchanging delight and kindness between friends, he had long ceased to make. I doubt whether his fair friend,
Madame Guiccioli, ever received so much as a ring or a shawl from him. It is true, she did not require it. She was happy to show her disinterestedness in all points unconnected with the pride of her attachment; and I have as little doubt, that he would assign this as a reason for his conduct, and say he was as happy to let her prove it. But to be a poet and a wit, and to have had a liberal education, and write about love and lavishment, and not to find it in his heart, after all, to be able to put a friend and a woman upon a footing of graceful comfort with him in so poor a thing as a money-matter,—these were the sides of his character, in which love, as well as greatness, found him wanting, and in which it could discern no relief to its wounded self-respect, but at the risk of a greater mortification. The love of money, the pleasure of receiving it, even the gratitude he evinced when it was saved him, had not taught him the only virtue upon which lovers of money usually found their claims to a good construction:—he did not like paying a debt, and would undergo pestering and pursuit to avoid it. ‘But what,’ cries the reader, ‘becomes then of the stories of his making presents of money and manuscripts, and his not caring for the profits of his writings, and his giving 10,000l. to the Greeks?’ He did care for the profits of what he wrote, and he reaped a great deal: but, as I have observed before, he cared for celebrity still more; and his presents, such as they were, were judiciously made to that end. ‘Good heavens!’ said a fair friend to me the other day, who knew him well,—‘if he had but foreseen that you would have given the world an account of him! What would he not have done to cut a figure in your eyes!’ As to the Greeks, the present of 10,000l. was first of all well trumpeted to the world: it then became a loan of 10,000l.; then a loan of 6000l.; and he told me, in one of his incontinent fits of communication and knowingness, that he did not think he should ‘get off under 4000l.’ I know not how much was lent after all; but I have been told, that good security was taken for it; and I was informed the other day, that the whole money had been repaid. He was so jealous of your being easy upon the remotest points connected with property, that if he saw you ungrudging even upon so small a tax on your liberality as the lending of books, he would not the less fidget and worry you in lending his own. He contrived to let you feel that you had got them, and would insinuate that you had treated them carelessly, though he did not scruple to make marks and dogs’-ears in your’s. O Truth! what scrapes of portraiture have you not got me into.” - - - - - -

“If Lord Byron had been a man of address, he would have been a kinder man. He never heartily forgave either you or himself for his deficiency on this point; and hence a good deal of his ill-temper, and his carelessness of your feelings. By any means, fair or foul, he was to make up for the disadvantage; and with all his exaction of conventional propriety from others, he could set it at nought in his own conduct in the most remarkable manner. He had an incontinence, I believe unique, in talking of his affairs, and showing you other people’s letters. He would even make you presents of them; and I have accepted one or two that they might go no farther. But I have mentioned this before. If his five-hundred confidants, by a reticence as remarkable as his laxity, had not kept his secrets better than he did himself, the very devil might have been played with I know not how many people. But there was always this saving reflection to be made, that the man who could be guilty of such extravagances for the sake of making an impression, might be guilty of exaggerating or inventing what astonished you; and indeed, though he was a speaker of the truth on ordinary occasions,—that is to say, he did not tell you he had seen a dozen horses, when he had seen only
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.221
two,—yet, as he professed not to value the truth when in the way of his advantage, (and there was nothing he thought more to his advantage than making you stare at him,) the persons who were liable to suffer from his incontinence, had all the right in the world to the benefit of this consideration.

“His superstition was remarkable. I do not mean in the ordinary sense, because it was superstition, but because it was petty and old-womanish. He believed in the ill-luck of Fridays, and was seriously disconcerted if any thing was to be done on that frightful day of the week. Had he been a Roman, he would have startled at crows, while he made a jest of augurs. He used to tell a story of somebody’s meeting him, while in Italy, in St. James’s-street. The least and most childish of superstitions may, it is true, find subtle corners of warrant in the greatest minds; but as the highest pictures in Lord Byron’s poetry were imitations, so in the smallest of his personal superstitions he was maintained by something not his own. His turn of mind was material egotism, and some remarkable experiences, had given it a compulsory twist the other way; but it never grew kindly or loftily in that quarter. Hence his taking refuge from uneasy thoughts, in sarcasm, and trifling, and notoriety. What there is of a good-natured philosophy in Don Juan was not foreign to his wishes; but it was the commonplace of the age, repeated with an air of discovery by the noble Lord, and as ready to be thrown in the teeth of those from whom he took it, provided any body laughed at them. His soul might well have been met in St. James’s-street, for in the remotest of his poetical solitudes it was there. As to those who attribute the superstition of men of letters to infidelity, and then object to it for being inconsistent, because it is credulous, there is no greater inconsistency than their own; for as it is the very essence of infidelity to doubt, so according to the nature it inhabits, it may as well doubt whether such and such things do not exist, as whether they do: whereas, on the other hand, belief in particular dogmas, by the very nature of its tie, is precluded from this uncertainty, perhaps at the expense of being more foolishly certain.

