LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Augusta Leigh to Lady Byron, 21 December 1819

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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[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