LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
‣ Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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In this and the following year (1813-14) Hodgson spent the greater part of his Cambridge vacations in London, where he was pretty constantly in the company of Lord Byron, and was cordially admitted into that brilliant society, of which those who had opportunities of contemporary observation have declared that it has never been surpassed. Holland House opened its hospitable doors to him, and he was brought into close contact with many of those stars of the literary firmament whose brightness shed undying lustre upon the age in which they shone.

There is unfortunately no detailed record of this most interesting period of his life; but the ensuing letters testify sufficiently to the high estimation in
which his character and talents were held by two at least of his associates, whose praise was fame.

It was most unfortunate that at this very time those pecuniary embarrassments, to which allusion has previously been made, were pressing most heavily upon him—embarrassments from which he was suddenly relieved in a manner equally unsolicited and unexpected. It was in the autumn of the first ot these years that Byron gave proof of the depth of his regard for his friend, no less than of the natural nobility of his disposition, by his generous gift of 1,000l. Hodgson had become attached to a Miss Tayler, a young lady of great beauty and refinement, whose sister was married to his old friend and schoolfellow, Henry Drury. The mother refused her consent to the marriage unless all previous liabilities were completely cleared. Byron at once offered to discharge his friend’s debts—an offer which Hodgson, after repeated refusals, ultimately accepted, although he resolved to consider the assistance as merely temporary, as a loan rather than a gift.

In a letter to his uncle, the Rev. Francis Coke, written in November of this year, Hodgson thus comments upon this signal instance of true friendship:—

My noble-hearted friend Lord Byron, after many
offers of a similar kind, which I felt bound to refuse, has irresistibly in my present circumstances (as I will soon explain to you) volunteered to pay all my debts, and within a few pounds it is done! Oh, if you knew (but you do know) the exaltation of heart, aye and of head too, I feel, at being free from these depressing embarrassments, you would, as I do, bless my dearest friend and brother Byron. And what has made me now accept what I have before frequently declined?

Then he goes on to declare his engagement, to which reference has been made above. The friends went together in Lord Byron’s carriage to Hammersley’s in Pall Mall, where the money was transferred from one account to the other. ‘On our way back to his lodgings’ (in Bennet Street), Hodgson writes, ‘I expressed as well as I could (and it was not very easy), my overwhelming gratitude; and he replied, with the strongest marks of feeling, and disinclination to hear the thing mentioned, “Don’t speak of it, I always intended to do it.”’ He seems only to have waited for the opportunity when the gift would be of greatest service. Nothing can exceed the delicacy of feeling, the tender consideration displayed by Byron on this occasion. But, notwithstanding the repeated
assurances of the donor, the sense of obligation appears to have continued to weigh heavily upon the recipient for many months, during which he more than once offered bonds and promissory notes bearing interest, all of which Byron resolutely refused, with such words as these: ‘What is the use of a bond? I should only destroy or cancel it, or leave you the same by will.’

Some years afterwards Bland wrote on this subject:—

I remember distinctly, and as if it were yesterday, sitting with Byron one day, at his lodgings in the street going into St. James’s Street, when, in one of his lighter moods, he was talking you over. Among other pleasantries he spoke with great glee upon the idea of your ever refunding; with some tenderness on his ever re-accepting what he had given; and then glee again upon your having put or thrust or shoved (for this was his style) a paper into his hands which he destroyed, saying: ‘As if I ought to have given it him on such terms, as if I would ever listen to such nonsense, as if anyone knowing Hodgson’s finances could dream of such a thing.’

At the end of November 1813, it became known
Byron that Hodgson, in the fulness of his gratitude, had mentioned the present to mutual friends; and on December 1, Byron writes, apologising for the fact of his assistance being known to a person whom he mentions, or to anyone save Drury and Hodgson himself, who, he is sure, ‘cannot be more hurt at it than he is himself;’ and adds: ‘If you ever considered it in the least an obligation, this must give you a full and fair release from it,’ finishing jocosely, as was his wont, but not the less feelingly,
To John I owe some obligation,
But John unluckily thinks fit
To publish it to all the nation,
So John and I are more than quit.