“It has been thought by some, that there was madness in his composition. He himself talked sometimes as if he feared it would come upon him. It was difficult in his most serious moments, to separate what he spoke out of conviction, and what he said for effect. In moments of ill-health, especially when jaded and overwrought by the united effects of composition, and drinking, and sitting up, he might have had nervous misgivings to that effect; as more people perhaps are accustomed to have, than choose to talk about it. But I never saw any thing more mad in his conduct, than what I have just been speaking of; and there was enough in the nature of his position to account for extravagances in him, that would not have attained to that head under other circumstances. If every extravagance of which men are guilty, were to be pronounced madness, the world would be nothing but the Bedlam which some have called it; and then the greatest madness of all would be the greatest rationality; which, according to others, it is. There is no end to these desperate modes of settling and unsettling every thing at a jerk. There was great perversity and self-will in Lord Byron’s composition. It arose from causes which it would do honour to the world’s rationality to consider a little closer, and of which I shall speak presently. This it was, together with extravagant homage paid him, that pampered into so regal a size every inclination which he chose to give way to. But he did not take a hawk for a handsaw; nor will the world think him deficient in brain. Perhaps he may be said to have had something, in little, of the madness which was brought upon the Roman emperors in great. His real pretensions were mixed up with imaginary ones, and circumstances contributed to give the whole a power, or at least a presence in the eyes of men, which his temperament was too feeble to manage properly. But it is not in the light of a madman that the world will ever seriously consider a man whose productions delight them, and whom they place in the rank of contributors to the stock of wit. It is not as the madman witty, but as the wit, injured by circum-
222Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
stances considered to be rational, that Lord Byron is to be regarded. If his wit indeed would not have existed without these circumstances, then it would only show us that the perversest things have a tendency to right themselves, or produce their ultimate downfall: and so far, I would as little deny that his Lordship had a spice of madness in him, as I deny that he had not every excuse for what was unpleasant in his composition; which was none of his own making. So far, also, I would admit that a great part of the world are as mad as some have declared all the rest to be; that is to say, that although they are rational enough to perform the common offices of life, and even to persuade the rest of mankind that their pursuits and passions are what they should be, they are in reality but half rational beings, contradicted in the very outset of existence, and dimly struggling through life with the perplexity sown within them.

“To explain myself very freely, I look upon Lord Byron as an excessive instance of what we see in hundreds of cases every day; namely, of the unhappy consequences of a parentage that ought never to have existed,—of the perverse and discordant humours of those who were the authors of his being. His father was a rake of the wildest description; his mother a violent woman, very unfit to improve the offspring of such a person. She would vent her spleen by loading her child with reproaches; and add, by way of securing their bad effect, that he would be as great a reprobate as his father. Thus did his parents embitter his nature: thus they embittered his memory of them, contradicted his beauty with deformity, and completed the mischances of his existence. Perhaps both of them had a goodness at heart, which had been equally perplexed. It is not that individuals are to blame, or that human nature is bad; but that experience has not yet made it wise enough. Animal beauty they had at least a sense of. In this our poet was conceived; but contradiction of all sorts was superadded, and he was born handsome, wilful, and lame. A happy childhood might have corrected his evil tendencies; but he had it not; and the upshot was, that he spent an uneasy overexcited life, and that society have got an amusing book or two by his misfortunes. The books may even help to counteract the spreading of such a misfortune; and so far it may be better for society that he lived. But this is a rare case. Thousands of such mistakes are round about us, with nothing to show for them but complaint and unhappiness.

Lord Byron’s face was handsome; eminently so in some respects. He had a mouth and chin fit for Apollo; and when I first knew him, there were both lightness and energy all over his aspect. But his countenance did not improve with age, and there were always some defects in it. The jaw was too big for the upper part. It had all the wilfulness of a despot in it. The animal predominated over the intellectual part of his head, inasmuch as the face altogether was large in proportion to the skull. The eyes also were set too near one another; and the nose, though handsome in itself, had the appearance when you saw it closely in front, of being grafted on the face, rather than growing properly out of it. His person was very handsome, though terminating in lameness, and tending to fat and effeminacy; which makes me remember what a hostile fair one objected to him, namely, that he had little beard; a fault which, on the other hand, was thought by another lady, not hostile, to add to the divinity of his aspect,—imberbis Apollo. His lameness was only in one foot, the left; and it was so little visible to casual notice, that as he lounged about a room (which he did in such a manner as to screen it) it was hardly perceivable. But it was a real and even a sore lameness. Much walking upon it fevered and hurt it. It was a shrunken foot, a little twisted. This defect unquestionably mortified him exceedingly, and helped to put sarcasm and misanthropy into his taste of life. Unfortunately, the usual thoughtlessness of schoolboys made him feel it bitterly at Harrow. He would wake, and find his leg in a tub of water. The reader will see in the correspondence at the end of this memoir, how he felt it, whenever it was libelled; and in Italy, the only time I ever knew it mentioned, he did not like the subject, and hastened to change
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.223
it. His handsome person, so far rendered the misfortune greater, as it pictured to him all the occasions on which he might have figured in the eyes of company; and doubtless this was a great reason, why he had no better address. On the other hand, instead of losing him any real regard or admiration, his lameness gave a touching character to both. Certainly no reader would have liked him, or woman loved him, the less, for the thought of this single contrast to his superiority. But the very defect had taught him to be impatient with deficiency. Good God! when I think of these things, and of the common weaknesses of society, as at present constituted, I feel as if I could shed tears over the most willing of my resentments, much more over the most unwilling, and such as I never intended to speak of; nor could any thing have induced me to give a portrait of Lord Byron and his infirmities, if I had not been able to say at the end of it, that his faults were not his own, and that we must seek the causes of them in mistakes common to us all. What is delightful to us in his writings will still remain so, if we are wise; and what ought not to be, will not only cease to be perilous, but be useful. Faults which arise from an exuberant sociality, like those of Burns, may safely be left to themselves. They at once explain themselves by their natural candour, and carry an advantage with them; because any thing is advantageous in the long run to society, which tends to break up their selfishness. But doctrines, or half-doctrines, or whatever else they may be, which tend to throw individuals upon themselves, and overcast them at the same time with scorn and alienation, it is as well to see traced to their sources. In comparing notes, humanity gets wise; and certainty the wiser it gets, it will not be the less modest or humane, whether it has to find fault, or to criticise the fault-finder.” - - - - - -

Lord Byron had no conversation, properly speaking. He could not interchange ideas or information with you, as a man of letters is expected to do. His thoughts required the concentration of silence and study to bring them to a head; and they deposited the amount in the shape of a stanza. His acquaintance with books was very circumscribed. The same personal experience, however, upon which he very properly drew for his authorship, might have rendered him a companion more interesting by far than men who could talk better; and the great reason why his conversation disappointed you was, not that he had not any thing to talk about, but that he was haunted with a perpetual affectation, and could not talk sincerely. It was by fits only that he spoke with any gravity, or made his extraordinary disclosures; and at no time did you well know what to believe. The rest was all quip and crank, not of the pleasantest kind, and equally distant from simplicity or wit. The best thing to say of it was, that he knew playfulness to be consistent with greatness; and the worst, that he thought every thing in him was great, even to his vulgarities.

