LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 29 June 1819

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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“Ravenna, June 29th, 1819.

“The letters have been forwarded from Venice, but I trust that you will not have waited for further alterations—I will make none. You ask me to spare * * * *—ask the worms. His dust can suffer

† That this task of “governing” him was one of more ease than, from the ordinary view of his character, might be concluded, I have more than once, in these pages, expressed my opinion, and shall here quote, in corroboration of it, the remark of his own servant (founded on an observation of more than twenty years), in speaking of his master’s matrimonial fate:—“It is very odd, but I never yet knew a lady that could not manage my Lord, except my Lady.”

“More knowledge,” says Johnson, “may be gained of a man’s real character by a short conversation with one of his servants than from the most formal and studied narrative.”

224 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1819.
nothing from the truth being spoken—and if it could, how did he behave to me? You may talk to the wind, which will carry the sound—and to the caves, which will echo you—but not to me, on the subject of a * * * who wronged me—whether dead or alive.

“I have no time to return you the proofs—publish without them. I am glad you think the poesy good; and as to ‘thinking of the effect,’ think you of the sale, and leave me to pluck the porcupines who may point their quills at you.

“I have been here (at Ravenna) these four weeks, having left Venice a month ago;—I came to see my ‘Amica,’ the Countess Guiccioli, who has been, and still continues, very unwell. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She is only twenty years old, but not of a strong constitution. * * * * * * * * * * * * She has a perpetual cough and an intermittent fever, but bears up most gallantly in every sense of the word. Her husband (this is his third wife) is the richest noble of Ravenna, and almost of Romagna; he is also not the youngest, being upwards of threescore, but in good preservation. All this will appear strange to you, who do not understand the meridian morality, nor our way of life in such respects, and I cannot at present expound the difference;—but you would find it much the same in these parts. At Faenza there is Lord * * * * with an opera girl; and at the inn in the same town is a Neapolitan Prince, who serves the wife of the Gonfaloniere of that city. I am on duty here—so you see ‘Così fan tutti e tutte.

“I have my horses here, saddle as well as carriage, and ride or drive every day in the forest, the Pineta, the scene of Boccaccio’s novel, and Dryden’s fable of Honoria, &c. &c; and I see my Dama every day * * * * * *; but I feel seriously uneasy about her health, which seems very precarious. In losing her, I should lose a being who has run great risks on my account, and whom I have every reason to love—but I must not think this possible. I do not know what I should do if she died, but I ought to blow my brains out—and I hope that I should. Her husband is a very polite personage, but I wish he would not carry me out in his coach and six, like Whittington and his cat.

A. D. 1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 225

“You ask me if I mean to continue D. J., &c. How should I know? What encouragement do you give me, all of you, with your nonsensical prudery?—publish the two Cantos, and then you will see. I desired Mr. Kinnaird to speak to you on a little matter of business; either he has not spoken, or you have not answered. You are a pretty pair, but I will be even with you both. I perceive that Mr. Hobhouse has been challenged by Major Cartwright—Is the Major ‘so cunning of fence?’—why did not they fight?—they ought.

“Yours, &c.”