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riet Shelley, Hogg's evidence is of little what view Trelawny took of this painful value. He once told Trelawny that she subject. Recent revelations in America was innocent, and Trelawny believed him. seem to bear out Trelawny's statement, It matters little whether, in his dotage, and go far to prove that Shelley's first wife this garrulous personage, under the genial was more sinned against than sinning. rays of Boscombe, changed his wavering But, be the truth what it may, it is surely mind.
a monstrous perversion of the moral code During a conversation which I held to blacken the character of a deserted wife with Trelawny in July, 1875, I happened in order to justify a husband's wrongdo. to ask himn whether he knew anything as ing. And that is the intention of Shel. to the character of Shelley's first wife. I leyan apologists. It is now pretended by give his answer in the words which I wrote these persons that Shelley's conduct in down shortly afterward : “Harriet was deserting Harriet and living with Mary pure, lofty, and noble. Lady Shelley Godwin was the natural result of Harriet's wishes to glorify Shelley at the expense of unfaithfulness. Against that view of the Harriet, and for that reason I have
case it is the duty of all right-minded perserved these papers.”
sons to protest. In that one act of ShelWhile speaking he drew some docu- ley lies the darkest blot on his immortal ments out of a box and held them up. I fame, and no one was more sensible to the asked whether it was his intention to pub- cruelty of his conduct and its direful relish them? He replied : “No. The less sults than Shelley himself. one has to do with the private character Trelawny, who knew him and who loved
man like Shelley, the better. He him-Trelawny, who knew and loved Mary should be judged by his works. Harriet Shelley, was about the last man in the was pure and good-and I love fair play. world to take the part of a woman who She shall not be abused. If Lady Shelley had wronged his friend, unless he had publishes anything against Harriet, I will good reasons to know that she had been
grossly injured. Nor can it be urged that I asked whether he knew the immediate Trelawny was ignorant of all the known cause of her suicide. He turned his eagle circumstances, for he had certainly a foller eyes upon me, as though to find out knowledge of Shelley's domestic concerns whether I was trying to “
than any one now living. Had it not and then, after a pause, said:
been for circumstances to which I am not all feeling-lofty and high toned. The at present at liberty to refer, the papers accumulation of her troubles so bitterly Trelawny bequeathed to his daughter affected her that she sought relief in would long since have been published in death.'
vindication of Harriet Shelley's fame. Our talk turned to other matters - Meanwhile, and in the absence of proof Byron's lameness, the Bolivar, the squab- positive against her, it would be well that ble at the Pisan gateway, Leigh Hunt, etc.; her detractors should either prove their and after a time Trelawny himself revert. accusations against that innocent and uned to the subject of Harriet Shelley. happy woman, or abandon the attack. Up These were his words :
to the present moment there is no evidence “I hear that Lady Shelley tells her whatever in support of the charge, and friends that she is only waiting for the from documents which have appeared death of the poet's sisters to publish a there will be found a far stronger case in great many letters and other matters about favor of her innocence than against it. Shelley. This is nonsense. She has got It was perhaps inevitable that the writer nothing at Boscombe of any value. She of a Life of Mary Shelley should toucb seeks to glorify Shelley at the expense of upon the various incidents connected with Harriet, but, by G-d, while I live I will the poet's first marriage ; but the task is defend her. I don't unean to publish any- surrounded by difficulties, and it would thing more about Byron or Shelley unless have been better had a veil been drawn I am driven to it. Let Lady Shelley leave over the one incident in the poet's life the memory of Harriet Shelley alone." which his ardent adınirers would most
If anything further was said on this sub- willingly forget. There is absolutely ject I have no note of it. But I think nothing to be gained by a discussion of the extracts given are sufficient to show this painful subject. Harriet's unfaith
fulness, even if proved, would not justify disposition and a kind heart. His treatShelley's conduct in living openly with ment of Mary Shelley at the time of her Mary Godwin during his wife's lifetime- bereavement has been recognized by Mary and that justification seems to be the one herself ; and if at the last moment he point which Shelley's admirers have la- withheld the pecuniary assistance which he bored so hard to attain. That they should had promised her, this untoward and imhave succeeded in blackening the charac- petuous act was due, not to his own want ter of an innocent woman without render- of sympathy or generosity, but to the ining the smallest service to Shelley is one solent demeanor of that peculiarly tactless of those blunders which every one must man Leigh Hurt, who, without the shadow deplore.
