LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
X. Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh (II)

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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Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers.
L. July 8. 1816.

My dear Mrs. Villiers—I cannot delay communicating to you, though I can do so but imperfectly for want of leisure, the very great comfort & strong hopes I have derived from the answer to my last letter of which I sent you a copy.—Her eyes seem to be opened, and her feelings awakened in a manner that convinces me she was wholly ignorant of her having been the cause of so much suffering to me—She speaks from her heart I am sure—admits respecting what preceded my marriage as much as she could do on paper—maintains her innocence since, but seems to be suddenly made sensible of her extreme self-delusion—confesses she might be wrong in ever entering my house, that she would not had she known my doubts—finally she entreats me in the most humble & affecting manner to point out in pity to her anything by which she may “atone for the past”—She appears to have been overcome by a sense of what she considers generous & kind on my part, & the great thing now is not to interrupt this strain of returning feeling—and of gratitude—for I have always thought that motive very powerful with her—

I cannot write to her again at present on account of his1 return—but I will whenever I can, and have a confident hope of restoring the better part of her mind—though I have found a persevering affection fruitless in one instance—here there is much more to assist me—

I am now convinced it has been more of self-delusion than duplicity.—At one time as you know, appearances

1 Colonel Leigh.

were so strong as to shake this opinion—but I return to it with a feeling of real consolation—In your sanction I have a valuable support, but were I to stand alone, I never would forsake her—Those who judge by cold & general rules might condemn me—but I am justified by my motives, and trust I shall be so by the result likewise—Your feelings are most friendly towards her, but should her pride or self-delusion at any future moment excite your displeasure, I now ask you to forgive her for my sake

It is to you I am indebted for the particular suggestion, by following which an effect so gratifying to me has been produced—She very properly expresses a wish to decline transmitting the accounts of my child—& I understand from what she says that she will decline all correspondence with him—

Mr. W[ilmot] expressed some thoughts of rebuking her for the unfavourable impressions she might have given or encouraged respecting me—but unless such errors were renewed (which I now think quite impossible) it is certainly desirable not to create irritation by making me in any way an occasion of reproach—it would interfere with my present views—and how much better to influence by gratitude than by fear—My heart is full and I hope you will read it better than I can write it—believe me

My dear Mrs. V——
Yours most affectly.
A. I. B.
The Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers to Lady Byron.
Tuesday July 9th [1816].

No words can tell you my dear Lady Byron the comfort & relief which your last letter just arrived has afforded me—The extract which you sent me in your former one was, to my mind, anything but satisfactory—it was confession without penitence—& I thought I saw a fancied security of ignorance in all the world but you (of
whose generous discretion she had no fear,) that would prevent any change of feeling or conduct, except towards you individually—& I will own to you that I found my feelings more changed towards her than I ever meant they should be—I felt that I could not answer for my forbearance if she should in conversation to me either express herself too warmly towards
him, or too coldly towards you—& I was growing quite nervous at the thoughts of her return to Town—All this is done away completely by the perusal of your last letter—I think I am justified in saying very confidently that her mind was purity & innocence itself, & now her eyes are really opened as to the enormity she has been led into, her former feelings & principles will I really hope & believe return with double force—provided always—that he does not return—& that I trust is a very improbable event—Her having a just sense of gratitude to you is a great point in her favour—& the more she reflects on your unparalleled kindness to her the more it must increase daily. There is an expression in her last letter to me which struck me at the moment I read it but does so much more forcibly now—Speaking of her own grievances, & some that had lately occurred to us, she says “What a world this is! & yet I am quite unfit for the next”—it shows how much the horror of her past conduct is uppermost in her mind—& if it does but continue so, the next step must be to try with your kind assistance, to make herself more fit for the next—it is now in a good train & every letter of yours will do more and more good—I fancy she will be in town (at the Apartments in St. James’s) about next Saturday. I see her great anxiety is to come before Hobhouse goes.

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers.
July 11th 1816.

Your letter has done me so much good that I have nearly forgotten all the evils of physique & morale.


