LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.

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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The publication of ‘Don Juan’ caused great distress to Mrs. Leigh, who thus alludes to it:—

I have nothing good to say of foreign news. I assure you I am very low about him. This new poem, if persisted in, will be the ruin of him, from what I can learn. Indeed if his friends (those whom he terms such) allow it, one may believe it. But if you write say nothing, for it would not do good, I believe, unless you were on the spot, and I was charged not to write of it, as the more opposition and disapprobation manifested, the more obstinate he will be. God bless you and yours, etc.

These touching sisterly anxieties culminated a few months later in the bitter sorrows of bereavement,
which found expression in several letters to that warm-hearted friend from whose sympathy she appeared to derive genuine comfort.

St. James’s Palace: May 15, 1824.

Dear Mr. Hodgson,—The newspapers will have announced to you the melancholy event which has taken place; but I cannot allow such a friend as you were to hear it only from that public source, and I know your kind anxiety for me will make a few lines from my own pen acceptable at such a moment. I need not say that I am overwhelmed with the severity and suddenness of the blow, but I try to be resigned to God’s will, and to exert myself for the sake of all those who are kind enough to feel for me. I am sure of your kind sympathy, and I know your affectionate attachment for our dear B. will make you feel this fatal event most severely. I can tell you little more at present than the papers contain. His complaint originated in a neglected cold, which became a rheumatic fever; and delirium at last, at intervals, I am grieved to say, prevented his servant Fletcher from being able to understand something he appeared very anxious to express. This is dreadful!

I hope the dear Remains will be brought to Eng-
land; it seems the wish of all. I have seen
Mr. Hobhouse, who is, as you will believe, dreadfully cast down by this unexpected and severe blow. You shall hear from me again. George Byron was to my comfort in London, and went down to poor Lady Byron, who is in great affliction. My children have all been ill, the two elder very seriously so, but thank God they are recovering.

With my best remembrances to Mrs. H.,

Believe me ever,
Yours most truly,
Augusta Leigh.
St. James’s Palace: May 31, 1824.

