LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Sir Walter Scott, 4 May 1822

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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“Pisa, May 4th, 1822.

“Your account of your family is very pleasing: would that I ‘could answer this comfort with the like!’ but I have just lost my natural daughter, Allegra, by a fever. The only consolation, save time, is the reflection, that she is either at rest or happy; for her few years (only five) prevented her from having incurred any sin, except what we inherit from Adam.
‘Whom the gods love, die young.’

“I need not say that your letters are particularly welcome, when they do not tax your time and patience; and now that our correspondence is resumed, I trust it will continue.

“I have lately had some anxiety, rather than trouble, about an awkward affair here, which you may perhaps have heard of: but our minister has behaved very handsomely, and the Tuscan Government as well as it is possible for such a government to behave, which is not saying much for the latter. Some other English, and Scots, and myself, had a brawl with a dragoon, who insulted one of the party, and whom we mistook for an officer, as he was medalled and well mounted, &c., but he turned out to be a sergeant-major. He called out the guard at the gates to arrest us (we being unarmed); upon which I and another (an Italian) rode through the said guard; but they succeeded in detaining others of the party. I rode to my house and sent my secretary to give an account of the attempted and illegal arrest to the authorities, and then, without dismounting, rode back towards the gates, which are near my present mansion. Half way I met my man, vapouring away, and threatening to draw upon me (who had a cane in my hand, and no other arms). I, still
A. D. 1822. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 593
believing him an officer, demanded his name and address, and gave him my hand and glove thereupon. A servant of mine thrust in between us (totally without orders), but let him go on my command. He then rode off at full speed; but about forty paces further was stabbed, and very dangerously (so as to be in peril), by some callum bog or other of my people (for I have some rough-handed folks about me), I need hardly say without my direction or approval. The said dragoon had been sabring our unarmed countrymen, however, at the gate, after they were in arrest, and held by the guards, and wounded one,
Captain Hay, very severely. However, he got his paiks—having acted like an assassin, and being treated like one. Who wounded him, though it was done before thousands of people, they have never been able to ascertain, or prove, nor even the weapon; some said a pistol, an air-gun, a stiletto, a sword, a lance, a pitch-fork, and what not. They have arrested and examined servants and people of all descriptions, but can make out nothing. Mr. Dawkins, our minister, assures me, that no suspicion is entertained of the man who wounded him having been instigated by me, or any of the party. I enclose you copies of the depositions of those with us, and Dr. Craufurd, a canny Scot (not an acquaintance), who saw the latter part of the affair. They are in Italian.

“These are the only literary matters in which I have been engaged since the publication and row about ‘Cain;’—but Mr. Murray has several things of mine in his obstetrical hands. Another Mystery—a Vision—a Drama—and the like.—But you won’t tell me what you are doing—however, I shall find you out, write what you will. You say that I should like your son-in-law—it would be very difficult for me to dislike any one connected with you; but I have no doubt that his own qualifies are all that you describe.

“I am sorry you don’t like Lord Orford’s new work. My aristocracy, which is very fierce, makes him a favourite of mine. Recollect that those ‘little factions’ comprised Lord Chatham and Fox, the father, and that we live in gigantic and exaggerated times, which make all under Gog and Magog appear pigmean.—After having seen Napoleon begin like Tamerlane and end like Bajazet in our own time, we have not the
594 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1822.
same interest in what would otherwise have appeared important history. But I must conclude.

“Believe me ever and most truly yours,
Noel Byron.