and deep-toned in his description of his country


But in between that journey in 1822 and Mathews joining them in 1823 various grave events had taken place. The first, less grave than interesting, was the meeting of the Blessingtons with Lord Byron. Byron had a house in the village of Albano, about a mile and a half from Genoa; and while the Blessingtons were at Genoa they, with Miss Power and Alfred d'Orsay, drove to see him-the two gentlemen leaving the carriage and sending in their names. They were admitted at once, and Lord Byron remarking that he hoped to be presented to Lady Blessington, was told that she and her sister were outside. He immediately hurried out to the carriage and took the ladies into his house, where they all had a long conversation. Lord Byron, writing to Moore on April 2nd, 1823, says that he had found very agreeable personages in "Milor Blessington and épouse, travelling with a very handsome companion in the shape of a French Count (to use Farquhar's phrase in the Beaux' Stratagem), who has all the air of a Cupidon déchaîné, and is one of the few specimens I have seen of our ideal of a Frenchman before the Revolution, an old friend with a new face, upon whose like I never thought we should look again."

All the time they were at Genoa the Blessingtons were very friendly with Byron; but there is little doubt that D'Orsay was the person whom the poet particularly liked. He regarded him as possessing considerable talent and wonderful acquirements for a man of his age and former pursuits, saying that he "was clever, original, unpretending; he affected to be nothing that he was not."

D'Orsay kept a diary of the few months that he

The Famous Diary


had passed in England, which he allowed Byron to see, whose criticism of it to Lord Blessington was that it "is a very extraordinary production, and of a most melancholy truth in all that regards high life in England. I know, or knew personally, most of the personages and societies which he describes; and after reading his remarks have the sensation fresh upon me as if I had seen them yesterday. The most singular thing is how he should have penetrated, not the fact, but the mystery of the English ennui at two-and-twenty. . . . Altogether your friend's journal is a very formidable production."

Byron alluded to this journal in many subsequent letters; once, when writing to Lord Blessington, he sends his compliments to all and to "your Alfred. I think since His Majesty of the same name there has not been such a learned surveyor of our Saxon society." And again: "I salute the illustrious Chevalier Count d'Orsay, who I hope will continue his History of His Own Times." To Moore he wrote of him: "He seems to have all the qualities requisite to have figured in his brother-in-law's ancestor's Memoirs," meaning of course the Memoirs of Grammont. In later years D'Orsay, whose opinions had mellowed, destroyed this muchpraised journal.

In May of that year D'Orsay was engaged in making a portrait of Byron, one which was perhaps a little too exact for the poet's taste, for he wrote to Lady Blessington :

"I have a request to make to my friend Alfred (since he has not disdained the title), viz. that he would condescend to add a cap to the gentleman in the jacket-it would complete his costume, and smooth his brow, which is somewhat too inveterate a likeness of the original, God help me!"

This portrait appeared later in The New Monthly

Magazine, and also as a frontispiece to Lady Blessington's "Conversations with Lord Byron," when reprinted from that periodical.

Byron and the Blessingtons saw much of each other in Genoa, and on the eve of their departure he came to see them in very low spirits. "Here," said he, “we are all now together-but when, and where, shall we meet again? I have a sort of boding that we see each other for the last time; as something tells me I shall never again return from Greece."

He gave them all some little token from the things he had worn or cared for; to Count d'Orsay he sent a ring, saying in a letter to Lady Blessington :

"I also enclose a ring, which I would wish Alfred to keep; it is too large to wear; but it is formed of lava, and so far adapted to the fire of his years and character."

On one occasion Byron read to them the lampoon he had written on Rogers, which rather shocked them, making the young Count say, "I thought you were one of Mr. Rogers' most intimate friends, and so all the world had reason to think after reading your dedication of the Giaour to him."

"Yes," replied Byron laughing, "and it is our friendship that gives me the privilege of taking a liberty with him."

"If it is thus you show your friendship I think I should prefer your enmity," replied D'Orsay.

"You could never excite this last sentiment in my breast, for you neither say nor do spiteful things," replied


The second important event which took place during the Blessingtons' visit to Genoa was the death, on March 26th, of Lord Mountjoy, Lord Blessington's only legitimate son, a delicate boy of ten; and this led to the third

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