In his diary, written the same night, we read:—

Wrote to H. He has been telling that I ———. I am sure, at least, I did not mention it, and I wish he had not. He is a good fellow, and I obliged myself ten times more by being of use than I did him,—and there’s an end on’t.

Curiously enough, notwithstanding Byron’s impression that he had destroyed them all, one of Hodgson’s promissory notes did slip into the memoranda and letters left by the noble poet at his death,
and upon this unexpectedly discovered document the executors set up a claim for repayment, which, however, as soon as the real nature of the transaction became apparent, was at once relinquished.

In October 1813, Byron, Drury, and Hodgson went together in a postchaise to Oxford, where Byron had an interview with Mrs. Tayler, who was then on a visit to her brother, the Dean of Christ Church. The result of this interview was the removal of all objections to the intended marriage, which, however, did not take place until the beginning of the next year but one. Hodgson waited in the expectation of a college living; but, as none appeared likely to fall vacant, he married on a curacy, and soon afterwards obtained a living through private interest. These successive events will be duly chronicled in the order of their occurrence. In the meantime, the correspondence of the current year demands insertion. The first letter refers to a previous proposal by Hodgson that the intended gift should be a loan.

February 3, 1813.

My dear Hodgson,—I will join you in any bond for the money you require, be it that or a larger sum. With regard to security, as Newstead is in a sort of abeyance between sale and purchase, and my
Lancashire property very unsettled, I do not know how far I can give more than personal security, but what I can I will. I hear nothing of my own concerns, but expect a letter daily. Let me hear from you where you are and will be this month. I am a great admirer of the R. A. (‘
Rejected Addresses’), though I have had so great a share in the cause of their publication, and I like the C. H. (‘Childe Harold’) imitation one of the best. Lady O. (Oxford) has heard me talk much of you as a relative of the Cokes, etc., and desires me to say she would be happy to have the pleasure of your acquaintance. You must come and see me at K——. I am sure you would like all here if you knew them.

The ‘Agnus1 is furious. You can have no idea of the horrible and absurd things she has said and done since (really from the best motives) I withdrew my homage. ‘Great pleasure’ is, certes, my object, but ‘Why brief,Mr. Wild?’ I cannot answer for the future, but the past is pretty secure; and in it I can number the last two months as worthy of the gods in Lucretius. I cannot review in the ‘Monthly;’ in fact I can just now do nothing,

1 Lady Caroline Lamb.

at least with a pen; and I really think the days of authorship are over with me altogether. I hear and rejoice in
Bland’s and Merivale’s intentions.1 Murray has grown great, and has got him new premises in the fashionable part of town. We live here so shut out of the monde that I have nothing of general import to communicate, and fill this up with a ‘happy new year,’ and drink to you and Drury.

Ever yours, dear H.,

I have no intention of continuing ‘Childe Harold.’ There are a few additions in the ‘body of the book’ of description, which will merely add to the number of pages in the next edition. I have taken Thyrnham Court. The business of last summer I broke off, and now the amusement of the gentle fair is writing letters literally threatening my life, and much in the style of Miss Matthews in ‘Amelia,’ or Lucy in the ‘Beggar’s Opera.’ Such is the reward of restoring a woman to her family, who are treating her with the greatest kindness, and with whom I am on good terms. I am still in ‘palatia Circes,’ and, being no Ulysses, cannot tell

1 The republication of the Anthology.

into what animal I may be converted. . . . . She has had her share of the denunciations of the brilliant Phryne, and regards them as much as I do. I hope you will visit me at Th., which will not be ready before spring, and I am very sure you would like my neighbours if you knew them. If you come down now to Kington,1 pray come and see me.

June 6, 1813.

