Had I been more widely read back in the earliest days of my research into Lord Byron and Giovanni Battista Falcieri, I would have taken more note of the fact that my best friend lived (almost) next door to Leigh Hunt’s house in the Vale of Health in Hampstead. I remember seeing the plaque on the neighbouring property and realising the connection but not how close I was to those characters who have since become so integral to my work.
What I do remember is that my friend had a problem with ghosts. Quite busy ones on occasions. And I remember staying there overnight and being literally rigid with fear if I had to get up in the night and tiptoe down the corridor where a woman could be heard walking up and down and banging on the doors.
Had I been dealing with Byron or Shelley’s ghost, or perhaps even Hunt’s, I would have been more fascinated than scared. But I don’t know who this woman was, and I’m presuming she hadn’t permeated through from next door.
I am trying to crowbar Hunt into my script, sandwiched briefly in between the death of Allegra and Shelley, when Byron was at Casa Lanfranchi. I am leaning as always on Peter Cochran’s extensive works to assist me. Everything tells me to dislike the man. And I don’t doubt his six children descending on Byron’s home must have cut to the core, such was the timing. So he’s become a fleeting annoyance in my script, quickly cast aside as he was in those few months in Lerici.
I’ve had to leave out a host of characters, otherwise everyone will be so confused the script will be an unintelligable mess. It is a serious problem when writing biographically with Byron in mind. People come and go with alarming regularity which doesn’t sit well in tv narrative.
Besides, the story is not about Byron you see. He is a part of it but not the whole. But as he is a substantial and governing part it has to be done and done well or not at all. So it’s impossible to pass up someone like Hunt who after all did arrive at a crucial time in the storyline and has a small but functional place.
You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.