LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers, 25 November 1821

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
‘Rome: 25 Nov., 1821.

‘My dear Sarah,—Your kind letter of 2nd November came to-day, and did me a great deal of good. I am glad to find Mrs. S[iddons] and the voiturier turned out so well, though not Miss S.; a journey lets out strange things. I left Florence on 18th (the day we did), slept at Sienna the first night, Radicofani the second, and Viterbo the third, arriving at Rome about 2 o’clock on Wednesday last. I had fine weather all the way; the inns in the papal country are no better than before, not a jot. Indeed, I suffered much more than before, expecting, perhaps, something better and having no novelty to keep me up.

‘I had no fears, though to please Francesco, the courier, I took guards twice as we drew near Rome. I wish you could have seen me setting off before daybreak from the market-place of Viterbo with six white horses to the carriage, and two shining helmets drawn up in form, while I got in to the great admiration of a full market. I had my journal, so I looked out for St. Peter’s at the fifteenth stone, and drove in directly to my lodging in the Babuino. Walking in the Piazza di Spagna I found Sir G. Beaumont, and many of my mornings have been spent with him. I like my rooms very well, though they have no sun, no orange garden (Canova says he lodged in it once in an attic, so it is classic ground); they are fitted up, like any at Paris, with carpets and ormolu. Rome has made an amazing jump in that respect, so powerful is English money, and (only think) an opera
every night, and very good, they say. I was only once there for half an hour; it is a sad way off, and a strange thing, for they give a comedy instead of a dance, and not after the opera, but first an act of one, then of the other, and so on; so that the English are obliged to gulp what they don’t understand, much to their annoyance. I have had nothing but enquiries about you from
Lady Westmoreland, Canova, the Torlonias, the Dodwells, &c. I have dined out three times, with Lady W., the Beaumonts, and Barings. Canova I thought I should never see. I called every day on him and he on me. At last we met. He called yesterday morning at eleven, with his brother the Abbé, and gave me such a salute as I have not had since I was at Bellesita. At Lady W.’s, in the evening, came the Dodwells—Mrs. D. was quite cordial and very pretty. They never miss the Corso, and their barouche is indeed a very smart one. The Torlonias give a ball next Wednesday, and are sorry you cannot be there. I need not say I am. The only thing that has surprised me since I came is, alas! the little sensation everything produces in me. I went into St. Peters, the Pantheon, the Coliseum, as if I had been in them the day before. Is it that the impression was so deep it has not changed, or is it that I am grown colder’? Perhaps a little of both. Six years in a young person would obliterate a great deal—impressions are so lively and so numerous. Not so now with me.

‘To-day I ventured out on a white horse with a long tail; a lady’s, they say. I received your letter in the Forum, the courier brought it me. I dismounted and went into the Coliseum, and sat down there to read it.
Mem.—I had not been there before. I won’t say which gave me most pleasure. I have not met a funeral, but I saw one at a distance the other night from the
Beaumonts’ window in the Piazza di Spagna, just as we were going to dinner. It crossed the place with many lights, and was said to be that of a most beautiful young woman by those who saw it. The woods on the Lake of Bolsena are sadly cut down, as we were told. The Vatican and the Capitol are both thrown open now to the world on Thursday and Sunday, and at the Vatican there is now a fine collection of oil paintings. I have had a carriage twice for the day, the price is about ten shillings, my horse six shillings, so I think I shall indulge most in the first. My courier is a very good cook, and performs for me when I dine at home, though he will not undertake for more than myself.

‘I have not seen Thorwaldsen. The Abbé Taylor is a great loss.1 Nobody supplies his place. Next Sunday is the function in the Sistine and Pauline chapels, which we attended on 27th November; but whether I shall get in I don’t know. The Pope walks every fine day between two high walls in a cross road near the Albani Villa, and the other day I met him there. He is almost double, so weak in his body, but his countenance is very little altered. The courier’s wife has applied at Milan for your letter, but without success. One to another Mr. Rogers there was brought to me, perhaps yours went to him and he did not return it to the Post Office, as I did his. Perhaps it would be as well to add the Christian name, and to write

1 The Abbé Taylor was an Irishman who was appointed by the Pope to present English visitors.

Samuel R., Esq., Gentilhomme Anglais. I have written to Bologna to-day. None had arrived when we left it on the 29th of Oct. I will not fail to get the bronze of Duke Lorenzo, if there is one. I have been to Ignaccio’s, and have bought an earring or two, but they are now much dearer than before.