of justification, and by way of pleading Mrs. Marshall's "Life of Mary Shelley" Mary's cause, told Byron that he need not is in itself a noble monument to the make such a fuss about lending ber a litdaughter of Godwin, and I would willing- tle money to pay her journey to England, ly have remained silent, and have allowed since he owed her one thousand pounds ! the book to pass as one of the best biog
When we take Byron's temper, to say raphies of the nineteenth century, had I nothing of his personal antipathy to Leigh not felt it to be a sacred duty to protest, Hunt, into consideration, we cannot be in Trelawny's name, against a too ready surprised at the result of this strange acceptance of one of the few statements pleading. Byron, highly indignant at in that work wbich mars its impartiality. Hunt's insolence, refused to hold any furThat Byron, as a man, should have suffered ther conversation on the subject, and turnby the publication of Boscombe Papers ed his back on the whole business. It might, in the nature of things, have been cannot for one moment be contended that expected. Byron's conduct toward Clare Byron was justified in withholding the Clairmont cannot be excuscd. It would loan. Most men would have put up with be madness to attempt it. Byron's cruel. Hunt's insolence, for the sake of the helpty in withholding Mary Shelley's letter to less widow of bis friend Shelley. But Mrs. Hoppner, and thereby allowing the Byron's quick resentment was part and basest calumny to lie unanswered, is one parcel of his character, and he was goadof those acts which deserve the reproba- ed into a course of conduct, of which he tion of mankind. We can only suppose was subsequently ashamed, by the gratuithat Byron was himself the author of the tous insolence of a man who was largely libel, and that he lacked the courage to in his debt. Much has been written about avow it. That he cordially detested Clare Byron's avarice, or, as Trelawny called it, Clairmont is certain, and that he wished “a love of hoarding." I wished to to justify his silence to all her appeals is gather some facts on this point, and asked probable, but that he should have denied Trelawny if Byron was generous. Shelley the means of repelling an accusa- “ Certainly not. In his youth he spent tion so foul, is a mystery indeed. Byron more than he ought, but in latter years he was terribly worried by Clare Clairmont, was avaricious. Byron always paraded but there is no ground for the statement his generosity-Shelley always gave in that he treated his natural daughter un- secret. Byron confessed (and I had only kindly. If he was brusque and unman- £500 a year, while he had £4500) that nerly toward the mother, he acted accord- he was in my debt and that he must seting to his lights in the interests of her tle. But I always turned it off.
He conchild. The insinuation that Byron intende fessed that he had saved £1500 out of one ed to abandon Allegra is absolute non- ycar's income. Shelley had £1000 a year,
He was devotedly attached to the and gave away £500 every year. child, and felt her death acutely. Al- Of Mary Shelley's mental faculties Trethough Byron has been so roughly han- lawny spoke thus: “ Her mind was nothdled by recent biographers, and though his ing particular. She was not worthy of faine has suffered considerably by the ex- Shelley. Her father taught her a good posure of certain weaknesses, he has on deal, and Shelley the rest.” The whole come out of the ordeal better I said that the “Shelley Memorials," than his contemporaries could have sup- a book edited by Lady Shelley, gave the posed possible. That he had his vices no world a very high opinion of her characone will deny, but he had an affectionate ter. To my surprise, Trelawny rose from
his chair and made a quick movement
" When with me, alone, never. Our toward me. He stopped suddenly, and in conversation was generally about Shelley. a savage tone exclaimed : “ They are all When others were present he tried to
I waited for some further expla- shock them, and tried to blacken his own nation, for I did not understand his mean. character. But he had few vices, and ing. At last be said : “ The letters pub- none of those he most vaunted. He could Jished in those memoirs are hers (Mary not indulge in vicious living ; he had not Shelley's); the rest of the book is all fic- the strength.” tion.
I reminded him of Lady Blessington's A well-known English authoress was at remarks on Byron's personal appearance, that time trying to find a publisher for a and asked him whether the description book which she had compiled on Byron. petite was correct. “Certainly not. He Trelawny said : told me about it; had a large chest, and was a good-sized he assures me it is harmless, that it will
man. do Byron no harm wbatever.'
Trelawny had a poor opinion of Byron's I asked him whether the writer pos- proficiency in the noble art of self-defence. sessed any authentic documents.
His boxing was all bumbug. He liked Yes, some. But none of any impor- to talk about it, but it was all talk.” tance. begged me to see her, but I I reminded bim that he took lessons refused. She shall not put a lot of lies in from Gentleman Jackson. her book and say I told them.”
