By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Diary of Dr. John William Polidori - 1816, Relating to Byron, Shelley, etc.
Author: Polidori, John William
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Diary of Dr. John William Polidori - 1816, Relating to Byron, Shelley, etc." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


                              The Diary of
                       Dr. John William Polidori


                              The Diary of
                       Dr. John William Polidori


                    Relating to Byron, Shelley, etc.

                        Edited and Elucidated by

                        William Michael Rossetti

             "Mi fur mostrati gli spiriti magni
             Che del vederli in me stesso n'esalto."—DANTE.


                             ELKIN MATHEWS

                              VIGO STREET


                     RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED,
                      BREAD STREET HILL, E.C., AND
                            BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.


                          TO MY TWO DAUGHTERS

                             HELEN AND MARY

                          STILL IN GOOD CHEER

                              The Diary of
                       Dr. John William Polidori


A person whose name finds mention in the books about Byron, and to some
extent in those about Shelley, was John William Polidori, M.D.; he was
Lord Byron's travelling physician in 1816, when his Lordship quitted
England soon after the separation from his wife. I, who now act as
Editor of his Diary, am a nephew of his, born after his death. Dr.
Polidori figures not very advantageously in the books concerning Byron
and Shelley. He is exhibited as overweening and petulant, too fond of
putting himself forward face to face with those two heroes of our
poetical literature, and too touchy when either of them declined to take
him at his own estimation. I will allow that this judgment of Polidori
is, so far as it goes, substantially just; and that some of the recorded
anecdotes of him prove him deficient in self-knowledge, lacking prudence
and reserve, and ignoring the distinction between a dignified and a
quarrelsome attitude of mind. He was, in fact, extremely young when he
went abroad in April 1816 with Byron, to whom he had been recommended by
Sir Henry Halford; he was then only twenty years of age (born on
September 7, 1795), Byron being twenty-eight, and Shelley twenty-three.
The recommendation given to so very young a man is a little surprising.
It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that Polidori was without
some solid attainments, and some considerable share of talent. He was
the son of Gaetano Polidori, a Tuscan man of letters who, after being
secretary to the celebrated dramatist Alfieri, had settled in London as
a teacher of Italian, and of his English wife, a Miss Pierce; the
parents (my maternal grand-parents) survived to a great age, only dying
in 1853. John Polidori, after receiving his education in the Roman
Catholic College of Ampleforth (Yorkshire), studied medicine in
Edinburgh, and took his doctor's degree at a singularly early age—I
believe almost unexampled—the age of nineteen. His ambition was fully as
much for literary as for professional distinction; and he published,
besides _The Vampyre_ to which I shall have to recur, a prose tale named
_Ernestus Berchtold_, a volume of verse containing a drama entitled
_Ximenes_, and some other writings.

One of these writings is the text to a volume, published in 1821,
entitled _Sketches Illustrative of the Manners and Costumes of France,
Switzerland, and Italy_, by R. Bridgens. The name of Polidori is not
indeed recorded in this book, but I know as a certainty that he was the
writer. One of the designs in the volume shows the costume of women at
Lerici just about the time when Shelley was staying there, in the
closing months of his life, and a noticeable costume it was. Polidori
himself—though I am not aware that he ever received any instruction in
drawing worth speaking of—had some considerable native gift in sketching
faces and figures with lifelike expression; I possess a few examples to
prove as much. The Diary shows that he took some serious and intelligent
interest in works of art, as well as in literature; and he was clearly a
rapid and somewhat caustic judge of character—perhaps a correct one. He
was a fine, rather romantic-looking young man, as evidenced by his
portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, accepted from me by that
Institution in 1895.

Dr. Polidori's life was a short one. Not long after quitting Lord Byron
in 1816 he returned to London, and in Norwich continued his medical
career, but eventually relinquished this, and began studying for the
Bar. It is said that Miss Harriett Martineau was rather in love with him
in Norwich. In August 1821 he committed suicide with poison—having,
through losses in gambling, incurred a debt of honour which he had no
present means of clearing off. That he did take poison, prussic acid,
was a fact perfectly well known in his family; but it is curious to note
that the easy-going and good-naturedly disposed coroner's jury were
content to return a verdict without eliciting any distinct evidence as
to the cause of death, and they simply pronounced that he had "died by
the visitation of God."

The matter was reported in two papers, _The Traveller_ and _The New
Times_. I possess a copy, made by my mother at the time, of the reports;
and it may perhaps be as well inserted here.

                      _Copied from The Traveller._

                                   Monday Evening [_August 27th, 1821_].

Melancholy Event.—Mr. Polidori, residing in Great Pulteney Street,
retired to rest about his usual time on Thursday night; the servant, not
finding him rise at the usual hour yesterday, went to his room between
eleven and twelve o'clock, and found him groaning, and apparently in the
last agonies of death. An alarm was given and medical aid was
immediately called, but before the arrival of Surgeons Copeland and
Davies, he was no more. His father was at the time on his journey to
London to see his son, and arrived about three hours after the event. We
understand the deceased was about twenty-six years of age, and had for
some time accompanied Lord Byron in Italy. A Coroner's Inquest will sit
this day to ascertain the cause of his death.

                      _Copied from The New Times._

                                       Tuesday [_September 11th, 1821_].

Coroner's Inquest on John Polidori, Esquire.—An Inquisition has been
taken before T. Higgs, Esquire, Deputy Coroner, at the residence of the
father of the above unfortunate gentleman, in Great Pulteney Street,
Golden Square, who was discovered lying on his bed in a state nearly
approaching to death, and soon afterwards expired.

Charlotte Reed, the servant to Mr. Gaetano Polidori, the father of the
deceased, said her master's son lived in the house, and for some time
had been indisposed. On Monday the 20th of August last he returned from
Brighton, since which his conduct manifested strong symptoms of
incoherence, and he gave his order for dinner in a very strange manner.
On the Thursday following the deceased dined with a gentleman residing
in the same house, and on that occasion he appeared very much depressed
in his spirits. About nine o'clock the same evening he ordered witness
to leave a glass (tumbler) in his room; this was unusual, but one was
placed as he desired. Deceased told her he was unwell; if therefore he
did not get up by twelve o'clock the next day, not to disturb him.
Witness, however, a few minutes before twelve, went into his room to
open the shutters, and on her return saw the deceased lying in bed; he
was not in any unusual position, but seemed extremely ill. Witness
immediately left the room, went upstairs, and communicated what she had
observed to a gentleman, who instantly came down. Witness then went for
medical assistance. The deceased was about twenty-six years of age.—Mr.
John Deagostini, the gentleman alluded to by the last witness,
corroborated her statement on his giving him the invitation to dine,
which he accepted in a way quite different from his usual conduct.
Witness also observed that, some time since, the deceased had met with
an accident—was thrown out of his gig, and seriously hurt in the head.
On Thursday at dinner he spoke in half sentences; the conversation was
on politics and a future state. The deceased observed rather harshly
that witness would see more than him; he appeared to be deranged in his
mind, and his countenance was haggard. At dinner he ate very little:
soon after left the room, but joined again at tea; hardly spoke a word,
and retired at nine o'clock. After breakfast next morning, witness
inquired of the servant whether Mr. Polidori had gone out. She replied
no, and that he had desired her not to disturb him. About twelve o'clock
the servant came to him very much alarmed. Witness went immediately to
the apartment of the deceased, and observed a tumbler on the chair,
which contained nothing but water, and did not perceive any deleterious
substance that the deceased might have taken; he was senseless, and
apparently in a dying state.—Mr. Thomas Copeland, a surgeon residing in
Golden Square, was sent for suddenly to attend the deceased, and
attempted to discharge the contents of the stomach without effect. He
lingered for about ten minutes, and expired. Another medical gentleman
soon after arrived, but his assistance was also unavailing.—There being
no further evidence adduced to prove how the deceased came to his death,
the jury, under these circumstances, returned a verdict of—Died by the
visitation of God.

Medwin, in his _Conversations with Lord Byron_, gives the following
account of how the poet received the news of Dr. Polidori's death. "I
was convinced" (said Byron) "something very unpleasant hung over me last
night: I expected to hear that somebody I knew was dead. So it turns
out—poor Polidori is gone. When he was my physician he was always
talking of prussic acid, oil of amber, blowing into veins, suffocating
by charcoal, and compounding poisons; but for a different purpose to
what the Pontic monarch did, for he has prescribed a dose for himself
that would have killed fifty Mithridates—a dose whose effect, Murray
says, was so instantaneous that he went off without a spasm or struggle.
It seems that disappointment was the cause of this rash act."—The
evidence of the servant at the inquest shows that death did not come so
very suddenly; and in my own family I always heard the poison spoken of
as simply prussic acid.

This is all that I need say at present to explain who Dr. Polidori was;
but I must add a few words regarding his Diary.

The day when the young doctor obtained the post of travelling physician
to the famous poet and man of fashion, Lord Byron, about to leave
England for the Continent, must, no doubt, have been regarded by him and
by some of his family as a supremely auspicious one, although in fact it
turned out the reverse. The article on Polidori written in _The
Dictionary of National Biography_ by my valued friend, the late Dr.
Garnett, speaks of him as "physician and _secretary_ to Lord Byron"; but
I never heard that he undertook or performed any secretarial work worth
speaking of, and I decidedly believe that he did not. The same statement
occurs in the inscription on his likeness in the National Portrait
Gallery. Polidori's father had foreseen, in the Byronic scheme,
disappointment as only too likely, and he opposed the project, but
without success. To be the daily companion and intimate of so great a
man as Byron, to visit foreign scenes in his society, to travel into his
own father's native land, which he regarded with a feeling of
enthusiasm, and with whose language he was naturally well acquainted, to
be thus launched upon a career promising the utmost development and
satisfaction to his literary as well as professional enterprise—all this
may have seemed like the realization of a dream almost too good to be
true. To crown all, Mr. Murray, Byron's publisher, had offered Polidori
no less a sum than £500 (or 500 guineas) for an account of his
forthcoming tour. Polidori therefore began to keep a Diary, heading it
_Journal of a Journey through Flanders etc., from April 24, 1816,
to_______; and the blank was eventually filled in with the date
"December 28, 1816"; it should rather stand "December 30." Portions of
the Diary are written with some detail, and a perceptible aim at
literary effect—Murray's £500 being manifestly in view; in other
instances the jottings are slight, and merely enough for guiding the
memory. On this footing the Journal goes on up to June 30, 1816. It was
then dropped, as Polidori notes "through neglect and dissipation," for
he saw a great deal of company. On September 5 he wrote up some
summarized reminiscences; and from September 16, the day when he parted
company with Byron at Cologny, near Geneva, and proceeded to journey
through Italy on his own account, he continued with some regularity up
to December 30, when he was sojourning in Pisa. That is the latest day
of which any record remains; but it is known from other evidence that
Dr. Polidori continued in Italy up to April 14, 1817: he then left
Venice in company with the new Earl of Guilford and his mother—being
their travelling physician. Whether the Journal is in any fair degree
interesting or brightly written is a question which the reader will
settle for himself; as a document relevant to the life of two
illustrious poets, it certainly merits some degree of attention.

My own first acquaintance with the Diary of Dr. Polidori dates back to
1869, when I was preparing the Memoir of Shelley which preludes my
edition of his poems, published in 1870; I then availed myself of the
Shelleian information contained in the Diary, and even gave two or three
verbatim extracts from it. The MS. book was at that time the property of
a sister of his, Miss Charlotte Lydia Polidori, a lady of advanced age.
I regret to say that my aunt, on receiving the MS. back from me, took it
into her head to read it through—a thing which I fancy she had never
before done, or certainly had not done for very many years, and that she
found in it some few passages which she held to be "improper," and, with
the severe virtue so characteristic of an English maiden aunt, she
determined that those passages should no longer exist. I can remember
one about Byron and a chambermaid at Ostend, and another, later on,
about Polidori himself. My aunt therefore took the trouble of copying
out the whole Diary, minus the peccant passages, and she then ruthlessly
destroyed the original MS. After her death—which occurred in January
1890, when she had attained the age of eighty-seven years—her transcript
came into my possession. Its authority is only a shade less safe than
that of the original, and it is from the transcript that I have had to
work in compiling my present volume.

I will now refer in some detail to the matter of Dr. Polidori's romantic
tale, _The Vampyre_; not only because this matter is of some literary
interest in itself, but more especially because the account of it given
in _The Dictionary of National Biography_ treats Polidori, in this
regard, with no indulgence, and I believe (however unintentionally on
the part of the late Dr. Garnett) with less than justice. He says: "In
April 1819 he [Polidori] published in _The New Monthly Magazine_, and
also in pamphlet-form, the celebrated story of _The Vampyre_, which he
attributed to Byron. The ascription was fictitious. Byron had in fact,
in June 1816, begun to write at Geneva a story with this title, in
emulation of Mrs. Shelley's _Frankenstein_; but dropped it before
reaching the superstition which it was to have illustrated. He sent the
fragment to Murray upon the appearance of Polidori's fabrication, and it
is inserted in his works. He further protested in a carelessly
good-natured disclaimer addressed to _Galignani's Messenger_."

The facts of the case appear to be as follows. As we shall see in the
Diary, Polidori began, near Geneva, a tale which (according to Mrs.
Shelley) was about a "skull-headed lady," and he was clearly aware that
Byron had commenced a story about a vampyre. After quitting Byron,
Polidori, in conversation with the Countess of Breuss, mentioned in his
Journal, spoke (unless we are to discredit his own account) of the
subject of the great poet's tale; the Countess questioned whether
anything could be made of such a theme, and Polidori then tried his hand
at carrying it out. He left the MS. with the Countess, and thought
little or no more about it. After his departure from that neighbourhood
some person who was travelling there (one might perhaps infer a lady)
obtained the MS. either from the Countess of Breuss or from some person
acquainted with the Countess: this would, I suppose, be the Madame
Gatelier who is named in the Journal along with the Countess. The
traveller then forwarded the tale to the Publisher, Colburn, telling
him—and this statement was printed by Colburn as an _Extract of a Letter
from Geneva_—that certain tales were "undertaken by Lord B[yron], the
physician [Polidori], and Miss M. W. Godwin," and that the writer
received from her female friend "the outline of each of these stories."
She did not say that the completed _Vampyre_ was the production of
Byron; but Colburn inferred this, and in the magazine he attributed it
to Byron, printing his name as author.

Among the papers which were left by Dr. Polidori at the time of his
death, and which have come into my possession, are the drafts of two
letters of his—one addressed to Mr. Henry Colburn, and the other to the
Editor of _The Morning Chronicle_. These letters were actually
dispatched, and (having no sort of reason to suspect the contrary) I
assume that they contain a truthful account of the facts. If so, they
exonerate Polidori from the imputation of having planned or connived at
a literary imposture. In his letter to Mr. Colburn he affirms (as will
be seen) that the following incidents in his tale were borrowed from
Byron's project: the departure of two friends from England, one of them
dying in Greece [but it is in fact near Ephesus] after exacting from his
companion an oath not to mention his death; the revival of the dead man,
and his then making love to the sister of his late companion. The story
begun by Byron and published along with _Mazeppa_ contains the incidents
above named, except only the important incident of the dead man's
revival and his subsequent love-making. Byron's extant writing, which is
a mere fragment, affords no trace of that upshot; but Polidori must have
known that such was the intended sequel. It may be added that the
resemblance between these productions of Byron and of Polidori extends
only to incidents: the form of narrative is different.

I proceed to give the letter of Dr. Polidori to Mr. Colburn, followed by
the letter to the Editor of _The Morning Chronicle_. This latter goes
over a good deal of the same ground as the letter to Colburn, so I
shorten it very considerably.


                                             [London], _April 2_ (1819).


      I received a copy of the magazine of last April (the present
month), and am sorry to find that your Genevan correspondent has led you
into a mistake with regard to the tale of _The Vampyre_—which is _not_
Lord Byron's, but was written _entirely_ by me at the request of a lady,
who (upon my mentioning that his Lordship had said that it was his
intention of writing a ghost story, depending for interest upon the
circumstances of two friends leaving England, and one dying in Greece,
the other finding him alive, upon his return, and making love to his
sister) saying that she thought it impossible to work up such materials,
desired I would write it for her, which I did in two idle mornings by
her side. These circumstances above mentioned, and the one of the dying
man having obtained an oath that the survivor should not in any way
disclose his decease, are the only parts of the tale belonging to his
Lordship. I desire, therefore, that you will positively contradict your
statement in the next number, by the insertion of this note.

With regard to my own tale, it is imperfect and unfinished. I had rather
therefore it should not appear in the magazine; and, if the Editor had
sent his communication, as he mentions, he would have been spared this

But, sir, there is one circumstance of which I must request a further
explanation. I observe upon the back of your publication the
announcement of a separate edition. Now, upon buying this, I find that
it states in the title-page that it was entered into Stationers' Hall
upon March 27, consequently before your magazine was published. I wish
therefore to ask for information how this tale passed from the hands of
your Editor into those of a publisher.

As it is a mere trifle, I should have had no objection to its appearing
in your magazine, as I could, in common with any other, have extracted
it thence, and republished it. But I shall not sit patiently by and see
it taken without my consent, and appropriated by any person. As
therefore it must have passed through your hands (as stated in the
magazine) from a correspondent, I shall expect that you will account to
me for the publishers, Messrs. Sherwood and Neely, having possession of
it and appropriating it to themselves; and demand either that a
compensation be made me, or that its separate publication be instantly

Hoping for an immediate answer, which will save me the trouble of
obtaining an injunction, I remain,


                                                  Your obedient servant,
                                                          JOHN POLIDORI.



      As you were the first person to whom I wrote to state that the
tale of _The Vampyre_ was not Lord Byron's, I beg you to insert the
following statement in your paper.... The tale, as I stated to you in my
letter, was written upon the foundation of a purposed and begun story of
Lord Byron's.... Lord Byron, in a letter dated Venice, stated that he
knew nothing of the Vampyre story, and hated vampyres; but, while this
letter was busily circulating in all the London and provincial papers,
the fragment at the end of _Mazeppa_ was in the hands of his publishers
in Albemarle Street, with the date of June 17, 1816, attached to it,
being the beginning of his tale upon this very foundation. My
development was written on the Continent, and left with a lady at whose
request it was undertaken; in the course of three mornings by her side
it was produced, and left with her. From her hands, by means of a
correspondent, without my knowledge, it came into those of the Editor of
_The New Monthly_, with a letter stating it to be an _ébauche_ of Lord
Byron's. Mr. Watts, as Editor of that magazine, stated in _his_ notice
that the tale which accompanies the letters "we also present to our
readers without pledging ourselves for its authenticity as the
production of Lord Byron"; and he continues, "We should suppose it to
have been committed to paper rather from the recital of a third person."
This, however, after the publication of 700 copies, was cancelled by the
_publisher_, and another notice inserted stating it to be decidedly his
Lordship's, in direct opposition (as I am informed) to the Editor's
will—who has since retired from the conduct of the magazine.

Immediately it was published I procured a copy; and, upon finding that
it was an almost forgotten trifle of my own, instantly wrote to you as
Editor of _The Morning Chronicle_, stating the little share Lord Byron
had in the work. This was upon the Friday evening after its publication.
I at the same time wrote to the publishers of the tale in its separate
form, and to those of the magazine, to stop its sale under his
Lordship's name. On Monday the publishers of the magazine called upon
me, and promised it should be instantly announced as mine.... When I
came to claim my share in the profits, I was offered £30, instead of
nearly £300....

                         Your obedient servant,

                                                          JOHN POLIDORI.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The prefatory note to _The Vampyre_, in _The New Monthly Magazine_, runs
thus: "We received several private letters in the course of last autumn
from a friend travelling on the Continent, and among others the
following, which we give to the public on account of its containing
anecdotes of an individual concerning whom the most trifling
circumstances, if they tend to mark even the minor features of his mind,
cannot fail of being considered important and valuable by those who know
how to appreciate his erratic but transcendent genius. The tale which
accompanied the letter we have also much pleasure in presenting to our
readers.—Ed." There is also a final note thus: "We have in our
possession the tale of Dr. ——, as well as the outline of that of Miss
Godwin. The latter has already appeared under the title of
_Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus_. The former, however, upon
consulting with its author, we may probably hereafter give to our

Two questions arise as to that prefatory note: (1) Did the Editor really
write it, or did the Publisher Colburn write it? (2) Is the averment
true or false that the Editor (or the Publisher) had received in the
course of the preceding autumn "several private letters" from the same
person who had now forwarded a letter enclosing _The Vampyre_?

Murray wrote to Lord Byron on April 27, 1819. He speaks of the
publication of _The Vampyre_ in _The New Monthly Magazine_, and
afterwards in book-form, and proceeds: "The Editor of that journal has
quarrelled with the Publisher, and has called this morning to exculpate
himself from the baseness of the transaction. He says that he received
it from Dr. Polidori for a small sum; Polidori averring that the whole
plan of it was yours, and that it was merely written out by him. The
Editor inserted it with a short statement to this effect; but, to his
astonishment, Colburn cancelled the leaf.... He informs me that
Polidori, finding that the sale exceeded his expectation and that he had
sold it too cheap, went to the Editor and declared that he would deny

This statement by Murray makes it probable that the paragraph purporting
to come from the Editor, or some substantial part of it, really emanated
from the Publisher, and the same is definitely asserted in Polidori's
letter to _The Morning Chronicle_; but Murray's letter does not settle
the question whether the allegation about a traveller at Geneva was true
or false. The Editor's assertion that "he received it from Dr. Polidori
for a small sum" does not by any means clear up all the facts. It seems
quite possible that there really was a correspondent at Geneva who sent
to the Editor the MS. of _The Vampyre_, along with that of Polidori's
other tale, and an outline of Mary Shelley's _Frankenstein_, as
expressly affirmed in the final note signed "Ed."; and that the Editor,
having no right to publish _The Vampyre_ unless by authority of its
writer, spoke to Polidori about it. How could Polidori dispose of it
"for a small sum" if he alleged that it was written by Byron, or by any
one other than himself? He averred "that the whole plan of it was"
Byron's—and this is apparently true; adding "that it was merely written
out by" himself—in the sense not of having written from Byron's
dictation, but of having composed a story founded upon Byron's intended
incidents. Murray's final phrase—that Polidori "went to the Editor, and
declared that he would deny it"—is loosely expressed, but seems to mean
that he would deny Byron's authorship of _The Vampyre_—and so in fact he

If we suppose (as did Murray apparently) that Polidori had in the first
instance planned a deliberate imposture, and had palmed off upon the
Editor _The Vampyre_ as being virtually the writing of Byron, we are
encountered by three difficulties left unexplained: (1) What plea could
Polidori advance for having the MS. and the right of publishing it? (2)
Why did he sell for "a _small_ sum" a work which, if written by the
world-famous Lord Byron, would be worth a very considerable sum? (3) Why
did the Editor pay to Polidori a sum, whether small or large, for a book
which, according to this assumption, was avowedly not the writing of
himself, but the writing and property of Byron? All these difficulties
are avoided, and no other serious difficulties arise, if we assume that
the account given by Polidori is the true one, viz. that he offered the
tale to the Editor as being his own composition, strictly modelled upon
a series of incidents invented by Byron.

Polidori's letter, addressed to the Editor of _The Morning Chronicle_,
was, as I have already said, delivered to the office of that paper. It
was not however published there, as Messrs. Sherwood, Neely, and Jones,
the publishers of _The Vampyre_ in its book-form, represented to
Polidori that the appearance of such a letter would tend to compromise
them, and he therefore, out of consideration for this firm, withdrew the
letter unprinted. This is Polidori's own statement, contained in the
Introduction to another romantic tale of his, _Ernestus Berchtold_,
published in 1819; being the tale by Polidori which, as stated by the
Editor of _The New Monthly Magazine_, had been sent to him along with
_The Vampyre_ and the outline of _Frankenstein_. Besides all this, the
Doctor wrote a brief letter, published in _The Courier_ on May 5, 1819,
saying—what was clearly the fact—"Though the groundwork is certainly
Lord Byron's, its development is mine."

I must now revert for a moment to the "skull-headed lady." In the
Introduction above named, Polidori asserts that that tale, _Ernestus
Berchtold_, was the one which he began at Cologny. It does not contain
any sort of mention of any skull-headed lady. There is some supernatural
machinery in the story, of a rather futile kind; it could be excluded
without affecting the real basis of the narrative, which relates the
love-affair and marriage of a young Swiss patriot with a lady who is
ultimately identified as his sister. As to Mrs. Shelley's allegation
that the (non-existent) skull-headed lady was punished for "peeping
through a keyhole," no such incident exists in _Ernestus Berchtold_;
there is, however, a passage where a certain Julia seeks to solve a
mystery by looking "through the wainscot of a closet for wood." Her
head, after this inspection, remains exactly what it was before.

_The Vampyre_ was in its way a great success. As stated in _The
Dictionary of National Biography_, Byron's name gave Polidori's
production great celebrity on the Continent, where _The Vampyre_ was
held to be quite the thing which it behoved Byron to have written. It
formed the groundwork of Marschner's opera, and nearly half a volume of
Dumas's _Memoirs_ is occupied by an account of the representation of a
French play founded upon it.

                               THE DIARY

1816. _April 24._—I left London at 10 in the morning, with Lord Byron,
Scrope Davies, Esq., and J. Hobhouse, Esq.

[Mr. Scrope Berdmore Davies had been one of Byron's fellow-students and
intimates at Cambridge University, and had continued familiar with him
at Newstead Abbey and elsewhere. He has been described as "no less
remarkable for elegance of taste than for a generous high-mindedness."
Mr. John Cam Hobhouse (afterwards Sir J. C. Hobhouse, and ultimately
Lord Broughton de Gifford) was, it need hardly be said, a peculiarly
close friend of Byron. He had accompanied him in his travels in Greece
prior to the commencement of _Childe Harold_, wrote notes to that poem,
and to the last upheld the essential fineness of his Lordship's
character. Byron's intention to travel along with Hobhouse in the spring
of 1816 was not a new project conceived in consequence of his
separation, only completed on April 22, from his wife. He had
entertained this scheme before his daughter Ada was born on December 10,
1815, and had announced it to his wife, to whom the notion was not

The view from Shooter's Hill was extensive and beautiful, being on a
much larger scale than the view from Stirling.

[Polidori mentions Stirling, as being no doubt a reminiscence of his
own, from the days when he had been in Edinburgh to take his medical

The plain, enamelled with various colours according to the different
growth of the corn, spread far before our sight, was divided irregularly
by the river. The Thames next, with its majestic waves, flowed in the
plain below, bearing numerous fleets upon its flood. Its banks in many
parts were beautiful. The chalky banks were alternated with the swelling
hills, rising from the waves, of the pleasing green-brown, the effect of
the first dawn of spring on the vegetable creation.

At Canterbury we saw the Cathedral. I know not how it was, whether my
mind had been prepared by the previous sight of glorious nature to
receive pleasing impressions, but the spot where the high altar and
Thomas à Becket's tomb stood seemed to me one of the most beautiful
effects that I had ever seen arising from Saxo-Gothic architecture; for,
though it had not all the airiness and awe-inspiring height that I had
seen in other cathedrals, yet its simple beauty pleased me more than
anything I had yet seen.

Remounting, we soon arrived at Dover, where we slept, when the
packet-boat captain had sufficiently disturbed us.

_April 25._—This day was spent at Dover. The greater part was occupied
in procuring what had been neglected in London, and in seeing the
carriage well packed up. After dinner, however, we went in search of
Churchill's tomb, raised, we had learned, to his memory by his friend
Wilkes. Arrived at the house of the sexton, he led us to a ruined
church, passing through which we came into a churchyard, where children,
heedless and unconscious of what they trampled on, sportively ran amid
the raised turf graves. He pointed out to us a tombstone,
undistinguished from those of the tradesmen near him, having merely,
like them, a square tablet stuck into the ground, whereon was written,
"Here lie the remains of the celebrated Churchill.

            "Life to the last enjoyed, here Churchill lies.


[By Churchill.] The green turf was beginning already to decay upon his
tomb, which when the sexton heard us lamenting he assured us that his
grave, as well as the rest, would be newly decked as soon as Nature had
vested its fullest green—for that was an old custom. Churchill owed,
then, only to a common hand what the pride of a friend refused—the
safety of his burial-place. Wilkes only sought the gratification of his
vanity. While he consigned his friend's last relics to the keeping of a
tablet, he consigned his own pride in such a friend to the keeping of a
column in his own grounds. Yet I do not know whether the scene was not
more moving, though no vainly pompous inscription pointed out the spot
where this poet was buried.

There were two authors; one, the most distinguished of his age; another,
whose name is rising rapidly; (and a third, ambitious for literary
distinction). What a lesson it was for them when, having asked the
sexton if he knew why so many came to see this tomb, he said: "I cannot
tell; I had not the burying of him."

[Byron, after settling in the Villa Diodati near Geneva, recorded this
same incident in a composition entitled _Churchill's Grave, a Fact
Literally Rendered_. He wrote a memorandum to say that in this poem he
had intentionally imitated the style of Wordsworth, "its beauties and
its defects." The composition therefore is essentially un-Byronic in
method, and perhaps Wordsworth would not have recognized in it many of
his own "beauties." The lines are as follows—

           "I stood beside the grave of him who blazed
             The comet of a season, and I saw
           The humblest of all sepulchres, and gazed
             With not the less of sorrow and of awe
           On that neglected turf and quiet stone,
           With name no clearer than the names unknown
           Which lay unread around it. And I ask'd
             The gardener of that ground why it might be
           That for this plant strangers his memory task'd,
             Through the thick deaths of half a century.
           And thus he answered: 'Well, I do not know
           Why frequent travellers turn to pilgrims so:
           He died before my day of sextonship,
             And I had not the digging of this grave.'
           And is this all? I thought; and do we rip
             The veil of immortality, and crave
           I know not what of honour and of light
           Through unborn ages, to endure this blight
           So soon and so successless? As I said,
           The architect of all on which we tread
           (For earth is but a tombstone) did essay
           To extricate remembrance from the clay
           Whose minglings might confuse a Newton's thought,
             Were it not that all life must end in one,
           Of which we are but dreamers. As he caught
             As 'twere the twilight of a former sun,
           Thus spoke he: 'I believe the man of whom
           You wot, who lies in this selected tomb,
           Was a most famous writer in his day;
           And therefore travellers step from out their way
           To pay him honour;—and myself whate'er
           Your honour pleases.' Then most pleased I shook
           From out my pocket's avaricious nook
           Some certain coins of silver, which (as 'twere
           Perforce) I gave this man—though I could spare
           So much but inconveniently. Ye smile
           (I see ye, ye profane ones, all the while)
           Because my homely phrase the truth would tell.
           You are the fools, not I; for I did dwell
           With a deep thought and with a softened eye
           On that old sexton's natural homily,
           In which there was obscurity and fame—
           The glory and the nothing of a name."

Charles Churchill the satirist, a clergyman who had given up his
standing in the Church, had died in 1764 at Boulogne, aged only
thirty-three. It is clear that his renown was still considerable in
1816; it is now barely more than a literary reminiscence.]

We then returned home, where, having delivered my play into their hands,
I had to hear it laughed at—(an author has always a salvo) partly, I
think, from the way in which it was read. One of the party, however—to
smoothe, I suppose, my ruffled spirits—took up my play, and apparently
read part with great attention, drawing applause from those who before
had laughed. He read on with so much attention that the others declared
he had never been so attentive before.

[Further on it would appear that this play was named _Cajetan_. I know
nothing about it. The name Cajetan is in Italian Gaetano, which was the
Christian name of Polidori's father.]

I afterwards went out, and did a very absurd thing, which I told; and
found I had not only hurt myself but might possibly hurt others for whom
I cared much more.

_April 26._—We embarked at 9 o'clock, much hurried, with three servants.

[This means, to judge from a published letter by Byron, 9 o'clock on the
evening of April 25. The three servants were Berger (a Swiss), William
Fletcher, and Robert Rushton. Mr. Davies and Mr. Hobhouse, it will be
understood, remained ashore.]

When at a distance, we waved our hands and hats, bidding adieu. The wind
was completely in our teeth, but we made the passage in sixteen hours.
The coast of Dover is very striking, though miserably barren-looking.
The cliff is steep, though not such as Shakespear paints. The castle—at
a distance, which is the only way I viewed it—is miserable. Sailing from
England, I for a long time kept my eye upon its stern white cliffs,
thinking on her who bade me join her remembrance with the last sight of
my native soil.

[This points pretty clearly to a love-passage, perhaps a matrimonial
engagement. As a fact Polidori never married. The lady may possibly have
been Eliza Arrow, a relative in India, with whom he, at a rather earlier
date, had interchanged various letters.]

They at last faded from my sight, and all on board looked dreary; the
sea dashed over us, and all wore an aspect of grief. Towards night a
most beautiful spectacle was seen by myself, who alone remained on deck.
The stars shedding merely a twilight enabled me to see the phosphoric
light of the broken foam in all its splendour. But the most beautiful
moment was that of its first appearance: no sound around save the sullen
rushing of the vessel, and the hoarse cries of the heaving sailor; no
light save a melancholy twilight, which soothed the mind into
forgetfulness of its grief for a while—a beautiful streak following the
lead through the waves. We arrived at Ostend at 2 o'clock in the

[Polidori's chronology is a little confusing here. If the party left
Dover at 9 p.m. on April 25, and took sixteen hours in the sea-passage,
they must have reached Ostend at 1 in the _afternoon_. There is also a
confusion immediately afterwards, for he repeats the date for which he
has already accounted, viz.]

