The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt: With Reminiscences of Friends and Contemporaries - Vol. 2

By Walter Scott | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX.
GENOA.

Removal to Genoa.--Shelley's house at Lerici.--Earthquake at Lerici.--Reputation of Englishmen in Italy for mad courage.-- Courage of Italians.--Porto Venere.--Fishy population.--Maritime Apennines.--Domiciles at Albaro.--Account of the "Liberal."--Awkward mistake respecting two of its writers.--Lord Byron and Dr. Johnson.

TOWARD the end of September, Lord Byron and myself in different parties, left Pisa for Genoa. Tuscany had been rendered uncomfortable to him by the misadventures both there and at Leghorn; and at Genoa he would hover on the borders of his inclination for Greece. Perhaps he had already made arrangements for going thither.

On our way to Genoa we met at Lerici. He had an illness at that place; and all my melancholy was put to its height by seeing the spot which my departed friend had lived in, and his solitary mansion on the sea-shore. Lerici is wild and retired, with a bay and rocky eminences; the people suited to it, something between inhabitants of sea and land. In the summer time they will be up all night dabbling in the water, and making wild noises. Here Trelawney joined us. He took me to the Villa Magni (the house just alluded to); and we paced over its empty rooms, and neglected garden. The sea fawned upon the shore, as though it could do no harm.

At Lerici we had an earthquake. The shock was the smartest we experienced in Italy. At Pisa there had been a dull intimation of one, such as happens in that city about once in three years. In the neighborhood of Florence we had another less dull, but lasting only for an instant. It was exactly as if somebody with a strong hand had jerked a

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