Your views and mine entirely coincide—I shall enclose, probably to-morrow, a letter to Augusta to your care (with a note you can show her), as I am very anxious she should have it before the conference with Hobhouse—I must regret that she means to have one—I know not whether his be the perversion of wilfulness or weakness, but he has a morbid delight in the worst parts of human nature, and a bitter spirit of infidelity which even supposing him honest, (and I have doubts) render him likely to do more harm than good—She disliked & mistrusted him, and suddenly, after I left Lord B—changed—I have never understood why—

The principal points of my letter to her will be—To press still more on her delusion—for else her eyes may close again, and I feel it would be a false delicacy that might lead me to abstain from probing the wound—My tenderness will however naturally increase with the pain I give, and will in her present temper, obtain forgiveness for my motives—I shall concede as much as possible for her good intentions towards me—She says—“I have not wronged you—I have not abused your generosity”—When Delusion has once been carried so far, it is difficult to say to what it may not extend—but surely by these assertions she must mean that she has been innocent since my marriage—I have a little difficulty in accounting for some things on this supposition, but they certainly are not strong enough to justify a contrary opinion. . . .

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.
Endorsed Copy. July 11th, 1816. Third letter.
Lowestoffe. July 11th 1816.
My dear A——

I must make my opinion fully understood, for you think it unjust to you, and you would not, if you knew it better. That we may never mistrust each other again, it is necessary that we should now be perfectly confidential—


I have always felt that “Duplicity” was foreign to your character, and if I said I could not believe your professions (when so much conspired to render them doubtful) I rather meant I could not depend on them—for knowing how far your “delusion” had been carried, and not knowing you were so sensible of it as you now express yourself, to what might I not reasonably apprehend it did, or would extend? I felt it on every account incumbent on me to awaken you to it, if I could—no longer to spare your feelings or my own by concealing the real nature of circumstances—Thus what has appeared to you most cruel was meant most kind, and it is my comfort to remember that at the many times from the first week of my marriage, when that thought has nearly driven me to madness one unkind or inconsiderate feeling towards you has never actuated me—wherever my judgment has erred forgive its weakness—I am most anxious not to perceive the delusions of others more clearly than my own.

In the last part of the time we were under the same roof, you will now remember some things by which I intimated that I knew more than you thought, and almost offered myself to your confidence—not to betray it, as it has been betrayed—but that I might have more power to befriend you, if you were sincerely desirous to “atone for the past”—for I knew more of your dangers than you did and acted as if you had trusted me in counteracting them to the best of my power—Of this I could give proofs—I appeal to the past, not to oppress you with a sense of obligations which your intentions towards me have amply repaid, but in hopes that you will find consolation in trusting one whose friendship has been thus tried & will not fail—It is equally in your power to secure my entire confidence & esteem by persevering in those principles of strict self-examination & duty which you speak of as governing you at present—As you do not, and never have attempted to deceive me respecting previous facts, of which my conviction is unalterable, I rely the more on your simple assertion of
having “never wronged me” intentionally—I believe it implicitly—and I lament that you misjudgingly pursued a line of conduct so difficult for yourself—so dangerous & I believe so prejudicial to the ungoverned feelings of another—and inevitably tending to continue or renew his criminal recollections. Pardon a word I will never repeat—Dearest
Augusta—You will think, perhaps justly, that I erred in encouraging you myself—but my situation was most extraordinary—I could not, till a late period, bear to admit things to myself sufficiently to act upon them—and resisted what would have brought absolute conviction to any other person—and you were to me the kindest friend & comforter—I could tell you much of the struggles in my mind, but since it makes you unhappy to think you were the occasion of them, I will entreat you only to think of the consolation you can afford me—better perhaps than anyone—

When I speak of the necessity of confidence, do not suppose I wish to exact any confession—Let the past be understood now, to be buried in future—and whenever we do meet, I hope you will not imagine I am under the influence of any feeling that could distress you,—for I have often felt in your presence, under much more painful circumstances, all that I could now feel—& it has had no effect on me but that of rendering me more tenderly fearful of adding to the pain & oppression I believed you already felt—From this motive I have appeared unconscious of a thousand allusions, as intelligible to me as to you—To my husband I had another motive for assuming ignorance, having had reason to think that my life & every hope might depend upon it—You will feel that it was impossible to go on thus—and it would alone have formed a sufficient ground for the step I took—When I tell you that step has been conducive to my peace of mind—something may be added to your own—God grant that we all who have been partakers of misery may be partakers of eternal peace, and may I be judged hereafter by the truth of all I now reveal!