_April 26._—We passed through the gates, paying a franc a head, and went
to the Cour Impériale. We were astonished at the excellent inn and good
treatment, except that I got a dreadful headache from the smell of paint
in my bedroom, and that the tea was perfumed.

[It was, I believe, at this point of the narrative that my aunt
Charlotte Polidori cut out a peccant passage. I seem to remember the
precise diction of it, which was this: "As soon as he reached his room,
Lord Byron fell like a thunderbolt upon the chambermaid." Such at any
rate was the substance of the statement. The other statement which my
aunt excluded came somewhat further on, when Dr. Polidori was staying
near Geneva. He gave some account of a visit of his to some haunt of the
local Venus Pandemos. I think the police took some notice of it. The
performance was not decorous, but was related without any verbal

Arising in the morning, I went upon a stroll round the town. Saw little
girls of all ages with head-dresses; books in every bookseller's window
of the most obscene nature; women with wooden shoes; men of low rank
basking in the sun as if that would evaporate their idleness. The houses
generally good old style, very like a Scotch town, only not quite so
filthy. Very polite custom-house officers, and very civil waiters. Fine
room painted as a panorama, all French-attitudinized. Went into a shop
where no one spoke French. Tried German; half-a-dozen women burst out
laughing at me. Luckily for myself, in a good humour; laughed with them.
Obliged to buy two books I did not want, because I let a quarto fall
upon a fine girl's head while looking at her eyes. Coaches of the most
horrid construction; apparently some fine horses, others small.
Fortifications look miserable. Once stood a fine siege, when 40,000 on
one side and 80 on the other fed fowls and manured the fields. What for?
For religion? No—for money. _There_ was the spring of all. As long as
only religion and rights were affected, bigoted religionists and wild
republicans were alone concerned; but a step too far, and all was

[The allusion here is to the great siege of Ostend, 1601 to 1604.]

We set off at 3, with four horses. Postillion with boots to his hips,
nankeens, leather hat with quaker brim, only neatly rounded with black
riband; a blue and red coat, joined to which a most rascally face, with
lips that went a few lines beyond the brim of his hat. A dreadful
smacker of his whip, and a driver of four horses from the back of one of
the hindermost. We were obliged to hire a calèche to send with our
luggage. The rascal made us pay three times too much at each of his
barriers; but, after having (on account of the horses not being ready at
the next post) gone beyond his beat, he allowed the toll-keepers to be
honest, and only take a few centimes instead of a franc. The country
very flat, highly cultivated; sand, no waste. Roads paved in the middle,
with trees on each side. Country, from the interspersion of houses,
spires, cottages, etc., delightful; everything comfortable, no
appearance of discontent.

We got out of our carriage at a place where the horses ate bread and
hay, and walked on to a church-yard, where we found no tombstones, no
funeral-pomp, no flattering eulogy, but simply a wooden cross at each
grave's head and foot. On the side of the church-steeple, at a little
height, was made a niche wherein statues formed a crucifixion, as an
object to excite reverence and adoration of God in every passenger. We
passed on, and arrived at Bruges at the fall of the evening. Our
passports were dispensed with on our mentioning that we were not
stopping. We entered one of the most beautiful towns I ever saw; every
house seemed substantial—had some ornament either of fretwork or
lines—all seem clean and neat. We stopped at the post. We were shown
into the postmaster's parlour on our asking for something to eat—well
furnished—better even than a common middleman's house in London.
N.B.—Everywhere 6 francs for a bottle of Rhenish. Women generally
pretty. Flemish face has no divinity—all pleasing more than beautiful—a
sparkling eye in a full round. Their pictures of every age have the mark
of their country.

As we went from Bruges, twilight softened all the beauty, and I do not
know how to describe the feeling of pleasure we felt in going through
its long roof-fretted streets, bursting on to spots where people were
promenading amidst short avenues of trees. We passed on. At the gates I
saw a boy with sand in his hand let it through his fingers laughingly,
heedless of the myriads whose life hung upon each sand. We passed on at
10. We came to a village where we heard the sound of music. The
innkeeper, on our enquiring what it was, asked us politely in to hear a
concert of amateurs. We descended, and were gratified and surprised at
hearing, in a village of 5000 souls, a full band playing difficult
though beautiful music. One march particularly struck us. But what was
our surprise, when the door opened, to view the group: none apparently
above the rank of labourers, yet they met three times a week. In our
country the amusement is to reel drunk as many. There was one figure
manifestly consumptive, yet he was blowing an enormous trombone.

Within a few miles of Gand, I was wakened from a pleasant fireside in
England by my companion saying "They have lost their way"; and, seeing a
house near me, I jumped out to enquire, when to my great fear I saw it
was deserted. I immediately suspected something, and went back for a
pistol, and then thundered at the door; no one came. Looking round, I
saw other houses; towards which upon my moving the postillion got off,
and, telling me in French, as a consolation, that he could not
understand it, went with me towards a house where there was light, and
suddenly ran off. I immediately went to the carriage, and we gave sabres
to the servants; when he ran back from out of sight, and knocked again
at the door and roused two, who told us the way. By the by, we had
crossed several times the bridge, and from the road and back again,
whereas we had nothing to do but to go straight on, instead of which he
crossed over and was going back in the direction of Bruges, when our
servant stopped him. I cannot explain his conduct; he was dreadfully

We arrived at Ghent at 3 in the morning, and knocked some time at the
gates, but at last, by means of a few francs, got through—passports not
asked for. Got to the Hôtel des Pays Bas, where Count Artois resided
while at Ghent. We were ushered into a splendid room, got excellent
Rhenish, butter, cheese, etc., and went to bed.

_April 27._—At Gand Charles the Ist of Spain was born. It was here he
really showed the insufficiency of ambition and all the joys of manhood.
After having at Brussels resigned to Philip his extensive dominions, he
came here, and enjoyed many days while passing over the scenes of his
youth, which neither the splendour attached to a European or an Indian
crown nor to the conquests of his powerful and noble views could efface.
He did not seek Pavia; no, it was at Gand that he sought for his last
draught of worldly joy. The town was worthy of it, if beauty and
antiquity, if riches and liberty with all their train, could render it
worthy of him. This town has all the beauty of Bruges, but more
extensive: finer houses perhaps, fine cathedral, fine paintings, fine
streets, fine canal. The streets are perhaps the finest I have seen; not
so unpleasantly regular as London, not so high, but more rich in

We visited the Cathedral; and, after having been accustomed to the
tinselly ornaments of our Catholic chapels, and the complete want of any
in the Scotch and English churches, we were much pleased with the
Cathedral's inside dress: paintings that were by the hand of masters;
the fortune of a bishop expended in building the part near the altar in
marble and statues not contemptible, united with the airy, high fretted
roof and little light, impressive of awe. Under this Cathedral is the
first Belgian church that was built in the reign of Charlemagne, 800
years, I think, after Christ. It is low-roofed, but so strong it bears
the weight of the Cathedral upon it. There were several paintings
preserved in it (before the date of oil-painting), where the colours are
mixed with white of egg. Some curious tombs, where the different styles
are evident. In the earliest tomb some of the draperies on the relief
are in a bold fine style. One of the earliest has a bishop, where all
his robes are carved out, with almost the threads of his vest. Others,
however, are for general effect. We mounted 450 steps to the top of the
steeple; whence we saw a complete horizon of plain, canals, intersecting
trees, and houses and steeples thrown here and there, with Gand below at
our feet. The sea at a distance, bound by the hands of man, which
pointed "So far shall ye go and no farther." Bruges held in the horizon
its steeples to our view, and many hamlets raised from out their
surrounding wood their single spires to sight.

Treading again the iron-plated 450 stairs, we came into the street; and,
mounting into a fiacre, we went to the Ecole de Dessin, where we found a
well-provided gallery of paintings, with two students, unmoved by the
visitors around, painting with the patience if not the genius of Dutch
masters. They were rather a nuisance on the present occasion, as one
covered with his machine a _chef d'œuvre_ of Rubens, the _St. Roch
amongst the Sick of the Plague_. There were two more by the same, of St.
Roch and his Dog, etc. They were in a different style of
colouring—sombre and grey; none of his gay draperies that I, no
connoisseur, thought were constituents of Rubens. I saw—I do not
remember whose, but—a picture that struck me much, _The Beheading of St.
Jean_, where all the interest and beauty consisted in a dog smelling the
dead body. There were two of Van Eyck, the first (according to the
Flemish) who invented painting in oil; where the colouring was splendid
and very like the stiffness of glass, but the faces were very good.
Kruger had many here in honour of Charles the Vth. Amongst the others,
one rather (though probably not meant as such) satirical: Charles,
landing, takes hold of Dame Africa, who quietly points to a lion at her
feet. Query—to drive him away? There was a _Judgment of Solomon_ by the
same, where the child was painted dead with most perfect nature; so much
so that my companion, who is a father, could not bear its sight. Teniers
has here a _Temptation of St. Anthony_: strange caricature—what a
satire! If mere deceit is the acme of perfection, some Dutchmen may
snatch the palm from either Apelles or Parrhasius. They paint boards
with an engraving upon them, or a door,[1] or aught else, so inimitably
that it deceived my friend. We went into the Academy of Casts, of
Design, etc. There are generally 400 pupils in this town: many fall off
annually without great advancement, and are trod on the heels by others.

We thence proceeded to another (we might say) cathedral. The steeple is
not yet finished: the model is exhibited, with the curses of the Flemish
exhibitors upon the "grande nation" for having taken the funds for its
finishing. There are more good pictures than even in the Cathedral: the
columns also please me more, being round, with a Gothic approach to
Corinthian capital. The most beautiful painting I have yet seen is here
(though I probably shall not be held out in my opinion by
connoisseurs)—by Pollent, representing the trial of the true Cross upon
a sick lady. The harmony of colouring, the soberness (without the
commonly accompanying dulness) of the colouring, the good design and
grouping, are, in my opinion, beautiful. Not even the splendid colouring
of Rubens can make his pictures, in my eyes, equal to it.

[I do not know who is the painter termed Pollent by Polidori: on p. 50
there is the name Polenck, which may designate the same painter. Neither
of these names can be traced by me in a catalogue of pictures in the
Museum of Antwerp.]

There is one standing by it, of Vandyck, which has some sublimity in it,
perhaps arising from indistinctness. It represents the effect of
Christ's last sigh. By this altar stood twelve small pictures, hung out
at this time for people to tread the "way of Calvary," representing the
different stages of our Saviour's sufferings. There were many more
pictures, but I cannot remember; seeing so many crowded in the Gallery
put others out of my head. But there were painted in the Cathedral of
St. Bavon, on the marble in the style of reliefs, different subjects of
Scripture in a most masterly style; and so well were the shades managed
that we could hardly believe the cicerone when he assured us they were

In the Gallery of Casts there were the statues of two English ladies of
London by an artist who resided thirty years there, and upon his return
bestowed these as his finest works. The faces, though not perfect or
Grecian, I must say for my countrywomen, pleased me almost as much as
any Venus de' Medici.

I have found the people polite, so far as showing the way and then not
waiting for a reward—taking off their hats as if _you_ had done them the

_April 28._—We set off at 8 this morning to go to Anvers; but, after
having proceeded some way, one of the wheels refused to turn, and, after
at the next village hammering a long while, I rode off in a passing
calèche to Ghent, where I put a maréchal with his assistant into a
voiture, and, mounting myself on horseback, returned to the coach. My
horse was particularly fond of the shade; and, a house being near one of
the barriers, he kindly stopped there to cool me. I, after waiting some
time, began to press him to go forward, when he kicked etc. We went,
while the carriage was being repaired, into a cottage, where all was
extremely neat, and we saw two pictures in it that certainly would not
shame the collection of many of our _soi-disant_ cognoscenti. The old
man was sick of a fever; and, upon giving him medicine, his kind half
sympathetically fell ill of a toothache. Never did I see such chips of
the old block as his two daughters. They were very kind. It being
Sunday, we saw all the women of the village—all ugly: indeed, I have not
seen a pretty woman since I left Ostend.

[This reference to April 28 as being a Sunday puts a stop to any
preceding question as to the right day of the month, for in fact April
28, 1816, _was_ a Sunday.]

On proceeding on our journey, we were stopped for our passports, and the
fellow began bullying us, thinking we were French; but, when he heard we
were English, he became cap in hand, and let us go: indeed, we have not
yet shown our passports.

Having eaten, I issued forth in search of the Promenade, and found the
canal with walks called La Copeure. Many ladies, all ugly without
exception—the only pretty woman being fat and sixty. It very much
resembled the Green Basin, where our West-end cits trot on one another's
heels with all possible care: not quite so crowded. Coming back, I
tourized to the Roi d'Espagne, where, as in a coffeehouse, I found a
room full of disreputable women and card-tables. This, instead of the
streets, is the lounge for such women. I went to the Café Grand, where
by means of mirrors some excellent effects are produced. There also were
billiards, cards, dice, etc. A cup of coffee, some centimes; a glass of
lemonade, two sous: a woman presides at the end of the room.

"Lord Byron" was in the _Ghent Gazette_. Lord Byron encouraged me to
write _Cajetan_, and to continue being a tragedian. Murray offered £150
for two plays, and £500 for my tour.

_April 29._—Looking from my window, I saw a native dashing about in a
barouche and four. There is in the town a society of nobles, and another
of literati. Mr. Scamp has a fine collection of pictures, which I did
not see. In Ghent, as well as in all other places where I have been, the
barber's sign is Mambrino's helm. On the Sunday mornings there is a
market for flowers in pot in the Place des Armes.

We set off at 11 in the morning, and passed through some fine villages:
one of which, St. Nicholas, the mistress of the inn told me Buonaparte
made into a town—"mais il n'y a pas des postes." The country is
tiresomely beautiful. Fine avenues, which make us yawn with admiration;
not a single variation; no rising ground—yes, one spot raised for a
windmill. The landscape is as unchangeable as the Flemish face. The
houses white-washed, with a row of trees before them; the roofs tiled,
and the windows large. Indeed, the appearance of comfort in the places
we have passed through is much greater than any I have seen in England.
We have only seen one country-villa, and that very English: its pasture
had the only firs we have yet seen. The avenues are sometimes terminated
by a church or a house—the church very ugly; and both very tiresome, as
they always prove much farther off than is at first expected. The ground
cultivated, and without a weed—no waste ground. The plough moves as if
cutting water, the soil is so light a sand. Women work in the fields as
well as men. No more difference is found in the face of the inhabitants
than in the face of the country. Nothing striking, all evenness, no
genius, much stupidity. They seemed to spend all their fund of
cleanliness upon their fields and houses, for they carry none about

An oldish man wears a three-cornered cocked hat, capacious breeches,
black or blue stockings, buckles, and a great-coat; young, fancy
travelling-caps. The women wear enormous gold earrings, large wooden
shoes. Their dress is a kind of bed-gown, like the Scotch. Young girls
of eight in town have their hair dressed with a net or cap. In towns and
villages the better peasant-women wear a black silk mantle with a hood,
that looks well. Multitudes of children everywhere, who tumble and run
by the side of the carriage to gain a few centimes. In the larger
villages the market-places are splendidly large, with a little square
place in the middle, with pollards and a statue. The houses seem
comfortable everywhere. Going into the house of a postmaster, we saw
some English prints. At another, our servants having got down and
comfortably seated themselves to a bottle of wine etc., the
postmistress, on our getting out, took _us_ for the servants, and told
us "the messieurs Anglais were in yon room"—and then made us a thousand
apologies. At every posthorse place there is kept a book of the posts:
many barriers—every 1-1/2 mile.

At Gand they had told us we could not reach Anvers without passing the
Scheldt at 2 o'clock—we passed it at 6-1/2.

The town of Antwerp makes a good figure at a distance, chiefly on
account of its Cathedral, which has a very airy appearance, the steeple
showing the sky between its meeting arches. About five steeples. The
fortifications, which enabled Carnot to make such a defence, produce no
great effect on the sight.

[The defence by Carnot was, when Polidori wrote, a quite recent event,

The Scheldt is a fine river, not so large as our Thames, and covered
with ugly Dutch vessels. We passed our coach in a boat.

[This coach was a formidable affair. According to Mr. Pryse Lockhart
Gordon, it was "copied from the celebrated one of Napoleon taken at
Genappe, with additions. Besides a _lit de repos_, it contained a
library, a plate-chest, and every apparatus for dining."]

On landing, twenty porters ran off with our things to a cart. As they
were passing, one in all the pomp of office stopped us, and asked for
our passports, which (on handing to him) he detained, giving his
directions to the police.

The older parts of Antwerp have a novel and strange effect by the
gable-ends being all to the street, ornamented—very acute angles. The
Place de Meer is fine. The old street, the finest I ever saw, has some
fine houses. Many of the houses have English labels on them. In our
sitting-room are two beds. Indeed, the towns are beautiful: their long
streets, their houses all clean-stuccoed or white-washed, with strange
old-fashioned fronts, the frequent canals, the large places and
venerable cathedrals. Their places are much finer than our squares, for
they contain trees, and are open without railing.

Went to the café, and saw all playing at dominoes. Read _The Times_ till
the 23rd. Fine furniture, everywhere of cherry-tree.

At Gand in the Cathedral the cicerone laid great stress on the
choir-seats being all made of solid acajou. The master of the inn at
Ghent assures me the carriage of Buonaparte was made in Paris—the
body-carriage at Brussels: no English work. Plenty of Americans in the

_April 30._—Got up late, and went to look at the carriage, and found
that the back had been not of the best-made. Called a maréchal, who
assured me it could not be better. Breakfasted. Then looked at an old
calèche, for which asked 60 naps. Refused it.

Got, with a guide, a calèche to see the lions. The town is large:
apparently, not a proportionable quantity of misery. Women
better-looking. At all the fountains, Madonnas—and upon all the corners
of the streets, with lamps before them. Lamps with reverberators strung
on ropes into the middle of the streets. Went to the Cathedral.
Everywhere we have been, dreadful complaints of French vandalism. In
this chapel it has been shameless: once crowded with altars of marble,
now there are about five—only two marble, the others painted in
imitation. Pictures were stolen—altars sold by auction—only one saved,
bought by a barber for a louis. The others, with all the tombs,
monuments, everything, broken by these encouragers of the fine arts. So
great was the ruin that there were five feet of fragments over the
church—even the columns that support the roof were so much defaced that
they were obliged, in restoring it, to pare them all much thinner. Some
pictures were carried to Paris, of which some are now about to be
replaced. It was the feast of St. Anthony, and many candles were burning
about, and some relics were fixed above the doors. In many parts of the
chapel were frames containing silver representations, very small, of bad
limbs etc., offered by the devout. Many images over altars, dressed out
in silk and taffeta: most common one, the Virgin Mary. Though the French
acted with all the spirit of Vandals and true Gauls, yet to their very
mischief is owing the greatest beauty of the Cathedral, the choir not
being divided from the church, so that from one end to the other there
is a complete perspective and one of the finest effects I have seen, the
airiness and length being now proportionate. There is one great defect
in the internal decorations—that they are Greek. What bad taste it is to
ornament Gothic with Corinthian columns must be evident: to make it also
more glaring, the marble is all coloured. There is here a fine marble
altar-railing. Indeed, in all the churches we have here seen they are
beautiful—especially where boys, called in Italian "puttini," are
sculptured. The confessionals are of wood, with evangelical figures,
nearly as large as life, between each box—not badly carved.

We went to see another church, wherein is the tomb of Rubens.

[This is the Church of St. Jâques.]

It is in a chapel by itself, where annually a mass is said for his soul.
It is worthy of him: ornamented by a painting, by himself, of St.
George, and a statue he brought with him from Rome of the Holy Virgin.
The church in which he is buried was saved from pillage by the priests
belonging to it revolutionizing. It is crowded with altars and
pictures—some Rubens, some Polenck, and others. There is a painting by
Metsys, who originally was a maréchal, and who with his mere hammer
formed the decorations to a pump, which are not bad. The Latin
inscription on his monumental stone refers to a story related of him:
that, upon courting the daughter of Francis Floris, the artist with
indignation talked about the dirty rascal's impudence, he being merely a
blacksmith; on which Metsys set off for Rome, and upon his return asked
the daughter to introduce him to her father's room of painting: where,
finding a picture not finished, he painted a bee—that excited the
indignation of Floris's pocket-handkerchief, and gained him his
daughter. I have seen the picture, and it might be true. The pump is not
bad, being merely beaten into shape. On the top is a giant who used to
cut off merchants' gains by means of tolls, and their hands by means of
axes. He used to throw an iron band into the scales of his tradesmen;
and from thence, 'tis said, Antwerp got its name.

[This may be "said": but a less legendary derivation of the Flemish name
Antwerpen is "aent werf," or "on the wharf."]

The sides of this church all along are lined with confessionals.

In the Church des Augustins we saw Rubens's _Assembly of the Saints_,
from Paris; where he has shown how weak he could be in composition, and
in vanity—for it is the third picture in which he has put himself in St.
George's armour. The composition is confused, without an object to fix
the attention. A Vandyck near him is much superior.

[Polidori's observations about Flemish paintings are generally
indicative of liking, more or less: but Byron went dead against them. In
a letter of his to his half-sister, Mrs. Leigh, written from Brussels on
May 1, 1816, we find: "As for churches and pictures, I have stared at
them till my brains are like a guide-book: the last (though it is heresy
to say so) don't please me at all. I think Rubens a very great dauber,
and prefer Vandyck a hundred times over—but then I know nothing about
the matter. Rubens's women have all red gowns and red shoulders; to say
nothing of necks, of which they are more liberal than charming. It may
all be very fine, and I suppose it may be art, for 'tis not nature."
Again, in a letter to John Murray from Milan, October 15, 1816: "The
Flemish school, such as I saw it in Flanders, I utterly detested,
despised, and abhorred."]

Here is also the famous picture of Jordaens, of _The Martyrdom of
St. Apollonia_. Colouring approaches Rubens; but abominable
composition—crowded, large, numerous figures in a small space.
There were some modern paintings of existing artists—meagre

In the Musée we saw many Rubenses. The famous _Descent from the Cross_:
the effect of the white sheet is wonderfully beautiful. Picture's
drawing I do not like. The Christ seems not dead, as there is certainly
action; but the colouring is splendidly rich. The _Crucifixion_ near it,
inferior in all. In a sketch near it he has not succeeded so well in the
white sheet, it being not so splendidly white. We could only see the
side-pieces of the great _Crucifixion_, as the large piece was being
framed. In these there is much caricature drawing: a woman rising from
the dead—surely a woman large as Guy Warwick giant's wife, if ever he
had one: caricature physiognomies, and most hellish egregious breasts,
which a child refuses, with horror in its face. His horses have much
spirit—true Flemish size. Indeed, divest Rubens of his rich apparel, and
he is a mere dauber in design. There is a _Mary going to Elizabeth_,
looking more like a cardinal: indeed, my companion, Lord Byron, took her
for one of the red-vested nobles. No divinity about his Christs;
putrefaction upon his Gods; exaggerated passion about his men and women,
painted not all-concealing. In his picture of _The Adoration of the
Magi_, query did he not intend to play upon the people by passing off a
caricature for a religious painting? The royal personage in green seems
as if his eyes had grown big after dinner. He has no costume properly
applied: the Virgin in the manger is dressed meretriciously in silks and
lace. Then look at our blessed Saviour showing His wounds. His finest
painting is his _Crucifixion_ in which is the white sheet: but there are
defects. What then must be the power of colouring which causes you to
view his paintings with pleasure! It is like melodious music which makes
you forget the absurd words of an old English song.

Vandyck, in my opinion, was much superior to Rubens. His colouring, near
his, is sombre; but then his design is more perfect, his impressions
remain longer in the mind distinct, and do not fade away into ideas of
red and blue round white. A little _Crucifix_ of his is worth his
rival's largest paintings. His _Christ Dead_ is beautiful, wherein are
contained the Blessed Virgin, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. John weeping:
the different expressions of grief, the unison of colouring with the
subject, the composition, all excellent.

From the Cathedral we went to see the works of Napoleon. We first saw
the Basins. They are not so large as our West India Docks—square—but are
capable of holding ships of the line; there are two. Between them is
what was formerly the Hanseatic Hall, now magazines. When the English
were last here they threw bombs, but this was of no avail; dung was put
upon the ships, and men were at hand in case of fire. From the Basins we
went along the quays—very long, along the labouring Scheldt; then into
the places for marine arsenals, where the vessels were on the stocks—the
finest works I ever saw, now useless through our jealousy. The
rope-house, quite finished, is enormously long, and is to be pulled
down. The timbers for the ship were numbered, and carried to Amsterdam.
The citadel was mean-looking, though so strong. The chief batteries are
as old as Alva's time—there was one pointed out as erected by Colonel
Crawford. Before Napoleon's time there was little done towards the
formation of these basins and others; but, said our guide, "he decreed
they should be made, and they appeared." They are all surrounded with
high walls to hinder the escape of the employed. Carnot has commanded
here twice. He was rather disliked, yet they had rather have him than
any other. They all agree in his genius. In the time of the Walcheren
business the English were expected with open arms: only three hundred
soldiers—Bernadotte was general. The siege was not very strict on the
last occasion, and no mischief was done on either side. In the Basins
there have been twenty-six line. In the dread of a siege all the suburbs
were destroyed and all the trees around. The suburbs rose immediately,
the trees in years. In the citadel there are 1500 forçats. Sometimes the
number exceeds 2000.

Having seen thus much, we returned, lunched, and rode off. Hardly gone a
little way when our carriage broke down. The trees are more
various—vegetation more advanced—more inequality of ground—more
pollards—more apparent misery—more villas, some pretty—more clipped
hedges—more like England—fine, large, town-like villages. Carriage broke
again—walked to Malines—arrived there at ten. Women improve.

At Antwerp, in one church on the outside, saw a supposed exact imitation
of the Sepulchre, though I do not know how it came seated "in
purgatory"; as there certainly is a place so called round it, full of
the damned and flames. The place is grotto-work. Within there is a
representation of our Lord swathed in linen. All over there are statues,
so so. David is at a respectable distance from purgatory: this makes it
the more remarkable that the Sepulchre is seated in purgatory. Indeed,
indeed, there is much absurdity.

There is an academy for drawing and painting, with a museum. The Place
is in a garden.

On arriving at Malines we found Mr. Pradt gone from his bishopric
amongst his brethren; and we are assured he was a "vraiment français,"
and that he was not a "Catholique," and that this town wanted a
"vraiment Catholique."

[The Abbé de Pradt, born in Auvergne in 1759, had been a champion of the
monarchy in the Constituent Assembly of 1789-91. Napoleon made him
Archbishop of Malines towards 1809, but afterwards viewed him with
disfavour. He resigned the Archbishopric in 1816, receiving a pension.
He wrote a number of books on political and public matters, and died in

The country from Antwerp to Malines becomes more and more like England:
trees more various, not the same dead flat but varied with gentle
swells, many pollards, and more miserable cottages.

There is in the Cathedral [in Antwerp] a painting by Floris—the one on
which is the bee—where he has shown great imagination and fire in the
devils. It is the victory of the angels when fighting against the

_May 1._—As soon as up, I went to the Cathedral, which has a fine tower.
On entering I saw many pictures. None that I saw seemed particularly
good. The church was pretty full of people, who really seemed devout.
They were not the old and weak, but there was of every age. The young
maiden was seen by the side of decrepit age, beauty by deformity,
childhood by manhood. The effect on the mind is contagious. Many masses
were going on at the same time. A woman went round for money for the
chairs. Here I saw the first Christian caryatides.

We soon set off for Brussels. Between V. and that town the road is
beautiful; a canal on one side, fine trees forming a long avenue
diversified with glimpses of a rich country. We passed the Castle of
Lac, the former residence of Buonaparte. It has a fine front upon an
eminence, but the dome stands forth in glaring ugliness. We entered
Brussels by the Allée Verte, a fine promenade.

Brussels, the old town, is not so fine as Antwerp, Ghent, or Bruges. The
Grand Marché is very beautiful, only the buildings seem to be neglected.
Fine public offices, with a tall spire, on one side—the Mairie opposite.
The Place Royale is very fine; the fronts of the houses and hotels
around seeming together to form parts of one great palace; and the
church on one side, with the housy wings, has a fine effect in spite of
the ugly tower at the top. The gardens are beautiful with green, and
well laid out in walks, with groups and termites—the Palace opposite.
The entrance from the Place Royale presents a fine front, and the
suburbs round it are also good. We are at the Hôtel d'Angleterre. Saw
_Morning Chronicles_, which are again dutysied.

Brussels was not at all fortified in the Waterloo time. The Germans at
one time had retreated as far as the gates, which were obliged to be
shut against them. In case of a retreat there would have been a pleasant
rush, almost as great as at a fashionable rout, as they must all have
passed through Brussels. The carriage was put under hand. Crowds of

_May 2._—We have seen many, many soldiers. No wonder they were light of
foot when not more heavy of age, for none have beards yet except some
few cavalry.

The English women are the only good-looking women in Brussels; though,
with true English Bullism, they vest _here_ a complete Anglomanian
costume, preserving their French fashions for the English winds to waft.
The women of Brabant and the Netherlands are all ugly to the eye after
the piquant begins to pall, for there are no regular beauties or beauty
of expression, except that levity which tells of lightness of cares and

It is not for a foreigner to call a thing absurd because it does not
tally with his ideas, or the ladies' costume, except the black mantle,
should be put down as such by me. The men also are short and
bad-looking, either consummate impudence or complete insignificance—no
individuality. The indelicacy of these Belgians is gross; all kinds of
disgusting books publicly sold, and exposed to the eyes of all young
damsels—beastliness publicly exhibited on the public monuments—fountains
with men vomiting with effort a stream of water—and still worse. The
town (Brussels) is situated on an eminence, and is really poor in
comparison of the other Belgic towns by us seen.

After dinner, having dressed, I went, having written two letters, to the
theatre. Mounting a voiture, I was soon there. Ascending some stairs, I
came to a door where, after some knocking, a man took my money, and gave
me tickets, which, changed twice, brought me to the first row of boxes.
The first look at the lobbies was sufficient to give me an idea of all
the rest—misery, misery, misery, wherever one turned—to the floor, to
the ceiling, to the wall, to the box-wall, all garret of the St. Giles
style. Most of the doors had _Abonnement_ written on them. I got into
one, and what a sight! boxes dirty with filth. One chandelier was
sufficient for the pockets of a Brussels manager, hung from the middle.
Pit divided into two parts of different prices, boxes into three, and a
gallery. Chairs, not benches, in the boxes. Ladies came and sat and
talked, and talked and sat and stood, and went away. Many English
ladies. Orchestra began—all violins, seven in all. Curtain up—a farce:
no—it did not make me laugh. How call that a theatrical amusement which
only seems fitted to excite the pleasurable sensation of yawning? It was
French. An actress, the best amongst them, spoke French like a base pig;
another contorted the fine lady into one with a paralytic stroke after
sitting up at cards; the gentlemen like purlieu-bullies; and high life
was copied from the waiting-maids of butchers' ladies. I was a little
surprised at the applause that a lady actress gained. It moved me
astonishingly: not her acting, but the lookers-on acting pleasure. At
last came the wind whistling through the reeds, the thunder-hurling
cheeks, and lashing hands, to my great admiration. It moved phlegm.

One who was to act Blondel was vomiting at home. I went behind the
scenes, and saw dismay in every face, and terror in every limb. The
curtain drew up, and the play began. Hisses, hisses, hisses. It fell,
and fear increased. Some time was spent in cogitation. The venturous
gold-decked hero advanced, retired, was rebuked by the police and forced
to advance. Hisses. He said to the audience he was forced to advance.
They listened, and quiproquos commenced between the players and the
audience, with the sonorous hiss of anger. The police saw all was in
vain, and ordered the actors off the boards. I in the meantime was
chatting with two apparent goddesses, who very concisely explained the
trembling of the actors, etc., by telling me of real showers of eggs,
etc. As I left the house I heard groans and hollow sounds, and cries of
"Give me back my money: I am an _abonné_, and have seen nothing." I
ran—I and the police pushing on, the mob pushing us back, etc. Going
along the lobbies, what was my wonder to stumble on a bookseller's shop,
where was an assemblage of delicacies fit for the modest, and wondrous

_May 3._—I saw in the street three dogs, of the bulldog race, dragging
up a hill at a good pace what I am sure two men would not have strength
to drag. I saw also a goat fastened to a child's car. I went all over
the town for a calèche—bought one for 75 louis. In the evening, having
procured redingotes (which I did not use), we mounted a coach and drove
to ——. Returned home, ate, and slept.

