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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 8.djvu/39

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1803.]
13
QUARREL WITH HENRY DRURY.

He has seized now an opportunity of showing his resentment towards me. To day in church I was talking to a Boy who was sitting next me; that perhaps was not right, but hear what followed. After Church he spoke not a word to me, but he took this Boy to his pupil room, where he abused me in a most violent manner, called me blackguard,said he would and could have me expelled from the School, and bade me thank his Charity that prevented him; this was the Message he sent me, to which I shall return no answer, but submit my case to you and those you may think fit to consult. Is this fit usage for any body? had I stole or behaved in the most abominable way to him, his language could not have been more outrageous. What must the boys think of me to hear

    arguments to rectify his Error, and on his own reflection to confirm him in what is right, I was unwilling to accede to my son's wishes. Lord Byron has now made the request himself; I am glad it has been made, as he thereby imposes on himself an additional responsibility, and encourages me to hope that by this change he intends to lay aside all that negligence and those Childish Practices which were the cause of former complaints."

    Fresh troubles soon arose, as Byron's letter indicates. Hanson forwarded the boy's complaint to Dr. Drury, from whom he received the following answer, dated May 15, 1803:—

    "The Perusal of the inclosed has allowed me to inquire into the whole Matter, and to relieve your young friend's Mind from any uneasy impression it might have sustained from a hasty word I fairly confess. I am sorry it was ever uttered; but certainly it was never intended to make so deep a wound as his letter intimates.

    "I may truly say, without any parade of words, that I am deeply interested in Lord Byron's welfare. He possesses, as his letter proves, a mind that feels, and that can discriminate reasonably on points in which it conceives itself injured. When I look forward to the Possibility of the exercise of his Talents hereafter, and his supplying the Deficiencies of fortune by the exertion of his abilities and by application, I feel particularly hurt to see him idle, and negligent, and apparently indifferent to the great object to be pursued. This event, and the conversations which have passed between us relative to it, will probably awaken in his mind a greater degree of emulation, and make him studious of acquiring Distinction among his Schoolfellows, as well as of securing to himself the affectionate regard of his Instructors."