LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

In Whig Society 1775-1818
Lady Caroline Lamb to Lady Melbourne, [1813]

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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“I wrote to him & said: ‘Byron, when my letters tire or when you dislike writing, only tell truth—I can bear anything but suspense.’ Yet after far the kindest he ever wrote even more professing than the one I shewed you, one I could hardly like to shew, so full of such assurances—saying I must be his; he could not would not live much longer away—I say, after this letter, I never receivd a word. He was angry I know very well at one I wrote—a very improper one, no doubt, but I had heard such things, such double things of his saying & doing, that with my usual violence I wrote. About ten days after Mamma received a letter very gay & one or two little things about Cheltenham having cured him. I only had a cover inclosing John Green’s letter; after that 4 pages in praise of some other person & these words to me ‘correct yr. vanity which is ridiculous & proverbial, exert yr. Caprices on your new conquests & leave me in peace, yrs. Byron.’ I never
shall forget what pain I felt. Off was despatched an express—‘only for God sake, Byron, explain yourself. What have I done—if you are tired of me say so, but do not, do not treat me so.’

“The express brought me a letter I enclose, & it made me miserable. But I wrote no more, except the small note I inclos’d to you, & one other, but without one Idea, without one supposition about Lady Oxford. I wrote to her saying, ‘my Dearest Aspasia, only think Byron is angry with me! Will you write to him, will you tell him I have not done one thing to displease him, & that I am miserable—tell him I wrote him a cross letter I know. But I have a thousand times askd his pardon. He is tired of me, I see it by his letter. I will write no more—never teaze him—never intrude upon him, only do you obtain his forgiveness.’ I received no answer, & went to Dublin. There a letter came to me from Lady Oxford. As I thought it had her seal, I open’d it tho’ I knew it could not be an answer to mine as there had not been time. But it was a letter from him saying—‘Lady Caroline—our affections are not in our own power—mine are engaged. I love another—were I inclined to reproach you I might for 20 thousand things, but I will not. They really are not cause of my present conduct—my opinion of you is entirely alter’d, & if I had wanted anything to confirm me, your Levities your caprices & the mean subterfuges you have lately made use of while madly gay—of writing to me as if otherwise, would entirely have open’d my eyes. I am no longer yr. lover—I shall but never be less than your friend—it would be too dishonourable for me to name her to whom I am now entirely devoted & attached.’—& he put Lady Oxford’s
seal—one I had myself shewn him & laugh’d with him about, & he dated his letter Presteign. I have no complaints to make against him, or against her. Such are the facts, & now you shall hear what my wishes are—& if you think them unreasonable I will try & give them up. I did wish to see him because I think it would in every way be better—but I now feel this ought not to be, & my only desire is that you should engage him to write me a few lines just to recall those very harsh accusations—or, if he will believe these things against me, just to say he forgives me & we part in peace—because if I were to die I should be miserable at doing so without—[MS. ends].”