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Byron's short visit to Leghorn, a Swiss servant in his employ having quarrelled, on some occasion, with the brother of Madame Guiccioli, drew his knife upon the young Count, and wounded him slightly on the cheek. This affray, happening so soon after the other, was productive also of so much notice and conversation that the Tuscan government, in its horror of every thing like disturbance, thought itself called upon to interfere; and orders were accordingly issued, that, within four days, the two Counts Gamba, father and son, should depart from Tuscany. To Lord Byron this decision was, in the highest degree, provoking and disconcerting; it being one of the conditions of the Guiccioli's separation from her husband, that she should thenceforward reside under the same roof with her father. After balancing in his mind between various projects, sometimes thinking of Geneva, and sometimes, as we have seen, of South America,-he at length decided, for the present, to transfer his residence to Genoa.
His habits of life, while at Pisa, had but very little differed -- except in the new line of society into which his introduction to Shelley's friends led him,- from the usual monotonous routine in which, so singularly for one of his desultory disposition, the daily course of his existence had now, for some years, flowed. At two he usually breakfasted, and at three, or, as the year advanced, four o'clock, those persons who were in the habit of accompanying him in his rides, called upon him. After, occasionally, a game of billiards, he proceeded, purposely to avoid starers, in his carriage,-as far as the gates of the town, where his horses met him. At first the route he chose for these rides was in the direction of the Cascine and of the pine-forest that reaches towards the sea; but having found a spot more convenient for
his pistol exercise on the road leading from the Porta alla Spiaggia to the east of the city, he took daily this course during the remainder of his stay. When arrived at the Podere or farm, in the garden of which they were allowed to erect their target, his friends and he dismounted, and, after devoting about half an hour to a trial of skill at the pistol, returned, a little before sunset, into the city.
« Lord Byron,» says a friend who was sometimes present at their practising, « was the best marksman. Shelley, and Williams, and Trelawney, often made as good shots as he— but they were not so certain; and he, though his hand trembled violently, never missed, for he calculated on this vibration, and depended entirely on his eye. Once after demolishing his mark, he set up a slender cane, whose colour, nearly the same as the gravel in which it was fixed, might well have deceived him, and at twenty paces he divided it with his bullet. His joy at a good shot, and his vexation at a failure, was great-and when we met him on his return, his cold salutation, or joyous laugh, told the tale of the day's
For the first time since his arrival in Italy, he now found himself tempted to give dinner parties; his guests being, besides Count Gamba and Shelley, Mr Williams, Captain Medwin, Mr Taafe, and Mr Trelawney;—and « never,» as his friend Shelley used to say, «did he display himself to more advantage than on these occasions; being at once polite and cordial, full of social hilarity and the most perfect good humour; never diverging into ungraceful merriment, and yet keeping up the spirit of liveliness throughout the evening. About midnight his guests generally left him, with the exception of Captain Medwin, who used to remain, as I understand, talking and drinking with his noble host till far into the morning; and to the careless, half mystifying confidences of these nocturnal sittings, implicitly listened to and confusedly recollected, we owe the volume with which Captain Medwin, soon after the death of the noble poet, favoured the world.
On the subject of this and other such intimacies formed by Lord Byron, not only at the period of which we are speaking, but throughout his whole life, it would be difficult to advance any thing more judicious or more demonstrative of a true knowledge of his character, than is to be found in the following remarks of one who had studied him with her whole heart, -- who had learned to regard him with the eyes of good sense, as well as of affection, and whose strong love, in short, was founded upon a basis the most creditable both to him and herself,—the being able to understand him.'
« We continued in Pisa even more rigorously to absent ourselves from society. However, as there were a good many English in Pisa, he could not avoid becoming acquainted with various friends of Shelley, among which number was Mr Medwin. They followed him in his rides, dined with him, and felt themselves happy, of course, in the apparent intimacy in which they lived with so renowned a man; but not one of them was admitted to any part of his friendship, which, indeed, he did not easily accord. He had a great affection for Shelley, and a great esteem for his character and talents; but he was not his friend in the most extensive sense of that word.