Dear Mr. Hodgson,—I hope that you have not thought my silence unkind. I assure you that your very kind letter was quite a balm to my heart, but I have been so much harassed by different perplexities that I have not had time or courage to write again, but I will not delay it another post. In the first place, your kind inquiries. I am as well as anyone can be in my circumstances, and I hope I am anxious and willing to admit and receive every source of consolation in this deeply afflicting event. The first of all is, that He who has directed it knows what is best for us, and I try to think that
my poor dear
B. is now snatched from us to spare him future trials and temptations. Did I tell you I had received a long letter full of melancholy details relative to the last nine days, from his servant, Fletcher, whom you must remember? You shall read it some day, or I will copy it for you. I cannot bear to part with it at present. It appears to me that he had never entirely recovered the effects of two fits in February, and Fletcher remarks that they had made a deep impression, and produced great attention, not only to diet, but the more serious duties of a Christian. Now, dear Mr. H., this is my greatest hope and comfort. I think it impossible that Fletcher, who had lived with him twenty-three years, and must have known his habits so intimately, could have been struck with such an idea without there had been grounds for it. Mr. Hobhouse, on reading that portion of F.’s letter, desired me not to show it, as many people might imagine that terror had made him Methodistical. But I tell it to you because I feel confident you will derive from it the hope and comfort that I do. Would to Heaven I could have been with him! There was not any Englishman, only a Count Gamba, an Italian follower of his, and two Italian physicians, alas! too young and inexperienced, I
fear, to know or do their duty. He had always a great horror of being bled, and it appears to me that early measures of that sort might have saved him. God knows! The last twelve hours were perfect tranquillity and apparent insensibility. Before that, and being quite aware of his situation, he appeared most anxious to give orders and express something to Fletcher; but, alas! intervals of delirium prevented his being understood further than that he desired him to go to his ‘child,’ to his ‘wife,’ and to his ‘poor dear sister,’ and tell them that. . . . This is indeed distressing to reflect upon. I hope and believe the dear Remains will be brought to England. I wish it was all settled and over, for it is a heavy weight on one’s heart. The will was at Genoa, and a legal copy was immediately sent for. I imagine that cannot be here till next week. Of course it must be seen whether there are directions in it respecting the last sad ceremony. You have probably seen in the newspapers long histories of the
Memoirs, and my name mixed up with them, and I am anxious to tell you the fact. The first day, and the very day I received the fatal intelligence, that I saw Mr. Hobhouse, he said, ‘Now the first thing that we have to think of is to protect Lord B.’s fame; there are those “Memoirs,”’ and
proceeded to tell me who had them now—
Mr. Moore, and of a long squabble between Moore and Murray about them, which is of no consequence. The next day he came with a written agreement in his hand, to state to me that Mr. Moore would pay Murray back the 2,000 guineas he had received from him for them, and give them up to me and me only; and, Mr. H. observed, ‘I should recommend you, Mrs. L., to destroy them,’ which he need not have done, for I was too well convinced that it was the only thing to do, from the little I had heard of them. The day after Mr. H. arrived to tell me it was settled that at twelve next day he, Mr. Moore, and Murray, Col. Doyle, or Mr. Wilmot Horton, on Lady B.’s part, with perhaps some friend of Moore, would be here to give them up to me, and I was to burn them. You may guess that I acquiesced from a sense of duty, and as I would go into a court of justice if required. I thought I should have sunk at the bare idea of it, but it was to be done. About a quarter of an hour after this was settled and Mr. H. gone, came a note from Mr. Wilmot Horton with quite a different story, Moore and Murray having both been with him. I sent for Mr. Wilmot (who is, you know, our cousin), and begged for an explanation of what was quite incomprehensible to
me; and after some time I plainly saw that Moore was ——, and protesting against the destruction of the ‘Memoirs,’ wanting them to be sealed up and deposited with Mr. Wilmot, etc., etc.; and I told Mr. Wilmot that if I was to have a voice in the business (which I by no means wished), that it was my opinion and unalterable determination that they should be destroyed, and immediately; that I thought delay would only bring change of feeling and opinion; and that as for publishing the unexceptionable parts, as Mr. Moore wished and proposed, I thought if the whole was to be canvassed and cavilled over, to determine what was and what was not unexceptionable, upon which there might be a difference of opinion, that the whole might as well be published at once. So the parties, Messrs. Moore, Murray, Hobhouse, Col. Doyle for Lady B., and Mr. Wilmot for me, and
Mr. Luttrell, a friend of Mr. Moore’s, met at Mr. Murray’s; and after a long dispute and nearly quarrelling, upon Mr. Wilmot’s stating what was my wish and opinion, the MS. was burnt, and Moore paid Murray the 2,000 guineas. Immediately almost after this was done, the legal agreement between Moore and Murray (which had been mislaid) was found, and, strange to say, it appeared from it (what both had
forgotten) that the property of the MS. was Murray’s bonâ fide. Consequently he had right to dispose of it as he pleased, and as he had behaved most handsomely upon the occasion, . . . . it was desired by our family that Moore should receive the 2,000 guineas back. Of course, whoever succeeds to my brother’s property would consider it incumbent on them to remunerate the loser, and one would prefer doing so by Murray. I am afraid this has not yet been accomplished, though Mr. Wilmot declares it shall be. Only imagine that with the bond there was a written declaration of Moore, stating it his own and Lord B.’s opinions that the MS. never ought to be published, and in 1822 Mr. Hobhouse heard from poor B. himself that he never wished it should. This is, dear Mr. Hodgson, the whole case exactly, and I hope you will not disapprove of the part I had in it, which was not of my own seeking, but as I was drawn into it I felt it my duty to act as I think he, poor dear soul! would now (divested of earthly feelings) approve. I must now say a word of the kind wish expressed to me in your letter. Believe me, that it would gratify me more than I can say, and that I am very sure nobody would execute1 it with more

1 Hodgson had proposed to write his friend’s life.

feeling and ability than you. But I’m sure you will understand that I am very delicately situated, first in taking upon myself what may appear to others to belong to them to pronounce upon; and then I cannot help anticipating that there are still others who will wish me to give my sanction to them, and whose feelings I would not wound by giving a preference, whatever I may feel on the subject. After all, do not let what I say deter you, and rely on any and every assistance I can give. I see no harm in more than one attempt to do the thing. Do not mistake me, dear Mr. H.; believe me, it is impossible to do more justice than I do to your attachment, as well as every other requisite. I am only afraid of interfering where it might be thought I had no right. I am most grateful for your kind sympathy in my grief, which not everyone can fully enter into, and, with best remembrances to
Mrs. H.,

Believe me,
Ever most truly yours,
A. L.