Your own friends have acknowledged that “the language you held” after my separation was “certainly injurious to me,”—I quote the words of one—I have heard from many others of the disadvantageous impressions of my feelings which had been received from your conversation, not that you were said to blame me directly, but your representations of circumstances made my conduct appear cold & cruel—Of course my parents have been more hurt at this than I was.

After what I have expressed of my own conviction it is necessary I should solemnly declare that it is impossible the report should have arisen in any way from me or my connections—To them it occasioned entire surprise—I was only too well prepared for it.

I confide in you to consult my welfare as much as your own with regard to the suppression or communication of what has passed between us to the person whom it next concerns.—I have totally resigned the idea of receiving justice from him—and fear he will see every thing in a perverted light—I think it desirable he should have no ground to imagine me unkind towards you—

Write to me & tell me if you can that I am still as dear to you as I shall ever wish to be—and trust me as being most truly

Your affece
A. I. B.
The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
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——

Tuesday. (16th July, 1816).

I could not get a frank for this yesterday—which worried me as I wished to have despatched this letter all imperfect as it is—but I really cannot express myself as
I wish to you & therefore must trust to you to understand me—& make allowances for what is deficient—there are more things I would write to you—Would to God that our hearts had been open to each other from the first—it might have saved me unintentional errors—I hope my dear
A you won’t think it wrong in me to desire this—you are the only being on this earth whom I could have wish’d to confide in.

I’ve been interrupted & can only now say my dear A—

yr most affece & grateful
[a dash for signature.]

I shall remain here all this week—& until after the R . . . l Marriage.

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.
Endorsed copy. Fourth letter.
July 17. 1816.

Indeed, indeed I cannot say all the comfort your letter has given me. I do most heartily wish with you that we had trusted each other more fully—and acknowledge that my own uncertainty of conduct might deceive you, & embarrass yours—I knew not what was best—my indecision might be weakness—and if it has injured you, I deeply regret it—but I did not see things as clearly whilst they were passing, as I do in reviewing them—and the excuse I make for myself I of course extend to you. You are very kind in understanding me as you do, for I am well aware that the very fear of giving pain sometimes makes me appear unfeeling. I hope I understand you as well as any human being can another—will you still think me mistaken “on one point” when I say I am now thoroughly convinced that if from the hour we first met all your conduct had been open to me I could not have found in it any thing to reproach you with—for that your errors of judgment, however to be regretted, were perfectly innocent—God knows what
satisfaction I have in making this acknowledgement—& in resigning doubts as to those parts of your conduct which have but transiently existed & will never return to wrong you. Tell me if this is satisfactory?

It was not of my sufferings in general—but of particular ones that I spoke of you as the cause, &, as I never expressed any feeling towards you which was not sincere, you must not imagine I had less comfort in you than I had—I only did not tell you how that comfort was at times embittered.

You ask me to tell you any thing in which I may imagine you err—The only return I can make is to open my thoughts—& you must judge if they are right or wrong—It seems to me that you dwell too much on the pain you involuntarily occasioned me, and not enough on the irreparable injury you did him by the voluntary sacrifices (for to principles & feelings like yours they must have been entirely sacrifices) which you once made to his immediate indulgences. Perhaps with you he has not given way to the frantic agonies of Remorse—alas! far from repentance, which I have seen awakened by any thing in connection with that fatal remembrance. I know there were other causes for his Despair, but I believe this to have been as baneful as any—and it made all succeeding intimacy unavoidably injurious. As far as any human being is concerned, it is towards him not me, that expiation is due—I have often regretted that the last time we met some bitter feelings (not towards you) which were only the momentary consequences of my situation at the time, influenced me, and may lead you to suppose that I have relinquished a fruitless anxiety for his ultimate good—But I believe Heaven is always open & this hope for him is still dear to me, as the only one that can remain of those that once more nearly concerned me. I have a difficulty in advising as to the communication, from being so ignorant of his present dispositions—I conceive that his fear of my penetration would as in other cases, create hatred—& I
do not see the evils of postponing the disclosure—but if the evils are to you, act so as to avoid them, & you will fulfil my wishes—I will reflect further on this point.

Do not feel any more concern that your expressed sentiments were misunderstood. From what you tell me it could not be your fault & I must say that there was no unfriendly intention towards you in the admission by others of what they saw differently—I hope you will not be under the painful necessity of renewing that topic with any who do not enter into your feelings as I should.