« My poor Zimmerman, who now will understand thee?»-such was the touching speech addressed to Zimmerman hy his wife, on her deathe bed, and there is implied in these few words all that a man of morbid sensibility must be dependant for upon the tender and self-forgetting tolerance of the woman with whom he is united.
Sometimes, when speaking of his friends and of friendship, as also of love, and of every other noble emotion of the soul, his expressions might inspire doubts concerning his sentiments, and the goodness of his heart. The feeling of the moment regulated his speech, and, besides,-he liked to play the part of singularity,--and sometimes worse,
more especially with those whom he suspected of endeavouring to make discoveries as to his real character; but it was only mean minds and superficial observers that could be deceived in him. It was necessary to consider his actions to perceive the contradiction they bore to his words: it was necessary to be witness of certain moments, during which unforeseen and involuntary emotion forced him to give himself entirely up to his feelings; and whoever beheld him then, became aware of the stores of sensibility and goodness of which his noble heart was full.
« Among the many occasions I had of seeing him thus overpowered, I shall mention one relative to his feelings of friendship. A few days before leaving Pisa, we were one evening seated in the garden of the Palazzo Lanfranchi. A soft melancholy was spread over his countenance;-he recalled to mind the events of his life; compared them with his present situation and with that which it might have been if his affection for ine had not caused him to remain in Italy, saying things which would have made earth a paradise for me,
but that even then a presentiment that I should lose all this happiness tormented me. At this moment a servant announced Mr Hobhouse. The slight shade of melancholy diffused over Lord. Byron's face gave instant place to the liveliest joy; but it was so great, that it almost deprived him of strength. A fearful paleness came over his cheeks, and his eyes were filled with tears as he embraced his friend. His emotion was so great, that he was forced to sit down.
«Lord Clare's visit also occasioned him extreme delight. He had a great affection for Lord Clare, and was very happy during the short visit that be paid him at Leghorn. The day on which they separated was a melancholy one for Lord Byron. I have a presentiment that I shall never see him more,' he said, and his eyes filled with tears. The same melancholy came over him during the first weeks that succeeded to Lord Clare's departure, whenever his conversation happened to fall upon
this friend. ,;?
i « In Pisa amo continuato anche più rigorosamente a vivere lontano dalla società. Essendosi però in Pisa molti Inglesi egli non potè scusarsi dal fare la conoscenza di varii amici di Shelley, fra i quali uno fu Mr Medwin. Essi lo seguitavano al passeggio, pranzavono con lui e certamente si tenevano felici della apparente intimità che loro accordava un uomo così superiore. Ma nessuno di loro fu ammesso mai a porta della sua amicizia, che egli non era facile a accordare. Per Shelley egli aveva dell' affezione, e molta stima pel suo carattere e pel suo talento, ma non era suo amico nell'estensione del senso che si deve dare alla pa. rola amicizia. Talvolta parlanılo egli de' suoi amici, e dell'amicizia, come pure dell'amore, e di ogni altro nobile sentimento dell'anima, potevano i suoi discorsi far nascere dei dubbii sui veri suoi sentimenti, e sulla bontà del suo core. Una impressione momentanca regolava i suoi discorsi; e di più egli amava anche a rappresentare un personaggio bizzarro, e qualche volta anche peggio,-specialmente con quelli che egli pensava volessero studiare e fare delle scoperte sul suo carattere. Ma nell'inganno non poteva cadere che una piccola mente, e un osservalore superficiale. Bisognava esaminare le sue azioni per sentire tutta le contraddizione che era fra di esse e i suoi discorsi; bisognava vederlo in certi momenti in cui per una emozione improvvisa e più forte della sua volontà la sua anima si abbandonava interamente a se stessa ;-bisognava vederlo allora per scoprire i tesori di sensibilità e di bontà che erano in que nobile anima.