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is) I have lost a lawsuit, of great importance, on Rochdale collieries-have occasioned a divorce—have had my poesy disparaged by Murray and the critics --my fortune refused to be placed on an advantageous settlement (in Ireland) by the trustees ;—my life threatened last month (they put about a paper here to excite an attempt at my assassination, on account of politics, and a notion which the priests disseminated that I was in a league against the Germans,)—and, finally, my mother-in-law recovered last fortnight, and my play was damned last week! These are like “the eight-and-twenty misfortunes of Harlequin.” But they must be borne. If I give in, it shall be after keeping up a spirit at least. (1821, May 14.

May 14. Letter 892, to Thomas Moore, Vol. V., p. 286.)

Upon Parnassus, going to the fountain of Delphi (Castri), in 1809, I saw a flight of twelve Eagles Hobhouse says they are Vultures—at least in conversation), and I seized the Omen. On the day before, I composed the lines to Parnassus (in Childe Harold), and, on beholding the birds, had a hope that Apollo had accepted my homage. I have at least had the name and fame of a Poet during the poetical period of life (from twenty to thirty): whether it will last is another matter; but I have been a votary of the Deity and the place, and am grateful for what he has done in my behalf, leaving the future in his hands as I left the past. Like Sylla, I have always believed that all things depend upon Fortune, and nothing upon ourselves. I am not aware of any one thought or action worthy

A COMPLICATION OF ONLY CHILDREN

79

of being called good to myself or others, which is not to be attributed to the Good Goddess, Fortune!

(“Detached Thoughts,”1821-22. “Thoughts”

82 and 83, Vol. V., p. 450.)

2

8

5

6

I have been thinking of an odd circumstance. My daughter, my wife, my half-sister, my mother, my sister's mother, my natural daughter, and myself

, are or were all only children. My sister's Mother (Lady Conyers) had only my half sister by that second marriage (herself too an only child), and my father had only me (an only child) by his second marriage with my Mother (an only child too). Such a complication of only children, all tending to one family, is singular enough, and looks like fatality almost. But the fiercest Animals have the rarest numbers in their litters, as Lions, tigers, and even Elephants which are mild in comparison.

(“Detached Thoughts,” 1821-22. “Thought”

119, Vol. V., p. 467.)

I have remarked a curious coincidence, which almost looks like a fatality. My mother, my wife, my half-sister, my sister's mother, my natural daugher (as far at least as I am concerned), and myself, are all only children. My father, by his first marriage with Lady Conyers (an only child), had only my sister; and by his second marriage with another only child, an only child again. Lady Byron, as you know,

one also, and so is my daughter, etc.

was

Is

not this rather odd—such a complication of only children?

(1821, December 10. Letter 965, to John

Murray, Vol. V., p. 492.) I am superstitious, and have recollected that memorials with a point are of less fortunate augury; I will, therefore, request you to accept, instead of the pin [a small cameo of Napoleon), the enclosed chain, which is of so slight a value that you need not hesitate. As you wished for something worn, I can only say, that it has been worn oftener and longer than the other. It is of Venetian manufacture; and the only peculiarity about it is, that it could only be obtained at or from Venice. At Genoa they have none of the same kind. I also enclose a ring, which I would wish Alfred [i.e. Count D'Orsay] to keep; it is too large to wear; but is formed of lada, and so far adapted to the fire of his years and character. You will perhaps have the goodness to acknowledge the receipt of this note, and send back the pin (for good luck's sake), which I shall value much more for having been a night in your custody.

(1823, June 2. Letter 1090, to the Countess

of Blessington, Vol. VI., p. 221.)

Facial Resemblances Two nights ago I saw the tigers sup at Exeter 'Change. . There was a “hippopotamus,” like Lord Liverpool in the face; and the “Ursine Sloth " had the very voice and manner of my valet.

(1813, November 14. Journal, 1813-14,"

Vol. II., p. 319.)

LADY ADELAIDE FORBES'S DOUBLE

81

; my God!

To-night I saw both the sisters of * the youngest so like! I thought I should have sprung across the house, and am so glad no one was with me in Lady H.'s box. I hate those likenesses, the mock-bird, but not the nightingale—so like as to remind, so different as to be painful. One quarrels equally with the points of resemblance and of distinction.

(1813, November 16. “Journal, 1813-14,”

Vol. II., p. 321.) Called on C * *, to explain *** She is very beautiful, to my taste, at least; for on coming home from abroad, I recollect being unable to look at any woman but her—they were so fair, and unmeaning, and blonde. The darkness and regularity of her features reminded me of my “Jannat al Aden.” But this impression wore off; and now I can look at a fair woman, without longing for a Houri. She was very good-tempered, and every thing was explained.

(1813, November 17. Journal, 1813-14,”

Vol. II., p. 326.)

Of Rome I say nothing; it is quite indescribable.

The Apollo Belvidere is the image of Lady Adelaide Forbes—I think I never saw such a likeness.

(1817, May 12. Letter 651, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. IV., p. 122.)

The sister [of Count Mosti's wife], a Countess somebody-I forget what—(they are both Maffei by birth, and Veronese of course)—is a lady of more

F

display; she sings and plays divinely; but I thought she was a damned long time about it. Her likeness to Madame Flahaut (Miss Mercer that was) is something quite extraordinary.

(1819, June 6. Letter 738, to Richard

Belgrave Hoppner, Vol. IV., p. 309.)

[As one of the Sub-Committee of Management of Drury Lane Theatre] I used to protect Miss Smith [the dancer], because she was like Lady Jane Harley in the face; and likenesses go a great way with me.

("Detached Thoughts,” 1821-22. “Thought”

68, Vol. V., p. 443.)

(2) Thoughts on Death and on Apparitions

Some curse hangs over me and mine. My mother lies a corpse in this house; one of my best friends [i.e. Matthews] is drowned in a ditch. What can I say, or think, or do? I received a letter from him the day before yesterday. My dear Scrope, if you can spare a moment, do come down to me—I want a friend. Matthews' last letter was written on Friday,on Saturday he was not. In ability, who was like Matthews ? How did we all shrink before him? You do me but justice in saying, I would have risked my paltry existence to have preserved his. This very evening did I mean to write, inviting him, as I invite you, my very dear friend, to visit me. God forgive--for his apathy! What will our poor Hobhouse feel? His letters breathe but of Matthews. Come to me, Scrope, I am almost

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