Pray write when you can.

St. James’s Palace: June 25, 1824.

I feel quite provoked with myself, dear Mr. Hodgson, for my unpardonable silence towards you; but you
are always so indulgent towards me that I think you will only attribute it to the real cause. I cannot describe the numerous worries I have had, and I have constantly delayed writing, thinking I might have certainties to communicate instead of uncertainties, upon subjects which I am sure, as connected with the particular one, cannot but be interesting to you. It is high time to answer your letter, however, particularly upon two points. That of your wishes, which I can truly say are mine—on the first, regarding his dear memory, you have only to suggest to me what you think would be best—we can consult together: and for the second, which concerns me and mine so immediately, believe me, dear Mr. H., most grateful, and the more gratified from the source of such a wish on your part.1 The time will come, I hope, when it may be fulfilled. You have probably heard a rumour that my poor dear
B. has provided for me and my family. In the first instance it was supposed (though I cannot exactly discover upon what grounds) that there was a will at Genoa, and immediate steps were taken by Mr. Kinnaird to have a legal copy sent home. But after the most careful and repeated

1 Hodgson was anxious to take one of Mrs. Leigh’s sons as a pupil—a desire which was subsequently fulfilled.

search, none can be found. It remains, therefore, to be seen whether any will be forthcoming among the papers coming from Greece, and which with the dear Remains may be expected the beginning of July. Everybody, except myself, is persuaded there is no will but that here, which is in my favour and that of my children, and of which I was told, at the time it was made, by
Lady Byron; and it is satisfactory to me to have her letter by me, in which she kindly expressed her gladness at it, and that she thought it a very just measure. It is a very painful subject for me to touch upon, but total silence to such a friend as you would be impossible. You shall hear from me when the last mournful arrival takes place—and how I dread it! Mr. Hobhouse told me yesterday he had received further accounts of the last days from a Mr. Trelawney, of whom I had never heard, but it appears that he had been in habits of intimacy for some years. He arrived at Missolonghi a day too late to see our dearest B. alive. I have not yet seen the letter, but am promised it, and will let you see all that will be interesting. It is a comfort to know that he expressed a wish to be brought to England, as we had decided upon it. He appears to have been lost for want of proper advice; but,
on the other hand, it was ascertained that had life been spared now, it could not have been of long continuance, for the liver was so small it was only wonderful he had existed so long. If one could but hope the mind was prepared for the awful change! I trust in the mercy of Heaven that such was the case. Poor dear B.! It appears to me a dream that he is indeed lost to me for ever in this world.


I have seen Mr. Hobhouse this morning, and he read to me parts of Mr. Trelawney’s letter. It appears, as from Fletcher, that poor dear B. was aware of his situation on the 17th or 18th (he expired on the 19th), and was most anxious to give Fletcher directions which, though his lips moved, his tongue could not articulate. I hope his sufferings were not very acute. Mr. Trelawney observes that before he had left Italy he had become restless and unhappy, dissatisfied with everything, and ailing and sickly to a great degree. It has long been impossible to know what to wish for him in this world, and for my own part I have lived in a state of incessant anxiety about him. If I could but think he was now happy! But I hope and trust in the wisdom and mercy of the Almighty.
When you have a moment write to me, dear Mr. H., and believe me ever affectionately and gratefully yours,

A. L.

I believe the Remains will be deposited in Westminster Abbey; at least it seems the wish of his friends. Lady B. will not express any, and under these circumstances I don’t wish to mention mine, which was for our own family vault. I believe there has been nothing found by way of poetry of his composition except some lines 1 written upon his last birthday, which are said to be very beautiful.

