LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Augusta Leigh to Francis Hodgson, 4 March 1817

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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Six Mile Bottom: Tuesday evening, March 4, 1817.

Dear Mr. H.,—Thank you many thousand times for your very kind and most welcome letter, which followed me to Town, where I went on the 6th and remained till the 24th of February, on Court duty.
I am sure if I had followed my inclination it would not have remained even thus long unanswered, for indeed I feel all the friendship and kindness which prompts you to bestow any portion of your precious time upon me. As the only return, except my thanks, which I am able to make you is giving you all the information I receive about our dear
B., I will begin by that subject of our mutual interest. From him I have not heard for nearly five weeks, and his letter was dated the 13th January. Of him I have heard a little later accounts. Mr. Murray showed me a letter to him dated the 24th of January, and I believe Mr. Moore has heard since that. I am daily hoping to do so, for any unusual silence puts me into a fidget. His last letters have been uncomfortable. In one of them, after giving me the history of a new attachment, he says, ‘and tell Hodgson his prediction is fulfilled; you know he foretold I should fall in love with an Italian, and so I have.’ I should prefer giving you a more agreeable message, dear Mr. H., but I don’t like to withhold any of his words to you. As for the circumstance it alludes to, it is only one among a million of melancholy anticipations of mine, for the evils always arise fast and soon enough, it is not always easy to wait for
their arrival; at least I don’t find it so. He has not lately to me recurred to the intention of returning to England, but I hear it is circulated by his friends—or soi-disant tels—for which, however, I suspect motives, and still doubt on the subject. Upon the whole, my opinion is that greater evils are to be apprehended from his immediate return than his continued absence, but God knows! I may be wrong. You, who know how ardently I wish him every good, will enter into all my anxieties. He has lately given himself and others much needless worry on the subject of the poor dear
little girl. Somebody wrote—I believe merely as a piece of gossiping news—that Lady B. intended to pass this winter abroad, which occasioned a letter addressed to me by B. to be despatched with all speed, insisting upon a promise that the child should never leave England. Of course I transmitted the message. The answer was, Lady B. had never had any intention of quitting England. This did not satisfy, and several others have followed. At last, thank Heaven, the business is transacted through Mr. Hanson, and Lady B. has declined answering through me; much to my satisfaction, as I cannot do any good in it.

It appears that the child is a ward in Chancery,
which I must own I consider fortunate as things are at present. I did not know it till I went to Town, where I most unexpectedly met poor
Lady B., who had come there on this business. You will be glad to hear that she looked much better and, I hope, is really stronger, and gradually improving in health, though still quite unequal to hurry and agitation of any kind. I told her of your request that I would inform you of her health, and she desired me to say she felt much gratified by the kind interest you express for her. The little girl was left at Kirkby, as she came but for a few days, but is quite well, and, I hear, a very fine child. It makes me wretched to think of her, and I’m sure of your sympathy in such a feeling. We can, indeed, only pray and trust Heaven for our dear B. If I hear soon from him you shall know what he says.

I am glad you were rather agreeably surprised in the Poems. I own I was so; but the different opinions, and impressions, and reflections of different people are enough to drive one mad. Your approbation of the lines on poor Major Howard (our very particular friend) delighted me very much. They were what I was most anxious should be approved. Of course you know to whom the
Dream1 alludes, Mrs. C———. I am very much of your opinion on all the points of your observation. Have you seen the Reviews? The ‘Quarterly’ has given great offence to all those who call themselves Lady B.’s friends and party. It only appears to me that such discussions would be better omitted, and that the ‘Edinburgh’ has most wisely done. B. never mentions Newstead; I dare not ask for fear of hearing it is gone. I, too, have an atom of your ‘indefinite hope,’ but I never venture to express it except to you. It makes me unhappy to think of what you feel about dear B.’s silence; but I am sure, in spite of this, your friendship is valued as much as ever.

We are not likely to remove till May or June, so pray direct as usual whenever you have a moment to spare, and, believe me that I am always most delighted to receive a letter from you. My children are well; Georgey is really a very dear little girl. You will easily believe that my hands are quite full, with five to teach and nurse. But it is fortunate I have such an imperious demand upon my time and attention. I do not know what

1 Mrs. Leigh here must either mean Miss Chaworth, afterwards Mrs. Musters, or must have written the ‘Dream’ for the ‘Sketch,’ and have meant Mrs. Clermont, Lady Byron’s confidential maid.

otherwise would have become of me with the source of wretchedness about poor dear B.
Col. Leigh desires me most particularly to present his best regards to you, and Georgey desires her love.

Ever yours most sincerely,
A. L.