Mr. Shelley said of him, that he never made you laugh to your own content. This, however, was said latterly, after my friend had been disappointed by a close intimacy. Mr. Shelley’s opinion of his natural powers in every respect was great; and there is reason to believe, that Lord Byron never talked with any man to so much purpose as he did with him. He looked upon him as his most admiring listener; and probably was never less under the influence of affectation. If he could have got rid of this and his title, he would have talked like a man; not like a mere man of the town, or a great spoilt schoolboy. It is not to be concluded, that his jokes were not now and then very happy, or that admirers of his lordship, who paid him visits, did not often go away more admiring. I am speaking of his conversation in general, and of the impression it made upon you, compared with what was to be expected from a man of wit and experience.

“He had a delicate white hand, of which he was proud; and he attracted attention to it by rings. He thought a hand of this description almost the only mark remaining now-a-days of a gentleman; of which it certainly is not, nor of a lady either; though a coarse one implies handywork. He
224Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
often appeared holding a handkerchief, upon which his jewelled fingers lay imbedded, as in a picture. He was as fond of fine linen, as a quaker; and had the remnant of his hair oiled and trimmed with all the anxiety of a Sardanapalus.

“The visible character to which this effeminacy gave rise, appears to have indicated itself as early as his travels in the Levant, where the Grand Signior is said to have taken him for a woman in disguise. But he had tastes of a more masculine description. He was fond of swimming to the last, and used to push out to a good distance in the Gulf of Genoa. He was also, as I have before mentioned, a good horseman; and he liked to have a great dog or two about him, which is not a habit observable in timid men. Yet I doubt greatly whether he was a man of courage. I suspect, that personal anxiety, coming upon a constitution unwisely treated, had no small hand in hastening his death in Greece.

“The story of his bold behaviour at sea in a voyage to Sicily, and of Mr. Shelley’s timidity, is just reversing what I conceive would have been the real state of the matter, had the voyage taken place. The account is an impudent fiction. Nevertheless, he volunteered voyages by sea, when he might have eschewed them: and yet the same man never got into a coach without being afraid. In short, he was the contradiction his father and mother had made him. To lump together some more of his personal habits, in the style of Old Aubrey, he spelt affectedly, swore somewhat, had the Northumbrian burr in his speech, did not like to see women eat, and would merrily say that he had another reason for not liking to dine with them; which was, that they always had the wings of the chicken.

“For the rest,
‘Ask you why Byron broke through every rule?
’Twas all for fear the knaves should call him fool.’”

Pages 44—92.

Mr. Hunt enters into an examination of the various publications which have been broached on the subject of Lord Byron’s life and character; and as he condescends to criticise some very paltry performances, we are surprised that he did not bestow some attention on a paper which formerly appeared in this magazine (for October, 1824). It is the only sketch that has been written in the same spirit as his own; and since it remarkably coincides in all leading points with the view above given, may be considered a confirmation of its truth. This sketch appeared soon after Lord Byron’s death, and attracted much attention at the time, it having been copied from our pages into almost every other journal of the day. It was thought much too true, much too unceremonious, and the very reverse of sentimental, the tone into which the nation struck after the death of this remarkable person.

Hitherto we have spoken of Lord Byron, and he is enough for one paper; nevertheless the reader will find much matter for agreeable contemplation in the other portraits, but most particularly that which has the se ipse pinxit at its foot. One of the cleverest sketches of character we remember is that of Mr. Leigh Hunt’s father, the Rev. Isaac Hunt, originally a barrister in America, then a fugitive loyalist, and afterwards a clergyman of the Church of England, who lost a bishopric by his too social qualities. From the account of Mr Leigh Hunt’s voyage to Italy, we shall make a long but final extract. It is one of the most amusing, as well as natural descriptions of a sea voyage, by a landsman, and would contrast well with one of Mr. Cooper’s vigorous sketches of the same scenes, as viewed by a skilful and daring seaman:—

Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron. 225

“Our vessel was a small brig of a hundred and twenty tons burden, a good tight sea-boat, nothing more. Its cargo consisted of sugar; but it took in also a surreptitious stock of gunpowder, to the amount of fifty barrels, which was destined for Greece. Of this intention we knew nothing, till the barrels were sent on board from a place up the river; otherwise, so touchy a companion would have been objected to, my wife, who was in a shattered state of health, never ceasing to entertain apprehensions on account of it, except when the storms that came upon us presented a more obvious peril. There were nine men to the crew, including the mate. We numbered as many souls, though with smaller bodies, in the cabin, which we had entirely to ourselves; as well we might, for it was small enough. On the afternoon of the 15th of November (1821), we took leave of some dear friends, who accompanied us on board; and next morning were awakened by the motion of the vessel, making its way through the shipping in the river. The new life in which we thus, as it were, found ourselves enclosed, the clanking of iron, and the cheerly cries of the seamen, together with the natural vivacity of the time of day, presented something animating to our feelings; but while we thus moved off, not without encouragement, we felt that the friend whom we were going to see was at a great distance, while others were very near, whose hands it would be a long while before we should touch again, perhaps never. We hastened to get up and busy ourselves; and great as well as small found a novel diversion in the spectacle that presented itself from the deck, our vessel threading its way through the others with gliding bulk.

