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delay of a favourite scheme, and he saw, with the utmost chagrin, that the state of his favourite troops was such as to render any attempt to lead them out at present impracticable.
The project of proceeding against Lepanto being thus suspended, at a moment when Lord Byron's enthusiasm was at its height, and when he had fully calculated on striking a blow which could not fail to be of the utmost service to the Greek cause, it is no wonder that the unlooked-for disappointment should have preyed on his spirits, and produced a degree of irritability, which, if it was not the sole cause, contributed greatly to a severe fit of epilepsy, with which he was attacked on the 15th of February. His Lordship was sitting in the apartment of Colonel Stanhope, (the active and enlightened representative of the Greek Committee in Greece, who had gone out to co-operate with Lord Byron,) and was talking in a jocular manner with Mr. Parry the engineer, when it was observed, from occasional and rapid changes in his countenance, that he was suffering under some strong emotion. On a sudden he complained of a weakness in one of his legs, and rose; but finding himself unable to walk, he cried out for assistance. He then fell into a state of nervous and convulsive agitation, and was placed on a bed. For some minutes his countenance was much distorted. He however quickly recovered his senses; his speech returned, and he soon appeared perfectly well, although enfeebled and exhausted by the violence of the struggle. Du
ring the fit he behaved with his usual remarkable firmness, and his efforts in contending with and attempting to master the disease are described as gigantic. In the course of the month the attack was repeated four times; the violence of the disorder at length yielded to the remedies which his physicians advised; such as bleeding, cold bathing, perfect relaxation of mind, &c., and he gradually recovered. An accident, however, happened a few days after his first illness, which was ill calculated to aid the efforts of his medical advisers. A Suliote, accompanied by the late Marco Botzari's little boy and another man, walked into the Seraglio-a place which before Lord Byron's arrival had been used as a sort of fortress and barrack for the Suliotes, and out of which they were ejected with great difficulty for the reception of the Committee stores, and for the occupation of the engineers, who required it for a laboratory. The sentinel on guard ordered the Suliotes to retire; which being a species of motion to which Suliotes are not accustomed, the man carelessly advanced ; upon which the sergeant of the guard (a German) demanded his business, and receiving no satisfactory answer, pushed him back. These wild warriors, who will dream for years of a blow if revenge is out of their power, are not slow to follow up a push. The Suliote struck again—the sergeant and he closed and struggled, when the Suliote drew a pistol from his belt. The sergeant wrenched it out of his hand, and blew the powder out of the pan. At this moment Captain Sass, a
Swede, seeing the fray, came up and ordered the man to be taken to the guard-room. The Suliote was then disposed to depart, and would have done so if the sergeant would have permitted him. Unfortunately, Captain Sass did not confine himself to merely giving the order for his arrest; for when the Suliote struggled to get away, Captain Sass drew his sword and struck him with the flat part of it; whereupon the enraged Greek flew upon him with a pistol in one hand, and the sabre in the other; and at the same moment nearly cut off the captain's right arm, and shot him through the head with the pistol. Captain Sass, who was remarkable for his mild and courageous character, expired in a few minutes. The Suliote also was a man of distinguished bravery. This was a serious affair, and great apprehensions were entertained that it would not end here. The Suliotes refused to surrender the man to justice, alleging that he had been struck, which, in Suliote law, justifies all the consequences which may follow.
In a letter dated a few days after Lord Byron's first attack, to a friend in Zante, he speaks of himself as rapidly recovering :
“I am a good deal better, tho' of course weakly; the leeches took too much blood from my temples the day after, and there was some difficulty in stopping it; but I have been up daily, and out in boats or on horseback ; to-day I have taken a warm bath, and live as temperately as well can be, without any liquid but water, and without any animal food.” He then adds, “ Besides the four Turks sent
to Patras, I have obtained the release of four-and-twenty women and children, and sent them to Prevesa, that the English Consul-general may consign them to their relatives. I did this at their own desire.” After recurring to some other subjects, the letter concludes thus :-“Matters are here a little embroiled with the Suliotes, foreigners, &c., but I still hope better things, and will stand by the cause so long as my health and circumstances will permit me to be supposed useful.”
Notwithstanding Lord Byron's improvement in health, his friends felt from the first that he ought to try a change of air. Messolonghi is a flat, marshy, and pestilential place, and, except for purposes of utility, never would have been selected for his residence. A gentleman of Zante wrote to him early in March, to induce him to return to that Island for a time; to his letter the following answer was received on the 10th :
“I am extremely obliged by your offer of your countryhouse, as for all other kindness, in case my health should require my removal ; but I cannot quit Greece while there, is a chance of my being of (even supposed) utility, there is a stake worth millions such as I am,—and while I can stand at all, I must stand by the cause. While I say this, I am aware of the difficulties, and dissensions, and defects, of the Greeks themselves; but allowance must be made for them by all reasonable people.”
It may well be supposed after so severe a fit of illness, and that in a great measure superinduced by the conduct of the troops he had taken into his pay and
treated with the height of generosity, that he was in no humour to pursue his scheme against Lepanto-supposing that his state of health had been such as to bear the fatigue of a campaign in Greece. The Suliotes, however, shewed some signs of repentance, and offered to place themselves at his Lordship’s disposal. They had, however, another objection to the nature of the service. In a letter which Colonel Stanhope wrote to Lord Byron on the 6th of March, from Athens, he tells his Lordship that he had bivouacked on the 21st of February in the hut of the Prefect of the Lepanto district, who had just had a conference with the garrison of that place. This man said, that if Lord Byron would march there with a considerable force, and the arrears due to the troops, the fortress would be surrendered ; and Colonel S. adds a pressing entreaty that Lord Byron would proceed there immediately, and take advantage of this disposition on the part of the gartison. To this his Lordship has appended this note: -“ The Suliotes have declined marching against Lepanto, saying, that they would not fight against stone walls.' Colonel S. also knows their conduct here, in other respects, lately.”_We may conclude that the expedition to Lepanto was not thought of after this time.
This same letter, which communicated to Lord Byron the facility with which Lepanto might be taken, also announced the intention of Ulysses (Odysseus) to summon a Congress of chiefs at Salona, to consider of a