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admiration and occupied the attention of their contemporaries, has been thought worthy of preservation, and I feel, on that account, a melancholy pleasure in complying with the request that I would furnish such anecdotes of Sir Walter Scott as my short intimacy with that illustrious personage may have afforded. The reason assigned in the letter which I received from one of the family on the subject, was, that I was his · latest friend ;' and this appeared to me as strong a motive as if I could have been called his earliest acquaintance.
“ I had met Sir Walter at Stanmore Priory many years ago, whe
on a visit to the late Marquis of Abercorn, where he real one of the earliest of his poetical productions; but I had no farther personal communication with him till his arrival at Naples. I was induced to call on him at the Palazzo Caramanico, at the desire of a mutual friend, on the 5th of January 1832; and it is probable that our mutual infirmities, which made us suitable companions in excursions, contributed in a great degree to the intimacy which immediately took place between us. On the following evening I presented to him Mr Keppel Craven, whose Tour in the South of Italy he had just read with pleasure. From this time I was constantly in the habit of receiving, or calling for Sir Walter in the morning, and usually accompanied him to see any of the remarkable objects in
the neighbourhood of Naples. The Lago d'Agnano was among the first places visited, and he was evidently quite delighted with the tranquil beauty of the spot, and struck particularly by the sight of the leaves yet lingering on the trees at so advanced a period of the winter, and the appearance of summer
maintained by the meadows and copses surrounding the lake. It quickly recalled to his mind a lake in Scotland, which he immediately began to describe. I afterwards found that his only pleasure in seeing new places arose from the poetical ideas they inspired, as applicable to other scenes with which his mind was more familiar.
“ Mr Craven accompanied us on horseback in this excursion ; — and Sir Walter learning that he was writing a second volume, giving an account of a journey in the Abbruzzi, kindly observed, that he thought he could be of use to him in the publication of it, adding - I think I may, perhaps, be able to give his pancake a toss.'
« On the 10th of January, I accompanied him to Pozzuoli, and the late Mr Laing Meason was of the party. Here we succeeded in getting Sir Walter placed upon a heap of ruins, whence he might see the remains of the Thermæ, commonly called the Temple of Serapis. His observation was, that we might tell him anything, and he would believe it all, for many of his friends, and particularly Mr Morritt,
had frequently tried to drive classical antiquities, as they were called, into his head, but they had always found his skull too thick.'
“ It was with great risk that he could be brought to any point of difficult access ; for though he was so lame, and saw how easily I arrived by submitting to be assisted or carried, it was generally impossible to persuade him to commit himself to the care of the attendants.
“ When Sir Walter was presented at Court, the King received him with marked attention, and insisted on his being seated, on account of his infirmity. They both spoke, and the by-standers observed, that His Majesty mentioned the pleasure he had received from reading the works of his visiter. Sir Walter answered in French, but not in a clear tone of voice; and he afterwards observed, that he and the King parted mutually pleased with the interview, considering that neither had heard one word of what was uttered by the other.
“On the 17th of January I took Sir Walter to dine with the venerable Archbishop of Tarentum, a prelate in his ninetieth year, but yet retaining his faculties unimpaired, and the warmer feelings of youth, with well-known hospitality. The two elders seemed mutually pleased with the interview, but the difficulties of language were opposed to any very agreeable conversation.
“ On the 26th of January I attended Sir Walter in a boat, with several friends, to the ruins of a Roman villa, supposed by Mr Hamilton and others to have been that of Pollio, and situated upon a rock in the sea at the extremity of the promontory of Posilipo. It was by no means the recollection of Pollio that induced Sir Walter to make this excursion. A story existed that out of an opening in the floor of one of the rooms in this villa, a spectre robed in white occasionally appeared, — whence the place had acquired the name of La Casa degli Spiriti, and none had presumed to inhabit it.
The fact was, that a third story had been built upon the Roman ruins, and this being only inhabited by paupers, had fallen into decay, so as to endanger one angle of the fabric and the police, for fear of accident, had ordered that it should remain untenanted. The house is situated upon a rock projecting into the sea, but attached on one side to the mainland. An entrance for a boat has been left in the basement story, and it is probable that a sort of open court, into which the sea enters at the back of the house, and in which is the staircase, was constructed for the purpose of cooling the apartments in the heat of summer, by means of the perpetual heaving and sinking of the ocean which takes place even in the calmest weather. The staircase was too much ruined for Sir Walter to ascend with safety, but he appeared satisfied with
what he saw, and took some interest in the proofs which the appearance of the opus reticulatum, high up in the external walls, afforded of the antiquity of the place.*
“ On the 9th of February, Sir Walter went to Pompeii, where, with several ladies and gentlemen at that time resident in Naples, I accompanied him. I did not go in the same carriage, but arriving at the street of the Tombs, found him already almost tired before he had advanced a hundred yards. With great difficulty I forced him to accept the chair in which I was carried, supplying its place with another for myself, tied together with cords and handkerchiefs. He thus was enabled to pass through the city without more fatigue, and I was sometimes enabled to call his attention to such objects as were the most worthy of remark. To these observations, however, he seemed generally nearly insensible, viewing the whole and not the parts, with the eye, not of an antiquary, but a poet, and exclaiming frequently — The city of the Dead, without any other remark. An excavation had been ordered for him, but it produced nothing more than a few bells, hinges, and other objects of brass, which are found every day. Sir Walter seemed to view, however, the splendid mosaic, repre
* There is an interesting Essay on this Roman Villa, by Mr Hamilton, in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature for 1837.