Strange Occurences


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    This section is just an odd collection of strange stories that I've come across that I think might interest people. I have often either read in novels things that make me wonder if the author read about these characters, or if is was just coincidence. Anyway, if you have another story you think might be good here then email me about it.

    The Wicked Lord

    Byron's great-uncle, the fifth Lord Byron, was also known as - 'The Wicked Lord' and with good reason. Just about any story on Byron's great-uncle involves some kind of scandal and they are too numerous to list here. But there is one particular incident that is just plain bizarre. On a carriage trip he became violently angry that his coachman was not driving quickly enough so he shot him, throwing the body inside the carriage, with his naturally a slightly distressed wife, and drove the carriage back himself.


    A gambling debt resolved

    Although I have dealt with this in Charles Fox I think it is worthwhile repeating in case anyone hasn't read that page.

    His grandmother,Sarah Cadogan was 13 when she was married to the 18 year old Charles, later the second Duke of Richmond to settle a gaming debt between their fathers. The pair had disliked each other on sight and after the wedding she was packed off to school and he was packed off to the continent for the Grand Tour. Charles returned three years later and on his first night back hoping to delay or just plain avoid theinevitable meeting with his loathed wife he went to the opera. In the a box opposite he spied a most beautiful woman, whom he fell in love with. It turned out this was his wife and he wooed her properly this time and successfully. Their marriage was universally regarded as happy and they were known to kiss, coo and cuddle constantly. She fell pregnant to him 28 times during their long marriage, and had 12 children.


    Odd Duels

    There have been a few of these and good place to find some particularly odd incidents is in Extraoridinary Popular delusions and the Madness of Crowds which is by Charles MacKay. It mentions one by the 'Wicked Lord' whom I mentioned above but the duel I'll talk of took place in November 1778 between Count Rice and Vicomte du Barri.Du Barri had the bare faced cheek to contradict something Count Rice said - Count Rice, not a man to hang around - issued a challenge immediately, and it was accepted with equal promptitude. The seconds were sent for and arrived just after midnight and the entire party set out for Claverton Downs for the duel. They waited there with the surgeon until dawn. Each was armed with two pistols and a sword - they obviously took the whole extremely seriously. The first shot wounded Rice in the thigh, du Barri received a fatal shot to the chest, but did not die immediately. Both parties were by now thoroughly enraged with each other and the other pistols were discharged at each other without effect. They then rushed in on each other with their swords, du Barri however, clutched at his chest and died.
    Count Rice had been badly injured and lay ill for some time. When he recovered he was put on trial for the death of du Barri. Without irony he told of how he and du Barri had always been on terms of the strictest friendship and that the duel had not been premeditated, and a verdict of manslaughter was returned.


    The Big Banquet

    My favourite story of great dinner is the one thrown by the Prince Regent. He was not one to stint on minor costs such as decorating and decided that the tables were to be designed as to be babbling streams complete with contented fish swimming about in them. Everyone commented on how marvellous it all looked as they sat down to dinner however as the meal progressed the fish began to die from lack of oxygen and they had the bad manners to go floating around on the surface putting the dinner guests off their food. They had all (the fish that is) had to be removed somewhat hurriedly.


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