LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh, 8 September 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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Sept. 8th 1816.
My dearest Augusta,

By two opportunities of private conveyance I have sent answers to your letter delivered by Mr. H.3 S——4 is on his return to England and may probably

1 Lady Melbourne.

2 For facsimile of signature, see p. 286.

3 Hobhouse.

4 Scrope Davies.

arrive before this. He is charged with a few packets of seals—necklaces—balls &c. &—I know not what—formed of Chrystals, Agates, and other stones, all of them from Mont Blanc bought and brought by me on and from the spot—expressly for you to divide among yourself and the children, including also your niece
Ada, for whom I selected a ball (of Granite—a soft substance by the way—but the only one there) wherewithall to roll and play when she is old enough, and mischievous enough, & moreover a Chrystal necklace; and anything else you may like to add for her—the love!

The rest are for you and the nursery, but particularly Georgiana, who has sent me a very nice letter. I hope Scrope will carry them all safely, as he promised. There are seals and all kinds of fooleries, pray like them, for they come from a very curious place (nothing like it hardly in all I ever saw) to say nothing of the giver.

And so—Lady B. has been “kind to you” you tell me—“very kind”—umph—it is as well she should be kind to some of us, and I am glad she has the heart & the discernment to be still your friend; you was ever so to her. I heard the other day that she was very unwell. I was shocked enough——& sorry enough, God knows, but never mind; H. tells me however that she is not ill; that she had been indisposed, but is better and well to do—This is a relief. As for me I am in good health, & fair, though very unequal spirits; but for all that—she—or rather the Separation—has broken my heart. I feel as if an Elephant had trodden on it. I am convinced I shall never get over it—but I try. I had enough before I knew her and more than enough, but time & agitation had done something for me; but this last wreck has affected me very differently. If it were acutely it would not signify; but it is not that—I breathe lead. While the storm lasted and you were all pitying and comforting me with condemnation in Piccadilly, it was bad enough & violent enough, but it’s
worse now; I have neither strength nor spirits nor inclination to carry me through anything which will clear my brain or lighten my heart. I mean to cross the Alps at the end of this month, & go—God knows where—by Dalmatia up to the Arnauts again, if nothing better can be done; I have still a world before me—this—or the next. H—— has told me all the strange stories in circulation of me & mine—not true.1 I have been in some danger on the lake (near Meillerie) but nothing to speak of; and as to all these “mistresses”—Lord help me—I have had but one. Now don’t scold—but what could I do? A
foolish girl, in spite of all I could say or do, would come after me, or rather went before for I found her here, and I have had all the plague possible to persuade her to go back again, but at last she went. Now dearest, I do most truly tell thee that I could not help this, that I did all I could to prevent it, and have at last put an end to it. I was not in love nor have any love left for any, but I could not exactly play the Stoic with a woman who had scrambled eight hundred miles to unphilosophize me, besides I had been regaled of late with so many “two courses and a desert” (Alas!) of aversion, that I was fain to take a little love (if pressed particularly) by way of novelty. And now you know all that I know of that matter, & it’s over. Pray write, I have heard nothing since your last, at least a month or five weeks ago. I go out very little, except into the air, and on journeys, and on the water, and to Coppet, where Me de Staël has been particularly kind and friendly towards me, and (I hear) fought battles without number in my very indifferent cause. It has (they say) made quite as much noise on this as the other side of “La Manche”—Heaven knows why, but I seem destined to set people by the ears.

Don’t hate me, but believe me ever
Yrs. most affecly