LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to the Earl of Blessington, 5 April 1823

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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“April 5th, 1823.

“How is your gout? or rather, how are you? I return the Count * *’s Journal, which is a very extraordinary production†, and of a most melancholy truth in all that regards high life in England. I know, or knew, personally, most of the personages and societies which he describes; and after reading his remarks have the sensation fresh upon me as if I had seen them yesterday. I would however plead in behalf of some few exceptions, which I will mention by and by. The most singular thing is, how he should have penetrated not the fact, but the mystery of the English ennui, at two-and-twenty. I was about the same age when I made the same discovery, in almost precisely the same circles—(for there is scarcely a person mentioned whom I did not see nightly or daily, and was acquainted more or less intimately with most of them)—but I never could have described it so well. Il faut être Français, to effect this.

† In another letter to Lord B * * he says of this gentleman, “he seems to have all the qualities requisite to have figured in his brother-in-law’s ancestor’s Memoirs.”

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 637

“But he ought also to have been in the country during the hunting season, with ‘a select party of distinguished guests,’ as the papers term it. He ought to have seen the gentlemen after dinner (on the hunting days), and the soirée ensuing thereupon—and the women looking as if they had hunted, or rather been hunted; and I could have wished that he had been at a dinner in town, which I recollect at Lord C * *’s—small, but select, and composed of the most amusing people. The dessert was hardly on the table, when, out of twelve, I counted five asleep; of that five, there were Tierney, Lord * *, and Lord * *—I forget the other two, but they were either wits or orators—perhaps poets.

“My residence in the East and in Italy has made me somewhat indulgent of the siesta—but then they set regularly about it in warm countries, and perform it in solitude (or at most in a tête-à-tête with a proper companion), and retire quietly to their rooms to get out of the sun’s way for an hour or two.

“Altogether, your friend’s Journal is a very formidable production. Alas! our dearly beloved countrymen have only discovered that they are tired, and not that they are tiresome; and I suspect that the communication of the latter unpleasant verity will not be better received than truths usually are. I have read the whole with great attention and instruction. I am too good a patriot to say pleasure—at least I won’t say so, whatever I may think. I showed it (I hope no breach of confidence), to a young Italian lady of rank, très instruite also; and who passes, or passed, for being one of the three most celebrated belles in the district of Italy, where her family and connexions resided in less troublesome times as to politics (which is not Genoa, by the way), and she was delighted with it, and says that she has derived a better notion of English society from it than from all Madame de Staël’s metaphysical disputatious on the same subject, in her work on the Revolution. I beg that you will thank the young philosopher, and make my compliments to Lady B. and her sister.

“Believe me your very obliged and faithful
“N. B.

“P.S. There is a rumour in letters of some disturbance or complot in the French Pyrenean army—generals suspected or dismissed, and
638 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.
ministers of war travelling to see what’s the matter. ‘Marry (as David says), this hath an angry favour.’

“Tell Count * * that some of the names are not quite intelligible, especially of the clubs; he speaks of Watts—perhaps he is right, but in my time Watiers was the Dandy Club, of which (though no dandy) I was a member, at the time too of its greatest glory, when Brummell and Mildmay, Alvanley and Pierrepoint, gave the Dandy balls; and we (the club, that is,) got up the famous masquerade at Burlington House and Garden, for Wellington. He does not speak of the Alfred, which was the most recherché and most tiresome of any, as I know by being a member of that too.”