I have good accounts from Kirkby. Little A—— continues quite well—and I am better—The renewal of our confidence in each other has done me good—it is a comfort to say as well as to feel that I am

Yours most affecly
Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers
L. Wednesday.
(July 17th 1816).

I have an answer—all that it ought to be or that I could desire—It thoroughly convinces me of her innocence in regard to all the period with which I was concerned—and that every error towards me has not been of the heart but the judgment—I feel most thankful for this conviction & these feelings—

I hope Mr. W——1 is sensible of the propriety, indeed necessity of an indulgent conduct under these circumstances—I have no time—but you will be too happy to know thus much for me to need any excuse.

Yours most affectly.

1 R. Wilmot Horton.


[Part of the following letter is quoted in Chap. III., p. 61].

The Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers to Lady Byron.
July 18th 1816.

I almost fear you must have thought me ungrateful for all the kindness of all your letters by having been silent so long—but in truth my silence has proceeded from a wish to have it in my power to communicate anything to you respecting poor A.—which should be at all satisfactory. I cannot tell you much now—but your letter of yesterday just arrived determines me to write—She came sooner than she expected being ordered to come up for the Regent’s fete—She wrote to me the preceding day to prepare her dress for her, & therefore when we first met (an interview wh. I own I dreaded beyond measure) our whole conversation turned on Gauzes & Sattins—but I was foolishly dissatisfied—I thought her looking quite stout & well (wh. bye the bye she still does) & perfectly cool & easy, having apparently nothing on her mind but what there was abundance of ostensible cause for—this rather provoked me—the next day I had your letter to give her & I will own to you it made me so nervous I could not do it—indeed considering all that had passed on your subject before she left London it would have been quite unnatural for me to have given it without asking to see it, or questioning her as to its contents—I therefore left it in the Carriage, & at the end of my visit I told her I had it there & would send it in by the servant. She looked rather surprised but not alarmed—I sent it with its envelope to me—the next day I went there—but determined to ask no questions—at last—when the Child & maid were in the room she asked me if she shd. return me your note—I said “oh yes,” & then asked if yours to her was kind. She said “very much so”—“particularly so”—I
merely replied “I was sure it would be—remember I always told you how kind she was about you”—to this no reply—I ask’d about your health she said it was but indifferent—& then the subject dropped—& has never been renewed—Yesterday, for the first time, she dined here, & was here between 4 and 5 hours, & I must say that in my life I never saw any thing equal to her dejection—her absence—her whole mind evidently preoccupied & engrossed—& apparently insensible of being in society—
Mr. V., who really exerted himself & commanded himself much better than I expected to shew her as much kindness as before, tells me that while I was called out of the room to speak to a person, he could not extract an answer—even a monosyllable from her—except when he joked about the predicted destruction of the world to-day—& said (a propos to some arrangements which the boys wanted to make) “We need not give ourselves any trouble about it for the world will be at an end to-morrow & that will put an end to all our cares”—she quite exclaimed before the boys, the servants, &c., “I don’t know what you may all be but I’m sure I’m not prepared for the next world, so I hope this will last”—this seemed the only topic that roused her—This looks well for her mind—if this feeling is well kept up I hope every thing from it with time—but do not think me brutal or even unkind if I tell you the work is not done yet—I accidentally found yesterday by her question about foreign postage of letters that she was going to write to Ld. B. to-day—it is perhaps natural even necessary that she should write for the purpose of breaking off that correspondence—but till that1 is fairly & completely broken through—there will be but little good done depend upon it—& as nobody can do anything but you I mention this that you may enforce its necessity in any manner you think best—From my manner to her individually I am positive she cannot guess that I am better informed than when we last met—but what she may infer from my total silence on his subject I know

1 Underlined twice.

not—but I am sure she thinks I have a motive for she scarcely ever mentions him herself, & if she does, it is in a sort of way as if she was shy of his name which never was the case before—She told me she was sure my parcel had gone safe (a parcel I had entrusted to
Mr. Fletcher for a person at Lausanne) as they had passed a day at Lausanne—Another day she told me she had seen Messrs Hobhouse & Davies together & that they were going to Geneva directly—upon which I merely said “is Lord B. still there”—She said “yes—or near there” & then told me something of a boat in which he was going round the Lake & that Hobhouse said his crew would be drowned by his management, but that he wd. be safe by swimming. Then after the fête she told me Miss Mercer had come up & spoken to her there, had been very gracious & enquired very much about Geneva, & this I think in the whole week she has been in town are the only instances of her mentioning or rather alluding to him.

