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It was on the very day when, as I have mentioned, the intelligence of his sister's recovery reached him, that, having been for the last three or four days prevented from taking exercise by the rains, he resolved, though the weather still looked threatening, to venture out on horseback. Three miles: om Missolonghi, Count Gamba and himself were overtaken by a heavy shower, and returned to the town walls wet through and in a state of violent perspiration. It had been their usual practice to dismount at the walls and return to their house in a boat, but, on this day, Count Gamba, representing to Lord Byron how dangerous it would be, warm as he then was, to sit exposed so long to the rain in a boat, entreated of him to go back the whole way on horseback. To this, however, Lord Byron would not consent; but said, laughingly, “I should make a pretty soldier, indeed, if I were to care for such a trifle.” They accordingly dismounted and got into the boat as usual.
About two hours after his return home he was seized with a shud. dering, and complained of a few and rheumatic pains. “At eight that evening,” says Count Gamba, “I entered his room. lying on a sofa restless and melancholy. He said to me, 'I suffer a great deal of pain, I do not care for death, but these agonies I cannot bear.'
The following day he rose at his accustomed hour,-transacted business, and was even able to take his ride in the olive woods, accompanied, as usual, by his long train of Suliotes. He complained, however, of perpetual shudderings, and had no appetite. On his return home, he remarked to Fletcher that his saddle, he thought, had not been perfectly dried since yesterday's wetting, and that he felt himself the worse for it. This was the last time he ever crossed the threshold alive. In the evening Mr. Finlay and Mr. Millingen called upon him. “He was at first,” says the latter gentleman, “gayer than usual; but on a sudden became pensive.”
On the evening of the 11th his fever, which was pronounced to be rheumatic, increased; and on the 12th he kept his bed all day, complaining that he could not sleep, and taking no nourishment whatever. The two following days, though the sever had apparently diminished, he became still more weak, and suffered much from pains in the head,
It was not till the 14th that his physician, Doctor Bruno, finding the sudorifics which he had hitherto employed to be unavailing, began to urge upon his patient the necessity of being bled. Of this, however, Lord Byron would not hear. He had evidently but little reliance on his medical attendant, and from the specimens this young man has since given of his intellect to the world, it is, indeed, lamentable,-supposing skill to have been, at this moment, of any avail,—that a life so precious should have been intrusted to such ordinary hands. “It was on this day, I think,” says Count Gamba, “ that, as I was sitting near him on his sofa, he said to me, I was afraid I was losing my meniory, and, in order to try, I attempted to repeat some Latin verses with the English translation, which I have not endeavoured to recol. lect since I was at school. I remembered them all except the last word of one of the hexameters.'"
To the faithful Fletcher, the idea of his master's life being in danger seems to have occurred some days before it struck either Count Gamba or the physician. So little, according to his friend's narrative, had such a suspicion crossed Lord Byron's own mind, that he even ex, pressed himself “ rather glad of his fever, as it might cure him of his
tendency to epilepsy.” To Fletcher, however, it appears, he had professed, more than once, strong doubts as to the nature of his complaint being so slight as the physician seemed to suppose it, and on his servant renewing his entreaties that he would send for Doctor Thomas to Zante, made no further opposition; though still, out of consideration for those gentlemen, he referred him on the subject to Doctor Bruno and Mr. Millingen. Whatever might have been the advantage or satisfaction of this step, it was now rendered wholly impossible by the weather,—such a hurricane blowing into the port that not a ship could get out. The rain, too, descended in torrents, and between the foods on the land-side and the sirocco from the sea, Missolonghi was, for the moment, a pestilential prison.
It was at this juncture that Mr. Millingen was, for the first time, according to his own account, invited to attend Lord Byron in his medical capacity, -his visit on the 10th being so little, as he states, professional, that he did not even, on that occasion, feel his lordship's pulse. The great object for which he was now called in, and rather, it would seem, by Fletcher than Doctor Bruno, was for the purpose of joining his representations and remonstrances to theirs, and prevailing upon the patient to suffer himself to be bled, -an operation now become absolutely necessary from the increase of the sever, and which Doctor Bruno had, for the last two days, urged in vain.
Holding gentleness to be, with a disposition like that of Byron, the most effectual means of success, Mr. Millingen tried, as he himself tells us, all that reasoning and persuasion could suggest towards attaining his object. But his efforts were fruitless :-Lord Byron, who had now become morbidly irritable, replied angrily, but still with all his accus. tomed acuteness and spirit, to the physician's observations. Of all his prejudices, he declared, the strongest was that against bleeding. His mother had on her deathbed obtained from him a promise never to consent to being bled; and whatever argument might be produced, his aversion, he said, was stronger than reasor. * Besides, is it not," he asked, " asserted by Docior Reid, in his Essays, that less slaughter is effected by the lance than the lancet-that minute instrunent of mighty mischief!" On Mr. Millengen observing that this remark related to the treatment of nervous, but not of inflammatory complaints, he rejoined, in an angry tone, “Who is nervous, if I am not? And do not those other words of his, too, apply to my case, where he says that drawing blood from a nervous patient is like loosening the chords of a musical instrument, whose tones already fail for want of sufficient tension ? Even before this illness, you yourself know how weak and irritable I had become ;-and bleeding, by increasing this state, will inevitably kill me. Do with me whatever else you like, but bleed me you shall not. I have had several inflammatory fevers in my life, and at an age when more robust and plethoric; yet I got through them with, out bleeding. This time, also, will I take my chance."*
After much reasoning and repeated entreaties, Mr. Millingen at length succeeded in obtaining from him a promise, that should he seel his fever increase at night, he would allow Doctor Bruno to bleed him.
