Romance of London: Eccentricities of Lord Byron

Romance of London: Strange Stories, Scenes And Remarkable Person of the Great Town in 3 Volumes

John Timbs

John Timbs (1801-1875), who also wrote as Horace Welby, was an English author and aficionado of antiquities. Born in Clerkenwell, London, he was apprenticed at 16 to a druggist and printer, where he soon showed great literary promise. At 19, he began to write for Monthly Magazine, and a year later he was made secretary to the magazine’s proprietor and there began his career as a writer, editor, and antiquarian.

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George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron

George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron

Eccentricities of Lord Byron

Mr. Rogers, in his Table Talk, writes:—”Neither [Thomas] Moore nor myself had ever seen Byron, when it was settled that he should dine at my house to meet Moore; nor was he known by sight to [Thomas] Campbell, who, happening to call upon me that morning, consented to join the party.  I thought it best that I alone should be in the drawing-room when Byron entered it; and Moore and Campbell accordingly withdrew. Soon after his arrival they returned, and I introduced them to him severally, naming then as Adam named the beasts. When we sat down to dinner, I asked Byron if he would take soup? ‘No; he never took soup.’—Would he take some fish? ‘No; he never took fish.’ Presently, I asked if he would eat some mutton? ‘No’ he never ate mutton.’—I then asked if he would take a glass of wine? ‘No; he never tasted wine.’—It was now necessary to inquire what he did eat and drink’ and the answer was,—’Nothing but hard biscuits and soda-water.’ Unfortunately, neither hard biscuits nor soda-water were at hand; and he dined upon potatoes bruised down on his plate and drenched with vinegar. My guests stayed till very late, discussing the merits of Walter Scott and Joanna Baillie. Some days after, meeting Hobhouse, I said to him, ‘How long will Lord Byron persevere in his present diet?’ He replied,—’Just as long as you continue to notice it.’ I did not then know what I now know to be a fact, that Byron, after leaving my house, had gone to a club in St. James’s Street and eaten a hearty meat supper… Byron had a prodigious facility of composition. He was fond of suppers, and used often to sup at my house and eat heartily (for he had then given up the hard biscuit and soda-water diet); after going home he would throw off sixty or eighty verses, which he would send to press next morning… In those days, at least, Byron had no readiness of reply in conversation. If you happened to let fall any observation which offended him, he would say nothing at the time, but the offence would lie rankling in his mind, and, perhaps, a fortnight after, he would suddenly come out with some very cutting remarks upon you, giving them as his deliberate opinions, the results of his experience of your character.”

Joanna Baillie, Scottish poet and dramatist

Joanna Baillie, Scottish poet and dramatist


Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist, poet, and playwright

Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist, poet, and playwright


Romance of London Series

  1. Romance of London: The Lord Mayor’s Fool… and a Dessert
  2. Romance of London: Carlton House and the Regency
  3. Romance of London: The Championship at George IV’s Coronation
  4. Romance of London: Mrs. Cornelys at Carlisle House
  5. Romance of London: The Bottle Conjuror
  6. Romance of London: Bartholomew Fair
  7. Romance of London: The May Fair and the Strong Woman
  8. Romance of London: Nancy Dawson, the Hornpipe Dancer
  9. Romance of London: Milkmaids on May-Day
  10. Romance of London: Lord Stowell’s Love of Sight-seeing
  11. Romance of London: The Mermaid Hoax
  12. Romance of London: The Bluestocking and the Sweeps’ Holiday
  13. Romance of London: Comments on Hogarth’s “Industries and Idle Apprentices”
  14. Romance of London: The Lansdowne Family
  15. Romance of London: St. Margaret’s Painted Window at Westminster
  16. Romance of London: Montague House and the British Museum
  17. Romance of London: The Bursting of the South Sea Bubble
  18. Romance of London: The Thames Tunnel
  19. Romance of London: Sir William Petty and the Lansdowne Family
  20. Romance of London: Marlborough House and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough
  21. Romance of London: The Duke of Newcastle’s Eccentricities
  22. Romance of London: Voltaire in London
  23. Romance of London: The Crossing Sweeper
  24. Romance of London: Nathan Mayer Rothschild’s Fear of Assassination
  25. Romance of London: Samuel Rogers, the Banker Poet
  26. Romance of London: The Eccentricities of Lord Byron
  27. Romance of London: A London Recluse

6 thoughts on “Romance of London: Eccentricities of Lord Byron

  1. Pingback: Romance of London: Eccentricities of Lord Byron | spiritofnlm

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