LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Richard Belgrave Hoppner, 22 October 1819

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
Life of Byron: 1807
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
Life of Byron: 1818
Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“October 22d. 1819.

“I am glad to hear of your return, but I do not know how to congratulate you—unless you think differently of Venice from what I think

* “Egli viene per vedere le meraviglie di questa Città, e sono certa che nessuno meglio di lui saprebbe gustarle. Mi sarà grato che vi facciate sua guida come potrete, e voi poi me ne avrete obbligo. Egli è amico de Lord Byron—sà la sua storia assai più precisamente di quelli che a voi la raccontarone. Egli dunque vi racconterà se lo interrogherete la forma, le dimesioni, e tuttociò che vi piacerà del Castello ove tiene imprigionata una giovane innocente sposa, &c. &c. Mio caro Pietro, quando ti sei bene afogato a ridere, allora rispondi due righe alla tua sorolla, che t’ ama e t’ amerà sempre colla maggiore tenerezza.”

A. D. 1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 275
now, and you thought always. I am, besides, about to renew your troubles by requesting you to be judge between
Mr. E * * * and myself in a small matter of imputed peculation and irregular accounts on the part of that phœnix of secretaries. As I knew that you had not parted friends, at the same time that I refused for my own part any judgment but yours, I offered him his choice of any person, the least scoundrel native to be found in Venice, as his own umpire; but he expressed himself so convinced of your impartiality, that he declined any but you. This is in his favour.—The paper within will explain to you the default in his accounts. You will hear his explanation, and decide if it so please you. I shall not appeal from the decision.

“As he complained that his salary was insufficient, I determined to have his accounts examined, and the enclosed was the result.—It is all in black and white with documents, and I have despatched Fletcher to explain (or rather to perplex) the matter.

“I have had much civility and kindness from Mr. Dorville during your journey, and I thank him accordingly.

“Your letter reached me at your departure* and displeased me very much:—not that it might not be true in its statement and kind in its intention, but you have lived long enough to know how useless all such representations ever are and must be in cases where the passions are concerned. To reason with men in such a situation is like reasoning with a drunkard in his cups—the only answer you will get from him is that he is sober, and you are drunk.

“Upon that subject we will (if you like) be silent. You might only say what would distress me without answering any purpose whatever; and I have too many obligations to you to answer you in the same style. So that you should recollect that you have also that advantage over me. I hope to see you soon.

* Mr. Hoppner, before his departure from Venice for Switzerland, had, with all the zeal of a true friend, written a letter to Lord Byron, entreating him “to leave Ravenna, while yet he had a whole skin, and urging him not to risk the safety of a person he appeared so sincerely attached to—as well as his own—for the gratification of a momentary passion, which could only be a source of regret to both parties.” In the same letter Mr. Hoppner informed him of some reports he had heard lately at Venice, which, though possibly, he said, unfounded, had much increased his anxiety respecting the consequences of the connexion formed by him.

276 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1819.

“I suppose you know that they said at Venice, that I was arrested at Bologna as a Carbonaro—a story about as true as their usual conversation. Moore has been here—I lodged him in my house at Venice, and went to see him daily; but I could not at that time quit La Mira entirely. You and I were not very far from meeting in Switzerland. With my best respects to Mrs. Hoppner, believe me ever and truly, &c.

“P.S. Allegra is here in good health and spirits—I shall keep her with me till I go to England, which will perhaps be in the spring. It has just occurred to me that you may not perhaps like to undertake the office of judge between Mr. E. and your humble servant.—Of course, as Mr. Liston (the comedian, not the ambassador) says, ‘it is all hoptional,’ but I have no other resource. I do not wish to find him a rascal, if it can be avoided, and would rather think him guilty of carelessness than cheating. The case is this—can I, or not, give him a character for honesty?—It is not my intention to continue him in my service.”