During this day he had transacted business and received several letters; particularly one that much pleased him from the Turkish
* It was during the same, or soine similar conversation, that Dr. Bruno also reports him to have said, " If my hour is come, I shall die, whether I lose my blood or keep it."
Governor, to whom he had sent the rescued prisoners, and who, in this communication, thanked him for his humane interference, and requested a repetition of it.
In the evening he conversed a good deal with Parry, who remained some hours by his bedside. “He sat up in his bed,” says this officer, “and was then calm and collected. He talked with me on a variety of subjects connected with himself and his family; he spoke of his intentions as to Greece, his plans for the campaign, and what he should ultimately do for that country: He spoke to me about my own adventures. He spoke of death also with great composure, and though he did not believe his end was so very near, there was something about him so serious and so firm, so resigned and composed, so different from any thing I had ever before seen in him, that my mind misgave me, and at times foreboded his speedy dissolution.”
On revisiting his patient early next morning, Mr. Millingen learned from him, that having passet, as he thought, on the whole, a better night, he had not considered it necessary to ask Dr. Bruno to bleed him. What followed, I shall, justice Mr. Millingen, give in his own words.* “I thought it my duty now to put aside all consideration of his feelings, and to declare solemnly to him, how deeply I lamented to see him trifle thus with his life, and show so little resolution. His pertinacious refusal had already, I said, caused most precious time to be lost;-but few hours of hope now remained, and, unless he submitted immediately to be bled, we could not answer for the consequences. It was true, he cared not for life; but who could assure him that, unless he changed his resolution, the uncontrolled disease might rot operate such disorganization in his system as utterly and for ever to deprive him of reason ?-1 had now hit at last on the sensible chord; and, partly annoyed by our importunities, partly persuaded, he cast at us both the fiercest glance of vexation, and, throwing out his arm, said, in the angriest tone, "There—you are, I see, a d-d set of butchers -take away as much blood as you like, but have done with it.'
“We seized the moment,” adds Mr. Millingen, “and drew about twenty ounces. On coagulating, the blood presented a strong buffy coat; yet the relief obtained did not correspond to the hopes we had formed, and during the night the fever became stronger than it had been hitherto. The restlessness and agitation increased, and the patient spoke several times in an incoherent manner.”
On the following morning, the 17th, the bleeding was repeated; for, although the rheumatic symptoms had been completely removed, the appearances of inflammation on the brain were now hourly increasing. Count Gamba, who had not for the last two days seen him, being con. fined to his own apartment by a sprained ankle, now contrived to reach his room. “ His countenance," says this gentleman, “ at once awakened in me the most dreadful suspicions. He was very calm ; he talked to me in the kindest manner about my accident, but in a hollow, sepulchral tone. 'Take care of your foot,' said he; ‘I know by experience how painful it must be.' I could not stay near his bed : a food of tears rushed into my eyes, and I was obliged to withdraw.” Neither Count Gamba, indeed, nor Fletcher, appear to have been suffi. ciently masters of themselves to do much else than weep during the remainder of this afflicting scene. In addition to the bleeding, which was repeated twice on the 17th,
* MS.--This gentleman is, I understand, abont to publish the Narrative from which the above extract is taken.
it was thought right also to apply blisters to she soles of his feet: * When on the point of putting them on,” says Mr. Millingen, “ Lord Byron asked me whether it would answer the p spose to apply both on the same leg. Guessing immediately the moive that led him to ask this question, I told him that I would place them above the knees. *Do so,' he replied."
It is painful to dwell on such details,—but we are now approaching the close. In addition to most of those sad varieties of wretchedness which surround alike the grandest and humblest deathbeds, there was also in the scene now passing around the dying Byron such a degree of confusion and uncomfort as renders it doubly dreary to contemplate. There having been no person invested, since his illness, with authority over the household, neither order nor quiet was maintained in his apartment. Most of the comforts necessary in such an illness were wanting; and those around him, either unprepared for the danger, were, like Bruno, when it came, bewildered by it; or, like the kindhearted Fletcher and Count Gamba, were by their feelings rendered no less helpless.