St. James’s Palace: July 5, 1824.

Dear Mr. H.,—A few lines, as I know you are anxious. The papers have probably announced to you the arrival of that melancholy ship with the dear Remains. Of this I heard on Thursday and was, I believe, the only person who expected it so soon, but for days before I could not divest myself of the sensation, or presentiment, that it was near me. You will think me very foolish, but so it was. It is to be this day in the Docks, and the Remains moved to a house taken for the purpose in George Street, Westminster. The intention is to deposit

1’Tis time this heart should be unmoved,’ &c.

them either in Westminster Abbey, or our own family vault near our own dear Abbey. I’ve not yet seen
Mr. Hobhouse to-day, so I do not know the Dean’s pleasure, which has been sounded, not asked. I am expecting Fletcher every moment! You may guess with what feelings. If I cannot write after having seen him, you shall hear again to-morrow. If this melancholy ceremony takes place in Westminster Abbey, it will be this week, I suppose, and is to be as private and quiet as possible. I almost now wish it may be there, although it was my own original wish that it should be in the other place. But I think it would disappoint and inconvenience some friends who wish to attend. The papers will also give you the account of the will: no other being found, and every reason to suppose no later one has been made, it was to be proved to-day. I cannot express how deeply grateful I am for the very unexpected provision for me and mine. More to-morrow.

Yours ever,
A. L.
St James’s Palace: July 8, 1824.

Dear Mr. Hodgson,—I am sure that it will be most gratifying to everybody concerned that you should
attend,1 and more particularly so to me; and I hope that Hucknall Torkard being the place will render it not very inconvenient to you. I can only tell you that it is two or three miles from Newstead and fourteen from Nottingham. The funeral sets out on Monday, and Thursday or Friday will be the day. If I can ascertain beforehand which of the two, I will write to you.
Mr. Hobhouse, Mr. Kinnaird, Col. Leigh, and, I conclude, Mr. Hanson, will attend. I shall probably see Mr. Hobhouse to-day and will mention your wish.

I have not yet been able to see Fletcher, as he has been detained on board the ship to attend to the effects till the Custom House should release them; but I believe I did not tell you that I could not resist seeing the Remains. He was embalmed, so it was still possible; and the melancholy comfort that it bestowed on me never can be expressed. There are few who can understand it, I believe; for my own part, I only envy those who could remain with and watch over him till the last. Such are my feelings, but I know there are many who could not bear it. It was awful to behold what I parted with convulsed, absolutely convulsed with grief, now cold and inanimate, and so altered that

1 The funeral.

I could scarcely persuade myself it was him—not a vestige of what he was. But God’s will be done! I hope I shall resign to it. I hear that Fletcher says that for the last year his mind and feelings appeared to be changed much for the better. He expressed concern at having written ‘
Don Juan’ and other objectionable things. He talked latterly with great affection of his child, and in kind terms of Lady B. This is all comfort, dear Mr. H.; and I tell it you, for I know how truly you loved him and his best interests. I long to see Fletcher to judge for myself. He has been cautioned, from the first, to restrain his communications; there will, of course, be so much curiosity.

I have seen Lady B., which was a great trial. She was much agitated. I believe I told you how handsomely she has behaved to my cousin the present Lord B. I am glad indeed to hear you approved of what I had done about the Memoirs. . . . God bless you, dear Mr. H.

The funeral, which took place on July 16,1 1824, was attended by Hodgson, who wrote an account of it to Mrs. Leigh.

1 Moore remarks, that on the very same day of the same month in the preceding year, Byron had said despondingly to Count Gamba, ‘Where shall we be in another year?’

St. James’s Palace: Thursday, July 29, 1824

Dear Mr. Hodgson,—There certainly is a spell upon my correspondence with you. I have been so harassed and worried with business matters that I have not had a peaceful moment to say a few words to you. I felt your kindness so deeply in writing me those sad, mournful, yet grateful, details! I can imagine all you felt that day, and only wish I could have been there too. . . .