_May 4._—Having risen, foolishly paid 40 naps. to the coachmaker. My
Lord and servant stepped into the calèche. I and a servant got on
horseback, and went to Waterloo. We soon entered Soignies, which on both
sides formed a beautiful wood (not forest, for it was not wild on either
side) for several miles. The avenue it formed varied in length:
sometimes the end was formed by a turn of the road, sometimes by the
mere perspective effect of narrowing. The trees are all young—none of
above thirty years' growth. We then reached Waterloo, where were the
head-quarters of Napoleon. An officious host pressed us to order dinner.
We ran from his pressing, and advancing came to St. Jean, where the boys
continued the offerings we first had at Waterloo of buttons, books, etc.
This was the village which gave the French name to the battle, I
believe, as it was the spot which Napoleon tried to gain. The view of
the plain, as we advanced to the right, struck us as fields formed
almost with the hopes that spirit and war would make their havoc here.
Gentle risings, sufficient to give advantage to the attacked—few
hedges—few trees. There was no sign of desolation to attract the
passer-by; if it were not for the importunity of boys, and the glitter
of buttons in their hands, there would be no sign of war. The peasant
whistled as blithely, the green of Nature was as deep, and the trees
waved their branches as softly, as before the battle. The houses were
repaired. Only a few spots with white plaster between the bricks pointed
out the cannon's ruin; and in ruins there was only Hougoumont, which was
attacked so bravely and defended so easily—at least so I should imagine
from the few killed in the garden and the appearance of the whole, while
so many French lay dead in the field. In the garden were only 25 English
killed, while in the field 1500; and on the other side 600 French, not
counting the wounded, were slain. Indeed, the gallantry, the resolution
and courage, which the French displayed in attacking this place, guarded
from the heights by our cannon, and by our soldiers through the
loop-holes, would alone ennoble the cause in which they fought. Before
arriving at Hougoumont, the spots where Hill, Picton, and the Scotch
Greys did their several deeds, were pointed out to us. The spot which
bore the dreadful charge of cavalry is only marked by a hedge. The
cuirassiers advancing, the Scots divided—showed a masked battery, which
fired grape into the adverse party's ranks—then it was the Scots
attacked. I do not now so much wonder at their victory. The cuirasses
which we saw were almost all marked with bullets, lance- and sabre-cuts.
Buonaparte and the French, our guide said, much admired the good
discipline and undaunted courage of the short-kilted Scot. Going
forward, the spot at which the Prussians, the lucky gainers of the
battle, emerged, was pointed out to us—and, a little farther on, we were
shown the spot where Colonel Howard, my friend's cousin, was buried
before being carried to England. Three trees, of which one is cut down,
mark the spot, now ploughed over. At Hougoumont we saw the untouched
chapel where our wounded lay, and where the fire consumed the toes of a
crucifix. We there inscribed our names amongst cits and lords. We found
here a gardener who pointed out the garden—the gate where the French
were all burnt—the gap in the hedge where the French attempted, after
the loss of 1500 men, to storm the place—the field, quarter of an acre,
in which were heaps of Gallic corpses. The gardener and the dog, which
we saw, had been detained at Hougoumont by General Maitland in case of a
retreat. The peasants declare that from 4 to 5 the affair was very, very
doubtful, and that at the last charge of the Imperial Guards Napoleon
was certain of being in Brussels in _quatre heures_. Wellington, after
the defeat of the Prussians etc., on the 17th went to Waterloo, and
determined where he would place each corps. This was a great advantage:
but, in spite of the excellence of his position, he would certainly have
been defeated had it not been for the fortunate advance of the
Prussians. From Hougoumont we went to the red-tiled house which is the
rebuilding of the house where was Buonaparte's last station and
head-quarters. It was from this spot that he viewed the arrival of the
Prussians, under the idea of their being the corps of Grouchy. It was
here he felt first the certainty of defeat, just after he had led the
old Imperial Guard, in the certainty of victory, to his last attack. La
Belle Alliance next appeared along the road, here where Wellington and
Blücher met. The name is derived from a marriage in the time of peace:
it is now applicable to a war-meeting. Thence we returned to St. Jean,
after going again to Hougoumont. There we were shown cuirasses, helms,
buttons, swords, eagles, and regiment-books. We bought the helms,
cuirasses, swords, etc., of an officer and soldier of cuirassiers,
besides eagles, cockades, etc. Beggars, the result of English profusion.
A dinner, measured by some hungry John Bull's hungry stomach. We rode
off the field, my companion singing a Turkish song—myself silent, full
gallop cantering over the field, the finest one imaginable for a battle.
The guide told us that the account Buonaparte's guide gave of him after
the battle was that he only asked the road to Paris, not saying anything

At Hougoumont various spots were pointed out: amongst the rest the one
where Maitland stood watching a telegraph on the neighbouring rise,
which told him what was going on on both sides.

We rode home together through Soignies forest—black. The twilight made
the whole length of the road more pleasing. On reaching home, we found
the coach was jogged; so much so that it would not allow us to put
confidence in it, etc. At last we gave it into Mr. Gordon's hands. My
friend has written twenty-six stanzas (?) to-day—some on Waterloo.

There are a few points in this narrative of May 4 which call for a
little comment.

1. As to "the spot where Colonel Howard, my friend's cousin, was buried
before being carried to England." Few passages in the 3rd canto of
_Childe Harold_, which in its opening deals with Byron's experiences in
these days, are better known than the stanzas (29 to 31) where he
celebrates the death of "young gallant Howard." Stanza 30 is the one
most germane to our immediate purpose—

        "There have been tears and breaking hearts for thee,
        And mine were nothing, had I such to give.
        But, when I stood beneath the fresh green tree
        Which living waves where thou didst cease to live,
        And saw around me the wide field revive
        With fruits and fertile promise, and the Spring
        Come forth her work of gladness to contrive,
        With all her reckless birds upon the wing,
      I turn'd from all she brought to those she could not bring."

2. The statement that "the coach was jogged" refers to that calèche
which had been just bought in Brussels for the servants—not to the
elaborate travelling-carriage. Some trouble ensued over the calèche. The
coachmaker who had sold it tried to make Lord Byron pay up the balance
of the price. Not carrying his point, he got a warrant-officer to seize
a different vehicle, a chaise, belonging to the poet. The latter, so far
as appears, took no further steps.

3. To write twenty-six stanzas in one day is no small feat; especially
if these are the nine-line stanzas of _Childe Harold_, and if the
substantial work of the day consisted in riding from Brussels to
Waterloo and back, and deliberately inspecting the field of battle. The
entry, as written by Charlotte Polidori, stands thus—"26 st.," which I
apprehend can only mean "stanzas." If one were to suppose that the
stanzas thus written on May 4 were the first twenty-six stanzas of
_Childe Harold_, canto 3 (but this of course is not a necessary
inference), Byron now got up to the stanza which begins

          "And wild and high the 'Camerons' gathering' rose."

I made up my accounts, and was not a little startled by a deficit of 10
napoleons, which I at last found was a mere miscalculation. Rode about
thirty miles in all.

Forgot to say I saw Sir Nath[aniel] Wraxall at Dover, who, having
introduced himself to Lord Byron as a friend _de famille_, began
talking, knocking his feet in rattattat, still all the while oppressed
by feeling very awkward.

[I do not find in Byron's correspondence any reference to this
interview, on April 25 or 26, with Sir Nathaniel Wraxall. But, in his
letter of April 25 to his half-sister, he mentions that he met on the
24th with Colonel Wildman, an old school-fellow, and later on the
purchaser of Newstead Abbey, who gave him some details concerning the
death of Colonel Howard at Waterloo.]

At Brussels, the people were in a great stew, the night of the battle of
Waterloo—their servants and others waking them every minute to tell them
the French were at the gates. Some Germans went there with mighty great
courage, in flight. Lord W[ellington?] sent to a colonel to enquire
whether he was going to fly from or to the battle, giving him his choice
to act in either way. On hearing this, the said colonel boldly faced
about, and trotted to Brussels with his troop. A supernumerary
aide-de-camp, the brother of N., with two others, was riding between the
ranks while the French were firing; when, ours crying out "They aim at
you," all three were struck in the jaw, much in the same place, dead.
After the battle, a friend asking what was become of N., the serjeant
pointed to his feet, saying "There," which was fact. Dacosta, the guide,
says that Buonaparte was cool and collected till the Prussians arrived;
that then he said to Bertrand, "That appears to be the Prussian eagle";
and, upon Bertrand's assenting, his face became momentarily pale. He
says that, when he led up the Imperial Guard, on arriving at the
red-tiled house, he went behind a hillock, so as not to be seen, and so
gave them the slip. Wellington acted the soldier when he should have
acted the general, and the light-limbed dancer when he should have been
the soldier. I cannot, after viewing the ground, and bearing in mind the
men's superior courage, give Wellington the palm of generalship that has
been snatched for him by so many of his admirers. Napoleon only took one
glass of wine from the beginning of the battle to the end of his flight.

_May 5._—Got up at ten from fatigue. Whilst at breakfast, there came a
Mr. Pryse Gordon for L[ord] B[yron]. I entertained him. He has been to
Italy, and travelled a great deal—a good-natured gentleman. Took him to
see the carriage: there he introduced me to his son by means of a
trumpet. After his departure we set off for the Château du Lac, where we
found the hind front much finer than the other for want of the startling
(?) dome and low windows. It has all its master-apartments on the
ground-floor: they are extremely well laid out both with regard to
comfort and magnificence—they were furnished by Nap[oleon]. We saw the
bed where Josephine, Marie Louise, and the Queen of Holland, have been
treading fast on one another's heels. The hall for concerts divides the
Emperor's from the Empress' rooms—it has a rich appearance, and is
Corinthian. The flooring of the Emperor's is all wood of different
colours—checked—having to my eye a more pleasing appearance than the
carpeted ones of the Empress. I sat down on two chairs on which had sat
he who ruled the world at one time. Some of his eagles were yet
remaining on the chairs. The servant seemed a little astonished at our
bowing before them.

We returned, it raining all the while. After dinner Mr. G[ordon] came
for us to go to coffee. We went, and were graciously received; Lord
B[yron] as himself, I as a tassel to the purse of merit. I there saw a
painting of Rembrandt's wife or mother by himself, which was full of
life, and some verses by Walter Scott written in the hostess' album,
where he says Waterloo will last longer than Cressy and Agincourt. How
different! They only agree in one thing—that they were both in the cause
of injustice. The novels of Casti were presented to me by Mr. Gordon,
which I was rather surprised at. We came over. Scott writes in M[rs].
G[ordon's] book—

            "For one brief hour of deathless fame" [Scott].

            "Oh Walter Scott, for shame, for shame" [Byron].

[The novels of the Abate Casti (who died in 1803) are notoriously
licentious: hence, I suppose, Polidori's surprise at the presentation of
them by Mr. Gordon. Byron, it is stated by this gentleman, was asked by
Mrs. Gordon on May 5 to write some lines in her album. He took the
volume away with him, and on the following day brought it back, having
inserted in it the two opening stanzas on Waterloo forming part of canto
3 of _Childe Harold_—from

             "Stop, for thy tread is on an empire's dust,"


      "He wears the shattered links of the world's broken chain"]

_May 6._—Mr. G[ordon] and son came while at breakfast; gave us letters,
etc. Saw the little child again; B[yron] gave it a doll.

It may be excusable to suppose that this trifling incident is not wholly
foreign to a stanza, 54, in the 3rd canto of _Childe Harold_. This
stanza comes immediately after Byron has begun to speak of the Rhine,
and incidentally of the affection which his half-sister bore him. Then
he proceeds—

          "And he had learn'd to love—I know not why,
          For this in such as him seems strange of mood—
          The helpless looks of blooming infancy,
          Even in its earliest nurture. What subdued,
          To change like this, a mind so far imbued
          With scorn of man, it little boots to know:
          But thus it was; and, though in solitude
          Small power the nipp'd affections have to grow,
        In him this glow'd when all beside had ceased to glow."

The _carrossier_ came. Set off at two, passing through a country
increasing in inequalities. We arrived first at Louvain, where we saw
the outside of a beautiful Town-hall, which is one of the prettiest
pieces of external fretwork I have seen. Thence we went to Tirlemont,
where was a Jubilee. Saints and sinners under the red canopy (the sky
dirty Indian-ink one) were alike in the streets. Every street had stuck
in it, at a few paces from the house-walls, fir-branches 16 or 17 feet
high, distant from one another 5 or 6 feet. Thence to St. Trond, where
we ate—and slept, I suppose. The country is highly cultivated, and the
trees older. The avenues have a more majestic appearance from the long
swells of ground and the straight roads, but there is more squalid
misery than I have seen anywhere. The houses are many of them mud, and
the only clean part about them is the white-wash on the external walls.
Dunghills before some must be trodden on before entering the houses. The
towns also fall off greatly in neat and comfortable looks. The walls
round them look ruined and desolate, and give a great idea of
insecurity. We put the servants on board-wages.

_May 7._—Set off from St. Trond at 11. The country is highly cultivated;
continual hill and dale; lower orders miserable in perfection; houses
built of mud, the upper storeys of which are only built of beams, the
mud having fallen off. Bridges thrown over the dirt they were too idle
to remove. Dunghills at their doors, and ditches with black fetid water
before their first step. Liège has a pretty neighbourhood, but the town
itself is filthy and disagreeable. They visited our passports here at
three different places. The hill above the town is enormously steep; and
from some way beyond it has a beautiful view of Liège with its towers
and domes—of the country with its many cots and villas—and of the Meuse.
The road now lies through a scene where cottages are spread like trees,
and hedges like furrows of corn, the fields are so minutely divided. A
little farther still we had a most splendid view through many miles.
From a valley we could see everything clearly, crowded in a blue tint,
and in a river through it we could see the shadows of the trees. The
cottages are improving, and the roads becoming the worst ever seen;
paved still, but so horridly hilled and vallied that the rolling of the
carriage is like the rolling of a ship.

We came at last to Battice; but before entering we passed by a village
where beggar little cherubs came to the carriage-side, and running cried
out, "Donnez-nous quelque chose, Monsieur le chef de bataillon";
another, "Monsieur le général." And a third little urchin, who
gesticulated as well as cried, perceiving the others had exhausted the
army, cried, "Un sou, Messieurs les rois des Hanovériens!" We arrived at
Battice, where beggars, beggars. There we found horses just come in.

After debate (wherein I was for Aix-la-Chapelle, L[ord] B[yron] for
stopping) we set off; and such a jolting, rolling, knocking, and
half-a-dozen etc., as our carriage went through, I never saw, which put
L[ord] B[yron] to accusing me of bad advice; clearing however as the
road mended. The rain fell into a pond, to be illuminated by sunshine
before we reached Aix-la-Chapelle at half-past twelve.

_May 8._—Got up late. Went to see the Cathedral: full of people, lower
ranks, hearing mass. Miserable painting, architecture, etc. Saw also a
church wherein was no particular picture or anything. At Liège the
revolutionists had destroyed the fine Cathedral.

A German boy who led me about Aix-la-Chapelle, on my asking him in
broken German about the baths, led me to a very different place. I was
astonished to find myself in certain company. The baths are hot
sulphuretted-hydrogen-impregnated water. The sulphur-beds are only shown
to dukes and kings: so a kingdom is good for something. I saw the baths
themselves: like others, not very clean-looking.

We left Aix-la-Chapelle at twelve, going through a fine country, with no
hedges but fine woods in the distance. We arrived at St. Juliers,
strongly fortified, where they took our names at entering and at
exiting. It is a neat town, and was besieged last year. We were at the
post taken by a man for Frenchmen, and he told us we had been driven
from Russia by a band of the Emperor. He seemed to be very fond of them,
and gave as a reason that he had been employed by them for many years.
And, I forgetfully saying, "What! were they here?"—"Yes, and farther." I
answered, "Jusqu'à Moscou." "Oui, et presque plus loin." That "presque"
means much. The French were not generally liked, I believe. The lower
orders perhaps liked them, but the middle, I doubt. But I cannot say; I
may perhaps be influenced by the opinion of a beautiful face of this
town, who, on my asking her whether the _dames n'aimaient pas beaucoup
les Français_, answered, "_Oui, les dames publiques_."

We find it a great inconvenience that the Poste is a separate concern,
and generally pretty distant from the inn. The women are many of them
very beautiful, and many of them, as well as the men, have fine dark
eyes and hair. The men wear ear-rings, and curl their hair; which, if I
remember rightly, was the custom in the time of Tacitus. Many of the
women wear their hair combed quite back, and upon it a little square
piece of linen. The French were particularly polite during the siege.

We entered the dominions of the King of Prussia a little beyond Battice.
It causes a strange sensation to an Englishman to pass into one state
from another without crossing any visible line. Indeed, we should not
have perceived that we had, if we had not been stopped by a Belgian
guard who asked us if we had anything to declare. The difference is,
however, very striking. The men, the women, everything, improve—except
the cottages. The people look cleaner, though everything else is dirty;
contrary to the Belgians, they seem to collect their cleanliness upon
themselves, instead of throwing it upon their cots, tins, trees, and

We arrived at Cologne after much bad, sandy, heavy road, at 11. The
pavement begins to be interrupted after Aix, but ends almost entirely
after St. Juliers. Cologne is upon a flat on the Rhine. We were groaning
at having no sight of far-famed Cologne, when we came suddenly under its
battlements and towers. We passed through its fortifications without
question. After having found the gates shut, and feed the porter, we
found inns full, and at last got into the Hôtel de Prague.

_May 9._—Got up very bad.[2] Sat down to breakfast. Just done, we heard
some singing. Enquiry told us, buyable. Got them up. A harp played by a
dark-haired German, pretty, and two fiddlers. She played and sang _The
Troubadour_, which brought back a chain of Scotch recollections, and a
German song; then a beautiful march, in which the music died away and
then suddenly revived. After a waltz we dismissed them. We both mounted
a voiture, and drove through the town to the Cathedral. Great part
pulled down by the revolutionists, and the roof of the nave obliged to
be restored with plain board—a staring monument over Gallic ruin. There
is fine stained glass, and the effect of its being very high and
variegated in the choir is beautiful. We saw a fine painting here by
Kalf: vide _Taschbuch_. The tomb of the three kings said to be worth
three millions of francs, and an immensely rich treasury wherein was a
sacrament worth one million of francs. In falling down a step I broke a
glass, for which they at first would not take anything—which at last
cost me three francs. Kept countenance amazingly well.

Went to see St. Ursula's Church, where we were shown virgins' skulls of
ninety years old, male and female, all jumbled into a mass of 11,000
virgins' bones arranged all in order—some gilt, etc. A whole room
bedecked with them. All round, indeed, whatever we saw were relics,
skulls; some in the heads of silver-faced busts, some arranged in little
cells with velvet cases, wherein was worked the name of each. Paintings
of St. Ursula, etc. Asked for a piece out of the masses: only got a
smile, and a point of a finger to an interdiction in Latin, which I did
not read.

We went to see a picture of Rubens, _The Nailing of St. Peter to a
Cross_; the best design, though not very good, I yet have seen of his. A
German artist copying it spoke English to us.

Returned home. Sent my name to Professor Wallraf: got admission. Found a
venerable old man who has spent his life in making a collection of
paintings and other objects of vertù belonging to his country, Cologne,
which he intends leaving to his native town.

[This is no doubt the Wallraf who was joint founder of the celebrated
Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne. The statement which ensues as to an
early oil-painter named Kaft is noticeable; whether correct I am unable
to say. The Wallraf-Richartz Museum does not contain any painting by
Tintoretto to which the name _Campavella_ could apply: there is a fine
picture by him of _Ovid and Corinna_.]

Many pictures were extremely good, especially painting of individuals.
Kaft was a native of this town, who painted in oil before oil-painting
was known. Saw some Poussins, Claude Lorraines. Some moderate. A
Tintoretto of _Campavella_ beautiful: colouring and drawing strong and
expressive. A Rembrandt and a Teniers, etc. A master of Rubens. A copy
in colours from the drawing of Raphael by one of his disciples. Cologne
has stamped more coins than some empires, and has coined twenty-six
kinds of gold. He had made drawings of them, but the revolution stopped
it. The revolutionary Gauls, he said with a tear in his eye, had
destroyed many very valuable relics of Cologne; and, pointing to a leaf
of a missal with another tear, he said: "Many like this once adorned our
churches: this is all." He had the original manuscript of Albert le
Grand, _History of Animals_; Titian's four designs of the Cæsars at
Polenham, with his own handwriting; the Albert Durer's sketch of
Christ's head which belonged to Charles II; and a painting of Albert
Durer's Master.[3] He wishes for a copy of any of Caxton's printing in

Went to buy some books. Found Miss Helmhoft, a fine woman. Had a long
confab. Bought more books than I wanted. Heard her spout German poetry
that I did not understand; and laughed at the oddity of her
gesticulation, which she took for laughter at the wit of a poet who was
describing the want of a shirt—and was highly pleased.

The French destroyed convents, and made of them public places for

Have been taken for servants, Frenchmen, merchants—never hardly for
English. Saw the Rhine last night—fine mass of water, wide as the Thames
some way below Blackwall; but no tide, and very deep. Town dirty, very
decayed, badly paved, worse lighted, and few marks of splendour and

_May 10._—We have seen crucifixes for these four days at every turn,
some made of wood, some of stone, etc. Set off, after having defeated
the imposition of a postman, to Bonn; the scenery not anything
particular till we see the Seven Hills, a large amphitheatre on the
right, glimpses on the left of the Rhine, and the Seven Hills. Bonn at
last appeared, with its steeples, and on the neighbouring hills castles
and cots, towers, and (not) towns.[4]

I saw yesterday a picture of Rembrandt's with three lights in it very
well managed, at Wallraf's.

Saw R. Simmons' writing in the police-book at Bonn, and wrote to Soane.

[This was John, the son of Sir John Soane, founder of the Soane Museum
in Lincoln's Inn Fields.]

The innkeeper makes you put your name—whence—whither—profession and
age—every night. Rogues all of them, charging much.

_May 11._—We saw the first vines a little before entering Cologne some
days ago. We left Bonn at eleven, the town having nothing in particular.
The Seven Hills were the first that struck our sight on one of the
highest pinnacles in Drachenfels, now a mere ruin, formerly a castle of
which many a tale is told. There was by the roadside a monument raised
upon the spot where one noble brother killed another. Crucifixes all the
way. We had the river on one side, whence rose hills (not mountains)
cultivated halfway for vines—and the rest, nuts, shrubs, oak, etc.
Towers on pinnacles, in ruin; villages (with each its spire) built of

Cultivation in a high degree; no hedges, ground minutely divided into
beds rather than fields; women working in the fields; ox and horse
ploughing; oxen draw by their heads alone. Peasantry happy-looking and
content. Two points particularly struck us—the Drachenfels, and the view
at a distance before coming to Videnhar when the distant hills were
black with the rain. But the whole way it is one of the finest scenes, I
imagine, in the world. The large river with its massy swells and varied
towered banks.

We changed horses at Bemagne, and passed over a road first cut by
Aurelius, Theodoric, and Buonaparte. B[uonaparte]'s name is everywhere.
Who did this? N[apoleon] B[uonaparte].—Who that?—He. There is an
inscription to record this. Andernach—a fine entrance from Bemagne, with
its massy towers and square-spired church. From Andernach we passed on.
Saw on the other side Neuwied, a town owing its existence to the mere
toleration of religion. It is the finest and [most] flourishing we have
seen since Ghent and Antwerp. We saw the tomb of Hoche at a distance;
went to it. There was inscribed "The army of the Sambre and the Moselle
to its general-in-chief Hoche." The reliefs are torn off, the marble
slabs broken, and it is falling. But—

                               "Glory of the fallen brave
             Shall men remember though forgot their grave,"

and the enemies may launch malicious darts against it. After Andernach
the Rhine loses much. The valley is wider, and the beautiful, after the
almost sublime, palls, and man is fastidious.

[The celebrated lyric by Byron introduced into _Childe Harold_, an
address to his half-sister, is stated farther on to have been written on
this very day. I cite the first stanza—

                "The castled crag of Drachenfels
                Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine,
                Whose breast of waters broadly swells
                Between the banks which bear the vine;
                And hills all rich with blossom'd trees,
                And fields which promise corn and wine,
                And scatter'd cities crowning these,
                Whose far white walls along them shine,
                Have strew'd a scene which I should see
                With double joy wert thou with me."]

About a mile from Coblentz we saw Marceau's tomb—too dark. Crossed the
bridge over the Moselle, entered Coblentz; asked of military, no pass;
went to inns, rascals. Went to the Trois Suisses—well served; fine view
of Ehrenbreitstein fortress in sight. When French besieged it, Marceau
was here at this inn, and the cannon-ball pierced it several
times.—There were 84 French officers here, when they would not believe
the Cossacks would pass; they had to fly as quick as horses could convey
them, for the C[ossacks], getting into boats, made their horses swim
across. C[ossack]s rascals—ate and drank and never paid. The general of
them mean into the bargain; for he sent the waiter in search of a louis
he had never dropped, and went off.—A flying bridge in face of me.

[Marceau died in 1796 of a wound received near Altenkirchen, at the age
of only twenty-seven. High honours were paid to his remains both by his
own army and by the Austrians whom he had been combating. Polidori
passes rapidly from the affair of Marceau to that of eighty-four French
officers and a body of Cossacks: but it is clear that these two matters
have no real connexion: the latter must relate to 1815 or 1814. Byron
devotes to Marceau two stanzas of _Childe Harold_—

         "By Coblentz, on a rise of gentle ground,
         There is a small and simple pyramid
         Crowning the summit of the verdant mound.
         Beneath its base are heroes' ashes hid,
         Our enemy's: but let not that forbid
         Honour to Marceau; o'er whose early tomb
         Tears, big tears, gush'd from the rough soldier's lid,
         Lamenting and yet envying such a doom,
       Falling for France, whose rights he battled to resume.

         "Brief, brave, and glorious, was his young career," etc.

General Hoche, although a separate monument to him was observed by Byron
and Polidori, was in fact buried in the same tomb with Marceau. He died
at Wetzlar in 1797, aged twenty-nine. It may be noticed that Byron (line
4) writes "heroes'," plural, followed by "enemy's," singular. "Heroes'"
must be intended for both Marceau and Hoche, and I suspect that
"enemy's" is a misprint for "enemies'."]

_May 12._—Got up. Looked at the fine view, and went to the bath,
which was at a maltster's—30 sous. Thence entered a Catholic
church—organ—children singing, which had a fine effect. A copy of
Rubens—lineal. Breakfasted.

Mounted a calèche, and went to Marceau's monument. The tomb of heroes
made into a certain place very much expressed the flickering flame of
fame. Thence to the Chartreuse: deserted, ruined, windowless, roofless,
and tenantless—with another in sight in the same state. Plenty of
reliefs on the roadside belonging to the Road to Calvary, an oratory on
the hillside, where were many peasants bowing in reverence. Thence to
the flying bridge managed by boats fastened in the stream with a rope,
and by the rudder.

Saw a motley group of peasants with their head-dresses of gold and
crimson or green with the steel pin. Cocked hat, blue coat and
stockinged heroes with a fork. Officers, artillery-men, etc.; crosses
given apparently with as profuse a hand to the soldiers as to the

Went to Ehrenbreitstein. Everything broken by gunpowder; immense masses
of solid stone and mortar thrown fifty yards from their original
situation; ruined walls, gateways, and halls—nothing perfect. Splendid
views thence—Coblentz, Rhine, Moselle with its bridge, mountains,
cultivation, vines, wilderness, everything below my feet. Mounted again.
Passed the Rhine in a boat (rowed), looking very like the Otaheitan
canoes. Into the carriage—set off. Scenes increasing in sublimity. The
road raised from the side of the river without parapet: two precipices
coming to the road headlong. Indeed the river reaches foot to
foot—splendid, splendid, splendid. Saw the fort belonging once to
Muhrfrey, where he raised customs, and resisted in consequence sixty
cities. Arrived at St. Goar. At the first post saw the people in church;
went to hear them sing—fine.

_May 13._—Left St. Goar. Found scenery sublime to Bingen. Men with
cocked hats and great buckles hacking at the vines. The scenery after
Bingen gains in beauty what it loses in sublimity. Immense plain to the
mounts, with the Rhine _in medio_, covered with trees, woods, and
forests. Fine road to Mayence made by Nap[oleon]; his name has been
erased from the inscription on the column commemorative of the work.
Insolence of power!

Mayence a fine town, with a cathedral raised above it of red sandstone.
Bavarians, Austrians, and Prussians, all in the town—belonging to all.
The best town we have seen since Ghent.

[Mayence was at this date, locally, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse: but as
a fortress it appertained to the German Confederation, and was
garrisoned by Austrians, Prussians, and Hessians (hardly perhaps

One of our postillions blew a horn. Saw yesterday a beautiful
appearance—two rainbows, one on the top of trees where the colours of
the foliage pierced the rainbow-hues.

Arrived at Mayence at 6-1/2. Saw along the Rhine many fine old castles.
This below is what L[ord] B[yron] wrote to Mrs. L[eigh] some days ago:
written May 11 on Rhine-banks. See _Childe Harold_, from "The Castled
Crag of Drachenfels" to "Still sweeten more these Banks of Rhine."[5]

_May 14._—From Mayence, where I saw the spot where they said lately
stood the house where printing was invented; it had been pulled down by
the French. The gallery I could not see, because the keeper had taken it
into his head to make a promenade. Saw the cathedral, pierced at the
roof by bombs in the last siege the town underwent. The reliefs—some of
which were in a good style—many decapitated. There was a German marshal
who was represented as gravely putting forth his powdered head from
under a tombstone he has just lifted up—with an inscription saying "I am

From Mayence we went to Mannheim through a fine country. Crossed the
Rhine on a bridge of boats. Taken very ill with a fever at
Mannheim—could not write my Journal.

_May 15._—Being a little recovered, set off. Fine alleys of
Lombardy-poplars and horse-chestnuts—neat villages. Entered Carlsruhe
through a grove of Scotch firs and other trees that had a fine effect.
Saw the Palace.

Entered the inn, and was very ill. Took ipecac and op. gr. 15. Headache,
vertigo, tendency to fainting, etc. Magnesia and lemon acid—a little
better, no effect.

Went a drive about the town. Saw the neatest town we have yet met with:
the only objection is the houses stuccoed white—bad for the eyes. Saw
the outside of the Palace, and went into the garden laid out in the
English manner.

Went home: dreadful headaches: ate some stewed apples; took some more
magn[esia] and acid; had no effect; lay down; got up after two hours.
Was just going out when L[ord] B[yron] came to take from my hand a
plated candlestick, to give me a brass one. Got on a few steps; fainted.
My fall brought the servants to me. Took 4 pills; going out again, when
L[ord] B[yron] made the servant put down the plated candlestick, to take
up a brass one; went to bed.

[This, as Polidori evidently thought, was an odd incident, not easily
accounted for. One cannot suppose that Byron simply aimed at humiliating
or mortifying his physician. There must have been a candle in each
candlestick; and it is conceivable that the candle in the brass one was
the longer, and therefore the more suitable for an invalid who might
have needed it throughout the night.]

Medicine had violent effect: better on the whole, though weak.

Just as we were going out I met Sir C. Hunter at my chamber-door, who
told me he had heard so bad an account of my positively dying that he
came to enquire how I found myself. I asked him in. He took care to tell
us he was a great friend of the Grand Duke, who had sent his groom of
the stole (he called it stool) in search of lodgings for the worthy
Mayor;[6] gave us a long sermon about rheumatism, routes, etc.; left us.
In the evening he sent in the _Guide du Voyageur en les pays de
l'Europe_, begging in return some of L[ord] B[yron's] poems.

Went out. Saw a church. Columns like firs—Corinthian, golden capitals:
loaded everywhere with gilt, perhaps tawdry, but fine-tawdry. The
environs are beautiful. Drove a great deal about: fine trees and fine

_May 18._—From Carlsruhe to Offenberg; much better. Slept halfway:
blinds down the other, so nothing to mention except fine trees, fine
cocked hats, fine women, and yellow-coated postillions.

_May 19._—Set off from Offenberg; saw some scenes that pleased me much;
hills and clouds upon them; woods with mists. Passed through Freiburg,
where we saw the steeple pervious to the top with trellis-work showing
the light, which had to my eyes a beautiful appearance.

I think Charles, when he said, "The German for his horse," remembered
the G[erman] postillions; for they talk to theirs, and the horses on
their part listen and seem to understand. The greater part of to-day I
have found the ladies in a strange costume of short wide red petticoats
with many folds, and a hat of straw as wide as a wheel. Arrived at
Krolzingen to sleep. Left Krolzingen: got to a hill. Fine view thence:
the Alps, the Rhine, the Jura mountains, and a fine plain before us—fine
country. Crossed the Rhine, and were in Switzerland. The town upon
unequal ground—some parts very high, and some low; the greater part very
narrow streets. After tea went to take a walk: went upon the Rhine
bridge—upon a hill in the town [Bâle presumably].

_May 21._—Went to see a panorama of Thun, the first Swiss one: crowded
foolishly with people, and too small. Saw a gallery that the artist had
formed. A fine Raphael, not his; a good Rembrandt, the first I saw
historical; a _Circumcision_; a head of the caricaturist David; two
heads of Divinity; a _Christ and Virgin_—mere pieces of flesh and
drapery. Went to a marchand d'estampes. Saw there _Nelson's Death_,
Chatham's ditto, and other pictures of England. _The Dance of Death_ has
been destroyed: but it was not Holbein's, but his restorer's. The
collection is dispersed, that once was here, of his paintings.

Agreed with a voiturier to take our carriages to Geneva in five days.
Set off. Country increases from hills to mountains with great beauty.
Passed through Lipstadt and came to ——. Went before supper to climb a
hill where we found a goatherd who could not understand the French that
asked for milk till it had the commentary, "We will pay for it." The
scene was very fine: to the right, beautiful; to the left, it had a
tendency to sublimity; on one side, hills covered to the top with trees;
on the other, mountains with bald pates. Came down. Found the servants
playing at bowls. They were obliged to run the bowls along a narrow
board to the men. Supper: read _Arabian Nights_; went to bed.

