« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
I said Ay, Miss Edgeworth — she's very clever, and best in the little touches too. I'm sure, in that children's story'-(he meant Simple Susan') * where the little girl parts with her lamb, and the little boy brings it back to her again, there's nothing for it but just to put down the book, and cry.' — A little afterwards, he said — Do you know Moore? - he's a charming fellow — a perfect gentleman in society; - to use a sporting phrase, there's no kick in his gallop.'
“ As we drew near home, I thought him somewhat fatigued he was more confused than at first in his recollection of narnes—and we drove on without saying anything. But I shall not forget the kindly good-humour with which he said, in getting out at his hotel door . Thank
for -your charity, I
may say — to an old lame man - farewell!' He did not seem the worse of this little exertion this day; but, thenceforward, was prudent in refusing all dinner invitations.
“ On Friday (December 10th), he went, in company with Mr Frere, to see Citta Vecchia. I drove over with a lady friend to meet them at the church there. Sir Walter seemed pleased with what was shown him, but was not animated. - On Saturday the 11th, he drove out twice to see various things in Valetta. — On Monday morning the 13th, I saw him for the last time, when I called to take leave of Miss
Scott. Dr Davy accompanied him, in the course of the following morning, to see Strada Stretta — the part of the city in which he had been told the
young Knights of Malta used to fight their duels, when such affairs occurred. In quitting the street, Sir Walter looked round him earnestly, and said — It will be hard if I cannot make something of this. On that day, Tuesday morning, December 14th, he and his party went again on board the Barham, and sailed for Naples."
Residence at Naples
Excursions to Prstum, Pompeii, 8c. — Last Attempts in Romance Sir William Gell's Memoranda.
On the 17th of December, the Barham reached Naples, and Sir Walter found his son Charles ready to receive him. The quarantine was cut short by the courtesy of the King of Naples, and the travellers established themselves in an apartment of the Palazzo Caramanico.
Here again the British Minister, Mr Hill (now Lord Berwick), and the English nobility and gentry then residing in Naples, did whatever kindness and respect could suggest for Sir Walter; nor were the natives, and their visitants from foreign countries, less attentive. The Marquis of Hertford, the Hon. Keppel Craven, the Hon. William Ashley and his Lady, Sir George Talbot, the venerable Matthias (author of “ The Pursuits of Literature,”) Mr Auldjo celebrated for his ascent of Mount Blanc), and Dr Hogg, a medical gentleman, who has since published an account of his travels in the East appear to have, in their various ways, contributed whatever they could to his comfort and amusement. But the person of whom he saw most was the late Sir William Gell, who had long been condemned to live in Italy by ailments and infirmities not dissimilar to his own.
* Sir William, shortly after Sir Walter's death, drew up a memoir of their intercourse, which will, I believe, be considered as sufficient for this period. Before I introduce it, however, I
notice that Sir Walter, whenever he appeared at the Neapolitan Court, which he did several times, wore the uniform of a brigadier-general in the ancient Body-Guard of Scotland - a dress of light green, with gold embroidery, assigned to those Archers by George IV. at the termination of his northern progress in 1822. I have observed this circumstance alluded to with a sort of sneer. The truth is, Sir Walter had ordered the dress for the christening of the young Buccleuch; but at any rate, the machinery now attached to his lame limb, would have made it impossible for him to
* Sir William Gell died at Naples in February 1836, aged 59,
appear in breeches and stockings, as was then imperative on civilians.
Further, it was on the 16th of January that Sir Walter received the intelligence of his grandson's death. His Diary of that date has simply these words:
“ Poor Johnny Lockhart ! This boy is gone, whom we have made so much of. I could not have borne it better than I now do, and I might have borne it much worse. I went to the Opera in the evening to see this amusement in its birth-place, which is now so widely received over Europe."
At first Sir Walter busied himself chiefly about forming a collection of Neapolitan and Sicilian ballads and broadsides; and Mr Matthias seems to have been at much pains in helping this. But alas ! ere he had been long in Naples, he began, in spite of all remonstrances, to give several hours every morning to the composition of a new novel, “ The Siege of Malta ;" and during his stay he nearly finished both this and a shorter tale, entitled “ BIZARRO." He also relaxed more and more in his obedience to the regimen of his physicians, and thus applied a twofold stimulus to his malady.
Neither of these novels will ever, I hope, see the light; but I venture to give the foundation of the shorter one, as nearly as I can decipher it from the author's Diary, of which it occupies some of the last pages.