My dear Hodgson,—I write to you a few lines on business. Murray has thought proper at his own risk, and peril, and profit (if there be any) to publish the ‘Giaour’; and it may possibly come under your ordeal in the ‘Monthly,’ I merely wish to state that in the published copies there are additions to the amount of ten pages, text and margin (chiefly the last), which render it a little less unfinished (but more unintelligible) than before. If, therefore, you review it, let it be from the published copies and not from the first sketch. I shall not sail for this month, and shall be in town again next week, when I shall be happy to hear from but more glad to see you. You know I have no

1 Near Lower Moor, the residence of his relatives, the Cokes.

time or turn for correspondence (!). But you also know, I hope, that I am not the less

Yours ever,

The first of the two following letters from Mr. Samuel Rogers was written in acknowledgment of a letter expressing admiration of his last poem ‘Columbus;’ the second has reference to Merivale’s ‘Richardetto,’ which has been noticed in a former chapter:—

My dear Sir,—What shall I say to you for your very kind and encouraging letter? I can assure you I opened it at a moment when it would affect me the most; and, whatever the critics may say, I shall always regard it as a much higher reward. Praise such as yours is what I have always wished for above all things, though I fear I never shall deserve it.

With the greatest respect,
I am yours most sincerely,
Saml. Rogers.

My dear Sir,—Many, many thanks for your kindness, and pray express my grateful acknowledgments to Mr. Merivale for his very elegant present. I make
no doubt that it will fulfill (sic) your promise—that I shall read it with my first feelings—and that it will bring back to my mind that delicious evening (an evening in July) when I first discovered the ‘
Minstrel1 among some loose pamphlets in my father’s library. Alas! alas! Five and thirty years have fled, and yet it seems but yesterday.

Yours most sincerely,
Saml. Rogers.
From Lord Byron.
October 1, 1813.

My dear H.,—I leave town again for Aston2 on Sunday, but have messages for you. Lord Holland desired me repeatedly to bring you; he wants to know you much, and begged me to say so; you will like him. I had an invitation for you to dinner there this last Sunday, and Rogers is perpetually screaming because you don’t call, and wanted you also to dine with him on Wednesday last. Yesterday we had Curran there—who is beyond all conception!—and Mackintosh and the wits are to be seen at H. H. constantly, so that I

1 By Beattie.

2 Aston Hall, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, now the property of Harry Verelst, Esq., brother-in-law to the writer of this memoir.

think you would like their society. I will be a judge between you and the attorned. So
B. 1 may mention me to Lucien if he still adheres to his opinion. Pray let Rogers be one; he has the best taste extant. Bland’s nuptials delight me; if I had the least hand in bringing them about it will be a subject of selfish satisfaction to me these three weeks. Desire Drury—if he loves me—to kick Dwyer thrice for frightening my horses with his flame-coloured whiskers last July. Let the kicks be hard, etc.

On his return from Aston a fortnight later he adds a hurried apology for the brevity of his letters at this time.

Excuse haste and laconism. I am in town but for a few days, and hurried with a thousand things.

Believe me ever yours most truly,

The Lucien referred to above is Prince Lucien Buonaparte, who had recently published an epic poem, in twenty-four books, entitled ‘Charlemagne; or, the Church Delivered,’ the translation of which

1 Butler.

was undertaken by the
Rev. Samuel Butler, Head-Master of Shrewsbury, and Francis Hodgson. Of part of the latter’s share in the work, the ‘Critical’ remarks that it combines closeness with luminous force.

The following letter proves that the appreciation of his talents as a translator was not confined to English readers:—

20 octobre 1813.

Monsieur,—Je reçois avec reconnaissance le bel exemplaire de votre traduction de Juvenal: je ne suis pas en état de juger de la poésie anglaise, mais l’opinion publique sur votre ouvrage est la garantie de ce que vous ferez pour Charlemagne: j’ai reçu des lettres de M. le docteur Parr et du chevalier (Boothby?), qui parlent tous de vous comme M. Butler, et, comme j’en pense, d’après notre promenade en enfer: à propos d’enfer, je viens de faire un changement à la décoration du bouclier d’Irmensul1 dans le 10me Chant. Au lieu d’un Léopard farouche lisez d’un Dragon furieux: le léopard est sur les armes d’une nation trop civilisée et trop respectée par moi, quoique momentairement      2

1 Under the character of Irniensul, the god of the Saxons and northern hordes, the miraculous agency of Satan is introduced into the poem.

