LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh, 17 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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Ouchy. Sept 17. 1816
My dearest Augusta,

I am thus far on my way to the Bernese Alps & the Grindenwald, and the Yung frau (that is the “Wild woman” being interpreted—as it is so perverse a mountain that no other sex would suit it), which journey may occupy me about eight days or so, and then it is my intention to return to Geneva, preparatory to passing the Simplon——

Continue you to direct as usual to Geneva. I have lately written to you several letters (3 or 4 by post and two by hand) and I have received all yours very safely. I rejoice to have heard that you are well. You have been in London too lately, & H. tells me that at your levée he generally found Ld F. Bentinck—pray why is that fool so often a visitor? is he in love with you? I have recently broken through my resolution of not speaking to you of Lady B— but do not on that account name her to me. It is a relief—a partial relief to me to talk of her sometimes to you—but it would be none to hear of her. Of her you are to judge for yourself,
but do not altogether forget that she has destroyed your brother. Whatever my faults might or may have been—She—was not the person marked out by providence to be their avenger. One day or another her conduct will recoil on her own head; not through me, for my feelings towards her are not those of Vengeance, but—mark—if she does not end miserably tot ou tard. She may think—talk—or act as she will, and by any process of cold reasoning and a jargon of “duty & acting for the best” &c., &c., impose upon her own feelings & those of others for a time—but woe unto her—the wretchedness she has brought upon the man to whom she has been everything evil [except in one respect effaced] will flow back into its fountain. I may thank the strength of my constitution that has enabled me to bear all this, but those who bear the longest and the most do not suffer the least. I do not think a human being could endure more mental torture than that woman has directly & indirectly inflicted upon me—within the present year.

She has (for a time at least) separated me from my child—& from you—but I turn from the subject for the present.

To-morrow I repass Clarens & Vevey; if in the new & more extended tour I am making, anything that I think may please you occurs, I will detail it.

Scrope has by this time arrived with my little presents for you and yours & Ada. I still hope to be able to see you next Spring, perhaps you & one or two of the children could be spared some time next year for a little tour here or in France with me of a month or two. I think I could make it pleasing to you, & it should be no expense to L. or to yourself. Pray think of this hint. You have no idea how very beautiful great part of this country is—and women and children traverse it with ease and expedition. I would return from any distance at any time to see you, and come to England for you; and when you consider the chances against our—but I won’t relapse into the dismals and anticipate long absences——

The great obstacle would be that you are so admirably
yoked—and necessary as a housekeeper—and a letter writer—& a place-hunter to that very helpless gentleman your Cousin, that I suppose the usual self-love of an elderly person would interfere between you & any scheme of recreation or relaxation, for however short a period.

What a fool was I to marry—and you not very wise—my dear—we might have lived so single and so happy—as old maids and bachelors; I shall never find any one like you—nor you (vain as it may seem) like me. We are just formed to pass our lives together, and therefore—we—at least—I—am by a crowd of circumstances removed from the only being who could ever have loved me, or whom I can unmixedly feel attached to.

Had you been a Nun—and I a Monk—that we might have talked through a grate instead of across the sea—no matter—my voice and my heart are

ever thine—