_May 22._—Left —— at 9; passed the Jura mountains, where we saw some
fine castellated scenery, and women ornamented strangely—amazingly short
petticoats, not below the knee, with black crape rays round their heads
that make them look very spidery. Soleure is a neat town with stone
fortifications, and a clean church with fountains before it. The houses
in this neighbourhood have a pleasing strange appearance on account of
the roofs, which slant out on every side a great way. Immense number of
Scotch firs—roads fine. Voituriers slow, and have eight francs of
drink-money a day, being two; which being too much according to the
_Guide du Voyageur en Europe_, where it is said 1-1/2 fr., we showed it
to our courier, who was in a passion. Came to ——, where we slept.

_May 23._—Left ——: got a sight of some fine Alpine snow-capped
mountains. Came to Berne; delightfully situated; beautiful streets with
arcades all their length. Dined there. Saw a splendidly beautiful view
coming down a hill, with hills covered with fir, ash, beech, and all the
catalogue of trees; Morat at the bottom, and the Jura mounts behind,
with snowy hair and cloudy night-caps. Arrived at Morat; neat with
arcades. Stopped at the Crown inn. All the way had debates whether
clouds were mountains, or mountains clouds.

_May 24._—The innkeeper at Morat, being a little tipsy, and thinking
every Englishman (being a philosophe) must be a philosophe like himself,
favoured us with some of his infidel notions while serving us at supper.
Near Morat was fought the battle wherein the Burgundians were so
completely thrashed. Their bones, of which we took pieces, are now very
few; once they formed a mighty heap in the chapel, but both were
destroyed by the Burgundian division when in Switzerland, and a tree of
liberty was planted over it, which yet flourishes in all its verdure—the
liberty has flown from the planters' grasp. Saw Aventicum; there remains
sufficient of the walls to trace the boundaries of the ancient town; but
of all the buildings, both for Gods and men, nothing but a column
remains, and that the only remnant for more than a hundred years. There
are mosaic pavements, and even the streets may be perceived in a dry
summer by the grass being thinner. The mosaic in a barn, probably once
of a temple, was pretty perfect till the Gallic cavalry came and turned
it into a stable. It is formed of little pieces of black, white, and red
bricks; little now remains. There was also a copper vessel in the
middle; that too has disappeared. The town is shamefully negligent of
the antiquities of their fathers, for there is another more beautiful
and perfect mosaic pavement discovered, but which they have allowed the
proprietor to cover again with mould rather than buy it. We found in a
barn heads, plinths, capitals, and shafts, heaped promiscuously. The
Corinthian-column capital is deeply, sharply, and beautifully cut. A
head of Apollo in all the rudeness of first art—a capital of a strange
mixed order. There is the Amphitheatre, hollow yet pretty perfect, but
no stonework visible; overgrown with trees; the size, my companion told
me, was larger than common. In the town there were some beautiful
fragments of ornament-sculpture incorporated in the walls; all marble.
In the walls of the church we sought in vain for the inscription that
Mathison mentions to Julia Alpinula.

[Both to Morat and to Aventicum (Avenches) Byron devotes some stanzas in
_Childe Harold_, 63 to 67, and notes to correspond. Morat he terms "the
proud, the patriot field." He speaks of the hoard of bones, and says: "I
ventured to bring away as much as may have made a quarter of a hero,"
for "careful preservation." His reference to Aventicum and the
inscription to Julia Alpinula reads rather curiously in the light of
Polidori's avowal that "we sought in vain for the inscription." Byron's
readers must always, I apprehend, have inferred the contrary.

         "By a lone wall a lonelier column rears
         A grey and grief-worn aspect of old days.
         'Tis the last remnant of the wreck of years,
         And looks as with the wild bewildered gaze
         Of one to stone converted by amaze,
         Yet still with consciousness: and there it stands,
         Making a marvel that it not decays,
         When the coeval pride of human hands,
       Levell'd Aventicum, hath strew'd her subject lands.

         "And there—oh sweet and sacred be the name!—
         Julia, the daughter, the devoted, gave
         Her youth to Heaven: her heart, beneath a claim
         Nearest to Heaven's, broke o'er a father's grave.
         Justice is sworn 'gainst tears; and hers would crave
         The life she lived in; but the judge was just,—
         And then she died on him she could not save.
         Their tomb was simple, and without a bust,
       And held within their urn one mind, one heart, one dust."

Byron's note runs thus: "Julia Alpinula, a young Aventian priestess,
died soon after a vain endeavour to save her father, condemned to death
as a traitor by Aulus Cæcina. Her epitaph was discovered many years ago.
It is thus: 'Julia Alpinula hic jaceo. Infelicis patris infelix proles.
Deæ Aventiæ Sacerdos. Exorare patris necem non potui: Male mori in fatis
illi erat. Vixi annos XXIII.' I know of no human composition so
affecting as this, nor a history of greater interest. These are the
names and actions," etc.]

I copied the one below on account of its medical tendency. The letters
in this as well as in all the other inscriptions are formed like our
Roman print, not in the least imperfect: "Nvminib. Avg. et Genio Col. I.
El. Apollini Sagr. 9. Postum Hermes lib. Medicis et Professorib, D.S.D."

From Aventicum or Avenches we went to Payerne. We have seen in many
places boys leading goats just in the antique style. Thence we went to
Moudon—dirty town. Stopped for refreshments. One fine view we have had
all the way, but nothing equal to the view descending to Morat.

Darkness came on. We saw the Castle wherein —— defended himself against
the French who besieged it for a month: looks so weak, it seems a
wonder. The Swiss castles are not nearly so interesting as the Rhine
ones. They are very conical-roofed and no battlements. We saw the lake,
but for a long time doubted whether it was a cloud below, a mist before,
or water beneath us. Entered Lausanne.

_May 25._—Left Lausanne, after having looked at a bookseller's, who
showed me a fine collection of bad books for four louis. Enquired for
Dewar: name not known. We went along the lake, that a little
disappointed me, as it does not seem so broad as it really is, and the
mountains near it, though covered with snow, have not a great appearance
on account of the height [of the] lake itself. We saw Mont Blanc in the
distance; ethereal in appearance, mingling with the clouds; it is more
than 60 miles from where we saw it. It is a classic ground we go over.
Buonaparte, Joseph, Bonnet, Necker, Staël, Voltaire, Rousseau, all have
their villas (except Rousseau). Genthoud, Ferney, Coppet, are close to
the road.

[Perhaps some readers may need to be reminded who Bonnet was. He was a
great physicist, both practical and speculative, Charles Bonnet, author
of a _Traité d'Insectologie_, a _Traité de l'usage des Feuilles_,
_Contemplations de la Nature_, _Palingénésie Philosophique_, and other
works. Born in Geneva in 1720, he died in 1793.]

We arrived at Sécheron—where Lord Byron, having put his age down as 100,
received a letter half-an-hour after from Inn Keeper?—a thing that seems
worthy of a novel. It begins again to be the land of the vine. Women,
who till the Pays de Vaud were ugly, improving greatly.

_May 26._—After breakfast, and having made up the accounts to to-day,
and having heard that the voituriers made a claim of drink-money all the
way back, we ordered a calèche; but, happening to go into the garden, we
saw a boat, into which entering, we pushed out upon the Leman Lake.
After rowing some time, happening to come to the ferry, we found the
waiter with a direful look to tell us that it was _pris pour un monsieur
Anglais_, who happened to be ——.[7] We got another, and went out to
bathe. I _rode_ first with L[ord] B[yron] upon the field of Waterloo;
_walked_ first to see Churchill's tomb; _bathed and rowed_ first on the
Leman Lake.—It did us much good. Dined; entered the calèche; drove
through Geneva, where I saw an effect of building that pleased me: it
was porticoes from the very roof of the high houses to the bottom.

Went to the house beyond Cologny that belonged to Diodati. They ask
five-and-twenty louis for it a month. Narrow, not true. The view from
his house is very fine; beautiful lake; at the bottom of the crescent is
Geneva. Returned. Pictet called, but L[ord] B[yron] said "not at home."

[There were two Genevan Pictets at this date, both public men of some
mark. One was Jean Marc Jules Pictet de Sergy, 1768 to 1828; the other,
the Chevalier Marc Auguste Pictet, 1752 to 1825. As Polidori speaks
farther on of Pictet as being aged about forty-six, the former would
appear to be meant. He had been in Napoleon's legislative chamber from
1800 to 1815, and was afterwards a member of the representative council
of Geneva.—The Villa Diodati was the house where Milton, in 1639, had
visited Dr. John Diodati, a Genevese Professor of Theology. Polidori's
compact phrase, "narrow, not true," is by no means clear; perhaps he
means that some one had warned him that the Villa Diodati (called also
the Villa Belle Rive) was inconveniently narrow, but, on inspecting the
premises, he found the statement incorrect.]

_May 27._—Got up; went about a boat; got one for 3 fr. a day; rowed to
Sécheron. Breakfasted. Got into a carriage. Went to Banker's, who
changed our money, and afterwards left his card. To Pictet—not at home.
Home, and looked at accounts: bad temper on my side. Went into the boat,
rowed across to Diodati; cannot have it for three years; English family.
Crossed again; I went; L[ord] B[yron] back. Getting out, L[ord] B[yron]
met M[ary] Wollstonecraft Godwin, her sister, and Percy Shelley. I got
into the boat into the middle of Leman Lake, and there lay my length,
letting the boat go its way.

[Here I find it difficult to understand the phrase—"Cannot have it
(Villa Diodati) for three years—English family." It must apparently mean
either that an English family were occupying or had bespoken Villa
Diodati, and would remain there for three years to come (which is in
conflict with the fact that Byron soon afterwards became the tenant); or
else that Byron thought of renting it for a term as long as three years,
which was barred by the previous claim of some English family. On the
whole, the latter supposition seems to me the more feasible; but one is
surprised to think that Byron had any—even remote—idea of remaining near
Geneva for any such great length of time. This sets one's mind
speculating about Miss Clairmont, with whom (as is well known) Byron's
amour had begun before he left London, and who had now just arrived to
join him at Sécheron; had he at this time any notion of settling down
with her in the neighbourhood for three years, more or less? It is a
curious point to consider for us who know how rapidly he discarded her,
and how harshly he treated her ever afterwards. Miss Clairmont, we see,
was now already on the spot, along with Percy and Mary Shelley; in fact,
as we learn from other sources, they had arrived at Sécheron, Dejean's
Hôtel de l'Angleterre, as far back as May 18, or perhaps May 15—and
Byron now for the first time encountered the three. It appears that he
must have met Mary Godwin in London, probably only once—not to speak of
Clare. Shelley, to the best of our information, he had never till now
seen at all. Polidori here terms Clare Clairmont the "sister" of "M.
Wollstonecraft Godwin"; and in the entry for May 29 he even applies the
name Wollstonecraft Godwin to Clare; and it will be found as we proceed
that for some little while he really supposed the two ladies to be
sisters in the right sense of the term, both of them bearing the surname
of Godwin. In point of fact, there was no blood-relationship—Mary being
the daughter of Mr. and the first Mrs. Godwin, and Clare the daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Clairmont. It may be as well to add that the letters
addressed by Miss Clairmont to Byron, before they actually met in
London, have now (1904) been published in _The Works of Lord Byron,
Letters and Journals_, vol. iii, pp. 429-437; and they certainly exhibit
a degree of forwardness and importunity which accounts in some measure
for his eventual antipathy to her.]

Found letter from De Roche inviting me to breakfast to-morrow; curious
with regard to L[ord] B[yron]. Dined; P[ercy] S[helley], the author of
_Queen Mab_, came; bashful, shy, consumptive; twenty-six; separated from
his wife; keeps the two daughters of Godwin, who practise his theories;
one L[ord] B[yron]'s.

[This is a very noticeable jotting. Shelley appears to have come in
alone on this occasion, and we may infer that some very confidential
talk ensued between him and Byron, in the presence of Polidori. He was
not at this date really twenty-six years of age, but only twenty-three.
"Bashful, shy," is an amusingly simple description of him. As to
"consumptive," we know that Shelley left England under the impression
that consumption had him in its grip, but this hardly appears to have
been truly the case. Polidori, as a medical man, might have been
expected to express some doubt on the subject, unless the poet's outward
appearance looked consumptive. Next we hear that Shelley "keeps the two
daughters of Godwin, who practise his theories"—_i.e._ set the
marriage-laws at defiance, or act upon the principle of free love. One
might suppose, from this phrase, that Polidori believed Shelley to be
the accepted lover of Miss Clairmont as well as of Mary Godwin; but the
addition of those very significant words—"One, Lord Byron's"—tells in
the opposite direction. These words can only mean (what was the fact)
that one of these ladies, viz. Miss Clairmont, was Lord Byron's
mistress. Therefore Polidori, in saying that Shelley "kept the two
daughters of Godwin," may presumably have meant that he housed and
maintained Clare, while he was the _quasi_-husband of Mary. Whether
Polidori now for the first time learned, from the conversation of Byron
and Shelley, what was the relation subsisting between Clare and Byron,
or whether Byron had at some earlier date imparted the facts to him, is
a question which must remain unsolved. The latter appears to me
extremely probable; for Byron had certainly arranged to meet Clare near
Geneva, and he may very likely have given the requisite notice
beforehand to his travelling physician and daily associate. My aunt
Charlotte Polidori was not an adept in Shelleian detail: if she had
been, I fear that these sentences would have shocked her sense of
propriety, and they would have been left uncopied. They form the only
passage in her transcript which bears in any way upon the amour between
Lord Byron and Miss Clairmont; to the best of my recollection and belief
there was not in the original Diary any other passage pointing in the
same direction.—I may observe here that there is nothing in Polidori's
Journal to show that the Shelley party were staying in the same Sécheron
hotel with Lord Byron. Professor Dowden says that they were—I suppose
with some sufficient authority; and I think other biographers in general
have assumed the same.]

Into the calèche; horloger's at Geneva; L[ord] B[yron] paid 15 nap.
towards a watch; I, 13: repeater and minute-hand; foolish watch.

[This means (as one of Polidori's letters shows) that Byron made him a
present of £15 towards the price of the watch.]

Went to see the house of Madame Necker, 100 a half-year; came home, etc.

_May 28._—Went to Geneva, to breakfast with Dr. De Roche; acute,
sensible, a listener to himself; good clear head. Told me that armies on
their march induce a fever (by their accumulation of animal dirt,
irregular regimen) of the most malignant typhoid kind; it is epidemic.
There was a whole feverish line from Moscow to Metz, and it spread at
Geneva the only almost epidemic typhus for many years. He is occupied in
the erection of Lancaster schools, which he says succeed well. He is a
Louis Bourbonist. He told me my fever was not an uncommon one among
travellers. He came home with me, and we had a chat with L[ord] B[yron];
chiefly politics, where of course we differed. He had a system well
worked out, but I hope only hypothetical, about liberty of the French
being Machiavellianly not desirable by Europe. He pointed out Dumont in
the court, the rédacteur of Bentham.

Found a letter from Necker to the hotel-master, asking 100 nap. for
three months; and another from Pictet inviting L[ord] B[yron] and any
friend to go with him at 8 to Madame Einard, a connection of his. We
then, ascending our car, went to see some other houses, none suiting.

When we returned home, Mr. Percy Shelley came in to ask us to dinner;
declined; engaged for tomorrow. We walked with him, and got into his
boat, though the wind raised a little sea upon the lake. Dined at four.
Mr. Hentsch, the banker, came in; very polite; told L[ord] B[yron] that,
when he saw him yesterday, he had not an idea that he was speaking to
one of the most famous lords of England.

Dressed and went to Pictet's: an oldish man, about forty-six, tall,
well-looking, speaks English well. His daughter showed us a picture, by
a young female artist, of Madame Lavallière in the chapel; well executed
in pencil—good lights and a lusciously grieving expression.

Went to Madame Einard. Introduced to a room where about 8 (afterwards
20), 2 ladies (1 more). L[ord] B[yron]'s name was alone mentioned; mine,
like a star in the halo of the moon, invisible. L[ord] B[yron] not
speaking French, M. Einard spoke bad Italian. A Signor Rossi came in,
who had joined Murat at Bologna. Manly in thought; admired Dante as a
poet more than Ariosto, and a discussion about manliness in a language.
Told me Geneva women amazingly chaste even in thoughts. Saw the
Lavallière artist. A bonny, rosy, seventy-yeared man, called Bonstetten,
the beloved of Gray and the correspondent of Mathison.

[I find "40" in the MS.: apparently it ought to be "70," for Bonstetten
was born in 1745. He lived on till 1832. Charles Victor de Bonstetten
was a Bernese nobleman who had gone through various vicissitudes of
opinion and adventure, travelling in England and elsewhere. To
Englishmen (as indicated in Polidori's remark) he is best known as a
friend of the poet Thomas Gray, whom he met in 1769. He said: "Jamais je
n'ai vu personne qui donnât autant que Gray l'idée d'un gentleman
accompli." Among the chief writings of Bonstetten are _Recherches sur la
Nature et les Lois de l'Imagination_; _Etudes d'Hommes_; _L'Homme du
Midi et l'Homme du Nord_.]

Madame Einard made tea, and left all to take sugar with the fingers.
Madame Einard showed some historical pieces of her doing in acquerella,
really good, a little too French-gracish. Obliged to leave before ten
for the gates shut. Came home, went to bed.

Was introduced by Shelley to Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, called here
Mrs. Shelley. Saw picture by Madame Einard of a cave in the Jura where
in winter there is no ice, in summer plenty. No names announced, no
ceremony—each speaks to whom he pleases. Saw the bust of Jean Jacques
erected upon the spot where the Geneva magistrates were shot. L[ord]
B[yron] said it was probably built of some of the stones with which they
pelted him.[8] The walk is deserted. They are now mending their roads.
Formerly they could not, because the municipal money always went to the
public box.

_May 29._—Went with Mr. Hentsch to see some houses along the valley in
which runs the Rhone: nothing. Dined with Mr. and Mrs. Percy Shelley and
Wollstonecraft Godwin. Hentsch told us that the English last year
exported corn to Italy to a great amount.

_May 30._—Got up late. Went to Mr. and Mrs. Shelley; breakfasted with
them; rowed out to see a house together. S[helley] went from Lucerne
with the two, with merely £26, to England along the Rhine in bateaux.
Gone through much misery, thinking he was dying; married a girl for the
mere sake of letting her have the jointure that would accrue to her;
recovered; found he could not agree; separated; paid Godwin's debts, and
seduced his daughter; then wondered that he would not see him. The
sister left the father to go with the other. Got a child. All clever,
and no meretricious appearance. He is very clever; the more I read his
_Queen Mab_, the more beauties I find. Published at fourteen a novel;
got £30 for it; by his second work £100. _Mab_ not published.—Went in
calèche with L[ord] B[yron] to see a house; again after dinner to leave
cards; then on lake with L[ord] B[yron]. I, Mrs. S[helley], and Miss
G[odwin], on to the lake till nine. Drank tea, and came away at 11 after
confabbing. The batelier went to Shelley, and asked him as a favour not
to tell L[ord] B[yron] what he gave for his boat, as he thought it quite
fit that Milord's payment be double; we sent Berger to say we did not
wish for the boat.

[The statement that "Shelley went from Lucerne with the two, with merely
£26, to England, along the Rhine in bateaux," refers of course to what
had taken place in 1814, on the occasion of Shelley's elopement with
Mary Godwin, and has no bearing on the transactions of 1816; it must be
cited by Polidori as showing how inexpensively three persons could, if
so minded, travel from Switzerland to England. The other references to
Shelley's domestic affairs etc. are very curious. Except as to his own
personal admiration for _Queen Mab_, Polidori is here evidently putting
down (but not in the words of Shelley himself, who would assuredly not
have said that he had "seduced" Mary Godwin) such details as the poet
imparted to him. They are far from accurate. To some extent, Polidori
may have remembered imperfectly what Shelley told him, but I think the
latter must have been responsible for most of the fables; and generally
it would appear that Shelley gave free rein to his inclination for
romancing or for over-stating matters, possibly perceiving that Polidori
was credulous, and capable of swallowing whatever he was told, the more
eccentric the better. To say that Shelley, before he, at the age of
barely 19, married Harriet Westbrook in 1811, thought that he was dying,
and that his only practical motive for marrying her was that she might
come in for a jointure after his decease, is no doubt highly fallacious,
and even absurd. We have other sources of information as to these
occurrences, especially the letters of Shelley addressed at the time to
Jefferson Hogg, and they tell a very different tale. As to his reason
for separating from Harriet, Shelley, we perceive, simply told Polidori
that he "found he could not agree" with her; he said nothing as to his
knowing or supposing that she had been unfaithful to him. Again, Shelley
was not so boyish as 14 when he published a novel—his first novel, the
egregious _Zastrozzi_; the publication took place in 1810, when he was
eighteen, or at lowest seventeen. The statement that he got £100 by "his
second work" is worth considering. If "his second work" means, as one
might naturally suppose in this connexion, the romance of _St. Irvyne_,
the suggestion that he got anything at all by it, except a state of
indebtedness, is a novelty. But our mind recurs to that rumoured and
apparently really published though wholly untraced work of his, _A
Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things_. This poem was
published, we are told, for the benefit of an Irish agitator or patriot,
Peter Finnerty, and it has been elsewhere averred that the publication
produced a sum of nearly £100. The mention by Polidori of £100 may be
surmised to refer to the same matter, and it tends so far to confirm the
idea that the book really existed, and even secured a fair measure of
success.—Berger (who is named in connexion with Byron and the hire for
the boat) was, as already noted, the Swiss servant of Byron, brought
from London.]

_May 31._—Breakfasted with Shelley; read Italian with Mrs. S[helley];
dined; went into a boat with Mrs. S[helley], and rowed all night till 9;
tea'd together; chatted, etc.

_June 1._—Breakfasted with S[helley]; entered a calèche; took Necker's
house for 100 louis for 8 or 365 days. Saw several houses for Shelley;
one good. Dined; went in the boat; all tea'd together.

[Necker's house, here mentioned, would apparently be the same as the
Villa Diodati, or Villa Belle Rive—for that is the house which Byron did
in fact rent. "Necker" may be understood as meaning (rather than the
famous Minister of Finance in France) his widow, since Necker himself
had died a dozen years before. The sum of 100 louis seems to be
specified here as the rent for a year, and the phrase about 8 days must
indicate that the house could be tenanted for that short space of
time—or let us say a week—at a proportionate payment. This rate of
rental appears low, and it differs both from what was said under the
date of May 26, and from what we shall find noted shortly afterwards,
June 6. Thus I feel a little doubt whether "Necker's house" is not in
reality something quite different from the Villa Diodati. Byron's
proposed tenancy of the former might possibly have been cancelled.]

Rogers the subject: L[or]d B[yron] thinks good poet; malicious. Marquis
of Lansdowne being praised by a whole company as a happy man, having all
good, R[ogers] said, "But how horridly he carves turbot!" Ward having
reviewed his poems in the _Quarterly_, having a bad heart and being
accused of learning his speeches, L[ord] B[yron], upon malignantly
hinting to him [Rogers] how he had been carved, heard him say: "I
stopped his speaking though by my epigram, which is—

             "'Ward has no heart, they say, but I deny it;
             He has a heart, and gets his speeches by it.'"

[This must be the Honourable John William Ward, who was created Earl of
Dudley in 1827, and died in 1833. Miss Berry, the _quasi_-adopted
daughter of Horace Walpole, told Madame de Staël in 1813 that the latter
had "undertaken two miracles—to make Ward _poli envers les femmes et
pieux envers Dieu_."]

On L[ord] B[yron's] writing a poem to his sister wherein he says, "And
when friends e'en paused and love," etc., Rogers, going to some one,
said: "I don't know what L[ord] B[yron] means by _pausing_; I called
upon him every day." He did this regularly, telling L[ord] B[yron] all
the bad news with a malignant grin. When L[ord] B[yron] wrote "Weep,
daughter of a royal line," Rogers came to him one day, and, taking up
the _Courier_, said: "I am sure now you're attacked there; now don't
mind them"; and began reading, looking every now and then at L[ord]
B[yron] with an anxious searching eye, till he came to "that little poet
and disagreeable person, Mr. Samuel—" when he tore the paper, and said:
"Now this must be that fellow Croker," and wished L[ord] B[yron] to
challenge him. He talked of going to Cumberland with L[ord] B[yron],
and, asking him how he meant to travel, L[ord] B[yron] said "With four
horses." Rogers went to company, and said: "It is strange to hear a man
talking of four horses who seals his letters with a tallow candle."

Shelley is another instance of wealth inducing relations to confine for
madness, and was only saved by his physician being honest. He was
betrothed from a boy to his cousin, for age; another came who had as
much as he _would_ have, and she left him "because he was an atheist."
When starving, a friend to whom he had given £2000, though he knew it,
would not come near him. Heard Mrs. Shelley repeat Coleridge on Pitt,
which persuades me he is a poet.

[Here we see that Shelley must have repeated to Polidori that famous
story of his about the attempt of his father to consign him, when he was
an Eton student, to a madhouse, and about the zealous and ultimately
successful effort of Dr. Lind, the Eton physicist, to save him from that
disastrous fate. Next comes the statement that Shelley was betrothed
from boyhood to his beautiful cousin Miss Harriet Grove—the marriage to
take effect when he should attain his majority; an account which we know
to be substantially true. The conduct of Miss Grove—or perhaps we should
rather say of her parents as dictating her action—is placed in an
unfavourable light; for it is plainly suggested that she abandoned
Shelley for another bridegroom on the ground of a more immediate
advantage in worldly position—the allegation of Percy's atheism being
more a pretext than a genuine motive. The passage about a friend to whom
Shelley had given £2000 must (I suppose beyond a doubt) refer to Godwin;
but it is evident that Shelley, in speaking to Polidori, a comparative
stranger, and this in the presence of Mary, had the delicacy to suppress
the name. The charge thus alleged against Godwin is not, I conceive,
accurate, although it approximated towards accuracy. I am not clear that
Shelley, up to the time when he thus spoke in June 1816, had given
Godwin money amounting to quite so large a total as £2000; but at any
rate he cannot have done so up to the time when he was himself
"starving"—or, in milder terms, when he was in very great and harassing
straits for money and daily subsistence. That time was late in 1814, and
in the first days of 1815. It is true that, even before this date, he
had done something to relieve Godwin; but it was only, I think, in April
1816 that he gave the philosopher a really very considerable sum—£1000
in a lump. I say all this for the sake of biographical truth, and not
with a view to vindicating Godwin—whose policy of bleeding Shelley in
purse while he cut him in person has in some recent years been denounced
with increasing vehemence, and it was indeed wholly indefensible. But
human nature—and especially the human nature of an abstract speculator
like Godwin—is capable of very odd self-deceptions; and I dare say
Godwin thought he was equally and strictly right in both his
proceedings—right in getting large sums of money out of Shelley, for a
reforming sage ought to be subsidized by his neophytes—and right in
repudiating and abusing Shelley, for the latter had applied Godwin's own
anti-matrimonial theories to that one instance of practice which the
philosopher did not at all relish.—To proceed to another point. The
lines of Coleridge on Pitt which Polidori heard recited by Mrs. Shelley
are to be sought for in his early poem entitled _Fire, Famine, and
Slaughter_. In that poem (need I say it?) those three Infernal Deities
are represented as meeting in "a desolated tract in La Vendée"; and on
mutual enquiry they learn that one and the same person has sent them
thither all three.

                    "Letters four do form his name"—

the name Pitt. Famine and Slaughter finally agree that the multitude,
exasperated by their sufferings, shall turn upon Pitt and rend him—

                 "They shall tear him limb from limb!"

Fire, who has just come from doing Pitt's errands in Ireland, thinks
this ungrateful: she concludes the poem with the memorable words—

                   "Ninety months he, by my troth,
                   Hath richly catered for you both:
                   And in an hour would you repay
                   An eight years' work?—Away, away!
                   I alone am faithful—_I
                   Cling to him everlastingly_."

The poem would be well worth quoting here in full, but is somewhat too
long for such a purpose.]

A young girl of eighteen, handsome, died within half-an-hour yesterday:
buried to-day. Geneva is fortified—legumes growing in the fosses.—Went
about linen and plate.

_June 2._—Breakfasted with Shelley. Read Tasso with Mrs. Shelley. Took
child for vaccination.

[The child in question must seemingly have been the beloved infant
William Shelley, born in January of this same year. Polidori does not
appear to have vaccinated the boy with his own hand; for I find in a
letter of his written to his family towards June 20: "Got a gold chain
and a seal as a fee from an Englishman here for having his child
inoculated." As Polidori speaks only of "an Englishman here," not naming
Shelley, it looks as if he purposely withheld from his family the
knowledge that he had come into contact with that wicked and dangerous
character. I wish I knew what has become of the "gold chain and seal,"
the gift of Shelley: but I could not on enquiry find that anything
whatever was known about them by my then surviving relatives. I possess
a letter on the subject, November 4, 1890, from my sister Christina.]

Found gates shut because of church-service. Went in search of Rossi. Saw
a village where lads and lasses, soubrettes and soldiers, were dancing,
to a tabor and drum, waltzes, cotillions, etc. Dr. R[ossi] not at home.

Dined with S[helley]; went to the lake with them and L[ord] B[yron]. Saw
their house; fine. Coming back, the sunset, the mountains on one side, a
dark mass of outline on the other, trees, houses hardly visible, just
distinguishable; a white light mist, resting on the hills around, formed
the blue into a circular dome bespangled with stars only and lighted by
the moon which gilt the lake. The dome of heaven seemed oval. At 10
landed and drank tea. Madness, Grattan, Curran, etc., subjects.

[The "house" of Shelley and his party which is here mentioned is the
Campagne Chapuis, or Campagne Mont Alègre, near Cologny—distant from the
Villa Diodati only about 8 minutes' walk. Shelley and the two ladies had
entered this house towards the end of May, prior to the actual
settlement of Lord Byron in the Villa Diodati. The Shelleys, as we have
more than once heard from this Diary, kept up the practice of drinking
tea—a beverage always cherished by Percy Bysshe. The topics of
conversation, we observe, were madness—probably following on from what
Shelley had on the previous day said about his own supposed madness
while at Eton; also Curran, whom Shelley had seen a little, but without
any sympathy, in Dublin—and Grattan, who, so far as I am aware was not
personally known to the poet.]

_June 3._—Went to Pictet's on English day.

_June 4._—Went about Diodati's house. Then to see Shelley, who, with
Mrs. Shelley, came over. Went in the evening to a musical society of
about ten members at M. Odier's; who read a very interesting memoir upon
the subject of whether a physician should in any case tell a lover the
health [of the lady of his affections], or anything that, from being her
physician, comes to his knowledge. Afterwards had tea and politics. Saw
there a Dr. Gardner, whom I carried home in the calèche. Odier invited
me for every Wednesday.

Came home. Went on the lake with Shelley and Lord Byron, who quarrelled
with me.

[This might seem to be the matter to which Professor Dowden in his _Life
of Shelley_ (following Moore's _Life of Byron_ and some other
authorities) thus briefly refers. "Towards Shelley the Doctor's feeling
was a constantly self-vexing jealousy [I cannot say that the Diary of
Polidori has up to this point borne the least trace of any such
soreness]; and on one occasion, suffering from the cruel wrong of having
been a loser in a sailing-match, he went so far as to send Shelley a
challenge, which was received with a fit of becoming laughter.
'Recollect,' said Byron, 'that, though Shelley has some scruples about
duelling, I have none and shall be at all times ready to take his
place.'" Professor Dowden does not define the date when this squabble
occurred; but the context in which he sets it suggests a date anterior
to June 22, when Byron and Shelley started off on their week's excursion
upon the Lake of Geneva. The very curt narrative of Polidori does not
however indicate any sailing-match, nor any challenge, whether "sent" or
verbally delivered at the moment; and perhaps it may be more reasonable
to suppose that this present quarrel with Byron was a different affair
altogether—an instance when Polidori happened to strike Byron's knee
with an oar. I shall recur to the duelling matter farther on.]

_June 5._—At 12 went to Hentsch about Diodati; thence to Shelley's. Read
Tasso. Home in calèche. Dined with them in the public room: walked in
the garden. Then dressed, and to Odier's, who talked with me about
somnambulism. Was at last seated, and conversed with some Génevoises: so
so—too fine. Quantities of English; speaking amongst themselves, arms by
their sides, mouths open and eyes glowing; might as well make a tour of
the Isle of Dogs. Odier gave me yesterday many articles of
_Bibliothèque_—translated and _rédigés_ by himself, and to-day a
manuscript on somnambulism.

[After the word _Bibliothèque_ Charlotte Polidori has put some other
word, evidently intended to imitate the _look_ of the word written by
Dr. Polidori: it cannot be read. The subject of somnambulism was one
which had engaged Polidori's attention at an early age: he printed in
1815 a _Disputatio Medica Inauguralis de Oneirodyniâ_, as a thesis for
the medical degree which he then obtained in Edinburgh.]

_June 6._—At 1 up—breakfasted. With Lord Byron in the calèche to
Hentsch, where we got the paper making us masters of Diodati for six
months to November 1 for 125 louis.

[See my remarks under June 1 as to "Necker's house," and the rent to be
paid. Up to November 1 would be barely five months, not six.]

Thence to Shelley: back: dinner. To Shelley in boat: driven on shore:
home. Looked over inventory and Berger's accounts. Bed.

_June 7._—Up at ——. Pains in my loins and languor in my bones.
Breakfasted—looked over inventory.

Saw L[ord] B[yron] at dinner; wrote to my father and Shelley; went in
the boat with L[ord] B[yron]; agreed with boatman for English boat. Told
us Napoleon had caused him to get his children. Saw Shelley over again.