2 Illegible.

pour que nous le laissions sur le bouclier d’Irmensul. Agréez mes compliments affect Votre très, etc.

Lucien Buonaparte.

The poem of ‘Charlemagne’ was begun on the mountains of Tusculum, near Rome, where the Prince had retired after having quitted public affairs; it was continued at Malta, and finished during its author’s captivity in England. The dedication to Pope Pius VII. was written at Rome in May 1814, in grateful recognition of the kindnesses with which His Holiness had loaded the Prince and his family for ten years.

In Byron’s journal and letters of this year there are some general remarks on several characteristic traits of Hodgson’s disposition, which bear interesting testimony to the value attached to his opinion on literary subjects, and to the warm affection which existed between them. For instance, in a letter to Murray, after a complaint of the unexpected length to which the ‘Giaour’ had been extended, the poet observes:—

The last lines Hodgson likes. It is not often he does, and when he don’t he tells me with great energy, and I fret and alter.


To Moore he writes:—

I hope you are going on with your grand coup.1 Pray do; or that ——— Lucien Buonaparte will beat us all. I have seen much of his poem in MS., and he really surpasses everything beneath Tasso. Hodgson is translating him against another bard. You (and I believe Rogers), Scott, Gifford, and myself are to be referred to as judges between the twain.

In the journal for November 1813, we read:—

Hodgson, too, came. He is going to be married, and he is the kind of man who will be happier. He has talent, cheerfulness, everything that can make him a pleasing companion; and his intended is handsome and young and all that.

Again, of the ‘Bride of Abydos,’ he says:—

Hodgson likes it better than the ‘Giaour,’ but nobody else will; and he never liked the ‘Fragment.’

And, again, in the same month, in a letter to Murray:—

Mr. Hodgson has looked over and stopped (or, rather,

1 Lalla Rookh.

pointed) this revise, which must be the one to print from. He has also made some suggestions, with most of which I have complied, as he has always, for these ten years, been a very sincere and by no means (at times) flattering critic of mine. He likes it (you will think flatteringly in this instance) better than the ‘
Giaour,’ but doubts (and so do I) its being so popular; but, contrary to some others, advises a separate publication. On this we can easily decide. I confess I like the double form better. Hodgson says it is better versified than any of the others, which is odd, if true, as it has cost me less time (though more hours at a time) than any attempt I ever made.

Hodgson was among those favoured few to whom Murray received special instructions to send the earliest copies. His opinion of the ‘Bride’ was soon endorsed by no less a personage than Canning, who pronounced it to be ‘very, very beautiful.’ Six thousand copies were sold in one month. As a striking instance of the retentiveness of its author’s memory, it may here be mentioned that he once recited it from beginning to end whilst travelling with Hodgson in a post-chaise by night from Newstead to London.

In February of the following year the Journal continues:—


Hodgson just called and gone. He has much bonhommie with his other good qualities, and more talent than he has yet had credit for beyond his circle.

And again:—

I wish that I had a talent for the drama; I would write a tragedy now. But no, it is gone. Hodgson talks of one—he will do it well; and I think Moore should try it.

The next letter from Byron, and the next from T. Rennell, a King’s man of some reputation in his day, who was at this time a candidate for the Provost-ship of his College,1 caused by the death of Humphrey Sumner, bear evidence to the feeling entertained by friends of the kindliness of Hodgson’s nature.

Feb. 28, 1814.

There is a youngster, and a clever one, named Reynolds, who has just published a poem called ‘Safia,’ published by Cawthorne. He is in the most natural and fearful apprehension of the reviewers;

1 Hodgson’s support had already been given to his more intimate friend Geo. Thackeray, who was ultimately elected.

and as you and I both know by experience the effect of such things upon a young mind, I wish you would take his production into dissection, and do it gently. I cannot, because it is inscribed to me; but I assure you this is not my motive for wishing him to be tenderly entreated, but because I know the misery, at his time of life, of untoward remarks upon first appearance. Now for self. Pray thank your cousin; it is just as it should be, to my liking, and probably more than will suit anyone else’s. I hope and trust you are well and well-doing.

