Letters 1804 May 1-10
- Byron writes to his mother from Harrow about Dr. Drury calling him a
blackguard-- or allegedly calling him a blackguard. He says that though
they might call him a blackguard they can not make him one. He is around
16. He says that Mark Drury is forever reproaching him with the
narrowness of his fortune. ( I can imagine some one taunting him that
though he had a title he did not have any money and would never amount
to anything.) Byron says his circumstances are not worse than other
students and if his means are slender it is misfortune and not his
fault. I wonder if Byron knew his mother had applied for and received an
annuity from the civil list for his care?
Byron says that "however the way to Riches to Greatness lies before me,
I can, I will cut myself a path through the world or perish in the
attempt. Others have begun life with nothing and ended Greatly. And
shall I who have a competent if not a large fortune, remain idle, No, I
will carve myself the passage to Grandeur, but never with Dishonour."
Has any one ever commented on this letter as a clue to is adult behaviour?
Then he returns ti the main complaint and asks that he be removed from
a place where he is goaded with insults.
A lame boy, from Scotland, probably still with a touch of Scots in his
voice, and a poor peer who probably acted as though he were a duke
would be a natural victim of the nasty side of school boys.
- The next letter is to Hanson asking him to secure a place in the
Edinburgh Mail leaving on Wednesday the 25 as two friends already had
places ad he wished to travel with them..
In August he writes to thank Elizabeth pigot for a copy of the Byron
arms which he will use in a book plate. He also asks that she remember
his watch ribbon and purse. She is to knit the purse I gather but do not
know about the watch ribbon. I have seen illustrations in which men have
a ribbon hanging down from the fob pocket.
John Hanson invites him to come and shoot over his land. He will bring
his guns with him, he says they will have fine sport.
I gather this was before he had given up blood sports.