LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 8 June 1822

Life of Byron: to 1806
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“Montenero, Villa Dupoy, near Leghorn, June 8th, 1822.

“I have written to you twice through the medium of Murray, and on one subject, trite enough,—the loss of poor little Allegra by a fever; on which topic I shall say no more—there is nothing but time.

“A few days ago, my earliest and dearest friend, Lord Clare, came over from Geneva on purpose to see me before he returned to England. As I have always loved him (since I was thirteen, at Harrow) better than any (male) thing in the world, I need hardly say what a melancholy pleasure it was to see him for a day only; for he was obliged to resume his journey immediately. *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * I have heard, also may other things of our acquaintances which I did not know: amongst others, that *   *   *   *   *   *   *. Do you recollect, in the year of revelry 1814, the pleasantest parties and balls all over London? and not the least so at * *’s. Do you recollect your singing duets with Lady * *, and my flirtation with Lady * *, and all the other fooleries of the time? while * * was sighing, and
600 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1822.
Lady * * ogling him with her clear hazel eyes. But eight years have passed, and, since that time * * has * * * * * *; —— has run away with * * * * *; and mysen (as my Nottinghamshire friends call themselves) might as well have thrown myself out of the window while you were singing, as intermarried where I did. You and * * * * have come off the best of us. I speak merely of my marriage, and its consequences, distresses, and calumnies; for I have been much more happy, on the whole, since, than I ever could have been with *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *.

I have read the recent article of Jeffrey in a faithful transcription of the impartial Galignani. I suppose the long and short of it is, that he wishes to provoke me to reply. But I won’t, for I owe him a good turn still for his kindness by-gone. Indeed, I presume that the present opportunity of attacking me again was irresistible; and I can’t blame him, knowing what human nature is. I shall make but one remark:—what does he mean by elaborate? The whole volume was written with the greatest rapidity, in the midst of evolutions, and revolutions, and persecutions, and proscriptions of all who interested me in Italy. They said the same of ‘Lara,’ which, you know, was written amidst balls and fooleries, and after coming home from masquerades and routs, in the summer of the sovereigns. Of all I have ever written, they are perhaps the most carelessly composed; and their faults, whatever they may be, are those of negligence, and not of labour. I do not think this a merit, but it is a fact.

“Yours ever and truly,
“N. B.

“P.S. You see the great advantage of my new signature;—it may either stand for ‘Nota Bene’ or ‘Noel Byron,’ and, as such, will save much repetition, in writing either books or letters. Since I came here, I have been invited on board of the American squadron, and treated with all possible honour and ceremony. They have asked me to sit for my picture; and, as I was going away, an American lady took a rose from me (which had been given to me by a very pretty Italian lady that very morning), because, she said, ‘She was determined to send or take something which I had about me to America.’ There is a kind of
A. D. 1822. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 601
Lalla Rookh incident for you! However, all these American honours arise, perhaps, not so much from their enthusiasm for my ‘Poeshie,’ as their belief in my dislike to the English,—in which I have the satisfaction to coincide with them. I would rather, however, have a nod from an American, than a snuff-box from an emperor.”