Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/62

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Landor
Landor
56

took in return to present his brother Charles to the family living of Colton when it should become vacant.

The father died at the end of 1805; and Landor set up at Bath, spending money liberally, with a 'fine carriage, three horses, and two men-servants.' He had various love-affairs, commemorated in poems addressed to lone, poetical for Miss Jones, and Ianthe, otherwise Sophia Jane Swift, an Irish lady, afterwards Countess de Molande. In the spring of 1808 Southey met him at Bristol. Each was delighted with his admirer. Southey spoke of his intended series of mythological poems in continuation of Thalaba.' Landor immediately offered to pay for printing them. Southey refused, but submitted to Landor his 'Kehama' and 'Roderick,' as they were composed; and Landor sent a cheque for a large number of copies of 'Kehama' upon its publication. The friendship was very cordial, and never interrupted, in spite of much divergence of opinion. Each saw in the other an appreciative and almost solitary anticipator of the certain verdict of posterity; and they had seldom to risk the friction of personal intercourse.'

The rising in Spain against the French caused an outburst of enthusiasm in England; and in August 1808 Landor sailed from Falmouth to join the Spaniards at Corunna. He gave ten thousand reals for the inhabitants of a town burnt by the French, and raised some volunteers, with whom he joined Blake's army in Gallicia. He took offence on misunderstanding something said by an English envoy at Corunna, and at once published an angry letter in Spanish and English. Landor could hardly have been of much use in a military capacity. He was at Bilbao, which was occupied alternately by the French and the Spaniards, towards the end of September, and ran some risk of being taken prisoner. Blake's army, after some fighting, was finally crushed by the French in the beginning of November, and by the end of that month Landor was in England. The supreme junta thanked him for his services, and the minister, Cevallos, sent him an honorary commission as colonel in the service of Ferdinand. When Ferdinand afterwards restored the Jesuits, Landor marked his indignation by returning the commission to Cavallos. Upon his return to England he joined Wordsworth and Southey in denouncing the convention of Cintra (signed 30 Aug.), which had excited general indignation. The chief result, however, of his Spanish expedition was the tragedy of 'Count Julian,' composed in the winter of 1810-11. Southey undertook to arrange for its publication. The Longmans refused to print it, even at the author's expense; and Landor showed his anger by burning another tragedy, 'Ferranti and Giulio,' and resolving to burn all future verses. Two scenes from the destroyed tragedy were afterwards published as 'Ippolito di Este' in the 'Imaginary Conversations.' Southey, however, got 'Count Julian' published by the Longmans. Although showing fully Landor's distinction of style, it is not strong dramatically, and the plot is barely intelligible unless the story is previously known. Naturally it made little impression. A comedy called 'The Charitable Dowager.' written about 1803, has disappeared (Forster, pp. 175-7).

Landor had meanwhile resolved to establish himself on a new estate. The land inherited from his father was worth under 1,000l. a year; but he bought the estate of Llanthony Abbey, estimated al some 3,000l. a year, in the vale of Ewyas, Monmouthshire. To enable him to do this his mother sold for 20,000l. the estate of Tachbrook (entailed upon him), he in return settling upon her for life 450l. a year and surrendering the advowson of Colton to his brother Charles. An act of parliament, passed in 1809, was obtained to give effect to the new arrangements. Landor set about improving his property. His predecessor had erected some buildings in the ruins of the ancient abbey. Landor began to pull these down and construct a house, never finished, though he managed to live at the place. He planted trees, imported sheep from Spain, improved the roads, and intended to become a model country gentleman. In the spring of 1811 he went to a ball in Bath, and seeing a pretty girl, remarked to a friend, ' That's the nicest girl in the room, and I'll marry her.' The lady, named Julia Thuillier, was daughter of a banker of Swiss descent, who had been unsuccessful in business at Banbury and gone to Spain, leaving his family at Bath. 'She had no pretensions of any kind,' as Landor wrote to his mother, 'and her want of fortune was the very thing which determined me to marry her.' She had refused for him two gentlemen of rank and fortune (ib. p. 183). The marriage took place by the end of May 1811. The Southeys visited them at Llanthony in the following August. Landor was already getting into troubles upon his estate. He had offered to the Bishop of St. Davids to restore the old church. The bishop not answering, Landor wrote another letter saying that 'God alone is great enough for me to ask anything of twice.' The bishop then wrote approving the plan, but saying that an act