“The next day it blew strong from the south-east, and even in the river (the navigation of which is not easy) we had a foretaste of the alarms and bad weather that awaited us at sea. The pilot, whom we had taken in over-night, (and who was a jovial fellow with a whistle like a blackbird, which, in spite of the dislike that sailors have to whistling, he was always indulging,) thought it prudent to remain at anchor till two in the afternoon; and at six, a vessel meeting us carried away the jib-boom, and broke in one of the bulwarks. My wife, who had had a respite from the most alarming part of her illness, and whom it was supposed that a sea-voyage, even in winter, might benefit, again expectorated blood with the fright; and I began to regret that I had brought my family into this trouble.—Even in the river we had a foretaste of the sea; and the curse of being at sea to a landman is, that you know nothing of what is going forward, and can take no active part in getting rid of your fears, or in ‘lending a hand.’ The business of these small vessels is not carried on with the orderliness and tranquillity of greater ones, or of men-of-war. The crew are not very wise; the captain does not know how to make them so; the storm roars; the vessel pitches and reels; the captain, over your head, stamps and swears, and announces all sorts of catastrophes. Think of a family hearing all this, and parents in alarm for their children!

“On Monday, the 19th, we passed the Nore, and proceeded down Channel amidst rains and squalls. We were now out at sea; and a rough taste we had of it. I had been three times in the Channel before, once in hard weather; but I was then a bachelor, and had only myself to think of. Let the reader picture to his imagination the little back-parlour of one of the shops in Fleet-street, or the Strand, attached or let into a great moving vehicle, and tumbling about the waves from side to side, now sending all the things that are loose, this way, and now that. This will give him an idea of a cabin at sea, such as we occupied. It had a table fastened down in the middle; places let into the walls on each side, one over the other, to hold beds; a short, wide, sloping window, carried off over a bulk, and looking out to sea; a bench, or locker, running under the bulk from one side of the cabin to the other; and a little fireplace opposite, in which it was impossible to keep a fire on account of the wind. The weather, at the same time, was bitterly cold, as well as wet. On one side the fireplace was the door, and on the other a door leading into a petty closet dignified with the title of the state-room. In this room
226Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
we put our servant, the captain sleeping in another closet outside. The births were occupied by the children, and my wife and myself lay, as long as we could manage to do so, on the floor. Such was the trim, with boisterous wet weather, cold days, and long evenings, on which we set out on our sea-adventure.

“At six o’clock in the evening of the 19th, we came to in the Downs, in a line with Sandown Castle. The wind during the night increasing to a gale, the vessel pitched and laboured considerably; and the whole of the next day it blew a strong gale, with hard squalls from the westward. The day after, the weather continuing bad, the captain thought proper to run for Ramsgate, and took a pilot for that purpose. Captains of vessels are very unwilling to put into harbour, on account of the payment they have to make, and the necessity of supporting the crew for nothing while they remain. Many vessels are no doubt lost on this account; and a wonder is naturally expressed, that men can persist in putting their lives into jeopardy in order to save a few pounds. But when we come to know what a seaman’s life is, we see that nothing but the strongest love of gain (whether accompanied or not by the love of spending) could induce a man to take a voyage at all; and he is naturally anxious to save, what he looks upon as the only tangible proof, that he is not the greatest fool in existence. His life, he thinks, is in God’s keeping; but his money is in his own. To be sure, a captain who has been to sea fifty times, and has got rich by it, will go again, storms or vows to the contrary notwithstanding, because he does not know what to do with himself on shore; but unless he had the hope of adding to his stock, he would blunder into some other way of business, rather than go, as he would think, for nothing. Occupation is his real necessity, as it is that of other money-getters; but the mode of it, without the visible advantage, he would assuredly give up. I never met with a seaman (and I have put the question to several) who did not own to me, that he hated his profession. One of them, a brave and rough subject, told me, that there was not a ‘pickle’ of a midshipman, not absolutely a fool, who would not confess that he had rather eschew a second voyage, if he had but the courage to make the avowal.

“I know not what the Deal pilot, whom we took on board in the Downs, thought upon this point; but if ever there was a bold fellow, it was he; and yet he could eye a squall with a grave look. I speak not so much from what he had to do on the present occasion, though it was a nice business to get us into Ramsgate harbour: but he had the habit of courage in his face, and was altogether one of the most interesting-looking persons I have seen. The Deal boatmen are a well-known race; reverenced for their matchless intrepidity, and the lives they have saved. Two of them came on board the day before, giving opinions of the weather, which the captain was loth to take, and at the same time insinuating some little contraband notions, which he took better. I thought how little these notions injured the fine manly cast of their countenances, than which nothing could be more self-possessed and even innocent. They seemed to understand the first principles of the thing, without the necessity of enquiring into it; their useful and noble lives standing them in stead of the pettier ties and sophisms of the interested. Our pilot was a prince, even of his race, He was a tall man in a kind of frock-coat, thin but powerful, with high features, and an expression of countenance fit for an Argonaut. When he took the rudder in hand, and stood alone, guiding the vessel towards the harbour, the crew being all busied at a distance from him, and the captain, as usual, at his direction, he happened to put himself into an attitude the most graceful as well as commanding conceivable; and a new squall coming up in the horizon, just as we were going to turn in, he gave it a look of lofty sullenness, threat, as it were, for threat,—which was the most magnificent aspect of resolution I ever beheld. Experience and valour assumed their rights, and put themselves on a par with danger. In we turned, to the admiration of the spectators who had come down to the pier, and to the satisfaction of all on board, except the poor captain, who, though it was his own doing, seemed, while gallantly congratulating the
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.227
lady, to be eyeing, with sidelong pathos, the money that was departing from him.