My head and heart are in such a distracted state with the various inevitable consequences of this sad event, that I think I must go away somewhere soon, for I want repose. I regret, too, very much that you did not question Fletcher; but I flatter myself you may have future opportunities, and I should encourage him to communicate with you freely on that most interesting subject. You see, dear Mr. Hodgson, that Mr. Hobhouse and a certain set imagine that it might be said by his enemies, and those who have no religion at all, that he had turned Methodist, if it was affirmed that he paid (latterly) more attention to his religious duties than formerly. But let them say what they will, it must be the first of consolations to us that he did so. I am convinced of it from
Fletcher’s assertions, and a letter from a
Dr. Kennedy, in Cephalonia, to Fletcher since the death. I shall ever bless that man for his endeavours to work upon his mind. In some moments one regrets there was not more time for them, in others one recollects what threatened if a longer time had been granted, and one ends by a conviction that all must have been for the best.

Tell me how I can send you a mourning ring,1 which I have thought a little of the hair would make more acceptable. Best compliments to Mrs. H.

Ever yours most truly,
A. L.

A Bible presented to him by that better angel of his life, his beloved sister, was among the books which Byron always kept near him. His lines on the ‘Bible’ are not published with his works, nor so well known as they deserve to be:—

Within this awful volume lies
The mystery of mysteries.
Oh! happiest they of human race,
To whom our God has given grace

1 This mourning ring, with the name and date of death and a lock of hair, is now in my possession.—J. T. H.

To hear, to read, to fear, to pray,
To lift the latch, and force the way;
But better had they ne’er been born
Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.

To these the following fragment may be added:—

Oh that to me the wings were given
Which bear the turtle to her nest;
Then would I cleave the vault of heaven,
And flee away and be at rest!

That Christian doctrine had taken a stronger hold upon Byron’s convictions than his horror of cant ever allowed him to admit, is proved by many instances in which the conduct of his life was at variance with his professed infidelity. His heroic self-sacrifice in the cause of freedom in Greece, and his intense sympathy with the distressed operatives of his own country—as shown by his magnificent speech in the House of Lords on the Frame-breaking Bill—seem to point to the unacknowledged influence of Christianity upon his character; and no life ever afforded more ample evidence of the possession of that most excellent gift of charity to which the Divine promise is given that it shall cover a multitude of sins.

Fifty-two years after the funeral, the writer of this
Memoir paid a visit to Hucknall Torkard Church, and saw the plain white tablet erected by
Mrs. Leigh to her brother’s memory on the south wall of the chancel. Attached to the tablet there is a small laurel wreath, much withered, which was sent by some American ladies from San Francisco. Below the wreath there is a rather tawdry silk banner, on which a peer’s coronet is woven and the motto, ‘Crede Byron.’ The interment took place at the south-west corner of the altar, within the rails, where there is a family vault, in which the remains of his mother and daughter also repose side by side with his own. The monument to Lady Lovelace, who died at the same age as her father (36), is in precisely the same simple style.

In the parish register in the vestry, Byron’s burial is entered between those of two villagers, who were also of about the same age as himself. The church is singularly devoid of ornament, and the churchyard has a somewhat desolate appearance. Close to its entrance there is a miserable dilapidated sort of inn called ‘Byron’s Rest.’ As I passed through the village I heard a military band playing a very spirited tune, which somehow suggested the last days of noble self-devotion in Greece, when the poet’s life was sacrificed in the endeavour
to rally a degenerate people in the sacred cause of liberty.

Taking the train from Hucknall—a wretched, dreary, weird-looking village—I reached Newstead Station in about ten minutes. Close to the Station are Newstead Collieries, from which there is an approach to the Abbey, about a mile and a half in length, which was formerly an avenue. The fields on either side were apparently once part of the old park, and the road leads to a lodge and gate, where, by an abrupt descent, it discloses a small lake on the right, with laurel plantations in the foreground. Passing through this little valley, the road continues by a rather steep ascent with banks of evergreens on either side, until, on approaching level ground, the Abbey becomes visible on the right, the near part modern and repaired, the farther end consisting of most beautiful and picturesque ruins. Behind these is Boatswain’s grave, in the vault adjoining which Byron himself once wished to be buried. On reaching the plateau at the top of the hill, I was surprised, almost startled, by seeing immediately on the left, where I had expected park scenery, a sheet of water, apparently at least a mile in extent, with a sailing boat anchored near to the shore.

