LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
IV. Correspondence of Augusta Byron

I. Byron Characteristics
II. Three Stages of Lord Byron’s Life
III. Manfred
‣ IV. Correspondence of Augusta Byron
V. Anne Isabella Byron
VI. Lady Byron’s Policy of Silence
VII. Informers and Defamers
VIII. “When We Dead Awake”
IX. Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh (I)
X. Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh (II)
XI. Byron and Augusta
Notes by the Editor
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“Im garten der liebe, da welken die rosen,
Es fliehen, es flattern zu anderem ort
Die lustigen voglein und falter, die losen,
Denn die Minne, die goldene Minne, zieht fort.
Und kalt wird dein herz, das voreinsten so glühte,
Und trübe der augen hellstrahlendes paar;
Und blass wird die lippe, die purpurn einst blühte,
Und silbern—und silbern dein goldenes haar.”

THE detached extracts given at the close of the last chapter are mostly from the letters of 1816 and 1817, and reflect the state of mind also expressed in “Manfred,” for comparison with which the dates are unnecessary.

There is, however, another letter written in a similar spirit two years later, which is so important both in itself and on account of the subsequent correspondence which it occasioned between Mrs. Leigh and Lady Byron, that it must be given in extenso:

Lord Byron to the Hon: Mrs: Leigh.
To [Name effaced by Mrs. Leigh]
to the care of Jno Murray Esqr1
50 Albemarle St
London Angleterre
May 17th 1819 Inghilterra
Venice [Monday] May 17th 1819.
My dearest Love—

I have been negligent in not writing, but what can I say Three years absence—& the total change of

1 [Nearly all Byron’s letters to Mrs. Leigh of this period are thus addressed.]

scene and habit make such a difference—that we have now1 nothing in common but our affections & our relationship.—

But I have never ceased nor can cease to feel for a moment that perfect & boundless attachment which bound & binds me to you—which renders me utterly incapable of real love for any other human being—for what could they be to me after you? My own xxxx2 we may have been very wrong—but I repent of nothing except that cursed marriage—& your refusing to continue to love me as you had loved me—I can neither forget nor quite forgive you for that precious piece of reformation.—but I can never be other than I have been—and whenever I love anything it is because it reminds me in some way or other of yourself—for instance I not long ago attached myself to a Venetian for no earthly reason (although a pretty woman) but because she was called xxxx2 and she often remarked (without knowing the reason) how fond I was of the name.—It is heart-breaking to think of our long Separation—and I am sure more than punishment enough for all our sins—Dante is more humane in his “Hell” for he places his unfortunate lovers (Francesca of Rimini & Paolo whose case fell a good deal short of ours—though sufficiently naughty) in company—and though they suffer—it is at least together.—If ever I return to England—it will be to see you—and recollect that in all time—& place—and feelings—I have never ceased to be the same to you in heart—Circumstances may have ruffled my manner—& hardened my spirit—you may have seen me harsh & exasperated with all things around me; grieved & tortured with your new resolution,—& the soon after persecution of that infamous fiend who drove me from my Country & conspired against my life—by endeavouring to deprive me of all that could render it precious—but remember that even then you were the sole object that cost me a tear? and what tears! do you remember our parting? I have not spirits now

1 [This is misprinted “never” in original edition.]

2 Short name of three or four letters obliterated.

to write to you upon other subjects—I am well in health—and have no cause of grief but the reflection that we are not together—When you write to me speak to me of yourself—& say that you love me—never mind commonplace people & topics—which can be in no degree interesting—to me who see nothing in England but the country which holds you—or around it but the sea which divides us.—They say absence destroys weak passions—& confirms strong ones—Alas! mine for you is the union of all passions & of all affections—Has strengthened itself but will destroy me—I do not speak of physical destruction—for I have endured & can endure much—but of the annihilation of all thoughts feelings or hopes—which have not more or less a reference to you & to our recollections

Ever dearest
[Signature erased]
The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
Right Honble
Lady Byron
Tunbridge Wells
Friday [June 25, 1819]
My dearest A

I have been pining for a letter from you—& am afraid I should not have left you in peace so long—had I not heard thro Mrs G V— that you had arrived safe & well—I am glad you found your Mother improving in health—& that ye place agrees with you—but you tell me not a word in particular of your own health & whethre you have tried ye Waters—I am pleased that Ada has been so with Noah &c.

