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senting a combat of the Greeks and Persians, with more interest, and, seated upon a table whence he could look down upon it, he remained some time to examine it. We dined at a large table spread in the Forum, and Sir Walter was cheerful and pleased. In the evening he was a little tired, but felt no bad effects from the excursion to the City of the Dead.
“ In our morning drives, Sir Walter always noticed a favourite dog of mine, which was usually in the carriage, and generally patted the animal's head for some time, saying — poor boy — poor boy. “I have got at home,' said he, two very fine favourite dogs, so large that I am always afraid they look too handsome and too feudal for my diminished income. I am very fond of them, but they are so large it was impossible to take them with me. My dog was in the habit of howling when loud music was performing, and Sir Walter laughed till his eyes were full of tears, at the idea of the dog singing My Mother bids me bind my hair,' by the tune of which the animal seemed most excited, and which the kindhearted baronet sometimes asked to have repeated.
“ I do not remember on what day, during his residence at Naples, he came one morning rather early to my house, to tell me he was sure I should be pleased at some good luck which had befallen him, and of which he had just received notice. This was, as he said, an account from his friends in England, that his last works, Robert of Paris and Castle Dangerous, had gone on to a second edition. He told me in the carriage that he felt quite relieved by his letters; • for,' said he, I could have never slept straight in my coffin till I had satisfied every claim against me.' "And now,' added he to the dog, 'my poor boy, I shall have my house, and my estate round it, free, and I may keep my dogs as big and as many as I choose, without fear of reproach.'
“I do not recollect the date of a certain morning's drive, on which he first communicated to me that he had already written, or at least advanced far in a romance, on the subject of Malta, a part of which, he said, laughingly, he had put into the fire by mistake for other papers, but which he thought he had rewritten better than before. He asked me about the island of Rhodes, and told me, that, being relieved from debt, and no longer forced to write for money, he longed to turn to poetry again, and to see whether in his old age he was not capable of equalling the rhymes of his youthful days. I encouraged him in this project, and asked why he had ever relinquished poetry. “Because Byron bet me,' said he, pronouncing the word, beat, short.* I rejoined, that I thought I could remember by heart about as many passages of his poetry as of Lord Byron's; and
* The common Scotch pronunciation is not unlike what Sir W. G. gives.
to this he replied — That may be, but he bet me out of the field in the description of the strong passions, and in deep-seated knowledge of the human heart ; so I gave up poetry for the time. He became from that moment extremely curious about Rhodes, and having chosen for his poetical subject the chivalrous story of the slaying of the dragon by De Gozon, and the stratagems and valour with which he conceived and executed his purpose, he was quite delighted to hear that I had seen the skeleton of this real or reported dragon, which yet remains secured by large iron staples to the vaulted roof of one of the gates of the city.
“ Rhodes became at this time an object of great importance and curiosity to him, and as he had indulged in the idea of visiting it, he was somewhat displeased to learn how very far distant it lay from Corfu, where he had proposed to pass some time with Sir Frederick Adam, then Lord High Commissioner in the Ionian Islands.
“ I must not omit stating, that at an early period of his visit to Naples, an old English manuscript of the Romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton, existing in the Royal library, had attracted his attention, and he had resolved on procuring a copy of it — not, I think, for himself, but for a friend in Scotland, who was already possessed of another edition. When Sir Wal
ter visited the library at the Museum, the literati of Naples crowded round him to catch a sight of so celebrated a person, and they showed him every mark of attention in their power, by creating him Honorary Member of their learned societies. Complimentary speeches were addressed to him in Latin, of which, unfortunately, he did not comprehend one word, on account of the difference of pronunciation, but from the confession of which he was saved by the intervention of Mr Keppel Craven, who attended him. The King of Naples, learning his wish to copy the book, ordered it to be sent to his house, and he employed a person of the name of Sticchini, who, without understanding a word of English, copied the whole in a character as nearly as possible the fac-simile of the original. Sticchini was surprised and charmed with Sir Walter's kindness and urbanity, for he generally called him to breakfast, and sometimes to dinner, and treated him on all occasions in the most condescending manner. The Secretary was not less surprised than alarmed on seeing his patron not unfrequently trip his foot against a chair and fall down upon the floor, for he was extremely incautious as to where or how he walked. On these occasions, while the frightened Sticchini ran to assist him, Sir Walter laughed very good-humouredly, refused all help, and only expressed his anxiety lest his spectacles should have been broken by the accident.* Sir Walter wished, during his stay at Naples, to procure several Italian books in his particular department of study. Among other curiosities, he thought he had traced Mother Goose, if not to her origin at Naples, at least to a remote period of antiquity in Italy. He succeeded in purchasing a considerable number of books in addition to his library, and took the fancy to have them all bound in vellum.
“ Sir Walter had heard too much of Pæstum to quit Naples without seeing it, and we accordingly formed a party in two carriages to go there, intending to sleep at La Cava, at the villa of my much respected friend Miss Whyte ;-a lady not less esteemed for every good quality, than celebrated for the extraordinary exertions of benevolence on the occasion of the murder of the Hunt family at Pæstum. Hearing of this fatal affair, and being nearer than any other of her compatriots to the scene, this lady immediately endeavoured to engage a surgeon at La Cava to accompany her to the spot. No one, however, could be found to venture into the den of the murderers, so that she resolved to go alone, well provided with lint, medicines, and all that could be useful to the wounded persons. She arrived, however, too late to be of use; but Sir Walter expressed
• The spectacles were valued as the gift of a friend and brother poet. See ante, Vol. IX. p. 245.