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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Elizabeth Bridget Pigot, 30 June 1807

Life of Byron: to 1806
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“Cambridge, June 30th, 1807.

“‘Better late than never, Pal,’ is a saying of which you know the origin, and as it is applicable on the present occasion, you will excuse its conspicuous place in the front of my epistle. I am almost superannuated here. My old friends (with the exception of a very few) all departed, and I am preparing to follow them, but remain till Monday to be present at 3 Oratorios, 2 Concerts, a Fair, and a Ball. I find I am not only thinner but taller by an inch since my last visit. I was obliged to tell every body my name, nobody having the least recollection of my visage, or person. Even the hero of my Cornelian (who is now sitting vis-à-vis, reading a volume of my Poetics) passed me in Trinity walks without recognising me in the least, and was thunderstruck at the alteration which had taken place in my countenance, &c &c. Some say I look better, others worse, but all agree I am thinner—more I do not require. I have lost 2 lb. in my weight since I left your cursed, detestable, and abhorred abode of scandal*, where, excepting yourself and John Becher, I care not if the whole race were consigned to the Pit of Acheron, which I would visit in person rather than contaminate my sandals with the polluted dust of Southwell. Seriously, unless obliged by the emptiness of my purse to revisit Mrs. B., you will see me no more.

On Monday I depart for London. I quit Cambridge with little regret, because our set are vanished, and my musical protegé before mentioned has left the choir, and is stationed a mercantile house of con-

* Notwithstanding the abuse which, evidently more in sport than seriousness, he lavishes, in the course of these letters, upon Southwell, he was, in after days, taught to feel that the hours which he had passed in this place were far more happy than any he had known afterwards. In a letter written not long since to his servant, Fletcher, by a lady who had been intimate with him, in his young days, at Southwell, there are the following words:—“Your poor, good master always called me ‘Old Piety,’ when I preached to him. When he paid me his last visit, he said. ‘Well, good friend. I shall never be so happy again as I was in old Southwell.” His real opinion of the advantages of this town, as a place of residence, will be seen in a subsequent letter, where he most strenuously recommends it, in that point of view, to Mr. Dallas.

112 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1807.
siderable eminence in the metropolis. You may have heard me observe he is exactly to an hour, 2 years younger than myself. I found him grown considerably, and, as you will suppose, very glad to see his former Patron. He is nearly my height, very thin, very fair complexion, dark eyes, and light locks. My opinion of his mind you already know;—I hope I shall never have occasion to change it. Every body here conceives me to be an invalid. The University at present is very gay, from the fêtes of divers kinds. I supped out last night, but eat (or ate) nothing, sipped a bottle of claret, went to bed at 2 and rose at 8. I have commenced early rising, and find it agrees with me. The Masters and the Fellows all very polite, but look a little askance—don’t much admire lampoons—truth always disagreeable.

“Write, and tell me how the inhabitants of your Menagerie go on, and if my publication goes off well: do the quadrupeds growl? Apropos, my bull-dog is deceased—‘Flesh both of cur and man is grass.’ Address your answer to Cambridge. If I am gone, it will be forwarded. Sad news just arrived—Russians beat—a bad set, eat nothing but oil, consequently must melt before a hard fire. I get awkward in my academic habiliments for want of practice. Got up in a window to hear the oratorio at St. Mary’s, popped down in the middle of the Messiah, tore a woeful rent in the back of my best black silk gown, and damaged an egregious pair of breeches. Mem.—never tumble from a church window during service. Adieu, dear * * * *! do not remember me to any body:—to forget and be forgotten by the people of Southwell is all I aspire to.”