[It seems rather curious that Polidori, living so near Shelley, should
now have had occasion to write to him; ought we to infer that the
challenge was now at last sent? Perhaps so; and perhaps, when Polidori
"saw Shelley over again," the poet laughed the whole foolish matter
off.—The boatman's statement that "Napoleon had caused him to get his
children" means, I suppose, that he wanted to rear children, to meet
Napoleon's conscriptions for soldiers.]

_June 8._—Up at 9; went to Geneva on horseback, and then to Diodati to
see Shelley; back; dined; into the new boat—Shelley's,—and talked, till
the ladies' brains whizzed with giddiness, about idealism. Back; rain;
puffs of wind. Mistake.

_June 9._—Up by 1: breakfasted. Read Lucian. Dined. Did the same: tea'd.
Went to Hentsch: came home. Looked at the moon, and ordered packing-up.

_June 10._—Up at 9. Got things ready for going to Diodati; settled
accounts, etc. Left at 3; went to Diodati; went back to dinner, and then
returned. Shelley etc. came to tea, and we sat talking till 11. My rooms
are so:

                       |   Picture-gallery.    |
                       |           |           |
                       |  Bedroom  |-----------|
                       |           |           |

_June 11._—Wrote home and to Pryse Gordon. Read Lucian. Went to
Shelley's; dined; Shelley in the evening with us.

_June 12._—Rode to town. Subscribed to a circulating library, and went
in the evening to Madame Odier. Found no one. Miss O[dier], to make time
pass, played the Ranz des Vaches—plaintive and war-like. People arrived.
Had a confab with Dr. O. about perpanism,[9] etc. Began dancing:
waltzes, cotillons, French country-dances and English ones: first time I
shook my feet to French measure. Ladies all waltzed except the English:
_they_ looked on frowning. Introduced to Mrs. Slaney: invited me for
next night. You ask without introduction; the girls refuse those they
dislike. Till 12. Went and slept at the Balance.

_June 13._—Rode home, and to town again. Went to Mrs. Slaney: a ball.
Danced and played at chess. Walked home in thunder and lightning: lost
my way. Went back in search of some one—fell upon the police. Slept at
the Balance.

_June 14._—Rode home—rode almost all day. Dined with Rossi, who came to
us; shrewd, quick, manly-minded fellow; like him very much. Shelley etc.
fell in in the evening.

_June 15._—Up late; began my letters. Went to Shelley's. After dinner,
jumping a wall my foot slipped and I strained my left ankle. Shelley
etc. came in the evening; talked of my play etc., which all agreed was
worth nothing. Afterwards Shelley and I had a conversation about
principles,—whether man was to be thought merely an instrument.

[The accident to Polidori's ankle was related thus by Byron in a letter
addressed from Ouchy to John Murray. "Dr. Polidori is not here, but at
Diodati; left behind in hospital with a sprained ankle, acquired in
tumbling from a wall—he can't jump." Thomas Moore, in his _Life of
Byron_, supplies some details. "Mrs. Shelley was, after a shower of
rain, walking up the hill to Diodati; when Byron, who saw her from his
balcony where he was standing with Polidori, said to the latter: 'Now
you who wish to be gallant ought to jump down this small height, and
offer your arm.' Polidori tried to do so; but, the ground being wet, his
foot slipped and he sprained his ankle. Byron helped to carry him in,
and, after he was laid on the sofa, went up-stairs to fetch a pillow for
him. 'Well, I did not believe you had so much feeling,' was Polidori's
ungracious remark."

The play written by Polidori, which received so little commendation,
was, I suppose, the _Cajetan_ which is mentioned at an early point in
the Journal. There was another named _Boadicea_, in prose; very poor
stuff, and I suppose written at an early date. A different drama named
_Ximenes_ was afterwards published: certainly its merit—whether as a
drama or as a specimen of poetic writing—is slender. The conversation
between Shelley and Polidori about "principles"and "whether man was to
be thought merely an instrument" appears to have some considerable
analogy with a conversation to which Mary Shelley and Professor Dowden
refer, and which raised in her mind a train of thought conducing to her
invention of Frankenstein and his Man-monster. Mary, however, speaks of
Byron (not Polidori) as the person who conversed with Shelley on that
occasion. Professor Dowden, paraphrasing some remarks made by Mary,
says: "One night she sat listening to a conversation between the two
poets at Diodati. What was the nature, they questioned, of the principle
of life? Would it ever be discovered, and the power of communicating
life be acquired? Perhaps a corpse would be reanimated; galvanism had
given token of such things. That night Mary lay sleepless," etc.]

_June 16._—Laid up. Shelley came, and dined and slept here, with Mrs.
S[helley] and Miss Clare Clairmont. Wrote another letter.

[This is the first instance in which the name of Miss Clairmont is given
correctly by Polidori; but it may be presumed that he had, several days
back, found out that she was not properly to be termed "Miss Godwin."]

_June 17._—Went into the town; dined with Shelley etc. here. Went after
dinner to a ball at Madame Odier's; where I was introduced to Princess
Something and Countess Potocka, Poles, and had with them a long confab.
Attempted to dance, but felt such horrid pain was forced to stop. The
ghost-stories are begun by all but me.

[This date serves to rectify a small point in literary history. We all
know that the party at Cologny—consisting of Byron and Polidori on the
one hand, and of Shelley and Mrs. Shelley and Miss Clairmont on the
other—undertook to write each of them an independent ghost-story, or
story of the supernatural; the result being Byron's fragment of _The
Vampyre_, Polidori's complete story of _The Vampyre_, and Mrs.
Shelley's renowned _Frankenstein_. Shelley and Miss Clairmont proved
defaulters. It used to be said that Matthew Gregory Lewis, author of
_The Monk_, had been mixed up in the same project; but this is a
mistake, for Lewis only reached the Villa Diodati towards the middle
of August. Professor Dowden states as follows: "During a few days of
ungenial weather which confined them to the house [by "them" Shelley
and the two ladies are evidently meant, and perhaps also Byron and
Polidori] some volumes of ghost-stories, _Fantasmagoriana, ou Recueil
d'Histoires d'Apparitions, de Spectres, Revenans_, etc. (a collection
translated into French from the German) fell into their hands, and its
perusal probably excited and overstrained Shelley's imagination."
Professor Dowden then proceeds to narrate an incident connected with
Coleridge's _Christabel_, of which more anon; and he says that
immediately _after_ that incident Byron proposed, "We will each write
a ghost-story"—a suggestion to which the others assented. It is only
fair to observe that Professor Dowden's account corresponds with that
which Polidori himself supplied in the proem to his tale of _The
Vampyre_. But Polidori's Diary proves that this is not absolutely
correct. The ghost-stories (prompted by the _Fantasmagoriana_, a poor
sort of book) had already been begun by Byron, Shelley, Mrs. Shelley,
and Miss Clairmont, not later than June 17, whereas the _Christabel_
incident happened on June 18. Byron's story, as I have already said,
was _The Vampyre_, left a fragment; Shelley's is stated to have been
some tale founded on his own early experiences—nothing farther is
known of it; Mrs. Shelley's was eventually _Frankenstein_, but, from
the details which have been published as to the first conception of
this work, we must assume that what she had begun by June 17 was
something different: of Miss Clairmont's story no sort of record

The Countess Potocka, whom Polidori mentions, was a lady belonging to
the highest Polish nobility, grand-niece of Stanislaus Augustus
Poniatowski, who had been King of Poland up to 1798. She was daughter of
Count Tyszkiewicz, and married Count Potocki, and afterwards Count
Wonsowicz. Born in 1776, she lived on to 1867, when she died in Paris, a
leader of society under the Second Empire. Thus she was forty years old
when Polidori saw her. She wrote memoirs of her life, going up to 1820:
a rather entertaining book, dealing with many important transactions,
especially of the period of Napoleon I: she gives one to understand that
this supreme potentate was rather susceptible to her charms, but a rival
compatriot, the Countess Walewska, was then in the ascendant. I have
seen reproductions from two portraits of the Countess Potocka, both of
them ascribed to Angelica Kauffman: one of these shows a strikingly
handsome young woman, with dark eyes of singular brilliancy and
sentiment. Its date cannot be later than 1807, when the painter died,
and may probably be as early as 1800.]

_June 18._—My leg much worse. Shelley and party here. Mrs. S[helley]
called me her brother (younger). Began my ghost-story[10] after tea.
Twelve o'clock, really began to talk ghostly. L[ord] B[yron] repeated
some verses of Coleridge's _Christabel_, of the witch's breast; when
silence ensued, and Shelley, suddenly shrieking and putting his hands to
his head, ran out of the room with a candle. Threw water in his face,
and after gave him ether. He was looking at Mrs. S[helley], and suddenly
thought of a woman he had heard of who had eyes instead of nipples,
which, taking hold of his mind, horrified him.—He married; and, a friend
of his liking his wife, he tried all he could to induce her to love him
in turn. He is surrounded by friends who feed upon him, and draw upon
him as their banker. Once, having hired a house, a man wanted to make
him pay more, and came trying to bully him, and at last challenged him.
Shelley refused, and was knocked down; coolly said that would not gain
him his object, and was knocked down again.—Slaney called.

[Some of these statements are passing strange, and most of them call for
a little comment. First we hear that Mrs. Shelley called Polidori her
younger brother—a designation which may have been endearing but was not
accurate; for, whereas the doctor was aged 20 at this date, Mrs. Shelley
was aged only 18. Next, Polidori, after tea, began his ghost-story.
This, according to Mrs. Shelley, was a tale about "a skull-headed lady,
who was so punished for peeping through a keyhole—what to see, I forget;
something very shocking and wrong, of course." So says Mrs. Shelley: but
Polidori's own statement is that the tale which he at first began was
the one published under the title of _Ernestus Berchtold_, which
contains nothing about a skull-headed lady: some details are given in my
Introduction. Afterwards he took up the notion of a vampyre, when
relinquished by Byron. The original story, _Ernestus Berchtold_, may
possibly have been completed in 1816: at any rate it was completed at
some time, and published in 1819, soon after _The Vampyre_. Then comes
the incident (first published in my edition of Shelley's poems in 1870)
of Byron repeating some lines from _Christabel_, and Shelley, who mixed
them up with some fantastic idea already present to his mind, decamping
with a shriek. The lines from _Christabel_ are these—

                 "Then drawing in her breath aloud,
                 Like one that shuddered, she unbound
                 The cincture from beneath her breast:
                 Her silken robe and inner vest
                 Dropped to her feet, and full in view
                 Behold! her bosom and half her side,
                 Hideous, deformed, and pale of hue—
                 A sight to dream of, not to tell!
                 And she is to sleep by Christabel!"

From this incident Polidori proceeds to three statements regarding
occurrences in Shelley's life; it may be presumed that he had heard them
from the poet in the course of this same evening. "A friend of his
liking his wife, he tried all he could to induce her to love him in
turn." Nothing of this sort appears in the authenticated facts of
Shelley's life. It is certain that, very soon after he had married
Harriet Westbrook in 1811, he saw reason for thinking that his friend
Hogg "liked his wife," both of them being then in York; but, so far from
"trying all he could to induce her to love him in turn," he at once took
her away from York to Keswick, and he addressed letters of grave
remonstrance and sad reproach to Hogg, and then for a time broke off all
intercourse with him. The only other matter one knows of at all relevant
to this issue is that Shelley alleged that afterwards a certain Major
Ryan carried on an intrigue with Harriet. He blamed and resented her
imputed frailty, and put it forward as a principal motive for his
separating from her. It is certainly possible that, after the
separation, he told Harriet that she might as well "make the best of a
bad job," and adhere to Ryan, since she would not adhere to her wedded
husband: but no indication of any such advice on his part appears
anywhere else. Be it understood that I do not at all affirm that this
suspicion or statement of Shelley's about Harriet and Ryan was correct.
I doubt it extremely, though not venturing summarily to reject it. The
next point is that Shelley was "surrounded by friends who feed upon him,
and draw upon him as their banker." This probably glances at Godwin, and
perhaps also at Charles Clairmont, the brother of Clare. Thomas Love
Peacock may likewise be in question: not Leigh Hunt, for, though the cap
might have fitted him in and after the year 1817, it did not so in the
present year 1816, since Hunt was as yet all but unknown to our poet.
Last comes the funny statement about a hectoring landlord who twice
knocked down the non-duelling author of _Queen Mab_. It is difficult to
guess what this allegation may refer to. Shelley had by this time had
several landlords in different parts of the United Kingdom; and quite
possibly some of them thought his rent unduly low, or more especially
his quarterly or other instalments irregularly paid, but who can have
been the landlord who took the law so decisively into his own hands, and
found so meekly unresisting a tenant, I have no idea. There was an odd
incident on January 19, 1812, when Shelley, then living at Keswick, was
(or was said to have been) struck down senseless on the threshold of his
door—seemingly by a couple of robbers. On that occasion, however, his
landlord, Mr. Dare, appeared in the character of a guardian angel: so we
must dismiss any notion that this incident, the one which in some of its
features seems to come nearest the mark, is that which Shelley so
ingenuously imparted to Polidori.]

_June 19._—Leg worse; began my ghost-story. Mr. S[helley?] etc. forth
here. Bonstetten and Rossi called. B[onstetten] told me a story of the
religious feuds in Appenzel; a civil war between Catholics and
Protestants. Battle arranged; chief advances; calls the other. Calls
himself and other fools, for battles will not persuade of his being
wrong. Other agreed, and persuaded them to take the boundary rivulet;
they did. Bed at 3 as usual.

_June 20._—My leg kept me at home. Shelley etc. here.

_June 21._—Same.

_June 22._—L[ord] B[yron] and Shelley went to Vevay; Mrs. S[helley] and
Miss Clare Clairmont to town. Went to Rossi's—had tired his patience.
Called on Odier; Miss reading Byron.

[The expedition of Byron and Shelley to Vevay was that same Lake-voyage
which forms so prominent an incident in their Swiss experiences. Their
starting upon this expedition had hitherto been dated June 23. Professor
Dowden has expressed a doubt whether June 22 would not be the correct
date, and here we find that so it is.]

_June 23._—Went to town; apologized to Rossi. Called on Dr. Slaney etc.
Walked to Mrs. Shelley. Pictet, Odier, Slaney, dined with me. Went down
to Mrs. S[helley?] for the evening. Odier mentioned the cases of two
gentlemen who, on taking the nitrate of silver, some time after had a
blacker face. Pictet confirmed it.

_June 24._—Up at 12. Dined down with Mrs. S[helley] and Miss C[lare]

[The dates hereabouts become somewhat embarrassing. For the day which I
am calling June 24 Polidori repeats June 23; and he continues with the
like sequence of days up to June 29, when, as he notes, he "found Lord
Byron and Shelley returned." It seems to be an established fact that the
day when Shelley got back to Montalègre was July 1: he has stated so,
and a note to the _Letters of Lord Byron_ states the same. Thus Polidori
seems to have dropped two days. One is accounted for by substituting
June 24 for June 23; and I shall call the next day June 26, though
uncertain as to where the second error occurs.]

_June 26._—Up. Mounted on horseback: went to town. Saw Mrs. Shelley:
dined. To Dr. Rossi's party of physicians: after at Mrs. S[helley's?].

_June 27._—Up at Mrs. Shelley's: dined. No calèche arrived: walked to
G[eneva]. No horses: ordered saddle-horse. Walked to Rossi's—gone. Went
to the gate: found him. Obliged to break off the appointment. Went to
Odier's. Met with Mr. ——, a friend of Lord Byron's father. Invited me to
his house: been a long time on the Continent. Music, ranz des vaches,
beautiful. Rode two hours; went to Mrs. S[helley]; Miss C[lairmont]
talked of a soliloquy.

[This last phrase is not clear: does it mean that Miss Clairmont talked
_in_ a soliloquy—talked to herself, in such a way as to excite

_June 28._—All day at Mrs. S[helley's].

_June 29._—Up at 1; studied; down at Mrs. S[helley's].

_June 30._—Same.

_July 1._—Went in calèche to town with Mrs. S[helley] and C[lare] for a
ride, and to mass (which we did not go to, being begun). Dined at 1.
Went to town to Rossi. Introduced to Marchese Saporati; together to Mr.
Saladin of Vaugeron, Countess Breuss, Calpnafur; and then to a party of

[The word which I give as Calpnafur is dubious in Charlotte Polidori's
transcript: it is evidently one of those words as to which she felt
uncertain, and she wrote it as near to Dr. Polidori's script as she
could manage. The other three names—Saporati, Saladin, and Breuss—are
not elucidated in any book I have consulted. Perhaps Saporati ought to
be Saporiti—see p. 149. There were two Saladins of some note in France
in the days of the Revolution and Empire—one of them lived on to 1832;
but I can scarcely think that this Saladin in Geneva was of the same
race. He may be the "Syndic Saladin" mentioned farther on.]

Found Lord Byron and Shelley returned.

_July 2._—Rain all day. In the evening to Mrs. S[helley].

_September 5._—Not written my Journal till now through neglect and
dissipation. Had a long explanation with S[helley] and L[ord] B[yron]
about my conduct to L[ord] B[yron]; threatened to shoot S[helley] one
day on the water. Horses been a subject of quarrel twice, Berger having
accused me of laming one.

[Before this date, September 5, Shelley, with Mary and Miss Clairmont,
had finally left the neighbourhood of Geneva; they started on August 29
upon their return journey to England. The statement that Polidori
"threatened to shoot Shelley one day on the water" brings us back again
to that question, of which I spoke under the date of June 4, about some
hare-brained quarrel with Shelley leading to a challenge for a duel. The
natural inference from the position which this entry occupies in
Polidori's Diary certainly is that the threat to Shelley occurred at
some date between July 2 and August 28—not at the earlier date of June
4; and so I presume it more probably did. We find also that Polidori's
conduct in relation to Byron was considered not to be correct; and this
formed the subject of "a long explanation" not only with Byron himself
but likewise with Shelley.]

L[ord] B[yron] went to town in pursuit of thieves who came to steal the
anchors after having stolen my sail. Was refused permission to go out. I
went to the Syndic Saladin, and told him I begged his pardon for our
servants, who must have said something insulting, or else he could not
have refused permission to leave the port. Thieves attempted to break
into the house.

An apothecary sold some bad magnesia to L[ord] B[yron]. Found it bad by
experiment of sulphuric acid colouring it red rose-colour. Servants
spoke about it. Appointed Castan to see experiment; came; impudent;
refused to go out; collared him, sent him out, broke spectacles. Laid
himself on a wall for three hours; refused to see experiments. Saw
L[ord] B[yron], told him his tale before two physicians. Brought me to
trial before five judges; had an advocate to plead. I pleaded for
myself; laughed at the advocate. Lost his cause on the plea of calumny;
made me pay 12 florins for the broken spectacles and costs. Magnesia
chiefly alumina, as proved by succenate[11] and carbonate of ammonia.

Dined twice at Madame de Staël's; visited there also; met Madame de
Broglie and M[onsieur?]; Miss Randall; two Roccas; Schlegel; Monsignor
Brema; Dumont; Bonstetten; Madame Bottini; Madame Mongelas; young de

[It will be observed that Dr. Polidori, although he details these
various circumstances likely to create some soreness between Lord Byron
and himself, does not here state in express terms that the poet had
parted with him. At the end of this entry for September 5 he does,
however, give a few words to the subject, confirmatory of Lord Byron's
ensuing remarks. Byron, in a good-humoured spirit, gave a general
explanation in a letter addressed to John Murray on January 24, 1817. He
understood that Polidori was "about to return to England, to go to the
Brazils on a medical speculation with the Danish Consul" (which,
however, he did not actually do); and Byron asked Murray to get the
Doctor any letters of recommendation. Then he adds: "He understands his
profession well, and has no want of general talent: his faults are the
faults of a pardonable vanity and youth. His remaining with me was out
of the question. I have enough to do to manage my own scrapes; and, as
precepts without example are not the most gracious homilies, I thought
it better to give him his _congé_: but I know no great harm of him, and
some good. He is clever and accomplished; knows his profession, by all
accounts, well; and is honourable in his dealings, and not at all
malevolent." In March 1820 Byron made a few other observations
applicable to his intercourse with Polidori: "The sole companion of my
journey was a young physician who had to make his way in the world, and,
having seen very little of it, was naturally and laudably desirous of
seeing more society than suited my present habits or my past experience.
I therefore presented him to those gentlemen of Geneva for whom I had
letters of introduction; and, having thus seen him in a situation to
make his own way, retired for my own part entirely from society, with
the exception of one English family"—_i.e._ Shelley and his two ladies.
At times, however, Byron was less lenient to the Doctor. On June 17,
1817, he wrote to Murray: "I never was much more disgusted with any
human production than with the eternal nonsense and _tracasseries_ and
emptiness and ill-humour and vanity of that young person: but he has
some talent, and is a man of honour, and has dispositions of amendment
in which he has been aided by a little subsequent experience, and may
turn out well."

It may be hardly needful to state that "Madame de Broglie and Monsieur"
(_i.e._ the Duc Victor de Broglie) were the daughter and son-in-law of
Madame de Staël: they were now but very recently wedded, February 20,
1816. Byron thought the youthful wife devoted to her husband, and said
"Nothing was more pleasing than to see the development of the domestic
affections in a very young woman." Of the two Roccas, one is remembered
as Madame de Staël's second husband. He was a very handsome officer of
Swiss origin. They married privately in 1811, she being then aged about
forty-five, and he twenty-two. He only survived his wife about six
months, dying in 1818. August Wilhelm von Schlegel was at this date
about forty-nine years old, celebrated as a translator of Shakespear and
Calderon, and as a scholar of extensive range. He had travelled much
with Madame de Staël, who drew on him for some of the ideas set forth in
her book _De l'Allemagne_. Monsignor Brema is a good deal mentioned
farther on: he was a son of the Marchese di Brema (or Brême), who had
been a valuable Minister of the Interior under the Napoleonic _régime_
in Italy. Dumont, who has been previously named by Polidori as the
translator of Bentham, was also closely associated with the great

At Vaugeron, the Saladins, Auguste Mathould, Rossi, Jacques Naple [?],
Brelaz, Clemann, Countess Mouskinpouskin, Breuss, Abate Gatelier,
Toffettheim e figlio, Foncet, Saussure, Lord Breadalbane and family, a
ball; Saladin of Maligny, Slaneys, two balls; Dr. and Mrs. Freckton
White, Galstons (Miss etc. sisters), a ball; Lord Bingham, Lord F.
Cunningham, Lord Belgray, a ball; Mr. Tillotson St. Aubyn, Mrs.
Trevanion, Valence Meers, R. Simmons, Lloyd, Princess Jablonski, Lady
Hamilton Dalrymple, Odiers, Lord Kinnoul, Somers, Lord Glenorchy, Mr.
Evans, Coda (songstress), M. G. Lewis, Mrs. Davies, Mr. Pictet, Mr.
Hobhouse, Dr. Gardner, Caravella, Shelleys, Sir John St. Aubyn.

[Most of these numerous names must be left to themselves: several of
them are hereafter commented, often caustically, by Polidori himself.
Saussure is not the more celebrated naturalist and traveller, Horace
Benedict, who died in 1799; but is his son, Nicolas Théodore, who
coöperated largely with the father, and produced an important book of
his own, _Recherches sur la Végétation_. Born in 1767, he lived on to
1845. Mrs. Trevanion may be supposed to have belonged to the same family
as a certain Mr. Trevanion who figured very discreditably in the history
of that Medora Leigh who was the daughter of the Honourable Mrs. Leigh
(Byron's half sister) and ostensibly of her husband, but who is now said
to have been in fact the daughter of Byron himself. Lady Hamilton
Dalrymple ought seemingly to be Lady Dalrymple Hamilton: she was a
daughter of Viscount Duncan, and wife of Sir Hew D. Hamilton. Somers is
mentioned on p. 150: this is probably the correct spelling, not (as
here) Summers. Matthew Gregory Lewis (whom I had occasion to name
before) was the author of _The Monk_, which he wrote at the early age of
nineteen, of the musical drama _The Castle Spectre_, and of other works
whose celebrity has not survived into the present day. He was now near
the end of his brief career, for he died in 1818, aged forty-two.]

The society I have been in may be divided into three sets: the canton of
Genthoud, Coppet, and Geneva. The canton is an assemblage of a
neighbourhood of about seven or eight families, meeting alternately on
Sundays at each other's houses, and every Thursday at the Countess
Breuss's. The Countess Breuss lives at Genthoud in a villa she has
bought. She has two husbands, one in Russia, one at Venice; she acted
plays at the Hermitage under Catherine. Not being able to get a divorce,
she left Russia, went to Venice for six days, stayed as many years,
married (it is said), bought villas etc. in the Venetian's name, and
separated. Her family consists of Madame Gatelier, a humble friend, a
great lover of medicaments etc., Abate ——, her Almoner, an excellent
Brescian, great lover of religionists. A mania in the family for
building summer-houses, porticoes, and baths; neatly planned; an island
with a ditch round it; a Tower of Babel round the trunk of a chestnut; a
summer-house by the roadside of a Moorish construction. The Countess is
very good-natured, laughs where others calumniate and talk scandal with
prudish airs, kind to all. The society is extremely pleasant; generally
dancing or music. It was the birthday of Charles Saladin, who, having
been four years in Nap[oleon]'s army, knew nothing of the matter. She
asked to have the fêting of him. They acted first a charade on the
canton of Genthoud. She acted with Mr. Massey junior, with others, and
myself as a woman—the words to blind.[12] Then came a kind of farce, in
which Charles was dressed as the C. B. [Countess Breuss?], Gatelier as
the Abbé, and Miss Saladin as Gatelier: each took one another off.
Written by C. B. When at last another of the society brought a letter
announcing it to be Charles' birthday. Then they, while he was in his
amazement, sang a song to him, presented him with a bouquet and purse.
Then an elegant supper, and afterwards a ball on the arrival of Madame
Toffettheim with her son. A great party was invited; and after tea two
plays were acted—_Le Pachà de_ _Suresne_ and _Les Ricochets_. There was
an immense number of spectators. The actors were, in _Le Pachà de
Suresne_, Madame Dorsan, la Comtesse Breuss; Laure, Madlle. Brelaz;
Aglaé, Clemann; Nathalie, M.; Madlle. Remy, Madame Gatelier; Perceval,
Alexis Saladin; Flicflac, Polidori; Joseph, C. Saladin.—_Les
Ricochets_—I do not remember the characters. The actors were Alexis,
Charles, Auguste Saladin, Massey le jeune, La Comtesse Breuss, Madame
Mathilde Saladin. The rehearsals before were frequent.

I got a discretion from the Countess, which I took in the shape of a
Swiss,[13] in consequence of a wager that I could not go straight home.

La Toffettheim is a nice, unpretending, lady-like woman, pleasing and
affectionate. Her son full of liberty-ideas. It was here, in consequence
of Massey junior dancing extremely well, that, being defied, I danced a
pantaloon-dance, by which I made enemies; for, upon my refusing it at
the Saladins', they thought it was a personal refusal. Saladins of
Vaugeron, father and mother. Father deaf, good-natured: said to me upon
reading my thesis, "Mais, Monsieur, il n'y a pas de paradoxe." The
mother pretended to play shy on account of Madame B.

[By Madame B. it would appear, from a statement farther on, that
Polidori means Madame Brelaz.]

The daughter—because, the first night I saw her, knowing her by
particular introduction, I stuck to her—thought me in love, and said
so,—fool! Madame Mathilde [Saladin] pretended prude in mine and Madame
B.'s case, while she herself has got Mr. Massey junior dangling, not
unheard, after her. Charles a good boisterous soldier, at Leipzig,
Nassau, and 13 ingwen [?][14] Waterloo business. Makes up for wit by
noise, for affection by slaps on the back. On his birthday I addressed
him with (after supper)—

         "Jeune guerrier dans l'armée du premier des héros,
         Dans la cause de la France dédaignant le repos,
         Que la chute de vos ans soit tranquille et heureuse,
         Comme fut l'aube de vos jours éclatante et glorieuse."

[This little specimen suffices to show that Polidori had no true idea of
French versification: he was evidently unaware that a final _e_ mute
coming before a consonant counts as a syllable.]

Auguste, a simple neat fool, despising learning because he is noble and
has enough to live upon; content to dangle, with a compliment and a
sentiment, after a woman's tail. Alexis, so so, good-naturedly ignorant
husband to Mathilde. Massey senior, active pleasant man, excellent
fencer and dancer—been secretary to Bertrand. Massey junior, confident,
impudent, insolent, ignorant puppy. Saladins of Maligny, neither good
nor bad, rich: to gain a little more, let their villa to Lord
Breadalbane, and retired to a cottage, though both old and only one ugly
vain daughter. Lord Breadalbane, an excellent, good-sensed though not
quick man: answered—when the Duke of Bedford said to him, "What would
you give to have the Breadalbane estate in Bedfordshire?"—"Why, your
Grace, I should be sorry if my estate would go in Bedfordshire." Gave a
very good ball at which I was. His son Lord Glenorchy, good, shy, not
brilliant young man. His lady not spoken to. His daughter excellent
dancer, rather haughty. Mr. Evans, a good sensible man, biassed in his
thoughts by his cassock. At the society he took up the immortality: Lord
Glenorchy gave a positive No. Saussure, Mrs., a wax talkative figure.
Mr., a would-be scientific gentleman: thought me a fool because I danced
pantaloon, and himself a wise man because he knows the names of his
father's stones. Jacquet, Madlle., got half in love with her,—no, her
8000 a year: her face and bad-singing exposures cured me. Foncet,
officer of the Piedmontese troops, jealous of him.

Brelaz, Portuguese lady,—in love with her; I think fond of me too;
imprudent; her daughter also against me on account of it; shows it too
much publicly; very jealous; her daughters, sprightly good-looking
girls. Clemann—got half in love with her; nice daughter. The Cavalier
pleasing. Had a dispute in a public ball with her two fools. One of the
Saladins, Auguste, courts her, and she laughs; she excites love in every
young man's breast. Miss Harriet is rather too serious for her age,
pretty and well-informed in novels and romances, and rather too
sentimental. Cavalier's Marianne is a fine hoydenish creature: applies
when studying, and romps when playing.

Madame de Staël I have dined with three times; she is better, those who
know her say, at home than abroad. She has married poor Rocca. She talks
much; would not believe me to be a physician; presented her my thesis,
which she told me she had read with pleasure. Talked about religion, and
puts down every [?] of Rocca. Ugly; good eyes. Writing on the French
Revolution; polite, affable; lectures, and tells all to L[ord] B[yron].
Madame de Broglie, her daughter, a beautiful, dirty-skinned woman;
pleasant, soft-eyed speaker; dances well, waltzes. Schlegel, a
presumptuous literato, contradicting _à outrance_; a believer in
magnetism. Rocca, a talkative, good-natured, beautiful man, with a
desire for knowledge; the author of _Walcheren_ and _Espagne_; excellent
at naïve description. Rocca, the judge, very clever and quick, rising;
know little of him. Been seven years in the courtship of Miss Saladin;
she neither refuses nor accepts him, but keeps him in her train. Miss
Randall, sister to Mrs. Norgate. Monsignor Brema, friend of Ugo Foscolo,
enthusiastic for Italy, encomiast in all, Grand Almoner of Italy, hater
of Austrians. Dumont, a thick, heavy-thoughted body, editor of Bentham.
Bonstetten, friend of Gray.

The first time L[ord] B[yron] went, there was Mrs. Hervey there;
talkative, sister and a great friend of the Noels; she thought proper to
faint out of the house, though her curiosity brought her back to speak
with him.

Bonstetten told me that, upon his saying to Gray that he must be happy,
he took and read to him the criticism of Johnson, which happens to have
been written after Gray's death; he used to go in the evening to tea,
and remain all night reading the English authors with him. Gray
introduced him to society;[15] and, one of the professors having asked
him if he understood what he said, he replied he thought so, but very
diff[idently?]—"So you think so only!" Gray, hearing this, showed
B[onstetten] some passages to ask _him_, which B[onstetten] did in a
public company, complimenting him upon [his?] known knowledge; when all
the company, one after the other, began contradicting the Professor's
opinion. Then B[onstetten], turning to him, said, "You perhaps thought
_you_ understood Shakespear." Gray told him that there was none who
could _perfectly_ understand him.

Rossi, an Italian of about thirty, pleasant, agreeable, and
good-natured, professor at Bologna, thence obliged to fly with two
others. One of his companions was beginning his lecture, when the
students called out, "No lecture, but an improvise upon the liberty of
Italy"; as he was an improvisatore. He objected, as, on account of
Murat's approach, it might be suspicious. They insisted, and the
professors at hand said, "No harm if not upon present circumstances." He
did it, and the students issued forth to join Murat; they had however
made up their minds to do so before. Rossi joined it more openly and
loudly, and was obliged to fly. He wrote a memoir to defend himself, in
which he said it was only to avoid the Roman dominion, and give it to
the Archduke; who told him that he had better write another, as Bologna
was already ceded to Pius. When he was ruined thus partially he wrote to
the father of his betrothed, to say that he must not (if he chose) think
himself bound by his promise, as he was not in the same circumstances as
when the promise was given. The father did retract. So far a man of
honour. Now how to reconcile his being with Calandion, a magistrate of
G[eneva] violent on the other side? who says he has made a good
profession to him, and at the same time professing other opinions to

Gave me a letter to Milan, and by him I have been introduced to
Saporiti, a good, enthusiastic, ignorant Italian. Talked of the English
landing 100,000 soldiers here and there, as if they were so many peas.

