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A dialogue which Lord Byron himself used to mention as having taken place between them during their journey on the Rhine, is amusingly characteristic of both the persons concerned. After all,' said the physician, what is there you can do that I cannot?''Why, since you force me to say,' answered the other, I think there are three things I can do which you cannot.' Polidori defied him to name them. 'I can,' said Lord Byron, swim across that river-I can snuff ' out that candle with a pistol-shot at the distance of


twenty paces—and I have written a poem * of which 14,000 copies were sold in one day.'

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The jealous pique of the doctor against Shelley was constantly breaking out, and on the occasion of some victory which the latter had gained over him in a sailing-match, he took it into his head that his antagonist had treated him with contempt; and went so far, in consequence, notwithstanding Shelley's known sentiments against duelling, as to proffer him a sort of challenge, at which Shelley, as might be expected, only laughed. Lord Byron, however, fearing that the vivacious physician might still further take advantage of this peculiarity of his friend, said to him, 'Recollect, 'that though Shelley has some scruples about duelling, 'I have none; and shall be, at all times, ready to take 'his place.'

At Diodati, his life was passed in the same regular round of habits and occupations into which, when left to himself, he always naturally fell; a late breakfast, then a visit to the Shelleys' cottage and an excursion on the Lake; at five, dinner † (when he usually pre

* The Corsair.

His system of diet here was regulated by an abstinence almost incredible. A thin slice of bread, with tea, at breakfast—a light, vegetable dinner, with a bottle or two of Seltzer water, tinged with vin de

ferred being alone), and then, if the weather permitted, an excursion again. He and Shelley had joined in purchasing a boat, for which they gave twenty-five louis, a small sailing vessel, fitted to stand the usual squalls of the climate, and, at that time, the only keeled boat on the Lake. When the weather did not allow of their excursions after dinner,-an occurrence not unfrequent during this very wet summer,-the inmates of the cottage passed their evenings at Diodati, and, when the rain rendered it inconvenient for them to return home, remained there to sleep. We often,' says one, who was not the least ornamental of the party, sat up in conversation till the morning light. There was never any lack of subjects, and, grave or gay, we were always interested.'



During a week of rain at this time, having amused themselves with reading German ghost-stories, they agreed, at last, to write something in imitation of them. 'You and I,' said Lord Byron to Mrs. Shelley, will 'publish ours together.' He then began his tale of the Vampire; and, having the whole arranged in his head, repeated to them a sketch of the story* one evening, -but, from the narrative being in prose, made but little progress in filling up his outline. The most memorable result, indeed, of their story-telling compact, was Mrs. Shelley's wild and powerful romance of Frankenstein,-one of those original conceptions

Grave, and in the evening, a cup of green tea, without milk or sugar, formed the whole of his sustenance. The pangs of hunger he appeased by privately chewing tobacco and smoking cigars.

*From his remembrance of this sketch, Polidori afterwards vamped up his strange novel of the Vampire, which, under the supposition of its being Lord Byron's, was received with such enthusiasm in France. It would, indeed, not a little deduct from our value of foreign fame, if what some French writers have asserted be true, that the appearance of this extravagant novel among our neighbours first attracted their attention to the genius of Byron.

that take hold of the public mind at once, and for


Towards the latter end of June, as we have seen in one of the preceding letters, Lord Byron, accompanied by his friend Shelley, made a tour in his boat round the Lake, and visited, with the Heloise before him,' all those scenes around Meillerie and Clarens, which have become consecrated for ever by ideal passion, and by that power which Genius alone possesses, of giving such life to its dreams as to make them seem realities. In the squall off Meillerie, which he mentions, their danger was considerable. In the expectation, every moment, of being obliged to swim for his life, Lord Byron had already thrown off his coat, and, as Shelley was no swimmer, insisted upon endeavouring, by some means, to save him. This offer, however, Shelley positively refused; and seating himself quietly upon a locker, and grasping the rings at each end firmly in his hands, declared his determination to go down in that position, without a strugglef.