· Yes, I know : but he could not stand, Speaking of Byron's portraits, he said : I tell ye ! he had to lean against some“ There is but one good likeness of Byron, thing. I've boxed with bim often, and and that is the work of Thorwaldsen. A have always been afraid of killing him. statue should, when possible, resemble the He has shown me some of the marks I original that it is erected to. Byron's have left on his arm after an encounter. sister, his wife, Hobhouse, Kinnaird, He had no stamina ; it was all energy. If Harness, and myself, all considered the I were to say to him, “I have a horse I bust by Thorwaldsen was the best in ex- should like you to look at,' he would istence of Byron. The portraits by Phil. jump up so [here Trelawny jumped up and lips and others were unlike him, both in took two strides], and would then sit drawing and expression. Byron himself down—his lameness making itself feltthought they were caricatures. The min- and say, 'I will look at your horse when iature by Holmes that you have of mine, I go out.' His walking was a sad perhis sister thougbt very like ; but she con- formance. He would walk two or persidered that no artist of his time could do haps three hundred yards, when the sweat justice to his expressive face. I was with would stand out on his brow, and he would Lady Byron when the statue by Thorwald- gladly sit down." sen was unpacked. Lady Byron's cold In speaking of the Contessa Guiccioli, nature warmed at the sight of it. Impet- Trelawny said : “She had but one faultuosity got the better of her for once, as vanity. Her love for Byron was buoyed she exclaimed: "How like my dear up by vanity.” Byron ! only not half beautiful enough I asked him on another occasion whether for him.' Miss Leigh could find but one he could account for the strong feeling that fault in it: the lobe of the ear did not lie existed against Byron during his lifetime. close enough to the cheek, which was one "There was no feeling against Byron of Byron's facial peculiarities."
—against Shelley plenty, against Byron Speaking of the affray at the Pisan Shelley was simply without vice gateway, Trelawny told me that a blind of any kind. Byron's attack against cant beggar, sympathizing with the Inglesi in was mainly on account of the manner in their quarrel with Tuscan soldiers, stole which Shelley was treated. He said to up to him and placed a dagger in his me one day : 'Look how the groundlings hand, saying, “You may have need of attack Shelley. He is better than any This dagger is now in the posses- one.' I said : Would
defend him ?' sion of Trelawny's danghter.
and he answered : Shelley requires no Reverting to the subject of Byron, I defender. I write for the "groundlings, asked Trelawny whether Byron boasted of Shelley writes for men ; when I am forty bis vices in ordinary conversation. I will write for men also.'”
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Trelawny concluded these remarks by possibility of finding a nobler example saying: “Shelley will live forever ; there than bis. was never, and never will be, any one like Speaking of Lady Blessington's "Conhim."
versations with Byron,” a book which Some days later we fell into our usual Trelawny held in the greatest contempt, talk about Byron.
He said : They he said: Byron never uttered a word have spread about the report that Byron of French in his talk ; the whole thing is was given to dram-drinking. Nothing false.” could be more false. He has often said Of Leigh Hunt, the “ Pirate" had a to me : Come and dine, Tre, and we will poor opinion, and called him an insipid carouse. But, pah ! what his ca- Cockney,” adding that his behavior dur. rouse'? Half a glass of Punch ! He had ing the burning of Shelley's body was not the strength, but he liked to think he “ that of a sickly girl, rather than of a had, and liked to talk about his (imagi. man. Of Southey he said : “Southey nary) failings."
offended Byron mortally by saying to a Speaking of Dr. Kennedy, Trelawny mutual acquaintance : If you take off called him “ that old fool at Cephalonia Byron's shoe you will see the cloven foot.' with the pretty wife'' - and told me that Byron, who was told this, never forgave nothing could have been more absurd than the malicious tuft-bunter whom he han. the discussions on religion which were got dled so severely in his poems.” up for the conversion of Byron, and add. Trelawny had an almost unbounded aded : “ Byron used to say to me : You miration for Sir Edgar Boehm, and on one know I can't argue—if only we had Shel- occasion invited me to accompany
the studio of that famous artist. I never I agreed with him," he added, “ for saw Trelawny at greater advantage than Shelley was a man who would not only during this visit. In the sacred precincts have replied to and controverted all Ken. of Boehm's studio he unbent his naturally nedy's theories and arguments, but he rigid and “ stand-off” demeanor, and would have filled his heart with such said that he would often come there to doubts as would have made him miserable smoke his pipe while watching the great 'for the rest of his life. Shelley was the man at work. Mr. Boehm seemed to be most profound logician, and bis knowl- flattered by Trelawny's unfeigned appreedge of Scripture immense.'
ciation of his work, and told him that a On the subject of Byron's lameness comfortable arm-chair would always be at Trelawny bad much to say. But as his his service. opinion has been given to the world, I will “I don't want an arm-chair, I only make no further allusion to it beyond say, want a stool,” replied Trelawny sternly. ing that the discrepancy in the accounts “I should not come here to lounge : I given by himn in his first and second pub- can do that at home : I should come to lication was due to the fact that I had see how really good work is done." supplied him with some information which After we had left the studio, Trelawny I had gathered at Nottingham. Although said: “That Austrian sculptor is the only he combated my arguments at the time, man I know of capable of doing a good he seems to have come round in his book, likeness of Byron. You had better ask for the statements made in his last “ Rec- him to compete for the Byron memorial.” ords” are precisely those with which I I had often wondered whether, during had supplied him.