“In all the attendants," says Parry, "there was the officiousness of zeal; but owing to their ignorance of each other's language, their zeal only added to the confusion. This circumstance, and the want of common necessaries, made Lord Byron's apartment such a picture of distress and even anguish during the last two or three days of his life, as I never before beheld, and wish never again to witness."
The 18th being Easter day,-a holyday which the Greeks celebrate by firing off muskets and artillery,--it was apprehended that this noise might be injurious to Lord Byron and, as a means of attracting away the crowd from the neighbourhood, the artillery brigade was marched out by Parry, to exercise their guris at some distance from the town; while, at the same time, the town-guard patrolled the streets, and informing the people of the danger of their benefactor entreated them to preserve all possible quiet.
About three o'clock in the afternoon, Lord Byron rose and went into the adjoining room. He was able to walk across the chamber, leaning on his servant Tita; and, when seated, asked for a book, which the servant brought him. After reading, however, for a few minutes, he found himself faint; and, again taking Tita's arm, tottered into the next room and returned to bed.
At this time the physicians, becoming still more alarmed, expressed a wish for a consultation; and proposed calling in, without delay, Dr. Freiber, the medical assistant of Mr. Millingen, and Luca Vaya, a Greek, the physician of Mavrocordato. On hearing this, Lord Byron at first refused to see them ; but being informed that Mavrocordato advised it, he said,—“ Very well, let them come; but let them look at me and say nothing." This they promised, and were admitted; but when one of them, on feeling his pulse, showed a wish to speak* Recollect,” he said, “your promise, and go away."
It was after this consultation of the physicians* that, as it appeared to Count Gamba, Lord Byron was, for the first time, aware of his approaching end. Mr. Millingen, Fletcher, and Tita, had been standing round his bed; but the two first, unable to restrain their tears, left the
Tita also wept; but, as Byron held his hand, could not retire. He, however, turned away his face; while Byron, looking at him steadily, said, half smiling, “ Oh questa è una bella scena.” He then
* For Mr. Millingen's account of this consultation, see Appendix.
seemed to reflect a moment, and exclaimed, “Call Parry.” Almost immediately afterward, a fit of delirium ensued; and he began to talk wildly, as if he were mounting a breach in an assault,-calling out, half in English, half in Italian, “ Forwards—forwards--courage--follow my example,” &c. &c.
On coming again to himself, he asked Fletcher, who had then returned into the room,“ whether he had sent for Doctor Thomas, as he desired ?" and the servant answering in the affirmative, he replied, “You have done right, for I should like to know what is the matter with me." He had, a short time before, with that kind consideration for those about him which was one of the great sources of their lasting attachment to him, said to Fletcher, “I am afraid you and Tita will be ill with sitting up night and day.” It was now evident that he knew he was dying; and between his anxiety to make his servant understand his last wishes, and the rapid failure of his powers of utterance, a most painful scene ensued. On Fletcher asking whether he should bring pen and paper to take down his words—" Oh no," he replied—“ there is no time--it is now nearly over. Go to my sister-tell her–go to Lady Byron--you will see her, and say—" Here his voice faltered, and became gradually indistinct; notwithstanding which he continued still to mutter to himself, for nearly twenty minutes, with much earnestness of manner, but in such a tone that only a few words could be distinguished. These, too, were only names,-“ Augusta”—“ Ada" -“ Hobhouse”—“Kinnaird.” He then said, “ Now, I have told you all.” “My lord,” replied Fletcher, “I have not understood a word your lordship has been saying.” “Not understand me?" exclaimed Lord Byron, with a look of the utmost distress,“ what a pity !-then it is too late, all is over.” “I hope not," answered Fletcher; “but the Lord's will be done.” “ Yes, not mine,” said Byron. He then tried to utter a few words, of which none were intelligible, except “my sister-my child.”
The decision adopted at the consultation had been, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Millingen and Dr. Freiber, to administer to the patient a strong antispasmodic potion, which, while it produced sleep, but hastened, perhaps, death. In order to persuade him into taking this draught, Mr. Parry was sent for,* and, without any difficulty, induced him to swallow a few mouthfuls. “When he took my hand,” says Parry,“ I found his hands were deadly cold. With the assistance of Tita I endeavoured gently to create a little warmth in them; and also loosened the bandage which was tied round his head. Till this was done he seemed in great pain, clenched his hands at times, gnashed his teeth, and uttered the Italian exclamation of. Ah Christi !' He bore the loosening of the band passively, and, after it was losened, shed tears; then taking my hand again, uttered a faint good zght, and sunk into a slumber.”
In about half an hour he again awoke, when a second dose of the strong infusion was administered to him. “From those about him,"* says Count Gamba, who was not able to bear this scene himself, “1 collected that, either at this time, or in his former interval of reason, he could be understood to say— Poor Greece !-poor town!--my poor
* From this circumstance, as well, is from the terms in which he is mentioned by Lord Byron, it is plain that this person had, hy his blunt, practical good sense, acquired far more influence over his lordship's mind than was pos. sessed by any of the other persons about him.