Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/64

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Landor
Landor
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really an anticipation of his later plan. Landor soon threw himself with ardour into the composition of his prose conversations. The first part of his manuscript was sent by him to the Longmans in April 1832. It was declined by them and by several other publishers. Landor committed the care of it to Julius Charles Hare [q. v.], to whom he was not as yet personally known. He had become acquainted with Hare's elder brother, Francis, at Tours ; they were intimate at Florence, had many animated discussions with no quarrel, and remained intimate till Hare's death. Julius Hare at last induced John Taylor, proprietor of the 'London Magazine,' to publish the first two volumes. The dialogue between Southey and Porson was published by anticipation in the London Magazine ' for July 1823 ; and the two volumes appeared in the beginning of 1824. Hare endeavoured to obviate hostile criticism by an ingenious paper in the ' London Magazine,' ironically anticipating the obvious topics of censure. It caused the suspension of a hostile review in the ' Quarterly,' in order that the remarks thus anticipated might be removed. Hazlitt reviewed the book in the ' Edinburgh ' in an article of mixed praise and blame, touched up to some extent by Jeffrey. Taylor had insisted upon omissions of certain passages, and Hare had reluctantly consented. Landor was of course angry, and exploded with wrath upon some trifling disputes about a second edition and the proposed succeeding volumes. He threw a number of conversations into the fire, swore that be would never write again, and that his children should be ' carefully warned against literature,' and learn nothing except French, swimming, and fencing. The second edition, handed over to Colburn for publication, appeared in 1826. A third volume, after various delays and difficulties, appeared in 1828, end a fourth and fifth were at last published by Duncan in 1829. A sixth had been finished,but remained long unpublished. Landor in 1834 entrusted his five volumes, ' interleaved and enlarged,' together with this sixth volume, to N. P. Willis, for publication in America. Willis sent them to New York, but did not follow them, and Landor had considerable difliculty in recovering them. They were finally restored in 1837.

Landor had acquired a high though not a widely spread literary reputation. He was visited at Florence oy Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt, and was on intimate terms with Charles Armitage Brown [q. v.], Kirkup, llie English consul, and others. He had of course various disputes with the authorities, and was once expelled from Florence. The grand duke took the matter good-naturedly, and no notice was taken of Landor's declaration that, as the authorities disliked his residence, be should reside there permanently. He had a desperate quarrel with a M, Antoir about certain rights to water, which led to a lawsuit and a challenge, though Kirkup succeeded in arranging the point of honour satisfactorily. This water-dispute concerned the Villa Gherardisca in Fiesole. Landor had been enabled to buy it for 2,000l., by the generosity of Mr. Ablett of Llanbedr Hall, Denbigbshire who had become known to him in 1827, and who in the beginning of 1829 advanced the necessary sum, declining to receive interest. It was a fine house, with several acres of ground, where he planted his gardens, kept pets, and played with his four children. The death of his mother, in October 1829, made no difference to his affairs. Tbey had always corresponded affectionately, and she had managed his estates with admirable care and judgment. In 1832 Ablett persuaded him to pay a visit to England. He arrived in London in May, saw Charles Lamb at Enfield, Coleridge at Highgate, and Julius Hare (for the first time) at Cambridge, visited Ablett in Wales, and with him went to the Lakes and saw Soutbey and Coleridge. He travelled back to Italy with Julius Hare, passing through the Tyrol, and there inquiring into the history of Hofer, one of his favourite heroes. At Florence Landor set about the conversations which soon afterwards formed the volumes upon ' Shakespeare's Examination for Deer-stealing,' ' Pericles and Aspasia,' and the' Pentameron,' and contained some of his most characteristic writing.

In March 1836 Landor quarrelled with his wife. Armitage Brown, who was present at the scene, wrote on account of it to Landor. Mrs. Landor appears to have denounced Landor to his friend and in presence of his children. Landor, he says, behaved with perfect calmness. He adds that through eleven years of intimacy he had always seen Landor behave with perfect courtesy to Mrs. Landor, who had the entire management of the house. Brown admits a loss of temper with ' Italians.' Unfortunately, Landor acted with more than his usual impulsiveness. He left his house for Florence in April 1835, not to return for many years. He reached England in the autumn, and stayed with Ablett at Llanbedr, to whom he returned in the spring of 1838, after a winter at Clifton. It is idle to discuss the rights and wrongs of this unfortunate business. Mrs. Landor was clearly unable to manage a man of irrepressible temper. His friends thought that his real amiability had