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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 8.djvu/36

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[CHAP. I.
CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOL.

his Lady, when he and I meet next, will keep him in a little better order. The manner I knew that Capt. Hanson was appointed Commander of the Ship before mentioned was this. I saw it in the public Paper, and now, since you are going to Newstead, I beg if you meet Gray[1] send her a packing as fast as possible, and give my Compliments

    ear; the boy picked up a conch shell which was lying on the ground, and hurled it at Lord Portsmouth's head, missing it by a hair's breadth, and smashing the glass behind. In vain Mrs. Hanson tried to make the peace by saying that Byron did not mean the missile for Lord Portsmouth. "But I did mean it!" he reiterated; "I will teach a fool of an earl to pinch another noble's ear."

  1. The following extract from a letter written by Hanson to Mrs. Byron (September 1, 1799) places the character of Byron's nurse in a different light to that which is given in Moore's Life:—

    "I assure you, Madam, I should not have taken the liberty to have interfered in your domestic Arrangements, had I not thought it absolutely necessary to apprize you of the proceedings of your Servant, Mrs. Gray; her conduct towards your son while at Nottingham was shocking, and I was persuaded you needed but a hint of it to dismiss her. Mrs. Parkyns, when I saw her, said something to me about her; but when I found from dispassionate persons at Nottingham, it was the general Topic of conversation, it would have ill become me to have remained silent.

    "My honourable little companion, tho' disposed to retain his feelings, could not refrain, from the harsh usage he had received at her hands, from complaining to me, and such is his dread of the Woman that I really believe he would forego the satisfaction of seeing you if he thought he was to meet her again. He told me that she was perpetually beating him, and that his bones sometimes ached from it; that she brought all sorts of Company of the very lowest Description into his apartments; that she was out late at nights, and he was frequently left to put himself to bed; that she would take the Chaise-boys into the Chaise with her, and stopped at every little Ale-house to drink with them. But, Madam, this is not all; she has even —— traduced yourself.

    "I entertain a very great affection for Lord Byron, and I trust I shall not be considered solely in my professional character, but as his Friend. I introduced him to my Friends, Lord Grantley and his Brother General Norton, who were vastly taken with him, as indeed are every one. And I should be mortified in the highest degree to see the honourable feelings of my little fellow exposed to insult by the inordinate Indiscretions of any Servant. He has Ability and a quickness of Conception, and a correct Discrimination that is seldom seen in a youth, and he is a fit associate of men, and choice indeed must be the Company that is selected for him."