Peace be with you!
Ever yours, my dear friend,
Deanery, Winton: March 26, 1814.

Dear Sir,—I fear you will think me very presumptuous, in placing myself before you as candidate for the succession to the Provostship of King’s in the present vacancy. But as I thought I discerned, when I had the happiness of seeing you, that the ‘elements were mixed in you,’ and that a large portion of the milk of human kindness was combined with your other high talents and attainments, I trust that whatever may be the part
you take in this contest you will receive with candour my application for your support. Believe me, sir, that I neither vapour nor flatter when I say that I have both a mind to feel and gratitude to appreciate the value of such support. I can only add that if by the kindness of my friends I should succeed, my residence upon my post should be constant, and that, in conjunction with yourself and others animated by the same views, I should, according to the best of my powers, endeavour to encourage and promote a spirit of honourable emulation and industry among the young men of the College.

I beg you to believe me,
Yours with great esteem,
T. Rennell.

It was in this year that Hodgson commenced a correspondence with Lord Byron’s sister, the Hon. Mrs. Leigh, with whom he had for some time been acquainted; a correspondence which was continued at frequent intervals for nearly forty years, and which contains many most interesting references to the object of their mutual regard. The first of these letters remaining refers to a house which Byron had taken at Hastings, where Hodgson was also staying,
and where the friends had passed many happy hours in one another’s society.

My brother desires me to send you the enclosed, and thinks the house was taken from the 13th of July for a month, and therefore that Mr. Barry must have made a mistake in saying the time will have expired next Wednesday. You probably can explain this. Pray excuse my being so troublesome.

Yours sincerely,
Augusta Leigh.

The next letter is dated Newstead Abbey, Sept. 14, 1814.

B. being very lazy, I have requested and obtained permission to write to you, and can only plead in excuse for proposing myself as his substitute, that I have something to say about pupils, and a letter to enclose on the same interesting subject. I have mentioned your wish to several of my friends.1 I shall hope very soon to hear that you are as happy as I wish you and yours to be. B. desires to be most kindly remembered. Newstead is quite his own again, and Mr. Claughton has forfeited £25,000. Of future plans I really can say nothing,

1 This refers to his intended marriage.

they are in such a glorious state of uncertainty. I hope he will write to you of them himself; in the meantime

Believe me yours most sincerely,
Augusta Leigh.

From Hastings Hodgson writes in high spirits to Harry Drury, and again from Cambridge, where he had gone into residence for the last time.

King’s: Sunday.

My dear old Friend,—Is it impossible for you to come here before the term ends? We could then pass our last days at King’s together, and shed a tear on Haslingfield’s green baulks, if baulks be there still green? Think of this, Master Brooks. I have a letter from Merivale this morning, canvassing for a history of John Sobieski, and accusing me of excessive ‘melancholy, gravity, and refinement!’ I was greatly amused with the charges, having just cut myself shaving from a sudden laugh when the letter came. Lonsdale was with me yesterday and amused me very much by his account of ‘the springs rising’ when you were fishing at Walkerne. Adieu.

Ever yours,
F. H.

Merivale’s charge of ‘melancholy,’ &c., was endorsed by Byron in a letter to Drury of about the same date; but it was only true at times. After alluding to the near approach of his own marriage, Byron writes:—

I hope Hodgson is in a fair way on the same voyage. I saw him and his idol at Hastings. I wish he would be married at the same time. I should like to make a party, like people electrified in a row, by (or rather through) the same chain, holding one another’s hands, and all feeling the shock at once. I have not yet apprised him of this. He makes such a serious matter of all these things, and is so ‘melancholy and gentlemanlike’ that it is quite overcoming to us choice spirits.

In October of this year Byron met Hodgson in town, where he stayed only a few days, ‘hurried,’ as he says, ‘with a thousand things,’ and begging to be excused for ‘his haste and laconism;’ and again at Cambridge, whence Hodgson wrote to his future wife an account of their meeting. A fragment of this letter remains, and is of great interest as containing contemporary comment upon an event of such vital importance to those most immediately concerned in it, and of such world-wide celebrity as the marriage
of Lord and
Lady Byron. This fragment also proves the high opinion entertained by Hodgson of his friend’s bride, an opinion which remained unaltered until her resolute determination to resist all attempts at reconciliation rendered sympathy with her impossible for anyone who retained his friendship for her husband.