As for Mazeppa & Appendages I am all astonishment not knowing it was out—what are the Appendages my dear A? not the Don I hope—I think I shall never read another of those performances,—I have just got Mrs Hoares Book which I mean to study & the new Tales are awaiting my leisure or my inclination to read Some way or other I have not had energy of mind or body for any
thing of late—& all I do is an effort—You were not wrong in thinking me depressed & oppressed my dear A when we met—& certainly the sight of dear
Ada contributed in a great degree to unnerve me—I’m sorry you discovered it—& I need not dwell on all the painful feelings it occasioned & which you can enter into—I will only tell you of my pleasure in seeing her all you could wish. I never saw—prejugés a part so very engaging a Child—I might say a great deal of her tractability—& your good management—but as you hate praises & I am very awkward about expressing my approbation & admiration I will not dwell on that either.

I felt greatly annoyed at not seeing you again alone—before you left [London], as I had made up my mind to what I am now doing—tho’ I am not clear I may be acting right, & it has been made and unmade on the subject 20 times—Yet I can safely affirm not on my own acct have I doubted—I really must enclose ye last letter I spoke to you of—for I have endeavoured in vain, in thought & deed to reply to it—I am so afraid of saying what might do harm—or omitting any possible good—burn it—& tell me you have & answer me as soon as you can—I shall be anxious—& my unusually long silence may cause agitation—which I always avoid—in short he is surely to be considered a Maniac—I do not believe any feelings expressed are by any means permanent—only occasioned by ye passing & present reflection & occupation of writing to the unfortunate Being to whom they are addressed—

pray pardon me if you think me wrong—for I do not mean it to be so—tho I am convinced there are many wd condemn the act as an insult but it is yr advice & superior judgment that is wished for. Independent of this misery I have plenty of Home ones—but I will not worry you dear A—The Babes are well. I am hurried for post having unexpectedly got this frank1 & being anxious not to delay—God bless you ever & ever

1 From Lord Chichester, see superscription.

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.
Tunbridge Wells
[Sunday] June 27th
My dearest A—

It is impossible that I could mistake your motives for sending me the enclosed letter—As it opens nothing new to me in regard to the writer’s mind, it gives me no other pain than what arises from feeling for your grief in receiving a fresh proof of the continuance of that passion which you most wish to be extinguished. I have looked anxiously for such appearances of incoherency as could justify your idea of its being mere raving. Incapable as he is of the true attachment, which is devoted to the welfare of its object, I have before observed to you that in the intervals of every pursuit which engaged him by its novelty, this most dreadful fever of the heart has returned—In such cases, unless a purifying repentance has taken place there can be no medium between aversion & love—This well known fact in the nature of man—should form a ground of conduct—You have indeed made it so by avoiding every expression that could encourage tenderness—& this letter is an ample testimony of your having done so, as well as of the prior “reformation” which was sufficiently evidenced to me by your own assertion & the agreement of circumstances with it—But in case of a more unequivocal disclosure on his part than has yet been made, this letter would confute those false accusations—to which you would undoubtedly be subjected from others—Still I am aware of the danger of not burning it. I however prefer returning it to you—and I shall not enclose, that there may be more perfect security of its delivery.

