LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron
Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh, 23 February 1824

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Chapter XX.
Chapter XXI.
Chapter XXII.
Chapter XXIII.
Chapter XXIV.
Chapter XXV.
Chapter XXVI.
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Missolonghi, Feb. 23, 1824.
My dearest Augusta,

I received a few days ago, your and Lady B.’s report of Ada’s health, with other letters from
England; for which I ought to be, and am (I hope) sufficiently thankful, as they are of great comfort and I wanted some, having been recently unwell—but am now much better, so that you must not be alarmed.

You will have heard of our journeys and escapes, and so forth,—perhaps with some exaggeration; but it is all very well now, and I have been some time in Greece, which is in as good a state as could be expected considering circumstances. But I will not plague you with politics—wars—or earthquakes, though we have had a rather smart one three nights ago, which produced a scene ridiculous enough, as no damage was done, except to those who stuck fast in the scuffle to get first out of the doors or windows; amongst whom, some recent importations from England, who had been used to quieter elements, were rather squeezed in the press for precedence.

I have been obtaining the release of about nine-and-twenty Turkish prisoners,—men, women, and children, and have sent them, at my own expense, home to their friends; but one pretty little girl of nine years of age, named Hato or Hatagée, has
expressed a strong wish to remain with me or under my care;—and I have nearly determined to adopt her, if I thought that
Lady B. would let her come to England as a companion to Ada (they are about the same age), and we could easily provide for her,—if not, I can send her to Italy for education. She is very lively and quick, and with great black Oriental eyes and Asiatic features. All her brothers were killed in the revolution. Her mother wishes to return to her husband, who is at Previsa; but says that she would rather entrust the child to me in the present state of the country. Her extreme youth and sex have hitherto saved her life, but there is no saying what might happen in the course of the war (and of such a war). I shall probably commit her to the care of some English lady in the islands for the present. The child herself has the same wish, and seems to have a decided character for her age. You can mention this matter, if you think it worth while. I merely wish her to be respectably educated and treated; and if my years and all things be considered,—I presume it would be difficult to conceive me to have any other views.

With regard to Ada’s health, I am glad to hear
that she is so much better; but I think it right that
Lady B. should be informed and guard against it accordingly; that her description of much of her disposition and tendencies very nearly resemble that of my own at a similar age,—except that I was much more impetuous. Her preference of prose (strange as it may now seem) teas, and indeed is, mine (for I hate reading verse—and always did); and I never invented anything but boats,—ships, and generally something relative to the ocean. I showed the report to Colonel Stanhope, who was struck with the resemblance of parts of it to the paternal line,—even now.

But it is also fit, though unpleasant, that I should mention,—that my recent attack, and a very severe one,—had a strong appearance of epilepsy;—why, I know not—for it is late in life. Its first appearance at thirty-six, and, so far as I know, it is not hereditary;—and it is that it may not become so, that you should tell Lady B. to take some precautions in the case of Ada.

My attack has not returned,—and I am fighting it off with abstinence and exercise, and thus far with success;—if merely casual, it is all very well—