By the kindness of the present owners of New-
stead, I was allowed to see every part of the house and grounds. The present entrance-hall is of modern date, and immediately below the former one, which was approached by a flight of steps into a small antechamber, where there is now a staircase, at the end of a beautiful banqueting-hall, which was used by the poet as a shooting-gallery.
Charles Skinner Matthews gives an amusing description of this entrance, guarded by a wolf and a bear on either side, and within pistol-shot of the ‘merry monks of Newstead.’ Passing through a series of galleries which exhibit few traces of their former monastic inhabitants, I was shown through a number of bed-rooms, richly ornamented with carving, tapestry, and velvet hangings, and occupied at different times by various royal and noble personages, to the drawing-room, upwards of 150 feet long, which in the poet’s time was used for lumber, and from the windows of which is seen the famous oak tree which he planted. The passages are full of relics, perhaps the most interesting of which is the table on which ‘English Bards’ was written in the autumn of 1809. The study, which is also a gallery in shape, is full of high-backed chairs richly carved and considerably older than the present century. In the old dining-room, with its handsome chimney-piece and panelled ceiling, the furniture is kept
exactly as it used to be when
Byron and his friends passed such pleasant evenings together. From the adjoining gallery there is a narrow winding staircase to the bed-room and dressing-room occupied by Byron, in which there are pictures of his old servant Murray, of some colleges at Oxford, where he would have matriculated had there been a vacancy at Christ Church, and of Trinity and King’s Colleges, Cambridge. This bed-room overlooks the lake so dear to its former owner. In the garden beside Boatswain’s grave there is the mirror pond, paved evidently for bathing purposes, and strange yew-planted walks, full of grotesque statues, which were erected by the poet’s eccentric predecessor. On a tree in these wild pathways, kept now as formerly, Byron inscribed his own and his sister’s name, on the occasion of his last visit to his beautiful home.

The lovely woods and waters which surround this picturesque and venerable Abbey seem to blend their voices in pathetic harmony, and to breathe a peaceful requiem which fancy wafts onward to the church, where in quiet and obscurity lie the mortal remains of him whose youth and beauty and genius and goodness, whose crimes and follies and misfortunes, alike await the final judgment of that omnipotent Creator whose essential attribute is love.


Having abandoned his original idea of himself writing a memoir of Lord Byron’s life, Hodgson readily acceded to Moore’s request for assistance in a similar work. The correspondence on this subject, although it did not take place until some years later, will appropriately conclude the present chapter.

On Oct. 16, 1827, Moore writes in his journal, ‘Talked much of Hodgson, of whom Mrs. R. A. thinks most highly; says he is “a blessing” in the neighbourhood.’

Sloperton Cottage: November 8, 1827.

My dear Sir,—Our friend Mrs. Arkwright had already told me how kindly you were disposed towards me, but I am rejoiced to have it also under your own hand. You may be assured I shall have great pleasure in coming to you, when I next visit Derbyshire.

I cannot help thinking that you take rather too fastidious a view of Byron’s letters. Offensive personalities are, of course, inadmissible; but the names of friends, kindly mentioned, and allusions to some of the events in which he and those friends were engaged, could not fail to interest, and to interest harmlessly. If you view his correspondence
with you in this light, I am sure you will find much of it that a biographer could turn to account. At all events, it is of importance to me to see as much of his as I can, as the more I know of all the bearings of his life, thoughts, and feelings the deeper, of course, I shall be imbued with my subject, and the more chance there is of my being able to do justice to it. In this way you can be of material service to me, particularly with respect to the earlier part of his life, and the time of his first travels, which is the period I am most imperfectly supplied with information on. You need not put yourself to the least inconvenience in your kind task for me, as after Christmas will be abundantly soon for my purpose. It will double the pleasure of my visit to you if I am lucky enough to be able to accept
Mrs. Arkwright’s invitation to Mrs. Moore, and thus avail myself of the opportunity of introducing her to Mrs. Hodgson, to whom I beg my best remembrances. As our common friend was not formal, I don’t see why we should be so, and shall therefore say, my dear Hodgson,

I am yours very truly,
Thomas Moore.