But in regard to your conduct—There appear to me to be but two ways of proceeding which are at all reconcileable with those principles by which you are governed—

The first alternative is to reply that after so unequivocal a proof that the idea of you was associated with the most guilty feelings, you considered it your duty to break
off all communication—being convinced that it must be attended with the danger of keeping them alive—that your anxiety for his welfare could not be more strongly proved than by a resolution which might expose you to his resentment, but which was dictated by the strongest sense of duty towards him, as well as towards yourself—

The other alternative is—to take no notice of having received the letter—for if you notice it at all, it must be in my opinion in such terms as above—but to continue the correspondence in the same style of guarded propriety which seems to [have] piqued him to make this impassioned, tho as appears to me, artfully studied address, to recover his ascendancy—

Considering you as an individual, I should not hesitate to say that the first was absolutely incumbent upon you—Considering you with reference to your domestic ties, the determination of the question must be influenced by your opinion of the probable consequences—If I felt that I could calculate them with confidence, I would not shrink from the responsibility of advising you—but I cannot—Indeed I fear that he will nor let you rest till he has done you the greatest temporal injury—& that you can only avert it a little longer by any mode of conduct—I wish with all my heart that I could express more consolatory opinions—but your consolations must come from a different source—and I trust they will encrease with your trials—

I will write to you about myself soon—and tell me what you do—tho’ I feel sure that the gentler expedient will appear to you the best. We must act consistently with our own opinions, not with those even of the persons we most esteem—if we would secure the peace of retrospect—Endeavour to clear your ideas as to what your relative duties require, act according to the best conclusions you can form, and then rest in the feeling that “duties are ours—events are God’s”—

Ever yours most affecly
The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
London June twenty eight 1819
Lady Byron
Tunbridge Wells
Fred Bentinck
[Monday] June 28 [1819]

Your letter &c has arrived safely my dearest A & a million of thanks for yr kindness—Decision was never my forte in any circumstances—& God knows in such as ye present, ye difficulty I feel & shall feel—yet—one ought to act (as far as one can) right & leave the issue to Providence.—

I will tell you what now passes in my mind. As to the gentler expedient you propose, I certainly lean to it—as the least offensive—but—supposing he suspects the motive & is piqued to answer, “I wrote you such a letter of such a date? Did you receive it?” What then is to be done—I could not reply falsely—& might not that line of conduct acknowledged—irritate? This consideration wd lead me perhaps—preferably—to adopt the other—as most open & honest—(certainly to any other Character but his—) but, query whether it might not be most judicious as to its effects—and at the same time acknowledging that his Victim was wholly in his power, as to temporal good & leaving it to his generosity whether to use that power—if not dead to every Spark of good feeling—or not partially insane—I think—I cannot but think—it might be best—but to determine those questions is difficult—in either case to be acting right would be one’s consolation.

There seem so many reasons why he should for his own sake abstain for the present from gratifying his revenge that one can scarcely think he would do so—unless insane—it wd surely be ruin to all his prospects—& those of a pecuniary nature are not indifferent—if others are become so—

if really & truly he feels or fancies he feels—that
passion he professes I have constantly imagined he might suppose from his experience of the weakness of disposition, of the unfortunate Object, that driven from every other hope or earthly prospect she might fly to him! & that as long as he was impressed with that idea he wd persevere in his projects—but if he considered that hopeless, he might desist—for otherwise he must lose every thing—but his Revenge, & what good wd that do him!—

After all my dearest A— if you cannot calculate the probable consequences, how should I presume to do so! To be sure the gentler expedient, might be ye safest—with so violent & irritable a disposition & at least for a time act as a palliative—& who knows what changes a little time might produce or how Providence might graciously interpose—with so many reasons to wish to avoid extremities (I mean for ye sake of others) one leans to what appears the safest & one is a Coward—

But the other at the same time has something gratifying to one’s feelings—& I think might be said & done—so that, if he showed ye letters, it would be no evidence against the Person—& worded with that kindness, & appearance of real affecte concern for him as well as the other person concerned that it might possibly touch him. Pray—think of what I have thought & write me a line not to decide for that I cannot expect, but to tell me if I deceived myself in the ideas I have expressed to you—I shall not cannot answer till ye latest post day this week—

I know you will forgive me for this infliction & may God bless you for that & every other kindness—
Extract from Letter from the Hon. Mrs. Leigh to
Lady Byron.
[Friday, July 2, 1819]

1000 thanks for yr hint about letters—I scarcely know whether to risk keeping that you saw—

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron
London July third 1819
Lady Byron
Tunbridge Wells
Fred Bentinck
[Saturday, July 3, 1819]
My dearest A