Slaneys: the husband jealous of every one—Cambridge degree. When I
danced with his wife, he after, when walking with her, came up and gave
an arm too. The wife beautiful, but very simple. Galston, Miss, very

"Genevan Liberal Society" is a muster of Englishmen for debate on
speculative questions. Twice there. Immortality, accomplice's evidence.
The members whom I knew were—Lord Kinnoul, a most tiresome, long-winded,
repeating, thick-headed would-be orator, Lord Conyngham.

[The MS. gives "Cunningham," which must be a mistake. The Lord Conyngham
of this period began the year 1816 as an Earl, and ended it as a
Marquis. He was born in 1766, and lived on to 1832, and was husband of a
lady, Elizabeth Denison, whose name figures much in the gossip, not
excluding the scandal, of those years.]

Mr. Somers, good head enough. Valence, whom I cried to hear; and,
meeting me after at Chamounix, the first thing he asked me was, "Why did
you laugh at me?" St. Aubyn, Lloyd, Slaney.

Lloyd, of good Welsh blood, his original name Ap Griffith, rode out. We
went out visiting one day, and, in returning in his gig, he touched a
horse of a row of carts. The carter struck me upon my back with his
whip; I jumped down, and six jumped at me. I fortunately was between a
wheel and a hedge, so that they all could not reach. Lloyd, seeing this,
jumped down also; then three left me and went to him, and another untied
a piece of his wagon with which, while I defended myself from the two
(one with a whip), he struck me while fortunately my arm was striking a
blow, so that it did but just touch my face. He lifted again; I sprang
back, and with all the force of my leap struck him with my fist in his
face. His blow fell to the ground, and with his hand to his nose he
retreated. They then seized stones to throw, but we closed with them;
they could not throw above two, when we saw an English carriage we knew
coming. We called, they came, and immediately the boisterous [fellows?]
were calm. Some who tried to divide us got blows also.

St. Aubyn, an excellent fellow, introduced me to his father at Genthoud:
is a natural son, studying for the Church. His father is a good polite
man, according to the "go" school.[16] Keeps a mistress now, though
sixty-five years: has many children by different mistresses.

At Dr. Odier's—who is a good old, toothless, chatty, easy-believing
man—there was a society every Wednesday, where I went sometimes. They
danced, sang, ate cakes, and drank tea; English almost entirely,
changing every Wednesday.—Went to a concert of Madamigella Coda—the
theatre dirty.

When Mr. Hobhouse and Davies arrived, we went to Chamounix. The first
day through Chesne, Annemasse, Vetra, Nangy, Contamine, Bonneville
(dinner), Cluses, Sallenches (slept). Next day by Chede in two
_char-à-bancs_, with each a guide; a fine pine-glen of the Arve, to
Chamounix. We went that evening over the Brisson, and to the source of
the Aveyron. Next day so bad we left, and returned to Sallenches, taking
the fall of Chede in our way; thence to Diodati. Mr. Scrope Davies
played against the marker at tennis: then went, taking Rushton with him.
[Rushton was one of the servants.]

L[ord] B[yron] determined upon our parting,—not upon any quarrel, but on
account of our not suiting. Gave me £70; 50 for 3 months and 20 for
voyage. Paid away a great deal, and then thought of setting off:
determined for Italy. Madame de Staël gave me three letters. Madame
B[relaz?] wept, and most seemed sorry.

[I suppose that most likely the "Madame B." here is Madame Brelaz, with
whom, as stated on p. 145, Polidori was "in love." Or it might perhaps
be the Comtesse de Breuss.]

The night before I went, at Madame B[reuss?]'s, they acted _C'est le
Même_ extremely well; a Lausanne girl acting the lady very well. The
costumes also extremely good. Wished nobody good-bye: told them, though,
I was going. Set off with 47 louis, 112 naps.

Le Valais from Schürer's book, _Description du Département du Simplon_,
1812, lent me by the Cav[aliere]. See elsewhere.

_September 16._—Left Cologny and Lord Byron at six in the morning.
Breakfasted at Doraine, 3 leagues. Dined, Thouson, ditto. Evrein, 2.
Slept St. Gingoux, 4. Passed Meillerie. Saw Lausanne at a distance,
right through this part of Sardinian King's dominions. Read Madame
Brelaz's verses. Wept—not at them, but at the prose.

_September 17._—Left St. Gingoux at 6. Walked to ——.[17] Took bread and
wine. Crossed to Chillon. Saw Bonivard's prison for six years; whence a
Frenchman had broken, and, passing through a window, swam to a boat.
Instruments of torture,—the pulley. Three soldiers there now: the Roman
arms already affixed. Large subterranean passes. Saw in passing the
three treed islands. The Rhone enters by two mouths, and keeps its
waters distinct for two stones' throw.

From Chillon I went to Montreaux—breakfasted—leaving Charney on my left.
I began to mount towards the Dent de Jamanu. Before beginning to mount
Jamanu itself, one has a beautiful view, seeing only part of the lake,
bound by Meillerie, Roches, and the Rhone. Higher up the view is more
extensive, but not so beautiful—nothing being distinct; the water
looking merely as an inlet of sky, but one could see the Jura as far as

I entered a chalet, where they expressed great astonishment at my
drinking whey, which they give to their pigs only. Refused at first

Descended towards Mont Boyon. What owing to the fatigue and hardly
meeting any one, sick with grief. At Mont Boyon dined, and, finding they
would not dance, slept immediately after.

_September 18._—Up at 4. Drank wine and bread. At 6 set off. Passed the
Château d'Ox where there was a fair. After that, hardly met a soul.
Always on the side of the mountains, each side of a river or torrent;
with torrent-beds, pine-forests, chalets, villages without a visible
soul—all at work—and ups and downs: so that this road, if I had not had
that of yesterday, I should have called the worst in the world. Passed
through Château d'Ox; Rougemont, breakfast; Zwezermann, dinner;
Gessenay; Lambeck; Reichenstein; Weissenbach; Bottingen, tea and night.
The French language leaves off at Gessenay (rather, patois), and they
begin their German: found it difficult to go on.

_September 19._—Got up at 4-1/2. Set off from Bottingen. Went through
Obernoyle. Breakfasted at Wyssenbach: refused my money. Went to the
Doctor, who charged me a nap. Went through Erlenbach, Lauterbach,
Meiningen, to Thun. Splendid scenery; especially the first look at the
Lake by the river's mouth, and the pass into a great valley. Took
dinner, and then a warm bath. Arrived at 1 o'clock. All the houses are
of wood, the foundation only being stone: great cut ornaments between
the rows of windows: the wood, fir. Felt very miserable, especially
these two last days: only met two persons to whom I could speak—the
others all Germans. At Wyssenbach they all said grace before breakfast,
and then ate out of the same dish; remarking (as I understood them) that
I, not being a Catholic, would laugh.

[It was a mistake to suppose that Dr. Polidori was "not a Catholic." He
was brought up as a Catholic, and never changed his religion, but may (I
suppose) have been something of a sceptic.]

_September 20._—Got up at 6. Wrote to St. Aubyn, Brelaz, father, Vaccà,
and Zio, asking letters; to my father, to announce my parting.

[Vaccà was a celebrated surgeon at Pisa, of whom we shall hear farther.
Zio is "my uncle"—_i.e._ Luigi Polidori, also at Pisa.]

Bought fresh shoes and stockings; found no book-seller's shop. The man
at the post-office made a good reflection: that he was astonished so
many came to see what they who were so near never want to see, and that
he supposed that the English also leave much unseen in their own

Thun is a neat well-situated town, not large, with arcades—as apparently
all the Berne towns. Afraid all day my dog was poisoned; which grieved
me so, at seeing it vomit, that I wept. At 2 o'clock went in search of a
boat: none going immediately, I walked along the left bank of the lake
to Unterseen. The views the most beautiful I ever saw; through pines
over precipices, torrents, and sleepers [?][18] and the best-cultivated
fields I ever saw. The lake sometimes some hundred precipitous feet
below my feet; at other times quite close to its edge; boats coming from
the fair; picturesque towered villages; fine Alps on the other side, the
Jungfrau and others far off. The bottom of the lake is especially
magnificent. Lost my way, and had two little children as guides back
again. One small cascade of seven or eight fountains.

Arrived at 7 at Unterseen: through Nilterfingen, Oberhofen, Rottingen,
Morlangen, Neuchaus, to Unterseen. Found two Englishmen at supper: sat
down with them. Very miserable all the morning.

_September 21._—Got up at 6, having determined to go with the two to the
Grindenwald in a _char-à-banc_, on account of the state of my foot. I
went to the bridge at Interlachen to see the view coming between two
beautiful isolated crags. Going, met a man, a maréchal, who had been to
Vienna and Bohemia _en roulant_ after his apprenticeship, to see the
world—stopping a day at one place, a day at another. Returned,
breakfasted: and then, after growling at the innkeeper's wishing us to
take two horses, we went off through splendid pine-clad craggy valleys
through Zweihitschirne to Lauterbrunner; whence to the fall of the
Staubach, a bare cataract of 900 feet high, becoming vapour before it
arrives—appearing much, and ending in a little stream. The curate of
this village receives guests: there were the Prince Saxe-Gotha and
family. We lunched at the inn, and went back to Lauterbrunner after
having looked at the Jungfrau at a distance.

Went from Zweihitschirne to the Grindenwald with the Saxe-Gotha before
us, through a more beautiful valley. Saw the glaciers come into it, with
the Eiger, Wetterhorn, and other mountains, most magnificent. Walking
about, found two girls who gave us cherries and chatted freely. Found
that mules were 18 francs a day. A party came in in the dark at 8 with
guides, hallooing and making a lively sound. Dined at 7, and talked
about mules, hoping to get return ones etc.

_September 22._—Got up. Could not get mules under 18 francs: my foot too
bad to walk. Went with Captain Rice and others back to Interlachen. Got
into a boat rowed by two men and a boy. Went by Brientz, Calne, to the
Griesbach cascade, and then to Brientz—wilder, but not so beautiful as
the Lake of Thun. The cascade I did not mount to see on account of my
foot. At Brientz an old woman would give us her presence and
conversation till one of my companions courted the daughter. Met between
Grindenwald and Interlachen L[ord] B[yron] and Mr. H[obhouse]: we

_September 23._—Got up at 4. Tired of my company; and, finding the
expense more than I could afford, I went to their bedrooms to wish them
good-bye. Set off at 5-1/2; and through fine copse-wooded crags, along
the Aar, with cascades on every side, to Meyringen; where I breakfasted
with two Germans, an old and a young artist—the old, chatty. Bought a
pole. Went to see the Reichenbach, a fine cascade indeed. Thence through
the beautiful vale of Nach-im-Grunden, where for a moment I planned a
sovereignty; but, walking on, my plans faded before I arrived at
Guttannen, where I dined.

Rode all the way to-day—horrible, only passable for men and mules: it is
the way to St. Gothard. The road is merely huge unequal masses of
granite thrown in a line not the straightest. From Guttannen the road
went through the wildest and most sublime scenery I ever read of:
vegetation less and less, so that, instead of grass, there was moss;
then nothing. Instead of trees, shrubs; then nothing—huge granite rocks
leaving hardly room for the road and river. The river's bed the most
magnificent imaginable, cut deep and narrow into the solid rock,
sinuous, and continually accompanied by cascades, and amazing bold and
high single-arched bridges. Snow covering in some parts the whole bed of
the river, and so thick and strong that even huge stones have fallen
without injuring its crust. There are only two houses between Guttannen
and the Hospital: one, a chalet wherein I entered; the other, a
cow-herd's. Arrived at 6 o'clock precisely, having walked in only 9-1/2
hours 30 miles at least.

[This is a little indistinct in connexion with what precedes. I suppose
that the phrase "rode all the way to-day" must be understood as meaning
"all the way up to Guttannen"; and that, after leaving Guttannen, there
were 30 miles of walking before the Hospital was reached. Yet this seems
an unreasonably heavy day's work in travelling. After "only 9-1/2" the
initial written is "m": but I presume it ought to be "h" (hours).]

The Hospital is an old stone ugly building, consonant with the wild
scene, where the poor are lodged for nothing; others, us, [as?] an inn.

_September 24._—On account of rain did not get up till 7. Set off across
the Grimsel, a dreary mountain with snow in every hollow—5000 feet above
the Four-canton Lake. Descended on the other side to Obergustellen,
where I breakfasted at 10. Thence through Verlican, Guesquerman,
Munster, Rexingen, Biel, Blizzen; where, out of the dead flat valley, I
began to mount, and the scenery began to increase in beauty. One bridge
especially over the Rhone, which fell between two clefts' sides, was
beautiful. Sinderwald, Viesch, pine-wood; sax (?) along the rocks, and
fine path along the mountain. Very fine, though continued hard rain,
which drenched me and hindered my seeing a great deal. To Morel, where I
went to bed, and ate a kind of dinner in bed at 7 o'clock.

_September 25._—Up at 5; my foot, from having been obliged to walk with
the shoe down at heel, very much swelled and too painful to walk.
Breakfast. Two students from Brieg, of the Jesuits' College, came in,
who had during the vacations been beyond Constance with only two _écus
neufs_ in their pockets. It costs them ten batsches a year at College.
Impudent one: the other modest-looking, but, when I gave him six francs
because he had no more money, he asked me for more on other accounts.
The Jesuits been restored two years.

At Brieg[19] I sent for the curate, a good old man of sixty. We
conversed together in Latin for two hours; not at all troublesome in
enquiries, but kind in answering them. The Valaisians resisted two years
against the French in 93. It was the only part of the country in which
they did so, except Unterwalden, and then it was only the peasants, and
in every village there was a French party. The cruelty of the French was
dreadful; they stuck their prisoners in a variety of ways like sheep.
One old man of eighty, who had never left his house but whom they found
eating, they strangled, and then put meat and bottles by him as if he
had died apoplectic. They fought very hard and bravely, but such was the
power of numbers united to the force of treachery that they were obliged
to yield. In 1813, after the French had quitted Brieg, they again
attempted to penetrate from Italy by the Simplon; when the Brieg, Kelor
[?], and other villagers, joined by only one company of Austrians,
surrounded them in the night, and took them prisoners. In Schwytz [?]
and Unterwalden the division was more strongly marked. In Unterwalden
(where was the scene) the men [?] divided and fought against each other,
some joining the French from Stanz [?] to Engelberg. They were for
freedom, and fought as the cause deserved. They killed 5000 French, more
than double their own number; women fought; they were in all 2100 Swiss.
One maid in the ranks, when her comrades were obliged to retreat, seeing
a cannon yet unfired, went with a rope-end and fired it, killing thirty
[?] French. She was taken; a pardon was offered. She said, "I do not
acknowledge any pardon; my action is not pardonable; a thief [one?]
pardons, not a just man." They killed her with swords. The hundred men
who came from the higher part of Schwytz, attempting to go to their
relief, were through their own countrymen forced to cut their way and
march by night; and, when in retreating they came to the other shore of
Lucerne Lake, they had again to cut through their own countrymen to
arrive at their homes, they refusing them permission to pass. The
Austrians, for the help the higher Valaisians gave them, from sovereigns
have made them subjects to the lower Valaisians. The curate came in
again, with a description of the Simplon; sat an hour and a half, then
left the book. When [he was] not here I have written the part of my
Journal I missed at the time, and the extract from his book. He came in
again about 6 with a basket of prunes for me, and offered to go with me
half-way, as he had to go to a church on the way.

_September 26._—Got up at 5. The curate came, and, my foot being better,
I set off. He showed me the bridge over the Massa where was a battle,
and the ruins of a tyrant's tower. We came to his church, where he
showed me the miraculous figure that was found in the Rhone. He told me
the lower Valaisians were ready to join the French in '13, and that, in
spite of this, they [the Austrians?] had given them a majority of
voices. Left me in sight of Brieg, telling me he hoped to see me again
in heaven. I walked on to Brieg; breakfasted, and then set off along the
Simplon, a magnificent road indeed. It is cut in many places through the
rocks, in others built up to its side. It has caverns and bridges always
wide enough for four carriages; it ascends all the way to the new
Hospice, and again descends from it. At its side are houses of refuge
(as they are called) where many are kept by government, with privilege
of selling food to help the passers-by. There is in each a room with a
bed where one can go in case of rain, accident, etc.; and, when the time
for avalanches etc., these men are obliged to accompany the travellers
from house to house. Just where the rising ends the new Hospital was to
have been erected, and is half done, but stopped now. A little farther
on is the old one; whither I went, and got a dinner in the cell of one
of the monks; bread, wine, cold meat, and nuts. He seemed very _ennuyé_;
his words slowly fell; said they were St. Augustines, not St.
Bernardites. That St. Bernard was a mere reformer of the order. They
have been here since 1810 only, in an old castle for which they pay £20
a year. The Simplon was a department of France, and rather well off on
account of the quantity of work and money, and not having the _droits_
revenues. The Archduke Regnier was there a few days ago incog., and they
did not recognize him—which mortified them very much. It is six leagues
hither from Brieg, so that I had walked twenty-six miles.

I set off at 2: passed through Sempeln[?], and through the most
magnificent scenery, through the granite galleries. The Italian part is
by far the most difficult and splendid. The first boy that I met before
coming to Isella, in answer to a question in German, answered "Non
capisco";[20] I could have hugged. I arrived after much difficulty at
Isella, knocked up. I was ruined in my feet, and it was not till near
here that the carriages which parted in the morning from Brieg overtook
me. Went to bed immediately in a room where the grease might be scraped
from the floor.

_September 27._—Did not get up till 1 on account of fatigue. Breakfasted
most miserably, everything being bad; and then set off, but immensely
slowly till a cart overtook me. Entered; lay upon the logs of wood and
hay, and was driven to Domo d'Ossola. Is it imagination only that I find
the sky finer, the country where cultivated extremely rich,
green-looking? The dress of the women picturesque, blue with red stripes
here and there; the men more acute and quicker-eyed. Arrived at Domo
d'Ossola at 3; got into a clean though poor inn, and dined well. A
gendarme came in to ask how it was that my passport had not been viséd
yet; and then, seeing I was a physician, requested a cure for his
toothache. It is useless to describe the picturesque: the best page to
turn to for it is the memory. After one of the most comfortable
fireside-evenings I have had since I left Geneva I went to bed at 7-1/2.

_September 28._—Set off at 6 o'clock through vine-country, with little
hills here and there starting out of the low Alps, highly cultivated,
with beautiful little white villas at their tops and sides. Asked a
woman what was a house whereon was painted a Democritus, Diogenes, etc.
Answered, "È roba antica"[21]—though evidently modern, but deserted.
Indeed, the whole of the houses seem too large for the inhabitants—much
falling to ruin. From Domo d'Ossola went to Vella; to Vagagna, where I
breakfasted and saw the first good-looking Italian girl. The children
are pretty, the women quite otherwise. There began to suffer from my
feet so much as that to go about six more miles took me five hours. No
car passed me, or anything.

I arrived at last at Ornavasco. Could get no car, though they kept me
half-an-hour in the yard standing, in hopes of getting one. At last
agreed with a man that he should set off at 4 o'clock to-morrow to
Fariolo for 4 francs. Looked at a bedroom: shrugged up my shoulders, but
forced. Dinner: no meat, because "meagre." Ate the fruit. The Italian
grapes, nectarines, peaches, and pears, I got yesterday, excellent. Two
bunches of grapes half-a-franc: two at dinner.

_Sunday, September 29._—Up at 5. Got into the char, or rather cart.
Passed through Gravellino to Fariolo. Asked 10 francs to take me to
Laveno: offered 4—accepted. Got into the boat. Rowed towards Isola
Madre; passed Isola Pescatori; and landed on Isola Bella.

Went over the palace. Many of the floors miserable on account of their
being the mere rock. Some good pictures. A whole set of rooms below in
the style of grottoes, with windows looking on to beautiful views, close
to the lake for _il fresco_. Looked at the terrace: not pleasing the
style: and, thinking I should see it all in going round, did not go over
the gardens. Went round the island in the boat; magnificently paved,
like terrace on terrace.

Thence towards Laveno, intending to go to Lugano and Como; but, hearing
that I could go all the way by water to Milan, I preferred this, and
accordingly turned round towards Belgirato. Breakfasted on _caffè al
latte_, _uve_, _and fichi_,[22] 4-1/2 francs. Boatman proposed my
joining a party to Sestri-Calende, which I did. Arona, with the
colossus, on my left, Anghera on my right; Monte Rosa; all the bottom
part of the lake richly magnificent.

[The colossus is the celebrated gigantic statue of San Carlo Borromeo.]

Arrived at an inn—taken for a servant. After some time things got round,
when in came two soldiers with swords by their sides, to desire me to
step to the police-inspector. I did, and found he could not read the
writing in my passport. The boatman came soon after, offering me a plan
for to-morrow for five francs, and showing me twelve naps. they got for
the boat—which cost only seventy francs. Agreed.

_September 30._—Up at 5. Off at 6 in a large barge, with yesterday's
English party and two carriages, by the Tessino and canal to Milan: at
first through a fine hilly country, and rapidly by the Tessino flood.
After, slower, and through a flat plain with trees and neat villas and
hanging grapes, to Milan. Slept out of the town by the canal.

_October 1._—Up at 7.

[Polidori blunderingly calls this "September 31": he also calls the day
a Monday, but October 1, 1816, was a Tuesday. For the next following day
he rightly writes "October 2."]

The boatman came as I had desired, to guide me. Entered Milan by a fine
gate with a kind of triumphal arch. The streets are clean but
narrow—fine houses. There are two strips of pavement for wheels, and
often two for pedestrians. Passed by Santa Maria—fine, all white marble,
with many fine statues on the outside. Many palaces. A bad taste shown
in plastering the columns and corner-stones of a lighter colour than the

Got a letter from Brelaz; well written in composition and in letters,
but badly spelled. Got my trunk, after some difficulty, passed. The
diligence-keepers asked if they could direct me to rooms: showed two
where a man was at that moment going. Got them for 40 lire il mese; a
bedroom and sitting-room, second storey, Contrado San Spirito. Sent to
the custom-house. Made the men wait—sent them away for two hours, again
away for one. More stoppages, and, in centimes, 3 francs to pay. They
would not at first let it (the trunk) go because it was the last day of
the month.

[Did they share Polidori's blunder that the day was September 31?]

Went to dine at a restaurateur's: 1-1/2-franc dinner. Afterwards put my
things into a little order, dressed, and went strolling towards Teatro
della Scala. Entered, two hours before beginning, alone. Immense
theatre: six rows of boxes, with, I think, thirty-six in a row. _La
Testa di Bronzo_, a ballet, and a comic ballet: the ballet the most
magnificent thing I ever saw—splendid indeed.

_October 2._—Got up at 8. Breakfasted on grapes, bread and butter, wine,
and figs. Wrote to Lord Byron. Dressed. Went to Marchese Lapone—out of
town; Monsignor Brema—not at home. Walked about looking at booksellers'
shops. Entered the Duomo—invisible almost, so black and dark. They were
putting up drapery for Friday, which is the Emperor's birthday (probably
the same as for Napoleon). Returned home, arranged my papers. Took a
walk on the Corso; then to the Teatro Rè. The same price for all the
places. The piece _Il Sogno di Ariosto_ [Dream of Ariosto], where
Fortune, Merit, Orgoglio, with Mrs. Disinganno,[23] were all
personified. The dialogue abounded in truths, especially regarding
women, which they applauded. The theatre is very small, like the
Haymarket. Home to bed.

_October 3._—Up at 8. Went to a circulating library: read Denina,
_Vicende_, all the part on Italy and preface. To the Teatro Scelto di
Milano. Enquired about Andricini etc. for my father—not found.

["Andricini" is clearly written in the transcript before me. I am not
aware that there is any such Italian author as Andricini, and apprehend
that the name ought to be Andreini. This author wrote, early in the
seventeenth century, a dramatic poem entitled _Adamo_, which was
indisputably present to Milton's mind when he was writing _Paradise
Lost_. Dr. Polidori's father, who translated Milton, was probably
interested in this work of Andreini.]

Went to the Teatro Rè;[24] a play of English people in which they kiss
the hand, and make more bows than were ever made in a century in
England. There were German soldiers in English uniforms present. Home,
to bed.

_October 4._—Up at 8—breakfasted. Went to call on Monsignore Brême—found
him. Received me with two kisses and great apparent joy. About to learn
English: I promised my help. Walked with me, and invited me to his box.

[Lord Byron, in two of his letters, October and November 1816, remarks
regarding Milan: "The society is very oddly carried on—at the theatre,
and the theatre only, which answers to our opera. People meet there as
at a rout, but in very small circles.... They have private boxes, where
they play at cards, or talk, or anything else; but, except at the
cassino, there are no open houses or balls etc. etc."]

Left him—came home. Read Denina's _Ultime Vicende_, a poor book. Went to
Guyler. Met Caravella—walked with him. Went to dine: where I met his
brother, who told me the physician at Florence was dead, and promised to
come and take me to the hospital. Met after dinner Abate Berlezi the
Crabule.[25] Came home. Read the _Calandra_ of Bibiena, and _Sofonisba_
of Trissino. Took an ice, and went to La Scala. Feast of St. Francis,
the Emperor's. When the Dukes went this morning to mass at the Duomo not
a hat moved, not a voice of applause: however, when Regnier entered,
there was a slight clapping of hands. The theatre was lighted up like an
English one, and was magnificent, but showed what the Italians
allege—that the scene does not improve by it, but the contrary.

In Brema's loge there were Monti, Brema's brother, and others. Monti a
short man, round face, quick eye; pleasant in conversation, not haughty,
modest, unassuming; seemed to take great pleasure in parts of the music
and in the dancing.

[It will be understood that this is the celebrated Vincenzo Monti, the
poet who was at one time acclaimed as the legitimate successor of Dante
in virtue of his poem _La Basvigliana_, upon a personage of the French
Revolution. In 1816 Monti was sixty-two years of age: he died in 1828.
Though sufficiently Italian in his tone of mind and sentiment, he was
not a consistent Italian patriot, but was eminently susceptible of
inflation by a series of conflicting winds—anti-revolution, revolution,
Napoleonism, and even Austrianism. Not indeed that he was sordidly
self-interested in his various gyrations. As Dr. Richard Garnett has
said: "He was no interpreter of his age, but a faithful mirror of its
successive phases, and endowed with the rare gift of sublimity to a
degree scarcely equalled by any contemporary except Goethe, Byron, and

Brema related that a friend of his, Porro, asked for a passport to Rome:
refused, and asked for documents to prove his business. Gave what proved
he had business at Maurata and relatives at Rome. Refused. Went to
Swarrow, who told him he could not give it. Porro said: "Why do the
Austrians think the Italians are always making conspiracies?" Swarrow
said that they did not know, but, now that they had the upper hand, they
cared not; and at last that, if Porro would give his word of honour not
to visit any of the foreign embassies, he should have a passport. He had
it. Porro was not a revolutionist but had always been against Napoleon,
and had belonged to a legislative body by him dissolved on account of
obstinacy. Brema and others accompanied me as far as the door, and I
went to bed.

[It appears in the sequel that there were two Austrian governors in
Milan at this period—Swarrow and Bubna—one for civil and the other for
military affairs.]

From that day I neglected my Journal till this day,

_December 8._—My residence at Milan lasted till October 30. During that
time I had a most happy and pleasant life, Monsignor de Brême taking
great friendship for me. My friends and acquaintance were Brême,
Borsieri, Guasco, Cavalier Brême, Beyle, Negri, Byron, Hobhouse, Finch,
Caravellas, Locatelli, Monti, Monti's son-in-law, Lord Cowper, Lord
Jersey, etc.; Lloyd, Lee, Wotheron.

[Beyle was the great romance-writer best known as De Stendhal. In 1816
he was aged thirty-three, and had published only one book, entitled
_Lettres écrites de Vienne sur Haydn, suivies d'une Vie de Mozart, etc._
He had seen some service under Napoleon, in Russia and elsewhere. His
passionate admiration of the now dethroned Emperor induced him to retire
from France towards 1814, and he resided in Milan up to 1821. He died in
Paris in 1842.—Hobhouse had rejoined Byron in mid-September, and they
had continued together since then.—Colonel Finch was the person through
whom Shelley, in 1821, heard of the death of John Keats.—The Lord Cowper
living in 1816 was the fifth Earl, born in 1778, and was married to a
daughter of the first Viscount Melbourne.—The Earl of Jersey, born in
1773, was married to a daughter of the Earl of Westmorland.—Mr. Wotheron
is spoken of later on under the name "Werthern." Neither of these
surnames has a very English aspect, and I cannot say which is correct.]

De Brême and I became very intimate, and I believe he is really a good
friend. In the morning at 10 o'clock I went to him to help him in
English, and towards the end he corrected my Italian translation of
_Count Orlando_.[26] We afterwards met at his box every night in the
theatre of La Scala. He gave a dinner to Lord Byron, at which were a
good many or rather all my acquaintances—Monti, Finch, Hobhouse, two
Brêmes, Borsieri, Guasco (translator of Sophocles), Negri (author of
_Francesca of Rimini_, a play). The dinner was very elegant, and we were
very merry, talking chiefly of literature, Castlereagh, Burghersh, etc.
We got up immediately after dinner, and went to coffee; thence most to
the theatre. De Brême was Vicar Almoner under the French Government. A
priest came to him to ask leave to confess; Brême, knowing the subject,
refused. The Princess was put to move Beauharnais, who sent for Brême
and in a very angry mood asked him why he had refused leave. B[rême]
said that, as he was placed to give leave, he imagined it was that it
might not be granted indiscriminately, that he could not in his
conscience give it, but that he was not the chief, and the Almoner,
being applied to, might grant it. B[eauharnais] asked why, saying that
the Princess wished it, and it must be done. De B[rême] said he had
undertaken the office under the idea that his conscience was to be his
guide; if not, the office should be immediately vacant; that he put it
to Beauharnais himself whether a man who was buried in the vilest
dissoluteness was a proper person to be entrusted with the care of young
women's minds. Beauharnais said, "Right, right; you shall hear no more
of it." This, and another occasion of the same nature, were the only
occasions in which he saw Beauharnais privately; he avoided the court,
and did not seek preferment. He twice under that government refused a
bishopric, and under the new government; giving me as a reason that it
went against his conscience to inculcate what he did not believe, and to
add power to those who gave them, as he would be expected to side with
them. He is violently for the independence of Italy. Christianity he
believes not, and gives (I think) a new argument why we should not be
holden to believe it. Saul, who was contemporary, who beheld the
miracles etc., did not believe till a miracle was operated upon _him_;
we at this distance cannot believe with greater facility. He has
published an eulogium of Caluro, _Ingiustizia del Giudizio, etc._,
poems, etc. Has written several tragedies; _Ina_ made me weep like a
child. He is warm in his affections, and has never recovered the death
of one he loved—a young noble lady, of great accomplishments and beauty.
His friendship for me was warm: it gratifies me more than any
attentions, friendship, or any relation I had before, with my
fellow-companions. I cannot express what I feel for him. When parting
from him, I wept like a child in his arms. He maintains from principle,
not from belief, all the hardships imposed upon him by his tonsure. He
would have the world to see that his belief is not swayed by a wish to
escape from the bonds of the clerical state. He is charitable, giving
away great sums of money in charity; eats only once a day, and studies
all day till the hour of the theatre; kind to all who are recommended to
him; sacrificing whole days to show them what he has seen a thousand
times; a great admirer of English women; has an excellent library, of
which I had the use. A great friend of comic, good-natured mimicry. Has
an idea of writing _Ida_, a novel containing a picture of the most
promising movements of the Milan revolution, and I have promised to
translate it. He has two brothers; his father lives yet; his eldest
brother is Ambassador at Munich. The youngest is Cavalier Brême—been
officer in Spain; extremely pleasant and affectionate with me. Brême was
a great friend of Caluro's, and to him Caluro dedicated one of his

Borsieri, a man of great mental digestive power and memory,
superficially read; author of _Il Giorno_, a work written with great
grace and lightness. He was very intimate with me, Guasco, and Brême.
Guasco, a Piedmontese; little reading, but great mental vision and
talents. He also was one who attached himself a good deal to me. De
Beyle, formerly Intendant des Marchés (I think) to Buonaparte, and his
secretary when in the country. A fat lascivious man. A great deal of
anecdote about Buonaparte: calls him an _inimitable et bon despote_. He
related many anecdotes—I don't remember them: amongst other things, he
said Buonaparte despised the Italians much.

[This last detail is confirmed in Beyle's _Reminiscences of Napoleon_,
published not long ago.]

These four were the usual attendants at De Brême's box.

Monti is a short, roundish, quick-eyed, and rather rascally-faced man,
affable, easily fired; talks rather nonsense when off poetry, and even
upon that not good. Great imagination; very weak. Republican always in
conversation with us; but in the first month, after having declaimed
strongly in B[rême']s box about liberty and Germans, just as they were
going out he said, "But now let us talk no more of this, on account of
my pension." Under the French government he gained a great deal by his
various offices; by this one he has been abridged of half. He translated
the _Iliad_ of Homer without knowing a word of Greek; he had it
translated by his friends, word for word written under the Greek. Easily
influenced by the opinions of others; in fact, a complete weathercock.
He married the daughter of Pickler, the engraver; a fine woman, and they
say an exceedingly good reciter, as he is himself. She has acted in his
plays upon the Philodramatic stage. His daughter is married.

