Hard Biscuits

One evening, Lord Byron met Thomas Moore for dinner at the home of Samuel Rogers, a man whom Byron had never met.

"When we sat down to dinner," Rogers later recalled, "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 [another one of Byron's friends], 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 often served wine to his visitors at Newstead Abby -- in a human skull which he had found in the cloisters there.]

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