Having a frank I write a line—I was in such a hurry yesterday having waited for M—all day—I’m afraid my letter may have appeared to you—as treating the subject too lightly—but indeed no one can be more fully aware of the Precipice on which I stand than I am—but situated as I am—I feel that—if once I gave way to despair I could never shake it off & should be unfitted for every thing—as this wd be adding to the evil, I do all I can to avoid it—& I hope it is not presumptuous to trust in that Power who alone can shield & protect—

I have not heard any more of what you apprehended—I own I cannot for ye present fear more than this detestable production the Poem—God bless you dearest A— & forgive my plaguing you so but I could not resist sending a line—pray write to yr affece & grateful

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
London Decr Twenty one 1819
Lady Byron
Kirkby Mallory
W Howard.
[Tuesday] Decr 21. 1819

My dearest A—The enclosed1 came last night—& I fear looks too like certainty respecting the return—Anything you may wish to be said relative to the chief subject—pray address to me on a separate sheet—I am determined to give no opinions of mine—& wish the

1 [See Chap. XI., letter of Dec. 4.]

Will in question was burn’t—I’m sure I do not know how to address a letter to Calais—it being out of the question to give him welcome to Engd—alas! how melancholy that it sd be so—Luckily—(or unluckily perhaps) I do not die easily—or I think this stroke wd about finish me—however my trust is in Providence—& the agitation caused by the first intelligence of such a mournful prospect has subsided into a dead calm—I’m sure I am very selfish to have said all this abt myself—but indeed I think of & feel for you—all day long—and I am so sorry for your Parents—all this you will believe dearest dear A—altho’ I can not fully express it—
Mrs V. called yesterday—from her looks, I guess she is ignorant—she mentioned a letter from you saying you wd be here early in Jany—Let me hear about this——

Murray sent me a letter to him—of the same date as that I enclose—it was chiefly on ye subject of D. J.1 & an application to the Chancellor—about the publication of it by others—discussing this he says—to this effect—“You may do as you please but recollect if it is pronounced blasphemous or indecent, I shall lose all right of Guardianship &c &c (I forget the exact expressions) in yr education of my Daught”—& gives an instance of ye same in that infamous Mr Shelley’s case,—2 he then justly & handsomely enough says it is hard M—should pay for ye Poem—all things considered & that ye Money being untouched shall be his again—which I fear the latter will not listen to—The letter ends by saying his return to Eng—was unlooked for but he has given his reason in letters to his Sister & D. K.3—I tell you this (I mean about the Poem) as it may give you my guess of probabilities relative to Ada—My own opinion is he will be pretty quiet on her subject—

1 [“Don Juan.”]

2 Mrs. Leigh would not have claimed to have read or to understand “that infamous Mr. Shelley,” and merely repeated a phrase of Murrayish or some equally Bowdlerite origin; it certainly could not represent Lord Byron’s judgment.

3 [Douglas Kinnaird.]

but do not say a word to any of your friends—nor indeed to any one = even our own relations that I have done so—they are too closely acquainted and connected with those whom I believe most inimical to me—& it wd be echoed to ye other side by some means or other—I am not ashamed of what I do—as I feel my motive—I think my dear
Aone of the worst misfortunes to be dreaded is that he will be clawed hold of by that most detestable Woman—your relation by Marriage1—I am sorry but I can’t disguise from you my horror of her—(which I can fully & satisfactorily explain) over and above that which all must feel who know anything of her—God bless you dearest A—and pray write a line

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.
Copy of a letter to Augusta Leigh

a letter of which this is the exact copy was delivered to Mrs Leigh by Miss Atkinson at my request Decr- 29th. 1819

T Villiers—
Kirkby [Thursday] Decr 23rd [1819]

Dearest A—As you seem to apprehend some insecurity from the ordinary means of communication, and I think myself called upon to speak openly, I will request Mrs Villiers to deliver this letter to you herself—I shall mention to her the prospect of B’s return, and leave you to consult her if you like to do so.—