She has ceased to speak of Mr. Wilmot with any harshness, & in short I hope there is a very great amendment—but if the evil is not well eradicated, I feel convinced that he [Byron] will regain at pleasure his ascendancy over her mind—Mr. W. has as yet had no private conversation with her but he told me last night he meant to have some & to talk of you—your merits &c.—& to say that he knew there were people who considered you as cold hearted, unforgiving, &c & that he advised her (A) to put a stop to that sort of language whenever she heard it in any friends of hers, or it would be the worse for her—I see no objection to this—but he promises me to do it in a kind way. He tells me he is going abroad with Mr. Ward [Lord Dallas] for six weeks—A. will I believe stay till after the 12th August. Nothing can be worse than their affairs, pecuniarily—nothing can be more tiresome & impracticable than Colonel L. of which alas! she seems more than ever aware—What they are to do I cannot guess. The Duke of Leeds is to petition Lord Liverpool, but in these days of reduction he can
have no chance unless by an arrangement such as was proposed last year with
Warwick Lake—A’s child is a fine one & she goes on nursing successfully!!

Now I think I have told you all I know about her & tho’ it is dully & prosily told I know the subject will interest you—Depend upon it she will never open her heart to me—or indeed to anyone—but to me she could not—considering the part she has frequently made me take in her concerns upon a perfect persuasion of her innocence for the last three years. I daresay you are quite right in believing that she never transgressed during your residence in Piccadilly—I can perfectly imagine her having quieted her conscience by that salve—& it accounts (satisfactorily) for much of her conduct.

[I omit a passage dealing with the health of Lady Byron & Mr. Villiers, which follows here.—Ed.]

God bless you my dear Lady Byron—Do not hate me for this voluminous production—the next shall be more laconic—but in all ways & at all times you will find me most truly and

Affectionately yours,
The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
Tuesday Night (July 23rd 1816).

My dearest A—Do not imagine that either silence or an uncomfortable letter are proofs of forgetfulness on my part. Without doing much, I have scarcely a moment of peace & quiet here—constant interruptions of one sort or other—& from a remains of nervous weakness I believe—my head becomes so confused that I cannot collect my thoughts so as to express one-half of them to you. I have felt quite vexed at the recollection of the hurry I wrote to you in—yet I could not help it. You are so kind & good to me I would not have you think that I feel it one bit less than I really do—& it is impossible you can know how much that is—but I know you will make allowances. You(r) last letter my dearest A was such a comfort to me—ye greatest I can at present receive—since I think from it you do “understand me as well as any human being can another,” & I have suffered a great deal from the idea that you might & did mistake on one point. Don’t reproach yourself—or imagine I could ever reproach you for past doubts—it was but too natural you should have had them & none but you would so kindly have dismissed them. Thank you my dear A—— for complying with my request—& offering your thoughts—I am certain they are right & I assure you I always mistrust my own & endeavour to examine into every motive. Tell me always when you see anything wrong & believe me that greatest act of friendship will be most gratefully felt and acknowledged. I never witnessed any thing like what you have alas! & describe to have been his Agonies—& whatever I have suffered I have always carefully concealed from him,
altho’ could I have hoped for any good effect it might have been greater kindness not to have done so I have said but little of
him my dearest A—— fearing you might mistake ye nature of my feelings—I am certain they are & ever have been such as you could not disapprove—If I did but know how to contribute to his ultimate1 good! but Alas! I do not—tho’ like you that hope is cherished as the dearest of all—I rely upon your offering me your thoughts upon this & every point my dearest A——that is to say if you see no objection to yourself in so doing—I am perhaps raising up melancholy recollections & doing you harm—then tell me so sincerely & every thing else you would wish to say to me—& how I can by any means contribute to your comfort—I have thought much about the communication you allude to in yr last letter—& think certainly that it would be better at least postponed—I have been forbid to mention any & every thing but his child—& it was a relief to me—for without I could do any good I would much rather be silent—I have written by his two friends—whose departure however will not I believe take place before Saturday or Sunday—& only swerved from the rule indicated to me so far as to say I had met with ye greatest kindness from you. Dearest A—— it must ever give me great concern to think that anything I could have said wore the appearance even of unkindness towards you—I have very long avoided “that topic,” except when I thought I could change opinions injurious to you—& I have even experienced that my very silence has been turned against me! so it is difficult to know what to do—yet I believe that is the safest line——

this letter has as usual met with 10,000 interruptions but it must go “with all its imperfections on its head”

I hope your health continues to improve & yt of little Ada to be perfect—I fear I must remain here till after ye 12th when My Mistress gives a great affair to which I shall be summoned—nothing good at home, except that my darlings are well—

1 Underlined twice.


Georgey’s love and she is going to write to you immediately

Ever my dearest A—— Most affecly & gratefully yrs
finished Wedy.
The Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers to Lady Byron.
Saturday July 27th [1816].

