LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 6 October 1820

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, 8bre 6°, 1820.

“You will have now received all the Acts, corrected, of the Marino Faliero. What you say of the ‘bet of 100 guineas’ made by some one who says that he saw me last week reminds me of what happened in 1810; you can easily ascertain the fact, and it is an odd one.

“In the latter end of 1811, I met one evening at the Alfred my old school and form-fellow (for we were within two of each other, he the higher, though both very near the top of our remove) Peel, the Irish secretary. He told me that, in 1810, he met me, as he thought, in St. James’s-street, but we passed without speaking. He mentioned this, and it was denied as impossible, I being then in Turkey. A day or two
A. D. 1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 349
afterward, he pointed out to his brother a person on the opposite side of the way:—‘There,’ said he, is the man whom I took for Byron.’ His brother instantly answered, ‘Why, it is Byron, and no one else.’ But this is not all:—I was seen by somebody to write down my name amongst the inquirers after the king’s health, then attacked by insanity. Now, at this very period, as nearly as I could make out, I was ill of a strong fever at Patras, caught in the marshes near Olympia, from the malaria. If I had died there, this would have been a new ghost story for you. You can easily make out the accuracy of this from Peel himself, who told it in detail. I suppose you will be of the opinion of
Lucretius, who (denies the immortality of the soul, but) asserts that from the ‘flying off of the surfaces of bodies, these surfaces or cases, like the coats of an onion, are sometimes seen entire when they are separated from it, so that the shapes and shadows of both the dead and living are frequently beheld.’

“But if they are, are their coats and waistcoats also seen? I do not disbelieve that we may be two by some unconscious process, to a certain sign, but which of these two I happen at present to be, I leave you to decide. I only hope that t’other me behaves like a gemman.

“I wish you would get Peel asked how far I am accurate in my recollection of what he told me; for I don’t like to say such things without authority.

“I am not sure that I was not spoken with; but this also you can ascertain. I have written to you such letters that I stop.

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. Last year (in June, 1819) I met at Count Mosti’s, at Ferrara, an Italian who asked me ‘if I knew Lord Byron?’ I told him no (no one knows himself, you know). ‘Then,’ says he, ‘I do; I met him at Naples the other day.’ I pulled out my card and asked him if that was the way he spelt his name: be answered, yes. I suspect that it was a blackguard navy surgeon, who attended a young travelling madam about, and passed himself for a lord at the post-houses. He was a vulgar dog—quite of the cock-pit order—and a precious representative I must have had of him, if it was even so; but I don’t know. He passed himself off as a gentleman, and squired about a Countess * *
350 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1820.
(of this place), then at Venice, an ugly battered woman, of bad morals even for Italy.”