“We stopped, for a change of weather, nearly three weeks at Ramsgate, where we had visits from more than one London friend, to whom I only wish we could give a tenth part of the consolation when they are in trouble, which they afforded us. At Ramsgate I picked up Condorcet’s View of the Progress of Society, which I read with a transport of gratitude to the author, though it had not entered so deeply into the matter as I supposed. But the very power to persevere in hopes for mankind, at a time of life when individuals are in the habit of reconciling their selfishness and fatigue by choosing to think ill of them, is a great good in any man, and achieves a great good if it act only upon one other person. A few such instances of perseverance would alter the world. For some days we remained on board, as it was hoped that we should be able to set sail again. Ramsgate harbour is very shallow; and though we lay in the deepest part of it, the vessel took to a new and ludicrous species of dance, grinding and thumping upon the chalky ground. The consequence was, that the metal pintles of the rudder were all broken, and new ones obliged to be made; which the sailors told us was very lucky, as it proved the rudder not to be in good condition, and it might have deserted us at sea. We lay next a French vessel, smaller than our own, the crew of which became amusing subjects of remark. They were always whistling, singing, and joking. The men shaved themselves elaborately, and cultivated heroic whiskers; strutting up and down, when at leisure, with their arms folded, and the air of naval officers. A woman or two, with kerchiefs and little curls, completed the picture. They all seemed very merry and good-humoured. At length, tired of waiting on board, we took a quiet lodging at the other end of the town, and were pleased to find ourselves sitting still, and secure of a good rest at night. It is something, after being at sea, to find oneself not running the fork in one’s eye at dinner, or suddenly sliding down the floor to the other end of the room. My wife was in a very weak state; but the rest she took was deep and tranquil, and I resumed my walks. Few of the principal bathing-places have any thing worth looking at in the neighbourhood, and Ramsgate has less than most. Pegwell Bay is eminent for shrimps. Close by is Sir William Garrow, and a little farther on is Sir William Curtis. The sea is a grand sight, but it becomes tiresome and melancholy,—a great monotonous idea. I was destined to see it grander, and dislike it more.

“On Tuesday the 11th of December, we set forth again, in company with nearly a hundred vessels, the white sails of which, as they shifted and presented themselves in different quarters, made an agreeable spectacle, exhibiting a kind of noble minuet. My wife was obliged to be carried down to the pier in a sedan; and the taking leave, a second time, of a dear friend, rendered our new departure a melancholy one. I would have stopped and waited for summertime, had not circumstances rendered it advisable for us to persevere; and my wife herself fully agreed with me, and even hoped for benefit, as well as a change of weather. Unfortunately, the promise to that effect lasted us but a day. The winds recommenced the day following, and there ensued such a continuity and vehemence of bad weather as rendered the winter of 1821 memorable in the shipping annals. It strewed the whole of the north-western coasts of Europe with wrecks. The reader may remember that winter: it was the one in which Mount Hecla burst out again into flame, and Dungeness lighthouse was struck with lightning. The mole at Genoa was dilapidated. Next year there were between 14 and 15,000 sail less upon Lloyd’s books; which, valued at an average at £1500, made a loss of two millions of money;—the least of all the losses, considering the feelings of survivors. Fifteen hundred sail (colliers) were wrecked on the single coast of Jutland.

“Of this turmoil we were destined to have a sufficient experience; and I will endeavour to give the reader a taste of it, as he sits comfortably in his arm-chair. He has seen what sort of cabin we occupied. I will now speak
228Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
of the crew and their mode of living, and what sort of trouble we partook in common. He may encounter it himself afterwards if he pleases, and it may do him good; but again I exhort him not to think of taking a family with him.

“Our captain, who was, also proprietor of the vessel, had been master of a man-of-war, and was more refined in his manners than captains of small merchantmen are used to be. He was a clever seaman, or he would not have occupied his former post; and I dare say he conducted us well up and down Channel. The crew, when they were exhausted, accused him of a wish of keeping us out at sea, to save charges,—perhaps unjustly; for he became so alarmed himself, or was so little able to enter into the alarms of others, that he would openly express his fears before my wife and children. He was a man of connexions superior to his calling; and the consciousness of this, together with success in life, and a good complexion and set of features which he had had in his time, rendered him, though he was getting old, a bit of a coxcomb. When he undertook to be agreeable, he assumed a cleaner dress, and a fidgetty sort of effeminacy, which contrasted very ludicrously with his old clothes and his doleful roughness during a storm. While it was foul weather, he was roaring and swearing at the men, like a proper captain of a brig, and then grumbling, and saying, ‘Lord bless us and save us!’ in the cabin. If a glimpse of promise re-appeared, he put on a coat and aspect to correspond, was constantly putting compliments to the lady, and telling stories of other fair passengers whom he had conveyed charmingly to their destination. He wore powder; but this not being sufficient always to conceal the colour of his hair, he told us it had turned grey when he was a youth, from excessive fright in being left upon a rock. This confession made me conclude that he was a brave man, in spite of his exclamations. I saw him among his kindred, and he appeared to be an object of interest to some respectable maiden sisters, whom he treated kindly, and for whom all the money, perhaps, that he scraped together, was intended. He was chary of his ‘best biscuit,’ but fond of children; and was inclined to take me for a Jonah for not reading the Bible, while he made love to the maid-servant. Of such incongruities are people made, from the great captain to the small!

