LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Augusta Leigh to Lady Byron, 6 June 1816

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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Six Mile Bottom. June 6th 1816.
My dear Annabella

As I always mistrust the first impulses of my feelings, & did not wish to write under the influence of such as your letter could not fail to produce, I would not answer it by return of post. I cannot say that I am wholly surprised at its contents. Your silence towards me during so long an interval and when all obvious necessity for it must have ceased formed so decided a contrast to your former kindness to me—and to what my Conscience tells me my conduct towards you deserved from you that it could not but require some explanation. I have often thought of—though not determined—to ask it—when my health strength & spirits wd allow me—if my feelings have been wounded by your silence, how much more deeply they must now be so by your expressions I need not—cannot say—To general accusations I must answer in general terms—and if I were on my death Bed I could affirm as I now do that I have uniformly considered you and consulted your happiness before and above any thing in this world. No sister ever could have the claims upon me that you had—I felt it—& acted up to the feeling to the best of my judgement. We are all perhaps too much inclined to magnify our trials, yet I think I may venture to pronounce my situation to have been & to be still one of extraordinary difficulty. I have been assured that the
tide of public opinion has been so turned against my
Brother that the least appearance of coolness on your part towards me would injure me most seriously—& I am therefore for the sake of my children compelled to accept from your compassion the “limited intercourse” which is all you can grant to one whom you pronounce no longer worthy of your esteem or affection! But the time may come when your present convictions and opinions will change—in the interim I feel how hopeless would be every attempt to defend myself. The only person whose testimony could avail me in proving how strictly and invariably I have done my duty by you—I have heard from yr own lips you consider unworthy of belief. On the particular points of accusation—1st. my “not having disguised my resentment to those who befriended you” I know of nothing but the change of manner to Miss Doyle, which was discussed between us ye last time I saw you—and, 2nd. “my having countenanced the acts which were employed to injure you”——!!! really you must have been cruelly misinformed and I cruelly injured I ask not however by whom—for I feel I scarcely could forgive them. Before you judge and condemn me on the first point—you ought to consider that I as well as you may have had provocation—that it was impossible hearing and seeing all I did I should not be under the influence of some degree of irritation—not against those who wd befriend you1 but whom I often thought condemned others1 too severely. I will not however say more at present than that you need not indeed regret having loved & trusted me so entirely—& the sincerity of my affection for you & exclusive zeal for your welfare all2 to whom I ever spoke of you—and who witnessed my conduct can fully prove. I would not dwell a moment on having done what was only my duty and inclination but in self-defence——

My “present unhappy dispositions”——! I have

1 Underlined twice.

2 Underlined three times.

indeed in outward causes sufficient to make any one wretched but inward peace which none can take away—It never occurred to me you could act but on the strictest sense of duty—therefore I’m convinced you do so now towards me.

God bless you—for every mark of kindness which you have bestowed on me & mine of which neither time or circumstances can efface the recollection.

Believe me gratefully & afly yrs
A. L.

Will you be so good as to acknowledge the receipt of the Bulletin1 to Ly Noel. I think it unnecessary to trouble her as I write to you—I am sorry to hear her acct of yr health——