LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Augusta Leigh to Lady Byron, [15 July 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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St J. P.1
Monday. (15 July 1816)

I am particularly anxious to write to you my dearest A—— yet uncertain whether I shall be able to do so fully—as I am every moment interrupted—& expecting somebody on business—I received yr letter from Mrs. V. late on Saturday—it is quite impossible for me to say what I feel towards you for all the kindness past present

1 St. James’s Palace.

contained in it—but I think you understand that sort of difficulty on my part—& if not I too well know how you can make allowances.

The delusion to which I alluded—was an entire unsuspicion—that you even suspected—that I caused or added to your misery—which every thing on your part & many on that of another tended to confirm—as I now remember “some things” to which you allude—you may also some which could not but deceive me—it is still like a horrid dream to me my dearest A—— that I caused yr sufferings whose whole anxiety was at least to mitigate them—I felt it as my only consolation to do all I could, & indeed to the best of my judgment I did it. Many a time I should have felt it one to have confided unreservedly in you—but concealment appeared a duty under such circumstances—& you know I am of a sanguine disposition & to the very last had hopes of better for you—& for him. I lament from my heart—all the unintentional errors to which you allude. I can never accuse you of injustice—but I am not sure even now if on one point you are not mistaken—& I don’t know how to explain myself—What can I say to you of my present & past feelings—except that I wish my heart were open to you—that you might judge of its weaknesses & point out the remedy—I hope it is not presumption in me to say that some of its feelings wd be such as to give you consolation—My dear A—— I am perfectly unable to decide how to act for the best respecting him & his knowledge of what has passed between us—if only I was concerned in ye consequences I should care less—Certainly it is desirable he should have no ground to imagine you unkind towards me—but as yet—I have had positive injunctions never to mention anybody or anything except the little girl—of whom I’ve transmitted the bulletins. I have now a safer opportunity than ye post of sending any particular communication as his friend H. is to set out to join him next Sunday—I wish you to reflect on what I had better do—I really must now entirely mistrust my own judgment—there are
dangers to be apprehended both ways—at least I see many from his ignorance.

I must not forget—& I write so uncomfortably I fear I shall half I wd & could say—that I am equally surprised & hurt at what you quote as the language of any friend of mine—I must say that I could no longer consider any one in that light who could say such a thing of not to me—& I declare to you no one ever even hinted it—on the contrary—the few to whom I could not help speaking always manifested surprise at the part I took—not knowing circumstances—when I had told as much of them as I could, I always replied to arguments “if you knew all you would think differently”—but my situation was so difficult I ought not to be surprised at having incurred censure—& only feel it because I never met with it openly. If you mean by my representation of circumstances that I have mentioned the idea of insanity—I certainly did dear A——— but always at the same time that you were the particular object of irritation & aversion & the consequences of that quite insupportable—in short I cannot reproach myself with even a thought prejudicial to you—& I am deeply hurt at what you tell me—I never thought the report came from you or yours—I know too well how to account for it. When I talk of difficulties I’ve had to encounter don’t think I mean to complain of them—I’m sensible of their original cause—& am & have been most anxious to atone for that. Your friendship & kindness is the greatest comfort I have—my dear A——Heaven will reward for all—I never can express myself as I wish towards you—Tell me of any thing I can do—or any wrong feeling you may discern—This letter is all confusion owing to many perplexing circumstances which prevent me from writing calmly—interruptions & the fear of them——