It is most natural that Byron should be absorbed by the thought even, much more by the society, of one of the most divine beings upon earth. He was on his way to Seaham, Sir Ralph Milbanke’s seat. His sister, in her last sweet letter, says, ‘I have not heard from him for some time, and am uneasy about it; but it is very selfish to be so, for I know he is happy, and what more can I wish.’ Well, on Friday evening, after I had put my letter to you in the post, and one to Harry Drury, and one to my cousin, I was tired with writing, and thought I would go to the coffee-room and read the papers. With nothing then, for the moment, but Colonel Quintin and Hanoverianism in my head, I was passing by the Sun Inn, literally passing by if, and at a quick pace, when a carriage and four drove up to the door. A sudden thought struck me; I cried out ‘Byron!’ and was answered by a hearty
‘Hodgson!’ He was about to send to me at King’s. He would not have found me there, as I should have been detained for an hour at least with Colonel Quintin. Consequently, he would have gone on to his sister’s, and I should not have seen him. As it was, we supped together and sate till a late hour over our claret, talking of many and delightful things. He told me all that could be told of his visit to Seaham, and, in a word, for I can say no more if I talk for ever on the subject, he is likely to be as happy as I am. Oh! how I glowed with indignation at the base reporters of his Fortune-hunting. I will tell you the particulars when we meet. Meanwhile, entre nous, he is sacrificing a great deal too much. Not to Miss M.—that is impossible—because nothing is too much for her, and (as is usual in these cases) she would require nothing. But her parents (although B. speaks of them with the most beautiful respect) certainly to me appear to be most royally selfish persons. Her fortune is not large at present, but he settles £60,000 upon her. This he cannot do without selling Newstead again; and with a look and manner that I cannot easily forget he said: ‘You know we must think of these things as little as possible.’ ‘But,’ I replied, ‘I am certain, if she saw Newstead
she would not let you part with it.’ ‘Bless her! she has nothing to do with it. Nor would I excite a feeling in her mind that may be prejudicial to her interests.’ Now where, where are the hearts of those who can under-value, who can depreciate this man? Besides this, Miss M.’s principal expectations are from
Lord Wentworth, her uncle, an old and very infirm man, whom I have often met at Rugby. Perfectly disposed to pay him every respect, B. would not go out of his road to visit him. To meet him he would have been very glad, but he went straight to Miss M. He is returning to town for the purpose of settling all legal affairs, and returns to the North in a fortnight, straight to be married. He fully explained to Miss M. his feeling about Lord W. She was satisfied, and that is enough. As to herself, I have much indeed to tell you. The whole story is an interesting one. B. knows that the lawyers will not be ready for him for this day or two, and therefore, although he was going immediately to London, he means to stay in the neighbourhood till’ Wednesday to vote for his friend Clark,1 of Trinity, at the election for the Anatomical Professor. He promised . . . .

1 The Traveller.


P.S.—I open my letter to say that when Lord Byron went to give his vote just now in the Senate House, the young men burst out into the most rapturous applause.

Mine of yesterday mentioned in the postscript the nattering manner in which Lord Byron was received in the Senate House. I should add that as I was going to vote I met him coming away, and presently saw that something had happened, by his extreme paleness and agitation. Dr. Clark, who was with him, told me the cause, and I returned with B. to my room. There I begged him to sit down and write a letter and communicate this event, which he did not feel up to, but wished I would. So down I sate and commenced my acquaintance with Miss Milbanke by writing her an account of this most pleasing event, which, although nothing at Oxford, is here very unusual indeed; and, as I told you, had occasioned the dismissal of the young men from the Senate House only a few days ago. I also wrote to his sister, and thus I have two more female friends, or one at least, to introduce.