On my own account, for my own sake individually, I am at present not very anxious—but for you, I feel the greatest solicitude, and I should reproach myself were I to shrink at this crisis from the declaration of any opinions by which you might be assisted to form your own determination.—

The reasons which a short time since induced you to

1 [Lady Caroline Lamb.]

deliberate whether you ought to continue the correspondence, even with those restrictions which you so cautiously observe, have infinitely more weight in the question whether any personal intercourse is admissible.—I have, throughout our confidential communication, strongly pointed out to you the pernicious effects that must result from
B’s associating with you, unless the circumstances were wholly changed, and the proofs of his reformation unequivocal.—So far from there being any change of this kind, several of his letters and some which you received only 3 or 4 months ago, demonstrate that he has not relinquished his criminal desires, & I think I may add designs. Is it not inevitable that the former must be more excited by the presence of their object, even though the latter, in consequence of your conduct, be frustrated?—Guilt of heart must be promoted. It can scarcely be doubted, from the whole series of his correspondence, that you are his principal object in England.—Consider too, as a Mother, that he would corrupt the morals of your Children—and recollect that the impression on the public mind is such, that the strongest suspicion would attach to your personal intercourse with him—

Since evils of such magnitude may be confidently anticipated from one course, let us weigh the consequences of the alternative, (which in principle is unobjectionable)—that is—of your communicating to him your determination not to associate with him in the existing circumstances.—His revenge must be directed either against your reputation or your pecuniary interests. I do not think that his worst attacks upon the former, when appearing to proceed from pique, would endanger it more than your personal intercourse—particularly whilst he obviously desires to bring you under his power by any means,—& you cannot suppose that the conduct which principle would dictate on your part, were you & he together, would incline him to forbear—With regard to your pecuniary interests, of which he so insultingly reminds you, as if you were to be bribed into wickedness,
I am aware that the interests of your children1 may rightly influence your conduct, when guilt is not incurred by consulting them—However your children cannot, I trust, under any circumstances be left destitute, for reasons which I will hereafter communicate.

Observe, I entreat you, that my sole wish is to place before you those considerations which appear to me most important, not to influence you by my authority or my wishes to adopt any course of the rectitude & propriety of which your own mind is not thoroughly convinced. I should most seriously regret so to influence you—for you would not act consistently, unless you acted from Conviction,—You would take half-measures, which must end in your ruin.—Anxious as I feel to support & comfort you in the recovered path of virtue, I could not hope to do so by an attempt to impose my own opinions—On the contrary I would as far as possible, remove every obstacle to independence of conduct on your part.

Consider then for yourself, whether it would be advisable to apprize him at Calais of the impossibility of your consenting to personal intercourse, after the letters which you had at different times received from him, &c.—and which had caused you to hesitate as to the propriety of continuing the correspondence—But, as I have before observed, I fully participate in your wish to consult his welfare in the present & the future, & should most warmly concur with you in any measures directed to those ends—

God bless you—& believe me
Ever affectionately yours

P.S. I think I cannot make it too clear to you that I do not instigate the measure which I suggest—If my reasons convince you, they become yours—if not, I have no wish to enforce them—

[1 Lord Byron was known to have made his will in favour of Mrs. Leigh and her children.]

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
Lady Byron
Kirkby Mallory
E O [Excise Office] Leicestershire
Tuesday Night [December 29, 1819]