“Our mate was a tall handsome young man, with a countenance of great refinement for a seaman. He was of the humblest origin: yet a certain gentility was natural in him, as he proved by a hundred little circumstances of attention to the women and children, when consolation was wanted, though he did not do it ostentatiously or with melancholy. If a child was afraid, he endeavoured to amuse him with stories. If the women asked him anxiously how things were going on, he gave them a cheerful answer; and he contrived to show by his manner that he did not do so in order to make a show of his courage at their expense. He was attentive without officiousness, and cheerful with quiet. The only fault I saw in him, was a tendency to lord it over a Genoese boy, an apprentice to the captain, who seemed ashamed of being among the crew, and perhaps gave himself airs. But a little tyranny will creep into the best natures, if not informed enough, under the guise of a manly superiority; as may be seen so often in upper boys at school. The little Genoese was handsome, and had the fine eyes of the Italians. Seeing he was a foreigner, when we first went on board, we asked him whether he was not an Italian, He said, no he was a Genoese. It is the Lombards, I believe, that are more particularly understood to be Italians, when a distinction of this kind is made; but I never heard it afterwards. He complained to me one day, that he wanted books and poetry; and said that the crew were a “brutta gente.” I afterwards met him in Genoa, when he looked as gay as a lark, and was dressed like a gentleman. His name was a piece of music,—Luigi Rivarola. There was another foreigner on board, a Swede, as rough a subject and Northern, as the Genoese was full of the ‘sweet South.’ He had the reputation of being a capital seaman, which enabled him to grumble to better advantage than the others. A coat of the mate’s, hung up to dry, in a situation not perfectly legal, was not to be seen by him without a comment.
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.229
The fellow had an honest face withal, but brute and fishy, not unlike a Triton’s in a picture. He gaped up at a squall, with his bony look, and the hair over his eyes, as if he could dive out of it in case of necessity. Very different was a fat, fair-skinned carpenter, with a querulous voice, who complained on all occasions, and in private was very earnest with the passengers to ask the captain to put into port. And very different again from him was a jovial strait-forward seaman, a genuine Jack Tar, with a snub nose and an under lip thrust out, such as we see in caricatures. He rolled about with the vessel, as if his feet had suckers; and he had an oath and a jest every morning for the bad weather. He said he would have been ‘d—d’ before he had come to sea this time, if he had known what sort of weather it was to be; but it was not so bad for him, as for the gentlefolks with their children.

“The crew occupied a little cabin at the other end of the vessel, into which they were tucked in their respective cribs, like so many herrings. The weather was so bad, that a portion of them, sometimes all, were up at night, as well as the men on watch. The business of the watch is to see that all is safe, and to look out for vessels ahead. He is very apt to go to sleep, and is sometimes waked with a pail of water chucked over him. The tendency to sleep is very natural, and the sleep in fine weather delicious. Shakspeare may well introduce a sailor boy sleeping on the topmast, and enjoying a luxury that wakeful kings might envy. But there is no doubt that the luxury of the watcher is often the destruction of the vessel. The captains themselves, glad to get to rest, are careless. When we read of vessels run down at sea, we are sure to find it owing to negligence. This was the case with regard to the steam-vessel, the Comet, which excited so much interest the other day. A passenger, anxious and kept awake, is surprised to see the eagerness with which every seaman, let the weather be what it may, goes to bed. when it comes to his turn. Safety, if they can have it; but sleep at all events. This seems to be their motto. If they are to be drowned, they would rather have the two beds together, the watery and the worsted. Dry is too often a term inapplicable to the latter. In our vessel, night after night, the wet penetrated into the seamen’s births; and the poor fellows, their limbs stiff and aching with cold, and their hands blistered with toil, had to get into beds as wretched as if a pail of water had been thrown over them.

“Such were the lives of our crew from the 12th till the 22nd of December, during which time we were beaten up and down Channel, twice touching the Atlantic, and driven back again like a hunted ox. One of the gales lasted, without intermission, fifty-six hours; blowing all the while, as if it would ‘split its cheeks.’ The oldest seaman on board had never seen rougher weather in Europe. In some parts of the world, both East and West, there is weather of sudden and more outrageous violence; but none of the crew had experienced tempests of longer duration, nor more violent for the climate. The worst of being at sea in weather like this, next to your inability to do any thing, is the multitude of petty discomforts with which you are surrounded. You can retreat into no comfort, great or small. Your feet are cold; you can take no exercise on account of the motion of the vessel; and a fire will not keep in. You cannot sit in one posture. You lie down, because you are sick; or if others are more sick, you must keep your legs as well as you can, to help them. At meals, the plates and dishes slide away, now to this side, now that; making you laugh, it is true; but you laugh more out of satire than merriment. Twenty to one you are obliged to keep your beds, and chuck the cold meat to one another; or the oldest and strongest does it for the rest, desperately remaining at table, and performing all the slides, manœuvres, and sudden rushes, which the fantastic violence of the cabin’s movements has taught him. Tea, (which, for the refreshment it affords in toil and privation, may be called the traveller’s wine) is taken as desperately as may be, provided you can get boiling water; the cook making his appearance, when he can, with his feet asunder, clinging to the floor, and swaying to and fro with the kettle. (By the by, I have not mentioned our cook; he was a Mulatto, a merry knave, constantly drunk. But the habit of
230Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
drinking, added to a quiet and sly habit of uttering his words, had made it easy to him to pretend sobriety when he was most intoxicated; and I believe he deceived the whole of the people on board, except ourselves. The captain took him for a special good fellow, and felt particularly grateful for his refusals of a glass of rum; the secret of which was, he could get at the rum whenever he liked, and was never without a glass of it in his œsophagus. He stood behind you at meals, kneading the floor with his feet, as the vessel rolled; drinking in all the jokes, or would-be jokes, that were uttered; and laughing like a dumb goblin. The captain, who had eyes for nothing but what was right before him, seldom noticed his merry devil; but if you caught his eye, there he was, shaking his shoulders without a word, while his twinkling eyes seemed to run over with rum and glee. This fellow, who swore horrid oaths in a tone of meekness, used to add to my wife’s horrors by descending, drunk as he was, with a lighted candle into the ‘Lazaret,’ which was a hollow under the cabin, opening with a trapdoor, and containing provisions and a portion of the gunpowder. The portion was small, but sufficient, she thought, with the assistance of his candle, to blow its up. Fears for her children occupied her mind from morning till night, when she sank into an uneasy sleep. While she was going to sleep I read, and did not close my eyes till towards morning, thinking (with a wife by my side, and seven children around me) what I should do in case of the worst. My imagination, naturally tenacious, and exasperated by ill health, clung, not to every relief, but to every shape of ill that I could fancy. I was tormented with the consciousness of being unable to divide myself into as many pieces as I had persons requiring assistance; and must not scruple to own that I suffered a constant dread, which appeared to me very unbecoming a man of spirit. However, I expressed no sense of it to any body. I did my best to do my duty and keep up the spirits of those about me; and your nervousness being a great dealer in your joke fantastic, I succeeded apparently with all, and certainly with the children. The most uncomfortable thing in the vessel was the constant wet. Below it penetrated, and on deck you could not appear with dry shoes but they were speedily drenched. Mops being constantly in use at sea, (for seamen are very clean in that respect, and keep their vessel as nice as a pet infant,) the sense of wet was always kept up, whether in wetting or drying; and the vessel, tumbling about, looked like a wash-house in a fit. We had a goat on board, a present from a kind friend, anxious that we should breakfast as at home. The storms frightened away its milk, and Lord Byron’s dog afterwards bit off its ear. But the ducks had the worst of it. These were truly a sight to make a man hypochondriacal. They were kept in miserable narrow coops, over which the sea constantly breaking, the poor wretches were drenched and beaten to death. Every morning, when I came upon deck, some more were killed, or had their legs and wings broken. The captain grieved for the loss of his ducks, and once went so far as to add to the number of his losses by putting one of them out of its misery; but nobody seemed to pity them otherwise. This was not inhumanity, but want of thought. The idea of pitying live-stock when they suffer, enters with as much difficulty into a head uneducated to that purpose, as the idea of pitying a diminished piece of beef or a stolen pig. I took care not to inform the children how much the creatures suffered. My family, with the exception of the eldest boy, who was of an age to acquire experience, always remained below; and the children, not aware of any danger, (for I took care to qualify what the captain said, and they implicitly believed me) were as gay, as confinement and uneasy beds would allow them to be. With the poor ducks I made them outrageously merry one night, by telling them to listen when the next sea broke over us, and they would hear Mr. P., an acquaintance of theirs, laughing. The noise they made with their quacking, when they gathered breath after the suffocation of the salt water, was exactly like what I said: the children listened, and at every fresh agony there was a shout. Being alarmed one night by the captain’s open expression of his apprehension, I prepared the children for the worst that might happen,
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.231
by telling them that the sea sometimes broke into a cabin, and then there was a dip over head and ears for the passengers, after which they laughed and made merry. The only time I expressed apprehension to any body was to the mate, one night when we were wearing ship off the Scilly rocks, and every body was in a state of anxiety. I asked him, in case of the worst, to throw open the lid of the cabin-stairs, that the sea might pour in upon us as fast as possible. He begged me not to have any sad thoughts, for he said I should give them to him, and he had none at present. At the same time, he turned and severely rebuked the carpenter, who was looking doleful at the helm, for putting notions into the heads of the passengers. The captain was unfortunately out of hearing.