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'The wind (says Lord Byron's fellow-voyager) gradually increased in violence until it blew tremendously; and, as it came from the remotest extremity of the Lake, produced waves of a frightful height, and covered the whole surface with a chaos of foam. One of our boatmen, who was a dreadfully stupid fellow, persisted in holding the sail at a time when "the boat was on the point of being driven under water by the hurricane. On discovering this error, he let it entirely go, and the boat for a moment refused to obey the helm; in addition, the rudder was so broken as to render the management of it very difficult; one wave fell in and then another.'

I felt, in this near prospect of death (says Mr. Shelley), a mixture of sensations, among which terror entered, though but subordinately. My feelings would have been less painful had I been alone; but I knew that my companion would have attempted to save me, and I was overcome with humiliation, when I thought that his life might have been risked to preserve mine. When we arrived at St. Gingoux, the inha'bitants, who stood on the shore, unaccustomed to see a vessel as frail


as ours, and fearing to venture at all on such a sea, exchanged looks of wonder and congratulation with our boatmen, who, as well as ourselves, were well pleased to set foot on shore.'

Subjoined to that interesting little work, the 'Six Weeks' Tour,' there is a letter by Shelley himself, giving an account of this excursion round the Lake, and written with all the enthusiasm such scenes should inspire. In describing a beautiful child they saw at the village of Nerni, he says, 'My companion gave him a piece of money, which he took without speaking, with a sweet smile of easy thankfulness, and 'then with an unembarrassed air turned to his play." There were, indeed, few things Lord Byron more delighted in than to watch beautiful children at play ;many a lovely Swiss child (says a person who saw ' him daily at this time) received crowns from him as the reward of their grace and sweetness.'


Speaking of their lodgings at Nerni, which were gloomy and dirty, Mr. Shelley says, 'On returning to ' our inn, we found that the servant had arranged our rooms, and deprived them of the greater portion of their former disconsolate appearance. They re'minded my companion of Greece:-it was five years, ' he said, since he had slept in such beds.'

Luckily for Shelley's full enjoyment of these scenes, he had never before happened to read the Heloise; and though his companion had long been familiar with that romance, the sight of the region itself, the 'birth'place of deep Love,' every spot of which seemed instinct with the passion of the story, gave to the whole a fresh and actual existence in his mind. Both were under the spell of the Genius of the place,-both full of emotion; and as they walked silently through the vineyards that were once the 'bosquet de Julie,' Lord Byron suddenly exclaimed, "Thank God, Polidori is

'not here.'

That the glowing stanzas suggested to him by this

scene were written upon the spot itself appears almost certain, from the letter addressed to Mr. Murray on his way back to Diodati, in which he announces the Third Canto as complete, and consisting of 117 stanzas. At Ouchy, near Lausanne,-the place from which that letter is dated,-he and his friend were detained two days, in a small inn, by the weather: and it was there, in that short interval, that he wrote his 'Prisoner of Chillon,' adding one more deathless association to the already immortalized localities of the Lake.

On his return from this excursion to Diodati, an occasion was afforded for the gratification of his jesting propensities by the avowal of the young physician that he had fallen in love. On the evening of this tender confession they both appeared at Shelley's cottage-Lord Byron, in the highest and most boyish spirits, rubbing his hands as he walked about the room, and in that utter incapacity of retention which was one of his foibles, making jesting allusions to the secret he had just heard. The brow of the doctor darkened as this pleasantry went on, and, at last, he angrily accused Lord Byron of hardness of heart. ‘I 'never,' said he, 'met with a person so unfeeling.' This sally, though the poet had evidently brought it upon himself, annoyed him most deeply. Call me cold'hearted-me insensible!" he exclaimed, with manifest emotion as well might you say that glass is not

brittle, which has been cast down a precipice, and

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lies dashed to pieces at the foot!'

In the month of July he paid a visit to Copet, and was received by the distinguished hostess with a cordiality the more sensibly felt by him as, from his personal unpopularity at this time, he had hardly ventured

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