the close intimacy which existed between It is not easy to account for this dis- Byron and Trelawny, a few scraps of increpancy, especially as Trelawny had him- telligence, relative to the separation beself examined Byron's feet, but so it is. tween the poet and his wife, might have I am strongly persuaded that the later ac- reached him. I knew that Trelawny was count of Byron's lameness is correct in not prone to conjecture, and that his opinevery particular. Trelawny was very mod. ions could never have been formed by est on the subject of his kindness to Mary others ; so one day I asked him the quesShelley, and said : “How could any man tion point blank. He answered without the do otherwise ? It was but common hu- slightest hesitation : Incompatibility of manity.” Perhaps it was. But common temper—his wife was a Puritanical woman, humanity is so very rare that I doubt the and used to preach to him. Byron re
sented this by telling her all kinds of I nodded.
want? That humbug; but it was his weapon. She is a faithful record of my early life. The believed them all."
publishers would not enter into any
my Trelawny lent me a letter which Lady proposals for its continuation, which I Byron had written to a certain Doctor would have made highly diverting. But T— on the subject of Ada's engagement it is too late now. to Lord King. The contents of that epis I named De Ruyter, who plays so heroic tle went a long way toward settling my a part in the “ Younger Son." Trelawny doubts, and gave me so much satisfaction softened in a moment, and said : His that next day I wrote the letter which Tre- name was De Witt ; he was one of the lawny subsequently published in his“ Rec- best, as well as one of the bravest, of ords of Byron, Shelley, and the Author."
I never saw any one equal him.' Trelawny remarked : “ Although details I
may here mention, for the benefit of can never be known, yet Byron sounded the curious in such matters, that I bave the keynote to the whole mystery when he verified one of the staternents contained in told Medwin that the cause of separation the “ Younger Son." Six months
I was too simple to be easily found out.'» went to Dr. Burney's school at Gosport,
Trelawny held very decided views as to and inspected the school lists, which go Byron's character. He had formed his back as far as 1784. I found Trelawny's judgment leisurely, and from a close per- name entered as a pupil at that academy sonal experience. I noted the following in the year 1806. words : ""Byron spoke out.
I once reminded Trelawny of Byron's nothing back.
He was downright. His definition of courage, and asked whether, greatest failing was the pleasure he took in his opinion, there was any one nation in blackening his own character. I will which could claim general pre-eminence venture to swear that Byron committed in the matter of bravery. I put it thus : less faults in one year
other “ If we were to hunt for the bravest man,
He was perfectly mad about His answer was prompt, and decisive blackening his own character. But he in tone : " The bravest man on earth is knew that others professed to be better an Albanian Turk, for he would not even than they are, so he determined to be know what fear is." worse than he was.'
Our talk having turned on the subject One day Trelawny showed me a letter of Greece, Trelawny showed me a sword he had received from Shelley--and one that Byron had given to bim when they that has not, I believe, been published. parted at Cephalonia. The poet appeals to Trelawny's friendship “Byron gave me this sword with great to procure some subtle drug whereby he pomp and circumstance, saying, in a melomight become possessed of the power to dramatic manner : ‘ Here, take this, Tre, die. I regret that I made no note of the and use it, either like Childe Harold or exact words, but I remember that Shelley Don Juan.' I found that sword very argued, somewhat after the manner of useful.” Rousseau, in favor of suicide under certain At the time of which I write, the news conditions. Trelawny also told me that reached England of the death, at Spezzia, Shelley never took sugar with his tea or of an old man who, on his death-bed, concoffee, “because sugar was at that time fessed to baving been in the boat that ran produced by slave labor." Whenever be down the Ariel in July, 1822. Trelawny spoke of Shelley, Trelawny's voice soft- was firmly convinced of the truth of tbis ened -no one could be one moment mis- story, and told me that he personally had taken as to the cause. He loved Shelley never doubted the fact that Shelley's boat with all his heart. One day I ventured run down in the hope of finding to tell Trelawny that I was surprised so re- Byron's dollars on board. markable a career as his had not been writ- " The death of that old scoundrel ten down. In one instant the “ Pirate" confirms the justice of that view,” he was blazing his eagle eyes upon me.
said. “ It has been written. Have you not
Trelawny may be said to have lived read the “ Younger Son’?!!
every day of his long life.