‘The days are here very mild, but I wear my great coat, though my cold is almost gone. The Corso is really very gay in the afternoon, and I think better of it than I did. I have looked down our narrow street, which looks deplorable, and mean to visit the house. Mrs. Millingen I don’t mean to call upon. Dodwell says she does nothing but say M. has deserted her, and begs and borrows money wherever she can. I should like to see what Cornelia is like. Dodwell sometimes meets Mrs. M., and she grins in his face. The Pope allows her a pension. You surprise me about Moore, though Ellis had written to Lord Clare that Lord Lansdowne had advanced him the money, 1000l., and that all was settled. I am very glad to hear it; but I am surprised to hear that he continues in town. My notion was, and his too, that he was to pass two or three nights in disguise in St. James’s Place on his way to Ireland. I hear he has been in Dublin. Surely, if he could go to Woburn he might have had the grace to pay you and Henry a visit, but that does not surprise me. So Sutton has been again to Paris. I had no idea he had any thoughts of it. Did you find him and Maltby there? I never pass a bookseller’s shop here but I think of M. I am rejoiced that your pictures hang to your mind. Sir G. Beaumont, in going through the galleries, often mentions the Bassano.
We sometimes see something of his almost as good, not quite.

‘What a long list of deaths. Young Best’s is, indeed, a sad event. I have been looking out for them as I came along. Such a loss might hasten some people and retard others. I have bought some rubbishing pictures, three at Venice, two at Bologna, one at Florence, and have sent them to Molini in Paternoster Row. Pray open them and criticise them. I have insured them for 100l. Really the Italians are a strange people, but I have now no fear of them, and could walk about alone at night as in the day, which I would not have done before. At night, here and at Florence, as they walk by under my windows, they sing, when alone, to themselves, and as loud as they can—and that very ill—when together and in a number, in parts, and still I think very ill. The Arch of Constantine has tumbled down in the Forum and they are putting it up again. The flocks of goats I met in the Apennines were most beautiful, as white as driven snow. Hundreds cross the Arno every day in Florence, and some say that they go to suckle the enfans trouvés in the Foundling Hospital, and that every goat knows her child. There was a reading-room in Florence, and one is here, where the “Times” and “Chronicle” are taken in, but I would go to neither, I wish to think of things here.

Sir George Beaumont saw the “Coronation” at Drury Lane, and says it is much the finest thing he ever saw. Have you seen it? Madame Arponi, the Austrian Minister’s wife here, is very gracious to the English; she is very strict to the Austrians, but admits
us all, and is at home every Monday. They say her Palace is a very splendid one, but I thought I would defer my appearance and stay at home and talk to you. I sent you another long letter and large budget from Florence, directing it to
Henry. I hope it arrived. It contained three more parts: “Ginevra,” “Florence,”and “Don Garzia.” I am glad you have found the “Brides.” Many, many thanks to you for your great kindness and patience under such an affliction. You will now taste some of the miseries of an author, with none of his vanity to support you under it. I am reading “Corinne” again, and with new pleasure, and get on with Sismondi tolerably well. Inclosed you will receive another, “Arqua.” Pray insert it after “St. Mark’s Place.” I was at Florence in the Chapel on the day of the Morti; the day, I believe, after All Souls’ day. At Florence I went every evening (almost) to the opera, paying a franc and a half. The last day I dined with the Mintos, who are arrived there. . . . Lady Minto is a very agreeable and pretty woman, daughter of Brydone, the traveller, and granddaughter of Robertson. They are coming on here. Ward and Fazakerly are at Nice. Lord Derby’s daughter, Lady M. Stanley, is going to marry Lord Wilton, so we shall lose her smiles at the concert.’