I so much wish to believe that A—— is in a good way that I try to think her letters to you sincere, tho’ there are some things I cannot quite reconcile to my mind—if I understand you right you have implied to her that the continuation of your friendly intercourse with her depends upon the cessation of hers with him & I think I also understand that when she declined being the transmitter of the bulletins of the Child she implied to you that she should relinquish the correspondence altogether. Now this I know she has not done—for since my last letter to you I have seen upon her table a thick unsealed letter addressed by her to him—How far it would be expedient or prudent (for the reasons you very justly alledge) for her to break off this intercourse abruptly is another question—& one on which she ought to consult you, & on which your judgment & opinion should be her guide, but considering all that has passed she must not say one thing to you, & do another—You are, I grant, the only human being in whom she can confide, in whom it is fair & reasonable to expect her to confide, be her penitence what it may—but in you she is now bound to confide implicitly—& to you she is bound to obey implicitly.

God bless you dear Lady B—
Always most truly & affectionately yrs.
Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers.
Lowestoft. July 28

I am happy to say, my dear Mrs. Villiers, that I have no reason to suspect A—— of acting a double part about the correspondence—She submitted it to my opinion whether she should immediately make the communication to him which must be preparatory to any change, and I advised that it should be postponed, as I thought it required mature consideration—She was therefore at present to send the same formal accounts as before, for she told me he had forbidden her to write about anything but the child—She says that in her last letter she has only mentioned respecting me that I had shown her “the greatest kindness”—This is all well and I am now leading her on to promise that she will never renew a confidential intercourse by letter—or any personal intercourse—I find it necessary to gain step by step, and to disclose my views less abruptly than with some. She is perpetually relapsing into compromises with her conscience, and is at present under one of these delusions, which I cannot show you better than in the words of her letter, on which I shall animadvert very severely, as there is no fallacy more dangerous than that which makes a merit of feelings when the conduct is culpable—

“I have said little of him, my dearest A—— fearing you might mistake the nature of my feelings—I am certain they are & ever have been such as you could not disapprove”!

In another melancholy instance of crime, I have very lately heard the excuse, that there was “no error in the heart”—Upon such principles what may not be justified? It is sad to think of a mother impressing lessons of this nature on the minds of her children—and of Georgy particularly, who requires the best instruction—I wish very much to see A—— and it has only been from consideration for her good, which may be best promoted by
withholding something, that I have not yet promised to see her—

Lady Granville having received a strong impression against A—— which, when she visited me, I could not counteract any further than by expressing my own kind feelings, I thought it right in the present state of things between A & me, to write to Lady G. requesting as a favour to myself, that she would show the same kindness to A—as formerly. Lady G. has written to me saying that in consequence she called upon her. Having taken all the care I could of her character in the world, I have now only to attend to her character in more material respects—& for this task I have at least patience enough—

I feel so much as if you were an old friend that I cannot afford you a new pen, but hope you will be able to make out what is scrawled with this—I did not wish to leave the impression of any duplicity on your mind for another hour—

Ever yours most affectly.
Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.
Lowestoffe July 30 1816.

. . . It is in hearts like yours & mine, dearest A——, where kind feelings have so much power, that their excess even in the shape of sacrifice, is to be guarded against—and those particular ones to which we have yielded too much ought to be those from which we should afterwards withdraw as much as possible—Certainly when regard for the welfare of others also enjoins us to withdraw—

