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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Journal Entry: 5 December 1813

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
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Life of Byron: 1808
Life of Byron: 1809
Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
Life of Byron: 1812
Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
Life of Byron: 1815
Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
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Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“Sunday, December 5th.

Dallas’s nephew (son to the American Attorney-general) is arrived in this country, and tells Dallas that my rhymes are very popular in the United States. These are the first tidings that have ever sounded like
460 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
Fame to my ears—to be redde on the banks of the Ohio! The greatest pleasure I ever derived, of this kind, was from an extract, in
Cooke the actor’s Life, from his Journal, stating that in the reading-room of Albany, near Washington, he perused English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. To be popular in a rising and far country has a kind of posthumous feel, very different from the ephemeral éclât and fête-ing, buzzing and party-ing compliments of the well-dressed multitude. I can safely say that, during my reign in the spring of 1812, I regretted nothing but its duration of six weeks instead of a fortnight, and was heartily glad to resign.

“Last night I supped with Lewis;—and, as usual, though I neither exceeded in solids nor fluids, have been half dead ever since. My stomach is entirely destroyed by long abstinence, and the rest will probably follow. Let it—I only wish the pain over. The ‘leap in the dark’ is the least to be dreaded.

“The Duke of * * called. I have told them forty times that, except to half-a-dozen old and specified acquaintances, I am invisible. His grace is a good, noble, ducal person; but I am content to think so at a distance; and so—I was not at home.

Galt called.—Mem.—to ask some one to speak to Raymond in favour of his play. We are old fellow-travellers, and, with all his eccentricities, he has much strong sense, experience of the world, and is, as far as I have seen, a good-natured philosophical fellow. I showed him Sligo’s letter on the reports of the Turkish girl’s aventure at Athens soon after it happened. He and Lord Holland, Lewis, and Moore, and Rogers, and Lady Melbourne have seen it. Murray has a copy. I thought it had been unknown, and wish it were; but Sligo arrived only some days after, and the rumours are the subject of his letter. That I shall preserve,—it is as well. Lewis and Galt were both horrified; and L. wondered I did not introduce the situation into ‘the Giaour.’ He may wonder;—he might wonder more at that production’s being written at all. But to describe the feelings of that situation were impossible—it is icy even to recollect them.

The Bride of Abydos was published on Thursday the second of December; but how it is liked or disliked, I know not. Whether it
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 461
succeeds or not is no fault of the public, against whom I can have no complaint. But I am much more indebted to the tale than I can ever be to the most partial reader; as it wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination—from selfish regrets to vivid recollections—and recalled to a country replete with the brightest and darkest, but always most lively colours of my memory.
Sharpe called, but was not let in,—which I regret.

* * * * * * *

“Saw * * yesterday. I have not kept my appointment at Middleton, which has not pleased him, perhaps; and my projected voyage with * * will, perhaps, please him less. But I wish to keep well with both. They are instruments that don’t do, in concert; but, surely, their separate tones are very musical, and I won’t give up either.

“It is well if I don’t jar between these great discords. At present, I stand tolerably well with all, but I cannot adopt their dislikes;—so many sets. Holland’s is the first;—every thing distingué is welcome there, and certainly the ton of his society is the best. Then there is Mde. de Staël’s—there I never go, though I might, had I courted it. It is composed of the * *s and the * * family, with a strange sprinkling,—orators, dandies, and all kinds of Blue, from the regular Grub-street uniform, down to the azure jacket of the Littérateur. To see * * and * * sitting together, at dinner, always reminds me of the grave, where all distinctions of friend and foe are levelled; and they—the Reviewer and Reviewée—the Rhinoceros and Elephant—the Mammoth and Megalonyx—all will lie quietly together. They now sit together, as silent, but not so quiet, as if they were already immured.

* * * * * * *

“I did not go to the Berrys’ the other night. The elder is a woman of much talent, and both are handsome, and must have been beautiful. To-night asked to Lord H.’s—shall I go? um!—perhaps.

“Morning, two o’clock.

“Went to Lord H.’s,—party numerous—milady in perfect good-humour, and consequently perfect. No one more agreeable, or perhaps
462 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
so much so, when she will. Asked for Wednesday to dine and meet the
Staël—asked particularly, I believe, out of mischief, to see the first interview after the note, with which Corinne professes herself to be so much taken. I don’t much like it;—she always talks of myself or herself, and I am not (except in soliloquy, as now) much enamoured of either subject—especially one’s Works. What the devil shall I say about De l’Allemagne?’ I like it prodigiously; but unless I can twist my admiration into some fantastical expression, she won’t believe me; and I know, by experience, I shall be overwhelmed with fine things about rhyme, &c. &c. The lover, Mr. * *, was there to-night, and C * * said ‘it was the only proof he had seen of her good taste.’ Monsieur L’Amant is remarkably handsome; but I don’t think more so than her book.

C * * looks well,—seemed pleased, and dressed to sprucery. A blue coat becomes him,—so does his new wig. He really looked as if Apollo had sent him a birthday suit, or a wedding-garment, and was witty and lively. * * * He abused Corinne’s book, which I regret; because, firstly, he understands German, and is consequently a fair judge; and, secondly, he is first-rate, and, consequently, the best of judges. I reverence and admire him; but I won’t give up my opinion—why should I? I read her again and again, and there can be no affectation in this. I cannot be mistaken (except in taste) in a book I read and lay down, and take up again; and no book can be totally bad, which finds one, even one reader, who can say as much sincerely.

C. talks of lecturing next spring; his last lectures were eminently successful. Moore thought of it, but gave it up,—I don’t know why. * * had been prating dignity to him, and such stuff; as if a man disgraced himself by instructing and pleasing at the same time.

“Introduced to Marquis Buckingham—saw Lord Gower—he is going to Holland;—Sir J. and Lady Mackintosh and Horner, G. Lamb, with I know not how many (R Wellesley, one—a clever man) grouped about the room. Little Henry Fox, a very fine boy, and very promising in mind and manner,—he went away to bed, before I had time to talk to him. I am sure I had rather hear him than all the savans.