In the following January (1828) Moore met
Hodgson at Stoke, and alludes to his visit in his journal for that month:—

24th.—Set off at half-past six in the coach for Stoke. . . . Found Mrs. Arkwright, Mrs. J. Cooper, and Hodgson waiting for me at the mill, and walked up with them to the house.

25th.—Mrs. Arkwright, who has been full of anxiety as to my finding Hodgson in a mood to give me the assistance I want from him, put us, after breakfast, in a little room together; where he with the utmost readiness and kindness placed a number of Byron’s letters in my hand, as well as extracts from others of a more confidential nature; and left me alone to look over them and select such as might suit my purpose. . . .

26th.—After breakfast closeted with Hodgson for two or three hours on the subject of Byron; found none of the reserve in him that Mrs. A. apprehended, but the fullest cordiality and confidence. Walked with him afterwards to Middleton Dale: fine rock scenery; the Delf very grand. Hodgson very agreeable at dinner: Mrs. A. said she had never seen him so happy. He had determined upon going home before dinner (thinking it right that a clergyman should pass his Saturday evening at home), but was prevailed to
stay till night. Some amusing stories of
Scrope Davies. . . . After singing and singing over and over again, we saw Hodgson and his wife off in their carriage to Bakewell. My song, ‘And doth not a meeting like this?’ brought tears from both singer and hearers.

27th.—After breakfast set off to church (Bakewell) with Mrs. Arkwright. . . . Hodgson’s sermon very good. We again conquered his resolution, which was decidedly not to dine from home; but he yielded. Mrs. A., indeed, said that he seemed quite another person since I came. The dinner again very agreeable.

28th.—Hodgson went down with me to the place where I was to meet the coach (his wife having put into my hands before I came away a paper, which she said I might read at my leisure); and after a most cordial parting, I started about 12 o’clock on my way to Newstead. Found that the paper Mrs. Hodgson gave me contained some kind and flattering verses Hodgson had written on my visit and departure.

19 Bury Street, St. James’s: February 21, 1828.

My dear Hodgson,—I despatch you this note lest you should be wondering at my silence, though the
mere fact of my prolonged stay in town (which you may have learned from
Arkwright) will already perhaps have sufficiently accounted for it. You have already, I doubt not, heard from our friends at Stoke of the renewal of my agreement with Murray, and the very prosperous terms on which I am now to bring out the work. There are two or three points of detail to be settled between us yet, but I have no doubt of the coalition (unlike those of political personages) turning out satisfactorily to all parties.

I wrote to Hobhouse soon after I left you, acquainting him with the success of my researches, both at Southwell and with you, and had an answer from him full of kindness, and mentioning you in terms of cordial import. I have seen him only once since I came to town; but Murray tells me he is highly pleased with the new arrangement we have made. In order that you might have your letters back as soon as possible, I was about to entrust them to a friend of mine here to copy them for me, but I will keep them now till I get home and transmit them to you from thence, having transcribed them myself.

I mean to write to Mrs. Arkwright as soon as I arrive at Sloperton, but in the meantime pray tell
her that her book has remained sacredly closed ever since I left Stoke, much to the astonishment, I dare say, of its contents, which are but little accustomed to have such ‘a chain of silence’ over them.

Yours, my dear Hodgson, very truly,
Thomas Moore.
March 19, 1828.

My dear Hodgson,—I have been rather afraid, since I received your last, to trust Croker’s channel again, as, from some other irregularities in packets which he used to transmit very punctually to me, I rather fear the Sublime Porte is beginning to occupy him too much for us minor sublimities to have any chance of attention. I shall therefore send you your letters at intervals, under my friend Bennett’s covers. You cannot think how it worried me to find you had been put to such expence by your kindness to me.

I have sent Mrs. Blencoe the promised cheques, and pray, tell Mrs. Arkwright that I have hit two birds at once by it, as, besides shining out in the miscellany myself, I have immortalised her, having put into verse that dream she knows of, in which a certain face came to me one fine morning and
sung ‘False hearted young man’ (not meaning me, though) from beginning to end.