My dearest A—Yr letter—thro Mrs V arrived today—her Governess brought it me—as she herself is not likely to be in Town for sometime—Altho’ ye change of circumstances makes the advice now unnecessary—the impression of your kindness remains—& ever will remain the same on my heart—I have not words to thank you—but I do hope that I do not may not appear ungrateful in yr Eyes—The time may come when ye same kind solicitude may be excited for me—& I can’t dearest A—help replying to your suggestions—Do you remember once before giving them & I told you, what I must again repeat & recall to you—that supposing me to feel like you on all the points you have touched—there is one which surely escaped you—supposing me to decide on not seeing him—what reasons could I give for it to my relations—friends—acquaintances but—most of all my Husband—I really cannot calculate all the consequences of that step as far as he is concerned—I think you agreed with me before—that this consideration rendered the step impossible—I assure you—all that you have said had passed already in my mind—My idea was this—if what you apprehend, came to pass, my conduct must have been—either this must cease—or our intercourse—& then had the latter been adopted—his caprice is so well known it (the estrangement) wd not have been thought so extraordinary as in the other case—at any rate the intercourse to have been as much restricted as possible—I am sure—at least I hope—you cannot think it could have afforded me any pleasure—& for my children I most perfectly agree with you it wd have been the least desirable upon earth—However I will honestly confess to you—I never have—I cannot now believe as you do in
the depth & strength of what is manifested by fits & starts—when there is nothing else—surely it must be a dreadful idea that he must necessarily be wicked in some way—then dearest A—I do not feel that I could without one effort relinquish—the hope—the chance of making some impression on his better feelings—you will perhaps think me foolish—vain—I hope not the latter—but indeed do you think there is one person in Engd who would—who could say to him what from circumstances I might? it might be lost now but perhaps recur hereafter, & it wd be a satisfaction to me at all events to have said it—Do you mean on the subject of pecuniary interests—what was said of my opinion expressed on the subject of the Mortgage—I mean to decline that wholly—& pray do me the justice to believe that one thought of the interests of my Children as far as that Channel is concerned never crosses my mind—I have only entreated—I believe more than once that ye Will might be altered—but if it is not—as far as I understand the matter—there is not the slightest probability of their ever deriving any benefit—Whatever my feelings dear A—I assure you never in my life have I looked to advantages of that sort—I do not mean that I have any merit in not doing it—but that I have no inclination—therefore nothing to struggle with—I trust my Babes to Providence & provided they are good—I think perhaps too little of the rest—from indolence I daresay & fear—

I am sure you will not be angry with me for saying all I do & have & I only entreat you to reply to me—for very likely I may be wrong—but I have God knows! considered & reflected on probabilities since I have had this dreadful expectation—What a mercy it has ceased! My dear A do not you think it all very odd?—I have not had any letter but besides the message I enclosed you yesterday one thro’ D. K. this Evg to ye same effect—my own opinion is he will never come—or at least if ever—not for this long time—if his life is spared—I will not tire you—with more now—Pray do not hate me for what I have written & do answer me—for I scarcely ever feel
confidence in my own opinions. God bless you—& thank you my dearest A for all your great kindness—Believe me always grateful——

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.
Kirkby [Friday] Decr 31st [1819]

Dearest A—As I think the return, if it takes place, is likely to be sudden, and for that reason to preclude deliberation, it is certainly better that we should openly discuss the subject, previously, tho but for your request, I should have been reluctant on your account to resume it.

I was aware that in the letter sent through Mrs Villiers, I recapitulated some arguments which I had before urged to you, but I wished to present a full view of the case—You were mistaken, dear A—in supposing that I ever admitted the validity of any reasons in favor of personal intercourse, tho’ I was persuaded that you might be justified in not breaking off the correspondence—However it is well that you have enabled me to correct that error—I will distinctly consider your reasons for thinking that it would be “impossible” for you to decline seeing B—you state them to be these—

“1st that you could not allege any satisfactory reason for that conduct—To this I reply that since the publication of Manfred & Don Juan and the greater notoriety of their author’s character, consideration for the good of your children would be deemed a sufficient justification by those whose opinions have most weight in society—and I should think that Col: Leigh might be persuaded of this by others, if not entirely by yourself.

