LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Francis Hodgson, 5 May 1810

Life of Byron: to 1806
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Life of Byron: 1808
Life of Byron: 1809
Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
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Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
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Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
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Life of Byron: 1824
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“Salsette Frigate, in the Dardanelles, off Abydos, May 5th, 1810.

“I am on my way to Constantinople, after a tour through Greece, Epirus, &c. and part of Asia Minor, some particulars of which I have just communicated to our friend and host, H. Drury. With these, then, I shall not trouble you; but, as you will perhaps be pleased to bear that I am well, &c., I take the opportunity of our ambassador’s return to forward the few lines I have time to despatch. We have undergone some inconveniences, and incurred partial perils, but no events worthy of communication, unless you will deem it one that two days ago I swam from Sestos to Abydos. This,—with a few alarms from robbers, and some danger of shipwreck in a Turkish galliot six months ago, a visit to a Pacha, a passion for a married woman at Malta, a challenge to an officer, an attachment to three Greek girls at Athens, with a great deal of buffoonery and fine prospects,—form all that has distinguished my progress since my departure from Spain.

H. rhymes and journalizes; I stare and do nothing—unless smoking can be deemed an active amusement. The Turks take too much care of their women to permit them to he scrutinized; but I have lived a good deal with the Greeks, whose modern dialect I can converse in enough for my purposes. With the Turks I have also some male acquaintances

* He has adopted this name in his description of the Seraglio in Don Juan, Canto VI. It was, if I recollect right, in making love to one of these girls that he had recourse to an act of courtship often practiced in that country,—namely, giving himself a wound across the breast with his dagger. The Athenian, by his own account, looked on very coolly during the operation, considering it a fit tribute to her beauty, but in no degree moved to gratitude.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 225
—female society is out of the question. I have been very well treated by the Pachas and Governors, and have no complaint to make of any kind. Hobhouse will one day inform you of all our adventures,—were I to attempt the recital, neither my paper nor your patience would hold out during the operation.

“Nobody, save yourself, has written to me since I left England; but indeed I did not request it. I except my relations, who write quite as often as I wish. Of Hobhouse’s volume I know nothing, except that it is out; and of my 2d edition I do not even know that, and certainly do not, at this distance, interest myself in the matter. * * * * I hope you and Bland roll down the stream of sale with rapidity.

“Of my return I cannot positively speak, but think it probable Hobhouse will precede me in that respect. We have been very nearly one year abroad. I should wish to gaze away another, at least, in these ever-green climates; but I fear business, law business, the worst of employments, will recall me previous to that period, if not very quickly. If so, you shall have due notice.

“I hope you will find me an altered personage,—I do not mean in body, but in manner, for I begin to find out that nothing but virtue will do in this d—d world. I am tolerably sick of vice, which I have tried in its agreeable varieties, and mean, on my return, to cut all my dissolute acquaintance, leave off wine and carnal company, and betake myself to politics and decorum. I am very serious and cynical, and a good deal disposed to moralize; but, fortunately for you, the coming homily is cut off by default of pen and defection of paper.

“Good morrow! If you write, address to me at Malta, whence your letters will be forwarded. You need not remember me to any body, but believe me yours with all faith.