Negri—Marchese Negri[27]—a Genoese, not an improvisatore—very chatty;
has at Genoa a most beautiful garden which all the English visit.
Related to me Gianni's beginning. Gianni was an apprentice to a
stay-maker, when one day an Abate, going into the shop, found him busily
engaged in reading. Looking at the book, he asked him if he understood
it. He said yes, and, on reading, showed it by his expression. The
Abate, who was an improvisatore, asked him to see him next morning; when
he improvised before him, and observed that the young Gianni seemed as
if his mind was full and wished to give forth. He had him sent to
school, and introduced him. Gianni in the Revolution, taking the Liberal
side, was obliged to leave Rome, and, going to Genoa, Negri heard by
letter of it, and went to seek him, inviting him to dine with him. He
refused; and Negri, who had promised his friends that he would be of the
party, at the hour of dinner went and found him with his nightcap on,
deeply reading his favourite Dante; and in a manner dragged him by force
to his house, where Gianni pleased much—and stayed a year at Negri's
house, teaching him the art of improvisation. Gianni's improvisations
were (many) improvised on the spot by an Abate into Latin verse.—Negri
came to Brême's box several times, and had the effect of making all
except Brême burst with laughter: me he sent to sleep.

Lord Byron came to Milan, and I saw him there a good deal. He received
me kindly, and corrected the English of my essay in _The
Pamphleteer_.[28] He visited a good deal Brême's box. Mr. Hobhouse was
with him.

Colonel Finch, an extremely pleasant, good-natured, well-informed,
clever gentleman; spoke Italian extremely well, and was very well read
in Italian literature. A ward of his gave a masquerade in London upon
her[29] coming of age. She gave to each a character in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth to support, without the knowledge of each other, and
received them in a saloon in proper style as Queen Elizabeth. He
mentioned to me that Nelli had written a Life of Galileo extremely fair,
which, if he had money by him, he would buy that it might be
published,—in Italy they dare not; and that Galileo's MSS. were in
dispute, so that the heirs will not part with them; they contain some
new and some various readings. Finch is a great admirer of architecture
and Italy.—Wotheron, Mr., a gentleman most peaceable and quiet I ever
saw, accompanying Finch; whose only occupation is, when he arrives at a
town or other place, to set about sketching and then colouring, so that
he has perhaps the most complete collection of sketches of his tour
possible. He invited me (taking me for an Italian), in case I went to
England, to see him; and, hearing I was English, he pressed me much
more.—Locatelli was the physician of the hospital, a good unimpostoring
physician. I saw under him a case of pemphizus, and had under my care an
hysterical woman.

Jersey, Lady, promised to enquire of her mother, Lady Westmorland, if
she would employ me as her physician; but said she thought my having
been with Lord B[yron] a great objection.

[I have an impression, not a secure one, that Dr. Polidori did act to
some extent as Lady Westmorland's medical adviser. It would here appear
that her Ladyship was not very partial to Byron; and Byron must have
repaid her dislike, for I find, in a letter of his to Murray, November
1817, that Polidori was in the way of receiving "the patronage of
Frederic North, the most illustrious humbug of his age and country, and
the blessing of Lady Westmorland, William Ward's mad woman." Joseph
Severn the painter (Keats's friend), who saw a good deal of Lady
Westmorland at one time, terms her "this impulsive, arrogant,
dictatorial, but witty and brilliant woman."]

Lloyd;—as I was moving in the pit, found him, and never saw a person so
glad in my life. He offered me half of the money he had at his banker's,
as he thought I must be much embarrassed. Told me Brelaz and Bertolini
seemed to be together, and that the man seemed worked off his legs.

My life at Milan was very methodical. I got up, went to the hospital,
breakfasted, came home, studied, dined, and then at 7 went to the
theatre. Between breakfast and study went to de Brême to help him in
English. It was proposed too, by him, to teach English, which I had
intended to do.

I saw only the dome under which is the chapel of St. Borromeo—very rich
in silver, crystal, and jewels. The body is vested in pontificals, and
quite dry. The orbits seem only filled with a little heap of black dirt,
and the skull etc. is black. There is here the gnometer of Cassini. They
preserve here a nail of the cross of Christ.—St. Ambrose, the ancient
Cathedral. It was at the gates of this that Theodosius was refused
entrance.—The Brera library; and the Ambrosian, where I saw the Virgil
with marginal notes of Petrarch; some of the pieces of MSS. of the
Plautus and Terence, fragments edited by Mai.—Some of the paintings
there are beautiful. The Milanese Raphael has some heads expressing such
mild heavenly meekness as is scarcely imagined.

[This Raphael is, as many readers will know, the _Sposalizio_, or
Espousal of the Virgin Mary and Joseph. Being an early work by the
master, it exhibits, in its "mild heavenly meekness," more of the style
of Perugino than of that which became distinctive of Raphael in his

When at Milan, I spent almost all my money in books, buying nearly 300
volumes, not being able to resist that thirst for printed sheets, many
of which I never shall read.

Swarrow, the Governor of Milan, when the Emperor was there, accompanying
him to the theatre, saw that one poor man in the pit, leaning against a
box, had dared to keep his hat on. Violently enraged, he enters the box,
without leave or saying a word; and, leaning over the box with all his
orders dangling at his breast, applies two hearty slaps to the poor
man's cheeks, and then, rising majestically, leaves the box, and goes to
receive the despot's smile. This making a great hubbub, and exciting a
great deal of ridicule against the noble police-officer, he insisted
with the police-director that not a word more should be allowed to be

When at Milan, there came Sgricci, a Tuscan, under the patronage of
Monti, who puffed him most egregiously, especially his tragic
_improvisati_. I accompanied de Brême to Casa Crivelli, where I saw
Swarrow and a cardinal; a dried-up ganache[?] with a face of malice that
had dried up with the features of the face, but still remained sketched
there in pretty forcible lines. The improvisator entered; yellow boots
with trousers, blue coat, and a Flemish collar to his shirt. He began
_The Loves of Psyche and Cupid_; commonplace, unpoetic rhymes.
_Coriolanus_, a tragedy; such an abominable opiate that, in spite of my
pinching myself and Cavalier Brême rousing me every minute, I found
myself, when ended, roused by the applause from a pleasant nap. Heard
him again at the theatre; terza rima; _The Grief of Mausolea_.[30] The
only bearable parts were those about Aurora, night, etc., which he had
beforehand prepared, to clap-in at convenience, from the _Gradus ad
Parnassum_. The tragedy being drawn out, first came _The Death of
Socrates_. He came forward, saying that, this subject being
undramatizable, he would, if the public insisted, attempt it, but that
he had rather another might be drawn. _Montezuma_ came out. "Oh," says
he, "this will touch your passions too much, and offend many probably
personally." The public here stoutly hissed, and insisted he should
proceed; he as stoutly called on the boy to draw, which he did, and,
there coming forth _Eteocles and Polynices_, he was satisfied, making
_olla podrida scenica_ of French ragouts, Italian minestras, and Greek
black soup. It was reported that Monti's taking him up was by the
persuasion of his daughter. An epigram was written upon Sgricci, as
follows nearly—

             "In questi tempi senza onore e merto
             Lavora Sgricci in vano, ha un altro il serto."

[The translation of this couplet is—"In these times without honour and
merit Sgricci labours in vain—another man wears the wreath." It will be
seen that the epigram, if such it can be considered, runs in favour of
Sgricci. He was a native of Arezzo, and, as our text shows, a renowned
improvisatore. I happen to possess a printed tragedy of his, _Ettore_,
which is notified as having been improvised in the Teatro Carignano,
Turin, on June 13, 1823. Shelley in January 1821 attended one of
Sgricci's improvisations, and was deeply impressed by it as a wonderful
effort, and even, considered in itself, a fine poetic success. In 1869,
being entrusted with some MS. books by Shelley through the courtesy of
his son the late Baronet, I read a tribute of some length which the
great English poet had paid to the Italian improvisatore: it has not yet
been published, and is included, I suppose, among the Shelley MSS.
bequeathed to the Bodleian Library. The subject on which Shelley heard
Sgricci improvise was Hector (Ettore). One rather suspects that the
_Ettore_ improvised in 1823 may have been partly reminiscent of its
predecessor in 1821. The portrait of Sgricci, a man of some thirty-five
years of age, appears in the book which I possess: it shows a costume of
the fancy-kind that Polidori speaks of. I have looked through the
tragedy, and do not concur in the tone of ridicule in which Polidori
indulges. An improvise can only be criticized as an improvise, and this
appears to me a very fair specimen.—As I have had occasion here to
re-mention Shelley, I may as well add that Medwin (_Life of Shelley_,
vol. i, p. 250), says that the poet had no animosity against Polidori,
consequent upon any past collisions: "Shelley I have often heard speak
of Polidori, but without any feeling of ill-will."]

Going one evening with L[ord] B[yron] and Mr. H[obhouse] to B[rême]'s
box, Mr. Hobhouse, Borsieri, and myself, went into the pit, standing to
look at the ballet. An officer in a great-coat came and placed himself
completely before me with his grenadier's hat on. I remarked it to my
companions: "Guarda a colui colla sua berretta in testa" (I believe
those were my words), waiting a few minutes to see if he would move. I
touched him, and said, "Vorrebbe farmi la grazia di levarsi il cappello
purch'io vegga?" He turning said "Lo vorreste?" with a smile of insult.
I answered: "Sì, lo voglio."[31] He then asked me if I would go out with
him. I, thinking he meant for a duel, said, "Yes, with pleasure"; and
called Mr. Hobhouse to accompany me. He did. When passing by the
guard-house he said, "Go in, go in there"; I said I would not, that it
was not there I thought of going with him. Then he swore in German, and
drew half his sabre with a threatening look, but Hobhouse held his hand.
The police on guard came, and he delivered me to their custody. I
entered the guard-house, and he began declaiming about the insult to one
like him. I said I was his equal, and, being in the theatre, to any one
there. "Equal to me?" he retorted; "you are not equal to the last of the
Austrian soldiers in the house"; and then began abusing me in all the
Billingsgate German he was master of—which I did not know till
afterwards. In the meanwhile the news had spread in the theatre, and
reached de Brême and L[ord] Byron, who came running down, and tried to
get me away, but could not on any plea. De Brême heard the secretary of
police say to the officer: "Don't you meddle with this, leave it to me."
De Brême said he would go to Bubna immediately, and get an order for my
dismission; on which the officer took Lord Byron's card, as bail that I
would appear to answer for my conduct on the morrow. Then I was

Next morning I received a printed order from the police to attend. As
soon as I saw the order I went to De Brême, who accompanied me to the
gate. I entered.

"Where do you wish your passport viséd for?"

"I am not thinking of going."

"You must be off in four-and-twenty hours for Florence."

"But I wish for more time."

"You must be off in that time, or you will have something disagreeable
happen to you."

Brême, upon hearing this, immediately set off to Bubna, and I to Lord
Byron, who sent Mr. Hobhouse in company of Colonel McSomething to
Swarrow to ask that I might not be obliged to go. They went. Swarrow
received them with a pen in his hand; said it was a bagatelle; that the
Secretary of Police had been there in the morning, and that he had told
him of it. That it was nothing, that I should find myself as well off in
any other city as there, and that, if I stayed, something worse might
happen. Hobhouse tried to speak. S[warrow] advanced a foot; "Give my
compliments to Lord Byron; am sorry I was not at home when he called."
"But if this is so mere a trifle ..."—"I hope Lord Byron is well";
advancing another foot, and then little by little got them so near the
door that they saw it was useless, and left him. De Brême in the
meanwhile had been to Bubna. Bubna received him very politely, and said
he had already seen Colonel M., who had explained to him the whole; and
that for the mistake of speaking to the officer on guard he thought it
enough that I had been put under arrest. "I am much obliged to you, and
am glad then that my friend will not have to leave Milan." "What do you
mean?" Brême explained. "It is impossible, there must be some mistake,
for I have had no memorial of it. I will see Swarrow this evening about
it." De Brême mentioned with what idea I had left the theatre. Bubna
said that German soldiers had one prejudice less; and at the theatre in
the evening I heard many instances of the officers of the Austrian Army
acting meanly in this respect. Amongst others, Bubna's son, being
challenged for insulting a lady at a public ball, accepted the
challenge, but said there were several things he had to settle first,
and that he would appoint a day for the following week. He left Milan
the Saturday before. A young Italian had a dispute with a Hussar
officer, and challenged him, for which he was brought before the police
and reprimanded. Some days after, the officer, standing at a coffee-room
door, asked him if he wished to settle the affair with him. He said yes,
and they immediately entered. The officer spoke to several of his
companions in the room, and they all struck the young man, and pushed
him out. He could get no redress.

[This affair of Dr. Polidori's shindy in the theatre excited some
remark. His feelings in favour of Italy and Italians were keen, as he
was himself half Italian by blood; and he was evidently not disinclined
to pick a quarrel with an Austrian military man. He was indiscreet, and
indeed wrong, in asking an Austrian officer on guard to take off his
cap; and, although he addressed the officer at first in courteous terms,
his expression "Lo voglio" was not to be brooked even by a civilian.
Lord Byron mentioned the matter in a letter to his sister, November 6,
1816, as follows: "Dr. Polidori, whom I parted with before I left Geneva
(not for any great harm, but because he was always in squabbles, and had
no sort of conduct), contrived at Milan, which he reached before me, to
get into a quarrel with an Austrian, and to be ordered out of the city
by the Government. I did not even see his adventure, nor had anything to
do with it, except getting him out of arrest, and trying to get him
altogether out of the scrape." And on the same day to Thomas Moore. "On
arriving at Milan I found this gentleman in very good society, where he
prospered for some weeks; but at length, in the theatre, he quarrelled
with an Austrian officer, and was sent out by the Government in
twenty-four hours. I could not prevent his being sent off; which,
indeed, he partly deserved, being quite in the wrong, and having begun a
row for row's sake. He is not a bad fellow, but young and hot-headed,
and more likely to incur diseases than to cure them." Beyle likewise has
left an account of the affair, translated thus. "One evening, in the
middle of a philosophical argument on the principle of utility, Silvio
Pellico, a delightful poet, came in breathless haste to apprise Lord
Byron that his friend and physician Polidori had been arrested. We
instantly ran to the guard-house. It turned out that Polidori had
fancied himself incommoded in the pit by the fur cap of the officer on
guard, and had requested him to take it off, alleging that it impeded
his view of the stage. The poet Monti had accompanied us, and, to the
number of fifteen or twenty, we surrounded the prisoner. Every one spoke
at once. Polidori was beside himself with passion, and his face red as a
burning coal. Byron, though he too was in a violent rage, was on the
contrary pale as ashes. His patrician blood boiled as he reflected on
the slight consideration in which he was held. The Austrian officer ran
from the guard-house to call his men, who seized their arms that had
been piled on the outside. Monti's idea was excellent: 'Sortiamo
tutti—restino solamente i titolati' (Let us all go out—only the men of
title to remain). De Brême remained, with the Marquis di Sartirana, his
brother, Count Confalonieri, and Lord Byron. These gentlemen having
written their names and titles, the list was handed to the officer on
guard, who instantly forgot the insult offered to his fur cap, and
allowed Polidori to leave the guard-house. In the evening, however, the
Doctor received an order to quit Milan within twenty-four hours. Foaming
with rage, he swore that he would one day return and bestow manual
castigation on the Governor who had treated him with so little
respect."—One other observation of Beyle, regarding Polidori and Byron,
may be introduced here. "Polidori informed us that Byron often composed
a hundred verses in the course of the morning. On his return from the
theatre in the evening, still under the charm of the music to which he
had listened, he would take up his papers, and reduce his hundred verses
to five-and-twenty or thirty. He often sat up all night in the ardour of
composition."—As Polidori's passport is prominently mentioned at this
point of the Diary, I may add a few particulars about it. It was granted
on April 17, 1816, by the Conte Ambrogio Cesare San Martino d'Aglia,
Minister of the King of Sardinia in London; and it authorized Polidori
to travel in Italy—no mention being made of Switzerland, nor yet of Lord
Byron. The latest visa on the passport is at Pisa, for going to
Florence. This is signed "Il Governatore, Viviani," whom we may safely
assume to have been a relative of Shelley's Emilia. The date of this
final visa is February 17, 1817.]

_October 30._—Got up early next morning, packed up my books and things;
then went to seek for a coach that was parting for Lodi. Found one, and
fixed that a vetturino, who was going to set off next day for Florence,
should take me up at Lodi. Went to see de Brême. He told me he had been
to Bubna's, but that he had found him out at a council of war, and that
he had left an order none should follow him. I took leave of de Brême,
and wept in his arms like a child, for his kindness and friendship had
been dear to me. I took leave of L[ord] B[yron], H[obhouse], and Guasco.
The last offered me his services in any way, and said he should take it
as a favour the oftener he was applied to. I got into the coach with
only 5 louis in my pocket, leaving my books in the care of de Brême, and
left Milan with rage and grief so struggling in my breast that tears
often started in my eyes, and all I could think of was revenge against
Swarrow and the officer in particular, and a hope that before I left
Italy there might be a rising to which I might join myself. I arrived at
Lodi; wrote to Lloyd to ask him to lend me some money, and went to bed

_October 31._—Up at 9: breakfasted. Went to see the Duomo and other
churches without feeling interest; the hospital, which is a magnificent
building. Returning to the inn, I met the vetturino. I found in the
coach a Prussian student of Heidelberg who had made the campaigns of '13
and '14 with the rest of his companions, and who was banished Heidelberg
for slapping a Russian in the face. Growled against his king for not
keeping his promise; hated the French, and gave me an interesting
account of the way of spending the winter evenings in his part of
Germany, Pomerania; the young working at some pursuit of hand, the old
relating their tale of youth. A Milanese woman and son. We went that
evening to Casal Panterlungo. Supped and went to bed, I and the Prussian
in the same room.

_November 2._—Up at 4. Across the Taro to Parma. Went, in spite of my
having so little money, in search of books—Boccaccio's _Fiammetta_. The
Cathedral and Baptistery. From Parma to Reggio, a beautiful town with
fine palaces and porticoes, though, on account of the few inhabitants,
appearing a huge sepulchre. To Rubiera: supped and slept.

_November 3._—Up at 4. Through Modena, where I saw the Duomo, and the
Tower which contains the Lecchia porticoes—palaces of the Duke—four
orders heaped one on the other. Here they examined my box, and were
going to send it to the dogana on account of books; when, upon my saying
I was a physician, they let them pass.

At Bologna supped with the Prussian. To the opera. Saw a ballet,
extremely ridiculous: barbarian dances with astonishing powers of limbs
forming in the air [postures] out and in on their feet.

_November 4._—Up at 9. Went to see the churches and (a) private gallery.
After dinner roamed about the town in a most melancholy mood, entering
the churches and sitting in the dark for an hour, etc. Went to the
Theatre of Cento Cavalli: beautiful Greek architecture. To bed—a play.

_November 5._—At 10, expecting to have been called before, the vetturino
came, saying he would not go, since I had hindered the Prussian from
setting off on Monday, without security; and that he would go to the
police to gain it from the Prussian that he should be paid at Florence.
After a good deal of disputing I gave it, in a promissory note that I
would pay if he could not. Found afterwards it was only to get time.

Went to see the churches, the public place, San Prospero, the Neptune.
After dinner to Madonna Santa Lucia. Along the portico "Questo è da
vendere"[32] was written on portions of the wall. The public cemetery.
Saw a coffin, when dark, brought into the church with torches. The poor
are separated from the rich, and have only the turf upon them: the rich
groan under the weight of marble. The priests, monks, nuns, etc., all in
separate squares; a cardinal's hat covering a death's head.

Returned to Bologna. Went to the theatre. Saw _Agnese_: wept like a
child: the acting of the madman inimitable. Went to bed.

_November 6._—Up at 11. Set off with the Prussian and an Italian officer
across the Apennines. Oxen in continual use. Misty, so could not enjoy
the view. Dreadful winds to Pianoro. That evening the officer related
all the services he had been in; French liberty, Consulship, Emperor.
Refused by the Austrians; went to Murat, and now going to offer himself
to the Pope; if not accepted, to America. For which side? "Spanish or
Creole."[33] He had the unfeelingness to joke upon his father's being
killed in the time of the liberty-rows, saying he got that for not
changing; on which I felt so nettled that I spoke for half-an-hour upon
the ruin the fickleness of the Italians had brought upon themselves. He
felt, I think, ashamed; at least he gave up that kind of light talk.

Forgot to say that at Modena I presented[34] my passport so that the "24
hours" were invisible; and left at Modena one who had accompanied us
from Piacenza, telling the most barefaced lies about boars, dogs, and
thieves, that were ever heard.

_November 7._—At 4 up. Arrived at night at Fortebuona. Dreadful wind and
rain. Supped and went to bed.

_November 8._—At 5 walked a good part of the road. Arrived at Florence
by the Porta San Gallo, through the Arch. The custom-house officer, when
we told him, if he wanted to look, he might open, [replied]: "Che? Un
servo del sovrano? Ci sono dei facchini."[35]

Florence, on entering, disappointed me, as we were obliged to go round
on account of the road being mended. Went to the inn. Dressed—not having
changed linen since Milan. Went to the post: no letters. In despair,
remaining with only four scudi. Walked about the town,—Arno: into the
Cathedral and Baptistery.

Went to seek Cavalier Pontelli.[36] Knocked at his door, along Arno—both
before and behind. Could not make any one hear. One who lived near
(Lecchini), upon my asking how to get in, said he was thankful to say he
was not Pontelli, and did not know. Returned home. Gave the Prussian a
missal I had bought at Bologna. He broke my pipe. Went to bed. Wrote to
Pontelli and Brême.

_November 9._—Got up; went to seek Pontelli. Found he had a villa at
Porta San Gallo. Went thither, knocked; saw his head pop out of the
window in a greasy night-cap. On my announcing myself, he descended,
opened the door, and received me with welcome. Found him at breakfast,
sausages, caviare, etc. Sat down; told me his housekeeper would not show
herself; invited me to come to his house instead of the inn. Went into
town; took a peep at the Gallery—at the precious vases, Venus, etc. Went
to the inn. Put up my things, paid; and, seeing the Prussian envied me
my desk, I gave it him, on condition that, if we ever met again, he
would paint me a picture he sketched in my album. Went to Pontelli;
dined; accompanied him to town. His servant took a porter to carry my
things to the Arno house, and then we went to pay visits.

In the way he told me he lived very retired, and very economically that
he might not want; that the people now looked upon him with a good eye;
that the Government also did not prosecute him; and that he in fine
thought that a revolution would be general—trying to persuade me that
his avarice was mere policy.

Went to pay a visit to Cavalier Tomasi, a Cortonian. Found many in the
room, who all sat upon me about English politics. Left them when they
were going to play. Thence to Abate Fontani, Librarian of the Riccardi
Library. Talked of Madame de Staël, Finch, etc.

Returned home. Found I was in the house of the Capponis, Pontelli having
the lower storey.

_November 10._—Up at 9. Dressed in black silk etc., the housekeeper
going to mass; and, Pontelli apparently not being willing that I should
accompany her, I went out a little after, and went to the same church,
where I spoke with her. Looked at the church; and then went to San
Lorenzo, Santo Spirito [Santa Croce],[37] where I saw the tomb of
Galileo, Machiavelli, Alfieri, Cosmo de' Medici, etc.

Returned, and went with a letter from de Brême to the Countess of
Albany. Found there several. Presented my letter: "Very like your

[The Countess of Albany, it need hardly be said, was the widow of Prince
Charles Edward Stuart, the "Young Pretender." Born in 1752, Princess of
Stolberg-Gedern, she married the Prince in 1772. Being much ill-treated
by him, she left him, and maintained a practically conjugal relation
with Conte Vittorio Alfieri, the famous dramatic poet: they could have
married after a while, but no nuptial ceremony took place. Alfieri died
in 1803, and the Countess then became very intimate with a French
painter, much younger than herself, named Fabre. She died in Florence in
January 1824. If Dr. Polidori had been a Jacobite, he would have held
that, in waiting upon the Countess of Albany, he was in the presence of
the Queen Dowager of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It
will be observed that the Countess told Polidori that he was "very like
his father." The latter had, from 1787 to 1789, been secretary to the
Conte Alfieri, and had known the Countess in Colmar and Paris. In one of
his privately printed books he has left on record a little anecdote of
the royal dame, which, trifling as it is, may find a place here. "While
the Conte Alfieri was slowly recovering health I was invited to pass the
evenings with him and the Countess, so that on various occasions I '_fui
terzo tra cotanto senno_.'[38] But this honour did not last long. For
one time when I was with them the lady turned her eyes on me, and asked
Alfieri why my thighs were rounded while his were flat. 'Stuff and
nonsense,' he replied, wrinkling his nose, and he passed on to some
different talk. From that time I no more had the honour of being one of
the exalted party; neither could I complain of this, for I myself felt
that that question had been unseemly, and more in character for a drab
than for a discreet and modest lady."]

Conversation became general. Republics being brought upon the tapis, I
took to defending them, especially against a gentleman near me. After
some time he went, and I gathered he was brother to the King of Prussia.

Took my leave, and came to dinner, after going to the caffè to wait for
Pontelli. Rain hindered him from keeping his appointment, so that I went
at last alone to San Gallo, he having the custom of staying the Sundays
only in town. Was presented by him to Lecchini, the Inspector of Police,
who recognized me as a Tuscan, and the domiciliary communication was
made out as such.

_November 11._—Tried to stay at home. Forced by Pontelli's long-in-vain
repeated hints to go out; jealous of his young housekeeper, though she
is hardly worth it. Roamed about, dined, and went to bed.

_November 12._—Same. Dined with him at a restaurateur's.

_November 13._—Got up at 7; tired of Pontelli, and set off for Arezzo,
with a shirt in my pocket and with my dog. When at Incisa it began to
rain; walked on through Feline, Monte Varchi, to Arezzo. Thunder and
lightning excessive, with violent rain. I was at last so numbed that
when roused I seemed to be wakened; my dog could not stand it, but at 7
miles from Arezzo fell. I did not perceive it, but walked on. Arrived at
8, having walked 45 miles in 12 hours, having stopped once at Incisa to
eat and rest. Found my uncle's house; knocked. The servant, hearing I
was his nephew, flew up-stairs, and I met a tall, stout, slovenly woman,
my aunt. On the second storey, where they lodged, they made a fire. I
changed my things for my uncle's, and while changing he arrived—a tall,
stout, handsome, mild-looking man. Put myself to bed; ate, and they left
me to sleep.

[This uncle, Luigi Polidori, was a physician, and had a considerable
reputation for the cure of the local typhoid fever (tifo).]

_November 14._—Found myself well; no cold, only my left groin stiff from
a wound in my foot. Saw my two cousins, Pippo and Teresa; put myself to
study. After 6 went with my uncle to Signor Gori, where I heard music.
Four or five girls wanting husbands, two priests, whitewashed walls, and
several young men, were the entertainment.

While at Arezzo, my life was quiet enough; study till I went out at 6,
when I went to play at cards and talk at Signor Gori's. Saw the prisons.
One of the descendants of a true Lombard family walking about in a dirty
sailor-looking jacket. Signora Onesti and daughter the most abominable
scandal-talkers I ever heard, though she was a Pitti. Library always
shut. The School of Ignatius a fine building. Churches fine: the Chapel
of St. Mary, the Cathedral with the basso-rilievo altars, the church
with the altar painted by Vasari, etc.—I recovered my dog.

_November 21._—Set off to return to Florence with half-a-scudo in my
pocket; having refused to accept from my uncle, not being willing to let
him know how it stood. Frost on the ground: hurt my foot. Lost my dog
again at Montesarchi. At Feline got into a carriage, not being able to
do more on account of my foot. Met a physician, a cavaliere and his
wife. Arrived at 7; Pontelli lent me a scudo to pay.

_November 22, 23, 24._—Stayed at Pontelli's on account of my foot,
though Pontelli tried to send me out under pretence that I should see
the town. But, not being able, he stayed at home till 6, when he told me
I had better go to bed—which I generally did to quiet him. No letters
according to servant.

_November 25._—Tired of Pontelli. That I might go to Pisa, I issued out
intending to sell my watch-chain; but as a last chance looked at the
Post Office, and found two letters from Lloyd, who, as soon as he had
received my letter, set off from Venice to see me. On the road he lost
his purse with 36 louis, and, having no letters at Florence, he could
only give me 20 scudi. Received me with great kindness, and assured me
that, while he had money, I should never want. Dined with him and
Somers. They advised me to settle in Florence as physician to the
English. I however determined to see Vaccà first; wished him good-bye,
as he was obliged to go to Rome for money.

[There were two brothers named Vaccà, or Vaccà Berlinghieri, who had
been known to Gaetano Polidori in Pisa before he left Italy with
Alfieri. Gaetano (who was a native of Bientina near Pisa, his family
belonging chiefly to Pontedera) also stayed in the same house with the
Vaccàs in Paris after leaving his secretaryship with the Count. They
were then both medical students. One of them, Leopoldo—who had been
intimate with Napoleon while the latter was in the Military
College—abandoned medicine, and served under the French empire in Spain,
dying not many years afterwards. The other brother, Andrea, attained an
European reputation in medicine, and especially surgery: Shelley, when
in Pisa, consulted him more than once.]

_November 26._—Went to seek the Naviglio, to go by water to Pisa. At
going out, stopped by the gate-officer, who, on hearing me enquire where
the boat was, would not let me pass without proofs of my being
_originario Toscano_; so I went to Lecchini, and got him to write me a
declaration. The boat could not set off to-day, so returned to Pontelli
and went to bed.

_November 27._—At 7 set off in the boat on the Arno for Pisa.

_November 29, 30, December 1._—Stayed in my room, copying _Osteologia_
of my grandfather.

[This _Osteologia_ is a treatise on osteology written in verse—octave
stanzas. The author was Agostino Ansano Polidori, by profession a
surgeon, born in 1714 and deceased in 1778. In 1847 Gaetano Polidori
printed this poem at his private press. He had previously made a MS.
copy of it, with an introduction giving a few family-particulars. One
statement made in this introduction is that the mother of Agostino was a
Florentine lady named Folchi—"perhaps" (so says Gaetano Polidori)
"descended from an English family domiciled in Florence, which may have
changed its name Folks into Folchi."]

_December 2._—Up at 9; went to see Vaccà; still at hospital. While
waiting for him, saw an Austrian colonel, who, in the excess of his
gratitude to Vaccà, called him the _Dio della Medicina_. Vaccà expressed
great joy to see me; told me to make his house my own; to dine there
when I chose, and often; to begin to-day; not to use ceremony. Left me,
and I returned home; went to dine at V[accà]'s. Introduced me to his
wife, a pleasing pretty Frenchwoman, the former wife of his brother; he
had just obtained the Pope's dispensation to marry her. Spent the
evening there.

_December 3, 4, to 21._—Went to the hospital in the mornings when Vaccà
was not ill; three or four times to the Library. Studied in the
mornings; went to dine either at Vaccà's or at eating-house; always
evenings at Vaccà's. Corsi, a well-informed lawyer, cav[alier]
serv[ente] to V[accà?];[39] Mario ex cav[alier] serv[ente]. Cecco
Castanelli, Pachiani, etc.; chess with the English; with Vaccà. For the
various information I obtained there see notes.

[The Pachiani (or Pacchiani) here mentioned must certainly be the same
Abate Pachiani who in 1820 introduced Shelley to the Contessina Emilia
Viviani, to whom the poet dedicated his _Epipsychidion_. Medwin, in his
_Life of Shelley_, a book which does not now obtain many readers, gives
a lively but partly very unfavourable account of Pachiani: I append a
few extracts from it, more as being relevant to Shelley than to
Polidori. "Pachiani was about fifty years of age, somewhat above the
common height, with a figure bony and angular. His face was dark as that
of a Moor. During the reign of Austrian despotism he was admirably
calculated for a spy. As to his religion, it was about on a par with
that of l'Abate Casti. At Pisa, il Signore Professore was the title by
which he was generally known. He lost [his professorship] by an
irresistible _bon mot_. During one of his midnight orgies, which he was
in the habit of celebrating with some of the most dissolute of the
students, he was interrogated, in the darkness, by the patrole in the
streets of Pisa as to who and what he was,—to which questioning he gave
the following reply: 'Son un uomo pubblico, in una strada pubblica, con
una donna pubblica.' His epigrams were _sanglants_, and he gave
sobriquets the most happy for those who offended him. His talent was
conversation—a conversation full of repartee and sparkling with wit; and
his information (he was a man of profound erudition, vast memory, and
first-rate talent) made him almost oracular. He was a mezzano, cicerone,
conoscitore, dilettante, and I might add ruffiano."[40]]

_December 21._—Went in the evening to the Countess Mastrani's. Ices,
iced people, prepared poetry, music. Went to the theatre, in the days
past, several times. Saw Goldoni's _Bugiardo_, with Harlequin etc.

_December 22._—As usual.

_December 23._—Same.

_December 24._—Ditto.

_December 25._—Christmas-day. Walked along Arno. Spent the evening and
dined at Vaccà's.

_December 26._—Up at 7. Went with Vaccà to Leghorn, a neat, regular,
well-built town. The first thing I went in search of was the sea, and I
stood gazing some time on the waves. The Public Place and Strada Maestra
fine. Saw Vescali's collection of alabasters. Returned by 3. Dined with
Vaccà. Went to the theatre with Mrs. Vaccà, who introduced me to Signora
Bettina Franciuoli.

_December 27._—As usual. Up at 4—dined at Vaccà's—went to theatre, and
to B.'s box.