Ever yours,
T. Moore.

I have heard from Mrs. A., who says she is ‘raised, refined’ by Pasta, neither of which processes was she in want of. Nothing can be happier than the tone in which she writes.

Sloperton Cottage: April 25, 1828.

My dear Hodgson,—I ought to have answered your letter long before this, but the truth is, I have such shoals of epistolary stuff to get through every morning (my chief literary labours, I think, being for the postman), that I am tempted sometimes to presume upon the good nature of kind friends such as you are, and ‘keep never minding you’ (as we say in Ireland) longer than I should do. . . . My plan hitherto has been to extract from his journals, or memorandum-books, such passages as related to the part of his life I was detailing, and then omit them afterwards when I come to give the journal itself. . . .

While in London, I had really not a moment for anything beyond the immediate vortex I was
whirling in. One day I was lucky enough to be able to dedicate to our friends at Harrow, and you and
Mrs. Hodgson were not forgotten among our άξιομνημόνευτα. . . . While in town I saw your old acquaintance Harness, who has given me some very interesting letters of B.’s.

Most truly yours,
Thomas Moore.
Sloperton Cottage: August 1, 1828.

My dear Hodgson,—Having the enclosed letters of Byron’s to send you I waited for a frank, and have unluckily got one at a moment when there is hardly time to accompany it with more than a word or two. The receipt of your last letter gave me the sincerest pleasure. . . .

I have all along advised Power not to hesitate on price with Mrs. Arkwright, and, from what I last heard from him, it appears he has left it to her to name her own terms, which will, I trust, get over all difficulty.

I proceed very slowly with Byron, from various distractions; but as soon as I come to his correspondence with me and Murray, the scissors and
paste will come into play, and I shall cover space most rapidly.

Ever yours, my dear Hodgson, most truly,
Thomas Moore.
Sloperton: November 13, 1828.

My dear Hodgson,—Your letter has been too long unanswered, but the only point in it which demanded an immediate reply I knew you could be easily satisfied upon by others, namely, as to the place of payment for the subscription to Byron’s monument. In consequence of my not residing in town, I am not one of the sub-committee; but as well as I can recollect, Ransom’s is the bank where the subscriptions are to be paid. This intelligence, however, will, I fear, come rather late.

I don’t know whether I told you that I passed some days at Methuen’s with John Cam1 this year, and that his conversation about you was everything you could most wish it to be. As to the refusal of Westminster Abbey,2 I know not what to think. One would be inclined to say to the intolerant refuser—

1 Hobhouse.

2 The refusal to receive the statue of Lord Byron, by Thorwaldsen, now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, in Westminster Abbey.

I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel may this poet be
When thou liest howling.
But the statement has been, I am told, confidently contradicted.

I have been very much retarded and distracted in my operations this summer by excessive anxiety about our little girl, and by the necessity of going backwards and forwards between this and Southampton, where I had her and the rest of my family for several weeks, to try the benefit of the hot salt-water bathing. She is now, I am happy to say, improving, though still but slowly. Notwithstanding all these interruptions, I have managed to get on a little with my work, and still hope to go to press about the beginning of the year. I wish you would tell me whether the details in the letters from Spain, which you withheld from me, related to those ladies in whose house he stayed at Seville, or to the admiral’s daughter, with whom he had some flirtation at Cadiz.

The Editor of the ‘Keepsake’ (my negotiations with whom I made you acquainted with at Stoke) has played me a most notable trick. Having this year offered me six hundred pounds for 120 pages, chiefly (as he confessed) to have the advantage of
my name in his list of contributors, he, on my refusing this offer, thought he might as well have the name at all events; and, as he could not buy it, take possession of it gratis. Accordingly, on the strength of some ten-years-old doggrel of mine he picked up, my name has been (as I daresay you have seen) posted as one of his contributors, and the doggrel —— (as he ought to be) into the bargain. Isn’t this too provoking?

Remember me most cordially to your fair neighbour1 and Mrs. Hodgson, believing me ever, my dear Hodgson,

Most truly yours,
Thomas Moore.

1 Mrs. Robert Arkwright.