“I did wrong, at that time, not to ‘feed better,’ as the phrase is. My temperance was a little ultra-theoretical and excessive; and the mate and I were the only men on board who drank no spirits. Perhaps there were not many men out in those dreadful nights in the Channel, who could say as much. The mate, as he afterwards let me know, felt the charge upon him too great to venture upon an artificial state of courage; and I feared that what courage was left me, might be bewildered. The consequence was, that from previous illness and constant excitation, my fancy was sickened into a kind of hypochondriacal investment and shaping of things about me. A little more, and I might have imagined the fantastic shapes which the action of the sea is constantly interweaving out of the foam at the vessel’s side, to be sea-snakes, or more frightful hieroglyphics. The white clothes that hung up on pegs in the cabin, took, in the gloomy light from above, an aspect like things of meaning; and the winds and rain together, as they ran blind and howling along by the vessel’s side, when I was on deck, appeared like frantic spirits of the air, chasing and shrieking after one another, and tearing each other by the hair of their heads. ‘The grandeur of the glooms’ on the Atlantic was majestic indeed: the healthiest eye would have seen them with awe. The sun rose in the morning, at once fiery and sicklied over; a livid gleam played on the water, like the reflection of lead; then the storms would recommence; and during partial clearings off, the clouds and fogs appeared standing in the sky, moulded into gigantic shapes, like antediluvian wonders, or visitants from the zodiac; mammoths, vaster than have yet been thought of; the first ungainly and stupendous ideas of bodies and legs, looking out upon an unfinished world. These fancies were ennobling, from their magnitude. The pain that was mixed with some of the others, I might have displaced by a fillip of the blood.

“Two days after we left Ramsgate, the wind blowing violently from the south-west, we were under close-reefed topsails; but on its veering to westward, the captain was induced to persevere, in hopes that by coming round to the north-west, it would enable him to clear the Channel. The ship laboured very much, the sea breaking over her; and the pump was constantly going.

“The next day, the 14th, we shipped a great deal of water, the pump going as before. The foretopsail and foresail were taken in, and the storm staysail set; and the captain said we were ‘in the hands of God.’ We now wore ship to southward.

“On the 15th, the weather was a little moderated, with fresh gales and cloudy. The captain told us to-day how his hair turned white in a shipwreck; and the mate entertained us with an account of the extraordinary escape of himself and some others from an American pirate, who seized their vessel, plundered and made it a wreck, and confined them under the hatches, in the hope of their going down with it. They escaped in a rag of a boat, and were taken up by a Greek vessel, which treated them with the greatest humanity. The pirate was afterwards taken, and hung at Malta, with five of his men. This story, being tragical without being tempestuous, and terminating happily for our friend, was very welcome, and occupied us agreeably. I tried to get up some ghost stories of vessels, but could hear of nothing but the Flying Dutchman: nor did I succeed better on another occasion. This
232Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.
dearth of supernatural adventure is remarkable, considering the superstition of sailors. But their wits are none of the liveliest to be acted upon; and then the sea blunts while it mystifies; and the sailor’s imagination, driven in, like his body, to the vessel he inhabits, admits only the petty wonders that come directly about him in the shape of storm-announcing fishes and birds. His superstition is that of a blunted and not of an awakened ignorance. Sailors had rather sleep than see visions.

“On the 16th, the storm was alive again, with strong gales and heavy squalls. We set the fore storm staysail anew, and at night the jollyboat was torn from the stern.