_December 28._—Went to hear nella Chiesa dei Cavalieri (after a ride
with Mrs. Vaccà) Nicolini play a sonata upon the organ, which is perhaps
the finest in Italy. There were the Prince Villafranca, the Countess
Castelfiel, Princess della Pace, and other nobles. At Vaccà's and

_December 29._—Up at 3-1/2. Dined at Vaccà's: theatre. English etc. as

_December 30._—Up at 1. Reading Sismondi. Got up—went to Vaccà to dine.
After English, to the Casa Mastrani: all evening with Sofia. The
others—Biribro, Dionigi.

[According to a letter from Lord Byron, April 11, 1817, Dr. Polidori had
at least three patients at Pisa—Francis Horner, a child of Thomas Hope,
and Francis North, Lord Guilford. They all died—which may or may not
have been partly the Doctor's fault.]

With this entry we come to the end of Dr. Polidori's Diary—although (as
I have before intimated) not by any means to the end of his sojourn in
Italy. He saw Byron again in April 1817 in Venice: Shelley, to the best
of my knowledge, he never re-beheld.

I add here two letters which Polidori wrote to his sister Frances (my
mother, then a girl of only sixteen), and two to his father. The first
letter was written soon after beginning the journey with Byron; the last
not long after the date of parting from him. I also add a letter sent to
Mr. Hobhouse during Polidori's sojourn with Byron, and a note, of much
later date, written by Mrs. Shelley to my father, Gabriele Rossetti.

The letter to Mr. Hobhouse, it will be observed, goes over some of the
same details which appear in the Diary. This letter has been copied by
me from the Broughton Papers, in the Manuscript Department of the
British Museum (Add. MSS. 36456 to 36483). I did my best to trace
whether these papers contain anything else relating to Polidori, and I
do not think they do. In fact, the affairs of Lord Byron, and the very
name of him, scarcely figure in those Broughton Papers at all: for
instance, I could not find anything relating to his death.



      I shall see Waterloo in a day or two—don't you wish to be with me?
but there are many more things that I have seen which would have given
you as much pleasure. Shakespear's Cliff at Dover, the French coast, the
phosphorescent sea, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, and Brussels, have all got
more than is in any of Feinaigh's plates to excite the memory to bring
forth its hidden stores. The people amongst whom we are at present
dwelling is one that has much distinguished itself in the noblest
career, the race for liberty; but that tends little to the ennobling of
a people without the sun of literature also deigns to shine upon them.

It was not the warlike deeds, the noble actions, of the Greeks and
Romans or modern Italians, that has rescued these names from the
effacing daub of oblivion; if it had not been for their poets, their
historians, their philosophers, their heroes would in vain have
struggled for fame. Their actions would have been recorded in the dusty
legends of monks, and consequently have been forgotten, like those of
the Belgians, Carthaginians, and others. How many fine actions of modern
times will be buried in oblivion from the same want, and how many merely
secondary characters will be handed down with a halo round their deeds
reflected from the pages of historic genius!

I am very pleased with Lord Byron. I am with him on the footing of an
equal, everything alike: at present here we have a suite of rooms
between us. I have my sitting-room at one end, he at the other. He has
not shown any passion; though we have had nothing but a series of
mishaps that have put _me_ out of temper though they have not ruffled
his. The carriage, the new carriage, has had three stoppages. We are at
present at Brussels merely to have the carriage-part well looked at and

The country till here has been one continued flat; and, except within
this neighbourhood, we have not seen a rising ground on which to feast
our eyes. Long avenues paved in the middle form the continued appearance
of our roads. The towns are magnificently old, such as England cannot
rival, and the state of cultivation is much greater than in England:
indeed we have not seen a weed or a foot of waste ground all our way.
The people in the country show no misery; the cottages comfortable,
whitewashed, large-windowed, shining with brass utensils internally, and
only having as many heaps of dirt as there are inhabitants—who certainly
throw away all their cleanliness upon the house, fields, roads, and
windows. But I will not fill my letter with this, as some time you will
either see my Journal in writing or print—Murray having offered me 500
guineas for it through Lord Byron. L[ord] B[yron] is going to give me
the manuscript, when done printing, of his new cantos of _Childe

Have you seen Mrs. Soane and Mr. S[oane]? how are they? If you see them,
remember me to her and him. I shall write when I have seen the seat of
_his_ hero's glory, _mine's_ disgrace; no, not disgrace—misfortune. See
Mrs. S[oane], and write how she is.

How are you all at home? Papa, Mamma, Meggy (have you heard from her?),
Charlotte, Bob, Henry, Eliza, and Mr. Deagostini. Remember me to all,
and to all who enquire about me not merely from curiosity—telling me in
your next whether they exceed the number 0. I am very well, and wrote
Mamma from Ostend.

                        I remain, my dear Fanny,

                                                   Your affect. Brother,

                                                            J. POLIDORI.

Brussels, _May 2, 1816_.

Write to me—Dr. Polidori, à Genève, poste restante,—and soon, as I shall
be there in 12 days.

                    TO JOHN HOBHOUSE, WHITTON PARK,
                             NEAR HOUNSLOW.

                                               Coblentz, _May 11, 1816_.


      As we are at last some way on our journey, I take a sheet of paper
up, in despair of filling it, to tell you we are both well and hearty.
Lord Byron's health is greatly improved, his stomach returning rapidly
to its natural state. Exercise and peace of mind, making great advances
towards the amendment of his _corps délabré_, leave little for medicine
to patch up. His spirits, I think, are also much improved. He blithely
carols through the day, 'Here's to you, Tom Brown': and, when he has
done, says, 'That's as well as Hobhouse does it.' You and his other
friend, Scrope Davies, form a great subject of conversation.

God! here I am at the end of all my thoughts. Oh no! Waterloo was ridden
over by my Lord on a Cossack horse, accompanied by myself on a Flemish
steed; Lord Byron singing Turkish or Arnaout riding-tunes, and your
h[umble] s[ervant] listening. We had a very good day of it. Lord Byron
visited Howard's (I think, Colonel) burying-place twice. We have had two
days by preëminence in our tour—to-day and Waterloo. To-day we came from
Bonn hither through the finest scenes I ever saw, modern and ancient;
the 13th and 18th century forming an _olla podrida_ with the bases given
in the year 1. Towers and towns and castles and cots were sprinkled on
the side of a.... But here I am on poetic stilts, cut short for prose

They boast—the Ministerialists and others—of ours being the happy land.
I should like to carry John Bull to Flanders and the Rhine: happiness,
content, cleanliness (here and there), husbandry, plenty without luxury,
are here bestowed on all. War has had no effect upon the fields; and
even at Waterloo no one (except for the glittering button or less
brilliant cuirass in beggar's hand) would imagine two such myriaded
armies had met there. No sulkiness is seen upon the face here, and no
impudence. On the Rhine and in Flanders there are hardly any beggars.
To-day we had nosegays given us by little girls for centimes. But the
other day, coming to Battice, we met the best beggars: three little
girls, pretty though not well dressed, ran along our carriage, crying
out—"Donnez-nous un sou, Monsieur le Général en chef"; and another,
"Chef de bataillon." Having given these some, a boy followed, pulling
faces comic enough to make such grave dons laugh, and crying out,
"Vivent Messieurs les Rois des Hanovériens—donnez-moi un sou."

As I fear I have tried your eyes, and lost my pains after all on account
of the illegibility of my accursed pen's scratches, I must end—assuring
you at the same time I am with esteem

                              Yours etc.,

                                                            J. POLIDORI.

We count upon being at Geneva in ten days at best. Excuse the bad
writing etc., for I am in a fever of digestion after my ride.—J. P.

                          TO GAETANO POLIDORI.

                                                   _September 20, 1816._


      You judged right with regard to my writing. I had written twice
since your letter announcing _The Pamphleteer_, and was anxiously
waiting yours. Your letter gave me pleasure; and I was indeed in want of
some just then, for I was in agitation for my parting from Lord Byron.
We have parted, finding that our tempers did not agree. He proposed it,
and it was settled. There was no immediate cause, but a continued series
of slight quarrels. I believe the fault, if any, has been on my part; I
am not accustomed to have a master, and therefore my conduct was not
free and easy. I found on settling accounts that I had 70 napoleons; I
therefore determined to walk over Italy, and (seeing the medical
establishments) see if there proves a good opportunity to settle myself,
so that I hope I am still off your hands for nine months: perhaps Lady
Westmorland, who is at Rome, is desirous of having an English physician
for longer, I having a letter for her from Mme. de Staël. I shall write
to-day to Vaccà and Zio [uncle] for letters to Milan to physicians, in
your name; and at present, till I think they and my trunks can have
arrived, will wander amongst the Alps,—in which course I am now at Thun,
almost in the centre. I have seen Mont Blanc and its glaciers, and will
see the Jungfrau, Grindelwald, and Grimsel. Then I will go by the
Simplon to Milan, whither direct to me poste-restante, only putting my
Giovanni etc. names in full, as there are Polidoris there.[42] I am in
good health and spirits; I hope this won't hurt yours, for assure
yourself I will do all I can not to allow you to feel any inconvenience
on my account.

Remember me to my mother, who I know will feel deeply this
disappointment; to Mary,[43] Fanny, and Charlotte, to Signor Deagostini
and Signor De Ocheda, and to all.

If you could get me letters of introduction, they would be of great use.
In the meanwhile, my dear father, believe me

                         Your affectionate son,

                                                          JOHN POLIDORI.


                                            Arezzo, _November 14, 1816_.


      I fear you must be in much anxiety at not having heard from me for
so long; but the reason was that I did not wish to write before having
seen my uncle—to whom I went the day before yesterday, and who received
me with great affection and pleasure. I wrote to him from Thun. Thence I
went to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunner; thence to Interlachen, and, by
the Lake of Brientz, to Meyringen; by the Grimsel in the Valais to
Obergasteln; thence to Brieg; and then by the Simplon down to Farinoli
in the Borromean Islands. Thence I embarked to Sestri Calende; thence to
Milan—where, meeting the poet Monti, Lord Byron, Monsignor de Brême, and
others of my acquaintance, I remained some weeks. Thence I went to
Florence, by Bologna, Modena, Parma, and Piacenza, and crossing the
Apennines. In Florence I stayed two days, and saw Cavalier Pontelli,
Abate Fontani, Dr. Frosini, and others. Thence I went on foot to Arezzo,
where I found my uncle, my aunt, Pippo, and Teresa, all well; and they
received me with great cordiality into their house, where I now am.

Seeing, by your letter to my uncle, in how much trouble you are on my
account, I have determined, after learning whether Lady Westmorland will
employ me or no—if yes, to go to Rome; if no, to go straight from
Leghorn to London, to the bosom of my family. I shall soon hear from
Lady Westmorland, as Lady Jersey undertook, at the instance of Monsignor
de Brême, to ask her mother whether she wants me or not, and she is now
in Florence, _en route_ for Rome. In case she should tell me yes, I
shall at once go to Rome: but meanwhile I don't proceed any farther than
Arezzo. If she says no, I shall be off to Leghorn, and return to London.

I wish that in your next letter you would send me enough money, in a
bill on Florence, for paying the passage from Leghorn to London, for the
chance of my not having enough remaining....

When I see you again I shall have much to tell you about, but will not
put it into a letter. Suffice it that I have found that what you told me
about Italy is but too true. I am in good health....

                         Your affectionate son,

                                                          JOHN POLIDORI.

[To this letter the uncle Luigi Polidori added something. One point
regarding Lord Byron is of a certain interest.]

I became indignant at some references [made by John Polidori] to the
strange conduct of that Lord with whom he was travelling: but _he_ kept
his temper well—I envy him for that. All these people are hard: Sævus
enim ferme sensus communis in illâ fortunâ.—Patience!

                  *       *       *       *       *

[My father, about the date of this ensuing letter, met Mrs. Shelley
several times, and he liked her well. He did not think her good-looking:
indeed I have heard him say "Era brutta" (she was ugly).—The letter is
written in fairly idiomatic, but by no means faultless, Italian.—I am
not aware whether Gaetano Polidori supplied Mrs. Shelley with
information, such as she asked for, for her Biography of Alfieri:
perhaps a minute inspection of the book might show.—_Cleopatra_, acted
in 1775, was Alfieri's first attempt at tragedy.]

                                               Harrow, _April 20, 1835_.


      Thank you so much for your amiable reply, and the interest you
show in the undertaking of a pen but too unworthy of those great names
which give so much lustre to your country. Meanwhile I am about to make
a farther request: but am afraid of showing myself troublesome, and beg
you to tell me your opinion sincerely. I should not like to seem to take
impertinent liberties; and, if my idea appears to you impracticable,
don't say anything about it to any one.

I am informed that your Father-in-law the celebrated Polidori can relate
many interesting circumstances regarding Alfieri. The Life which I am
writing will be printed in _Dr. Lardner's Cyclopædia_: therefore it is
very short, running perhaps to 70 pages—not more. Thus, if I could
introduce some details not yet known but worthy of publication, I should
be very pleased indeed. I don't know whether Polidori would be willing
to give me such details. For example, I should like to know whether
Alfieri was really so melancholy and taciturn as is said by Sir John
Hobhouse in his work, _Illustrations to the Fourth Canto of Childe
Harold_; whether he gave signs of attachment to his friends, and whether
he was warmly loved by them in return. Some anecdotes would be welcomed
by me; also some information about the Countess of Albany. There is an
affectation of silence, as to all that relates to her, in whatever has
yet been written concerning Alfieri. But, now that she is dead, this is
no longer necessary. Were they married? If not, nothing need be said
about it; but, if they were, it would be well to affirm as much.

I shall be in London next Sunday, and shall be staying there several
days. But I am in a quarter so distant from yours (7 Upper Eaton Street,
Grosvenor Place) that it would be indiscreet to ask for a visit from
you—and much more indiscreet to say that, if Signor Polidori would visit
me, he could perhaps tell me some little things more easily than by
writing. As the Tuscans say, "Lascio far a lei."[44] You will do
whatever is most fitting, and will give me a reply at your convenience.

Repeating the thanks so much due to your kindness, believe me

                       Your much obliged servant,

                                                       M. W. P. SHELLEY.

I hear that Alfieri was intimate with Guiccioli of Ravenna, the latter
being then quite young; and they had a joint idea and project (which did
not turn out manageable) of establishing a national theatre in Italy.
Possibly Signor Polidori knows about this. Is there any historical work
containing particulars about the closing years of the royal husband of
the Countess of Albany? I don't know, and am in the dark. He (is it not
so?) was the last of the Stuarts, except his brother the Cardinal of

Oh what trouble I am giving you to reply! Really I now feel more than
ashamed of it. But you are so kind. And, besides, the grammar of this
letter must be like Alfieri's _Cleopatra_.



Footnote 1:

  The word, as written by Charlotte Polidori, seems to be "dole" rather
  than anything else. It looks as if she had copied the form of Dr.
  Polidori's word without understanding what it was. I substitute
  "door," but this is done _faute de mieux_.

Footnote 2:

  Such is the word written by Charlotte Polidori. I fancy it ought to be

Footnote 3:

  Only an initial is written, "M": but I suppose "Master"—_i.e._ Michael
  Wohlgemuth—is meant.

Footnote 4:

  It seems rather odd that Polidori should make this jotting, "and (not)
  towns." Perhaps he aimed to controvert the phrase, "scattered cities
  crowning these," in Byron's poem quoted further on.

Footnote 5:

  These are the precise words as they stand in Charlotte Polidori's
  transcript. It is to be presumed that Dr. Polidori wrote them some
  while after May 13, 1816.

Footnote 6:

  I don't understand "Mayor" in this context: should it be "Mylor"?

Footnote 7:

  No name is given: should it be Shelley? Another Englishman who was in
  this locality towards the same date was Robert Southey.

Footnote 8:

  I don't think there was any such stone-pelting in Geneva: it took
  place elsewhere in Switzerland.

Footnote 9:

  The word written is perpanism, or possibly perhanism. Is there any
  such word, medical or other? Should it perchance be pyrrhonism?

Footnote 10:

  The "ghost-story" which Polidori _published_ was _The Vampyre_: see p.
  128 as to his having begun in the first instance some different story.

Footnote 11:

  Word obscurely written.

Footnote 12:

  "Blind" appears to be the word written. It seems an odd
  expression—meaning, I suppose, "to blind (mislead or puzzle) the

Footnote 13:

  This, again, is not clear to me: something in the nature of a game of
  forfeits may be indicated.

Footnote 14:

  So written: should it be "Bingwen" or something of the kind?

Footnote 15:

  The word "society" is perfectly clear in Charlotte Polidori's
  transcript. From the context, I question whether it ought not to be
  "Shakespear." As to "the criticism of Johnson" on Gray in the _Lives
  of the Poets_, many of my readers will recollect that this criticism
  is somewhat adverse, Gray being treated as a rather nebulous writer.

Footnote 16:

  Seems rather an odd phrase, but I suppose correctly transcribed.

Footnote 17:

  A name is written here, but so obscurely that I leave it out. It
  somewhat resembles "Neravois," or "the ravois."

Footnote 18:

  Should this be "glaciers"?

Footnote 19:

  This name is illegibly written: I can only suppose that it must be
  meant for Brieg.

Footnote 20:

  "I don't understand."

Footnote 21:

  "It's an old affair."

Footnote 22:

  Coffee with milk, grapes, and figs.

Footnote 23:

  Orgoglio is pride; disinganno is undeceiving, disillusion.

Footnote 24:

  There is a word following "Rè," evidently the title of the play which
  was acted. It looks something like "Amondre," but cannot be read.

Footnote 25:

  The word is more like Crabule than anything else: I don't understand

Footnote 26:

  Presumably some English book, but I know not what.

Footnote 27:

  I think the name would correctly be Marchese di Negro: my father had
  some correspondence, towards 1850, with the then Marchese of that

Footnote 28:

  This essay was on the Punishment of Death.

Footnote 29:

  The word written is "his"; but the context shows that this must be a

Footnote 30:

  _i.e._ Artemisia, who built the mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

Footnote 31:

  The speeches run thus: (_a_) Look at that man, with his cap on his
  head. (_b_) Would you do me the favour of taking off your hat, so that
  I may see? (_c_) Would you wish for it? (_d_) Yes, I wish it. In
  Italian, this last phrase has an imperative tone, "I will it."—It may
  be added that the Austrian's phrase "Lo vorreste?" was itself not
  civil: the civil form would have been "Lo vorrebbe ella?"

Footnote 32:

  "To be sold."

Footnote 33:

  These words form (I _suppose_) the answer of the Italian
  officer—_i.e._ he would side with either party indifferently.

Footnote 34:

  I presume that the word should be "presented": the writing looks like

Footnote 35:

  "What? A servant of the sovereign? There are porters."

Footnote 36:

  I suppose that Pontelli was a person who had been more or less known
  to Dr. Polidori's father before the latter left Italy in 1787, and
  that the father had given his son some letter of introduction or the
  like. Or possibly the introduction came from some acquaintance in
  Geneva or in Milan.

Footnote 37:

  The name of Santa Croce is not in the MS.: but it ought to be, as this
  is the church containing the sepulchral monuments of Galileo, etc.

Footnote 38:

  "Was third amid so much intellect." The phrase is adapted from a line
  in Dante's _Inferno_.

Footnote 39:

  Rather (it must be understood) to _Signora_ Vaccà.

Footnote 40:

  Ruffiano does not correspond to our word "ruffian," but to "pimp" or

Footnote 41:

  No doubt this intention was not carried into effect.

Footnote 42:

  These Polidoris were not (so far as I know) members of the same family
  as John Polidori.

Footnote 43:

  This was Dr. Polidori's elder sister, Maria Margaret, who in my time
  was invariably called "Margaret" in the family.

Footnote 44:

  "I leave the question to you."

                             INDEX OF NAMES


 _Agnese_ (drama), 196

 Aix-la-Chapelle, 74

 Albany, Countess of, 199-202

 Alfieri, Count, 200, 219-222

 Andreini, 170

 —— _Adamo_, by, 170

 Antwerp, 46-51, 54, 55

 Arezzo, 202, 218

 Arrow, Eliza, 31

 Avenches, 93, 94, 96


 Bâle, 90, 91

 Battice, 73, 74, 213

 Beauharnais, Prince Eugène, 175

 Berger, 31, 108, 110, 135

 Berne, 92

 Beyle, Henri, 173, 177, 190, 192

 —— _Reminiscences of Napoleon_, by, 177

 Bologna, 194, 195

 Bonn, 80

 Bonnet, Charles, 97

 Bonstetten, C. V. de, 105, 132, 137, 147, 148

 Borsieri, 173, 174, 177, 186

 —— _Il Giorno_, by, 177

 Breadalbane, Lord, 139, 145

 Brelaz, Madame, 139, 143-146, 152, 153, 155, 168, 182

 Brême, Cavalier de, 171, 173, 177

 —— de (or Brema), Monsignor, 139, 147, 170, 172-177, 182, 183, 187-189,
    191, 193, 198, 218

 Brême, de (or Brema), Monsignor _Ina_, by, 176

 Breuss, Countess, 12, 13, 17, 134, 141-143, 152

 Bridgens, R., 3

 —— _Costumes of Italy, etc._, by, 3

 Brieg, 160-163

 Broglie, Duc Victor de, 137, 138

 —— Duchesse Victor de, 137-9, 146

 Bruges, 35

 Brussels, 57-59, 61, 68, 211

 Bubna, 173, 187-189, 193

 —— Junior, 189

 Byron, Lady, 26

 —— Lord, 1, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 25, 28, 33, 40, 44, 51-53, 62, 67, 68,
    70, 71, 74, 88, 89, 97-105, 107, 111, 112, 117-120, 123-126, 128,
    132, 133, 135-140, 146, 147, 152, 158, 170, 173, 174, 179-181,
    186-188, 190-193, 209-211, 213, 215, 218, 219

 —— —— _Childe Harold_, by, 25, 66, 67, 71, 80, 83, 84, 87, 94, 95, 212

 —— —— _Churchill's Grave_, by, 28, 29

 —— —— _Letters and Journals of_, 101, 133

 —— —— _The Vampyre_ (fragment), by, 14-17, 125

 —— —— _To Princess Charlotte_ by, 112


 Caluro, 176, 177

 Campagne Chapuis, 117

 Canterbury, 26

 Caravella, 140

 Carlsruhe, 88, 90

 Carnot, 46, 55

 Castan, 136

 Casti, Abate, 70

 —— Novelle by, 70, 71

 Chamounix, 151

 Charles Edward, Prince, 199, 222

 Charles V, 37, 90

 Chillon, 153

 Churchill, Rev. Charles, 27, 30

 Clairmont, Clare, 99-103, 107, 108, 124-126, 133-135

 Clemann, Harriet, 146

 —— Madame, 139, 143, 146

 Coblentz, 83, 85

 Colburn, Henry, 13, 14, 18, 20

 Coleridge, S. T., 113

 —— _Christabel_, by, 126, 128, 129

 —— _Fire, Famine, and Slaughter_, by, 113, 115

 Cologne, 76-80

 Cologny, 98

 Conyngham, Lord, 149, 150

 Copeland, Thomas, 7

 Coppet, 141

 Corsi, 206

 _Courier, The_, 23, 112

 Cowper, Lord, 173, 174

 Curran, J. P., 117


 Dacosta, 69

 Davies, Scrope B., 25, 151, 152, 213

 Deagostini, John A., 6, 7

 Domo d'Ossola, 165

 Dover, 27, 31

 Dowden, Professor, 118

 —— _Life of Shelley_, by, 118, 119, 124-126, 132

 Drachenfels, the, 81

 Dumont, Etienne, 104, 139, 147


 Ehrenbreitstein, 85

 Einard, Madame, 105, 106

 Evans, Rev. Mr., 145


 Fabre, 200

 _Fantasmagoriana_, 125

 Finch, Colonel, 173, 174, 180

 Fletcher, William, 31

 Florence, 197, 203, 218

 Floris, Franz, 50

 —— _Angels and Devils_, by, 50, 56

 Folchi, Signorina, 205

 Francis, Emperor, 183

 Freiburg (Baden), 90


 Galilei, Galileo, 180

 Garnett, Dr., 8, 172

 —— _Dictionary of National Biography_, article in, 8, 11

 Gatelier, Abate, 139, 141

 —— Madame, 13, 141

 Geneva, 98, 104, 106, 141, 149

 Genthoud, 141

 Ghent, 37-39, 41, 42, 48

 Gianni, 179

 Glenorchy, Lord, 140, 145

 Godwin, William, 107, 113-115, 131

 Gordon, Mrs., 71

 —— Pryse L., 47, 66, 69-71

 Gori, 202, 203

 Gray, Thomas, 106, 147, 148

 Grove, Harriet, 113

 Guasco, 173, 174, 177, 193

 Guiccioli, Count, 221

 Guilford, Lord (Francis), 10, 209

 Guttannen, 138, 139


 Hamilton, Lady Dalrymple, 140

 Helmhoft, Miss, 80

 Hentsch, 105, 107

 Hervey, Mrs., 147

 Hobhouse, Sir J. Cam, 25, 28, 140, 151, 158, 173, 174, 180, 186-188,
    193, 209, 213, 220

 Hoche, General, 82, 84

 Hogg, T. Jefferson, 130

 Horner, Francis, 209

 Hougoumont, 63-65

 Howard, Colonel, 64, 66, 213

 Hunt, Leigh, 131

 Hunter, Sir C., 89


 Isella, 164

 Isola Bella, 166

 Italy, 10


 Jacquet, Madlle., 145

 Jersey, Countess of, 181, 218

 —— Earl of, 173, 174

 Jordaens, 52

 —— _St. Apollonia_, by, 52

 Julia Alpinula, 94, 95


 Kaft, 78, 79

 Kalf, 77

 Kauffman, Angelica, 127

 Keats, John, 174

 Keswick, 131

 Kinnoul, Lord, 149

 Kruger, 40

 —— _Judgment of Solomon_, by, 40


 Lac, Château du, 57, 69, 70

 Lake Leman, 98, 99

 Lausanne, 96

 Lecchini, 197, 201, 205

 Leghorn, 208

 Leigh, Hon. Mrs., 51, 140

 —— Medora, 140

 Lewis, Matthew G., 125, 140, 141

 Liège, 72

 Lloyd, 140, 150, 173, 181, 182, 193, 204

 Locatelli, Dr., 173, 181

 Louvain, 72


 Malines, 55, 57

 Mannheim, 88

 Marceau, General, 83-85

 Marschner, 24

 —— _The Vampyre_, opera, by, 24

 Martineau, Harriett, 3

 Massey, Junior, 143-145

 —— Mr., 144

 Mastrani, Countess, 207

 Mayence, 86, 87

 Medwin, Captain, 7

 —— _Conversations with Byron_, by, 7

 —— _Life of Shelley_, by, 186, 206

 Metsys, Quintin, 50

 Milan, 167-171, 173, 182, 183, 190, 193, 217

 Milton, John, 99, 170

 Modena, 194, 196

 Monti, Signora, 178

 Monti, Vincenzo, 171-174, 178, 183, 191, 218

 —— Homer translated, by, 178

 Moore, Thomas, 118

 —— _Life of Byron_, by, 118, 123

 Morat, 92-94

 _Morning Chronicle, The_, 13, 14, 17, 18, 22

 Murat, King Joachim, 148

 Murray, John, 8, 9, 20, 21, 44, 212


 Napoleon I., 47, 54, 55, 63-65, 69, 70, 82, 86, 127, 173, 177, 204

 National Portrait Gallery, 3

 Negri, Marchese, 173, 174, 178, 179

 Nelli, 180

 _New Monthly Magazine, The_, 13, 15, 18, 19

 _New Times, The_, 4

 North, Frederick, 181

 Norwich, 3


 Odier, Dr., 118, 119, 133, 151

 Odier, Madlle., 122, 132

 Onesti, Signora, 203

 Ostend, 32, 34


 Pachiani, Abate, 206, 207

 Peacock, T. L., 131

 Pellico, Silvio, 191

 Pictet de Sergy, 104, 105, 140

 Pisa, 192, 205, 209

 Polidori, Agostino A., 205

 —— —— _Osteologia_, by, 205

 —— Charlotte, 11, 32, 103

 —— Dr. John W., 2

 —— —— _Cajetan_, by, 30, 44, 123

 Polidori, Dr. John W., _Costumes of Italy, etc._, by, 3

 —— —— _Ernestus Berchtold_, by, 2, 19, 22, 23, 127-129

 —— —— _Oneirodynia_, by, 120

 —— —— _Punishment of Death_, by, 180, 215

 —— —— _The Vampyre_, by, 2, 11-18, 20-23, 125, 126

 —— —— _Ximenes_, by, 2, 124

 —— Gaetano, 2, 5, 9, 155, 170, 197, 200, 204, 205, 219-221

 —— Luigi, 155, 202, 218, 219

 —— Signora, 202

 Pollent, 41

 Pontelli, Cavalier, 197-199, 201, 203, 205, 218

 Porro, 172, 173

 Potocka, Countess, 125, 126

 —— memoirs of, 127

 Pradt, Abbé de, 56


 Raphael, 182

 —— _Lo Sposalizio_, by, 182, 183

 Reed, Charlotte, 5-7

 Régnier, Grand Duke, 164, 171

 Rembrandt, 70, 81

 Rhine, the, 80, 82, 86, 108

 Rocca, 137, 139, 146

 —— Judge, 137, 147

 Roche, Dr. de, 101, 104

 Rogers, Samuel, 111, 112

 Rossetti, Frances, 209

 —— Gabriele, 209, 219

 —— Wm. M., 10

 —— —— _Memoir of Shelley_, by, 10

 Rossi, 105, 122, 132, 133, 139, 148, 149

 Rousseau, 106

 Rubens, 39, 51

 Rubens, _Adoration of Magi_, by, 53

 —— _Assembly of Saints_, by, 51

 —— _Crucifixion_, by, 52

 —— _Descent from the Cross_, by, 52, 53

 —— _Martyrdom of St. Peter_, by, 78

 —— _St. George, etc._, by, 51

 —— _St. Roch and the Plague-stricken_, by, 39

 —— _Visitation_, by, 53

 Rushton, Robert, 31, 152

 Ryan, Major, 130


 Saint Aubyn, Sir John, 140, 151

 —— Tillotson, 140, 151

 Saint Gothard, Mount, 158, 159

 Saladin, Alexis, 144

 —— Auguste, 144, 146

 —— Charles, 142, 144

 —— Madlle., 144, 147

 —— Mathilde, 144

 —— of Vaugeron, 134-136, 139, 143

 Saladins of Maligny, 140, 145

 Saporati, Marchese, 134, 149

 Saussure, Nicholas T., 139, 145

 Scala, Teatro della, 169, 171, 174

 Scheldt, the, 46

 Schlegel, August W. von, 137, 139, 146

 Scott, Sir Walter, 70

 Sécheron, 99, 100, 103

 Severn, Joseph, 181

 Sgricci, 183-186

 —— _Artemisia_, by, 184

 —— _Eteocle e Polinice_, by, 184

 —— _Ettore_, by, 185, 186

 Shakespear, 147, 148

 Shelley, Harriet, 109, 128, 130

 —— Mary, 12, 23, 99-102, 106-108, 110, 113, 116, 118, 123-128, 133-135,
    209, 219

 —— —— _Frankenstein_, by, 19, 125, 126

 —— —— _Memoir of Alfieri_, by, 219, 220

 —— Percy B., 1, 3, 98-102, 104, 106-110, 112-118, 120-133, 135, 136,
    138, 185, 186, 204

 —— —— _Epipsychidion_, by, 206

 —— —— _Poetical Essay_, etc., by, 110

 —— —— _Queen Mab_, by, 107

 —— —— _Zastrozzi_, by, 109

 —— William, 116

 Sherwood and Neely, 16, 22

 Simplon, the, 163

 Slaney, Mr., 149

 —— Mrs., 122, 140, 149

 Soane, John, 81, 212

 —— Mrs., 212

 Somers, Mr., 141, 150, 204

 Staël, Madame de, 137, 139, 146, 152, 216

 Swarrow, 172, 173, 183, 188


 Tasso, 116, 119

 Teniers, David, 40

 —— _Temptation of St. Anthony_, by, 40

 Thun, 154, 155

 —— Lake of, 154

 Tintoretto, 79

 Toffettheim, 143

 Toffettheim, Madame, 139, 143

 _Traveller, The_ (magazine), 4

 Trevanion, Mr., 140

 —— Mrs., 140


 Unterwalden, 161, 162


 Vaccà, Antonio, 155, 204-206, 208

 —— Leopoldo, 204

 —— Madame, 206

 Valence, 150

 Vandyck, 41, 51, 53

 —— _Crucifixion_, by, 41, 53

 Van Eyck, 40

 Villa Diodati, Cologny, 98-100, 110, 111, 120, 121, 125

 Viviani, Conte, 192

 Viviani, Emilia, 206


 Wallraf, Professor, 78

 Wallraf-Richartz Museum, 78

 Ward, John W. (Lord Dudley), 111

 Waterloo, 62-64, 213, 214

 Watts, Mr., 18, 20

 Wellington, Duke of, 68, 69

 Westmorland, Countess of, 181, 216, 218

 Wildman, Colonel, 68

 Wordsworth, Wm., 28

 Wotheron, Mr., 173, 174, 180, 181

 Wraxall, Sir Nathaniel, 67, 68

           _Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, London and Bungay_

                           Transcriber's Note

The original spelling and punctuation have been retained.

Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

Italicized words and phrases in the text version are presented by
surrounding the text with underscores.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Diary of Dr. John William Polidori - 1816, Relating to Byron, Shelley, etc." ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.