We dined with Dr. Clark and saw a very sweet woman in his wife; himself the most natural, pleasing, and kind of men. But more upon this subject when we meet. This morning Lord B. and Mr.
Hobhouse departed. B. is to send me word about —— as a pupil.

A few other remarks occurring in letters of this date are illustrative of the writer’s sentiments on the different subjects to which they refer.

The first speaks of a change in a friend:—

You can have no conception now, what a very sweet and engaging manner my friend once had. Illness and affliction will destroy everything, will even turn the gentle into the tart and severe: the most horrible of all changes in my mind. But I have a female friend whom I long indeed to introduce to you. A Herefordshire lady, still called Miss Hill, although now waning into the denomination of Mrs. Of her more hereafter. This earth does not hold a better being.

The sweetest line I ever met with (as we are on the subject—i.e., of epitaphs) is that in Hendon Churchyard—
Now my good angel, once my virtuous wife.

The next three letters, written in the year before Lord Byron’s ill-fated marriage, which at first promised such happy results, are full of melancholy interest.

Sunday, November 13.

Dear Mr. Hodgson,—Thank you a thousand times for your kind congratulations on the approaching marriage, which I hope will secure my dearest B.’s happiness. I had a letter from him on Friday last, in which he says it cannot take place this month or three weeks, and that consequently he shall visit London again in his unmarried state, and bids me expect to hear again from him soon or, perhaps, see him. You probably are aware that he passed through Cambridge1 a fortnight ago to-day, and I was much surprised to hear slept that night at Wandsford, as when he left me his intention was to do so at Cambridge, and for the purpose of seeing you. Believe me, that it would gratify me sincerely to be of use to you in your present dilemma,2 for I can enter into the feelings of you and yours most entirely. Byron arrived here late on Saturday night, and set out again soon after he had left his room on Sunday, so that you may imagine I had but a short time to hear and say a thousand things. In answer to an enquiry of mine about you, he

1 This was before the visit mentioned above.

2 This refers to the difficulty experienced by Hodgson in finding a suitable curacy, after giving up his fellowship at King’s.’ He was just at this time contemplating a chaplaincy.

answered that your marriage was still delayed, but nothing more.
Mr. Hanson has been at Seaham, and I rather think must now be again in town. Would it be of any use to you if I was to write to him on the subject of the chaplaincy? The post between this and Seaham is so dreadfully tedious, and, moreover, you know that B. does not always reply to written enquiries. In spite of this I will write, and also to Mr. H. if you think it better than your writing yourself. I only wish I could hit upon any way of being useful to you. If anything strikes you, pray let me know it immediately, and

Believe me very truly yours,
Augusta Leigh.

B.’s address is Seaham, Stockton-upon-Tees, Durham.

Six Mile Bottom: November 24.

Dear Mr. Hodgson,—Many thanks for your welcome intelligence, which it was kind of you to communicate. Poor B.! he must, I think, have been disturbed. I think I see him—and it gives me quite a nervous sensation. I would not have you think that I have forgot your concerns, but not one
syllable of answer have I got from
Mr. H. As far as regards myself this does not signify, but I am rather angry with him for keeping you in suspense. I suppose B. is gone, so I dare not enclose to him. I trust, indeed, there is everything to hope for his happiness, and, as you say, Newstead is the only drop of bitter in the cup. I try to banish it from my thoughts, but I cannot from my dreams, where it haunts me eternally. Alas! I see no remedy, but I never like to despair, and you would smile at my irrational hopes. Col. Leigh appears to think it not impossible we may have the pleasure of seeing you here by-and-bye. I need not say what pleasure it would give me. In the mean time

Believe me,
Truly yours,
A. L.
Seaham: November 25, 1814.

Dear Sir,—It will be easier for you to imagine than for me to express the pleasure which your very kind letter has given me. Not only on account of its gratifying intelligence, but also as introductory to an acquaintance which I have been taught to
value, and have sincerely desired. Allow me to consider
Lord Byron’s friend as not ‘a stranger,’ and accept, with my sincerest thanks, my best wishes for your own happiness.

I am, dear Sir,
Your faithful servant,
A. I. Milbanke.