“The afternoon of the 17th brought us the gale that lasted fifty-six hours, ‘one of the most tremendous,’ the captain said, ‘that he had ever witnessed.’ All the sails were taken in, except the close-reefed topsail and one of the trysails. At night, the wind being at south-west, and Scilly about fifty miles north by east, the trysail sheet was carried away, and the boom and sail had a narrow escape. We were now continually wearing ship. The boom was unshipped, as it was; and it was a melancholy sight to see it lying next morning, with the sail about it, like a wounded servant who had been fighting. The morning was occupied in getting it to rights. At night we had hard squalls with lightning.

“We lay to under main-topsail until the next morning, the 19th, when at ten o’clock we were enabled to set the reefed foresail, and the captain prepared to run for Falmouth; but finding he could not get in till night, we hauled to the wind, and at three in the afternoon wore ship to southwestward. It was then blowing heavily; and the sea, breaking over the vessel, constantly took with it a part of the bulwark. I believe we had long ceased to have a duck alive. The poor goat had contrived to find itself a corner in the long-boat, and lay frightened and shivering under a piece of canvass. I afterwards took it down in the cabin to share our lodging with us; but not having a birth to give it, it passed but a sorry time, tied up and slipping about the floor. At night we had lightning again, with hard gales, the wind being west and north-west, and threatening to drive us on the French coast. It was a grand thing, through the black and turbid atmosphere, to see the great fiery eye of the lighthouse at the Lizard Point; it looked like a good genius with a ferocious aspect. Ancient mythology would have made dragons of these noble structures,—dragons with giant glare, warning the seaman off the coast.

“The captain could not get into Falmouth: so he wore ship, and stood to the westward with fresh hopes, the wind having veered a little to the north; but, after having run above fifty miles to the south and west, the wind veered again in our teeth, and at two o’clock on the 20th, we were reduced to a close-reefed main-topsail, which, being new, fortunately held, the wind blowing so hard that it could not be taken in without the greatest risk of losing it. The sea was very heavy, and the rage of the gale tremendous, accompanied with lightning. The children on these occasions slept, unconscious of their danger. My wife slept too, from exhaustion. I remember, as I lay awake that night, looking about to see what help I could get from imagination, to furnish a moment’s respite from the anxieties that beset me, I cast my eyes on the poor goat; and recollecting how she devoured some choice biscuit I gave her one day, I got up, and going to the cupboard took out as much as I could find, and occupied myself in seeing her eat. She munched the fine white biscuit out of my hand, with equal appetite and comfort; and I thought of a saying of Sir Philip Sidney’s, that we are never perfectly miserable when we can do a good-natured action.

“I will not dwell upon the thoughts that used to pass, through my mind respecting my wife and children. Many times, especially when a little boy of mine used to weep in a manner equally sorrowful and good-tempered, have I thought of Prospero and his infant Miranda in the boat,—‘me and thy crying self;’ and many times of that similar divine fragment of Simonides, a translation of which, if I remember, is to be found in the ‘Adventurer.’ It
Leigh Hunt’s Lord Byron.233
seemed as if I had no right to bring so many little creatures into such jeopardy, with peril to their lives and all future enjoyment; but sorrow and trouble suggested other reflections too:—consolations, which even to be consoled with is calamity. However, I will not recall those feelings any more. Next to tragical thoughts like these, one of the modes of tormenting oneself at sea, is to raise those pleasant pictures of contrast, dry and firm-footed, which our friends are enjoying in their warm rooms and radiant security at home. I used to think of them one after the other, or several of them together, reading, chatting, and laughing, playing music, or complaining that they wanted a little movement and must dance; then retiring to easy beds amidst happy families; and perhaps, as the wind howled, thinking of us. Perhaps, too, they thought of us sometimes in the midst of their merriment, and longed for us to share it with them. That they did so, is certain; but, on the other hand, what would we not have given to be sure of the instant at which they were making these reflections; and how impossible was it to attain to this, or to any other dry-ground satisfaction! Sometimes I could not help smiling to think how
Munden would have exclaimed, in the character of Croaker, ‘We shall all be blown up!’ The gunpowder I seldom thought of. I had other fish to fry: but it seemed to give my feet a sting sometimes, as I remembered it in walking the deck. The demand for dry land was considerable. That is the point with landsmen at sea;—something unwet, unconfined, but, above all, firm, and that enables you to take your own steps, physical and moral. Panurge has it somewhere in Rabelais, but I have lost the passage.

“But I must put an end to this unseasonable mirth.—‘A large vessel is coming right down upon us;—lights—lights!’ This was the cry at eleven o’clock at night, on the 21st December, the gale being tremendous, and the sea to match. Lanthorns were handed up from the cabin, and, one after the other, put out. The captain thought it was owing to the wind and the spray; but it was the drunken steward, who jolted them out as he took them up the ladder. We furnished more, and contrived to see them kept in; and the captain afterwards told me that we were the salvation of his vessel. The ship, discerning us just in time, passed ahead, looking very huge and terrible. Next morning, we saw her about two miles on our lee-bow, lying to under trysails. It was an Indiaman. There was another vessel, a smaller, near us in the night. I thought the Indiaman looked very comfortable, with its spacious and powerful body: but the captain said we were better off a great deal in our own sea-boat; which turned out to be too true, if this was the same Indiaman, as some thought it, which was lost the night following off the coast of Devonshire. The crew said, that in one of the pauses of the wind they heard a vessel go down. We were at that time very near land. At tea-time the keel of our ship grated against something, perhaps a shoal. The captain afterwards very properly made light of it; but at the time, being in the act of raising a cup to his mouth, I remember. He turned prodigiously grave, and, getting up, went upon deck.

“Next day, time 22nd, we ran for Dartmouth, and luckily succeeding this time, found ourselves, at 12 o’clock at noon, in the middle of Dartmouth harbour.”—pp. 434—454.