2ndly You still retain the hope of influencing him beneficially—What is the foundation for this hope?—Has it not been during the period of your associating with him that he has acted in a manner the most contrary, surely, to your views of what is for his welfare? Do not take upon yourself the responsibility of asserting that you have influence over him—The answer would be “How has it been used”?—I am very far from wishing to detach you from him in any way by which he could
be injured—It is under the existing circumstances that I foresee nothing but evil to both from your being with him—but were he to renounce his vicious habits and give evidence of a better state of mind, it would afford me consolation to know that you were confirming his amendment, in person or otherwise—

3rdly You may say you “cannot believe in the depth & strength” of his wicked dispositions towards you “when there is nothing else”—Do you mean nothing else to prove them but his occasional letters? Is experience nothing? Did you not before indulge the delusion that he was not in earnest till it was fatally proved that he was?—“Angry with you” dear A—No—my feelings are very different—I deeply lament to think that you are still too much influenced by early prepossessions and by hopes which to me appear totally unfounded, and likely to lead into danger—I have no suspicions of your being actuated by mercenary views, but I think you ought not to reject, without good reason, any advantages offered to your children—

I do not consider you bound to me in any way. I told you what I knew, because I thought that measure would enable me to befriend you—and chiefly by representing the objections to a renewal of personal communication between you & him—On reference to the letters which you returned to me, and to some other memorandums, I find that I have taken every opportunity of doing this—& you have never before made your dissent intelligible to me—with such objects in view, I considered myself justified in departing from my declaration made when I told you my knowledge of former guilt that our intercourse must be limited.1—We must, according to your present intentions act independently of each other. On my part it will still be with every possible consideration for you & your children—and should I by your reception of him be obliged to relinquish my intercourse with you, I will do so in such manner as shall be least prejudicial

1 In the first draft of the letter the next sentence began: “If he returns, we must,” etc.

to your interests.—I shall most earnestly wish that the results of your conduct may tend to establish your peace instead of aggravating your remorse—but, entertaining these views of your duty & my own, could I in honesty or in friendship suppress them—?—

Ever yours affectionately
A I B.

Pray write to me at Mr Carr’s, Frognall, Hampstead. to let me know that you have received this letter and what your impressions are—I may have failed in expressing my deep interest in your happiness, but I trust that you will believe it.

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
2d Post Wedy Evening
Lady Byron,
——Carr’s Esqre
My dearest A,

I write a line to say that I received your letters safe—& as I hope to see you soon, I prefer replying to them de vive voix

God bless you
Ever yrs most affecte
Tuesday Night [January 4, 1820]
The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
Lady Byron
Kirkby Mallory
Sunday [January 16, 1820]
My dearest A

Thanks—for writing—as I was anxious to hear of your safety & yr cold—ye latter you do not mention
You will have received a letter & enclosure from me—but I can’t resist writing again a few lines—as altho’ I am now well, delays are dangerous—& I wish to say dearest A—what a grief it is to me that I cannot implicitly adopt your advice—taking one—(& a very essential one it is) view of the subject, I am entirely of your opinion—but there are other points I must consider & unless I could change characters & circumstances, I do not see how I could act as for the sake of that one, I wd—I trust I may be spared the trial—I scarcely know any greater that could befall me Pray tell me what you think of the letter I sent you—I have not yet written since the communication of the intended arrival & the change of intention have reached me—but I fear I must soon & wish I knew what to say, & whether it wd give an opportunity of saying anything to be of use—tell me your ideas upon this—

I am glad you found Ada well & good—Do tell me for I had not time to ask you any thing—do you & yours still think of the Hampstead plan?—

George B. was much vexed at not seeing you—He went away Monday—I must say Good Night & God bless you dearest A—& pray write soon to your ever affecte & grateful


Chicks: pretty well

The preceding letters were very unsatisfactory to Lady Byron, who wrote to Mrs. Villiers (January 26th, 1820):

“I am reluctant to give you my impression of what has passed between Augusta and me respecting her conduct in case of his return—but I should like to know whether your unbiassed opinion formed from the statement of facts coincided with it.”

After this time there was much less concert between the two. They remained friends till 1829, when Mrs. Leigh would have insisted on nominating a trustee to
the Marriage Settlement in substitution for
Kinnaird. But long before that date Mrs. Leigh had more than once defied Lady Byron’s wishes and advice, especially in starting a violent quarrel with Captain Lord Byron. But the period of Mrs. Leigh’s estrangement from Lady Byron and of many windings and deviations from sense and reason belongs not to this place. Enough to say, that the disasters of Mrs. Leigh’s later years were partly caused and greatly aggravated by her complete subjection to impulse and temper.