Consider all the reasons against any future personal intercourse between you & him by an earlier regard to which evils might have been prevented—First—his inclinations to misuse it—against a return of which you can never feel secure in a character so unstable—& you
would thus expose him to temptation—If you have been sanguine in the disinterested hope of contributing actively to his good, I have indulged it for you beyond the bounds of reason, & have always most earnestly desired that you should have the comfort of being instrumental to that end—but your chance of being so, at least by any personal endeavours, has I fear been sacrificed—Associations most prejudicial to a good influence from you, have subsisted too deeply & too habitually in his mind—What has passed on his part since my marriage, in my presence, as well as in my absence, must on reconsideration, convince you they were in no degree done away—Our visit to SMB1—even the first night of it will make you sensible of this—He then made me most cruelly sensible of what engrossed his thoughts & actuated his conduct—His visit to you afterwards, when his resentment was excited by the blameless principle of your opposition, in short, many more facts I shall not recall, lead to the same conclusion—His feelings towards you have varied—& they were seldom suppressed with me—Sometimes he has spoken of you with compassion—sometimes with bitter scorn—& sometimes with dispositions still more reprehensible—The only time when I believe he was really on the very brink of Suicide, was on an occasion relating to his remorse about you—If I think you have something to atone for to him, much more do I think he owes you atonement. Till you feel that he has in reality been your worst friend—indeed, not your friend—you cannot altogether think rightly—yet I am far from thinking any uncharitable feelings are to follow—forgive him—desire his welfare—but resign the pernicious view of being his friend more nearly—do not think me cruel—you would not if you knew how happy it would make me that wishes which I do not misunderstand, & even feel for you, could accord with any reasonable or religious consideration of the relative circumstances.

There is another reason too of the greatest weight—

1 Six Mile Bottom

For the sake of your children—both as respects the world’s opinion of yourself and still more from the injury young minds must receive in the society of one so unprincipled—I feel most anxious for your children in this respect, & for dear
Georgiana particularly, whom, as you must remember he had every disposition to injure—& you will not be offended when I say also that I think his mind too powerful for you—I could not feel secure that he would not bewilder you on any subject—The nature of his character (which I could make clearer to you than it is) gives him great advantage over any one in this respect.

You seem to have understood from the anxiety I retain that he should become more fit for another world, that I have yet some idea of assisting that end personally No—Such hope is as far from me as from you—& it would only be in one circumstance that I would ever consent to see him again—Alas—my dear A—you do not, I believe, know him—The Selfishness of strong passions, & when Romance is made the colouring & the mask of Vice, is not so easily perceived, as the selfishness of a calmer temper & less fascinating imagination—and the arts of a character naturally open and ingenuous, till it was changed & taught to deceive at an early age by the dreadful necessity of concealment—is not as obvious as the duplicity of one whose heart was less formed for confidence—Such, as I once told you are the fatal effects of a Solitary Secret—it Chills & hardens & absorbs—& the heart which it does not break must become depraved—if Religious feelings do not save it—

I should not advise you for his sake to restrict your correspondence further than by keeping always in view to rectify instead of soothing or indulging his feelings—by avoiding therefore all phrases or marks, which may recall wrong ideas to his mind—& even should this excite his irritation, it will do him less injury than compliance—and let me also warn you against the levity & nonsense which he likes for the worst reason, because it prevents him from reflecting seriously—at a distance you
may perhaps be better able to say things occasionally which will make an impression—the more so, as you are not suspected of preaching—or of knowing what, when we meet, I may perhaps impart.

I will stop—perhaps already I have gone too far in using the privilege you allow me—But I will hope not to be quite useless to one I love so well—Let me know what opinions you may form on the subjects of my letter & believe me always—

Your most affecte
The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
Monday night (August 5 1816).

I have considered my dearest A all the reasons you have kindly represented against future personal intercourse & others which you have not & I perfectly agree with you it is most desirable to avoid it—at the same time I think it wd be very difficult for me & might lead to consequences very injurious to more than me to make any open declarations about it. Consider the appearance to the World & to some in particular to whom I can’t state all my reasons—& the effects on him—at the same time I would as entirely1 as possible avoid it—but do reflect on many reasons for doing it prudently—At present there seems little prospect of my being exposed to this difficulty. I have no idea of his returning & if I gave way to my own forebodings, they wd incline me to think we should never meet again—but to dwell on such is useless—assure you most solemnly—most truly—I have long felt that he has not been my friend—but from my heart I forgive him—& pray to God to forgive him & change his heart—to restore him to peace—& there is nothing I would not do which could be done consistently with my duty to God & to others to contribute to his good—how far & whether I may ever be able to do so it is I think impossible to foresee—since futurity is veiled

1 “Entirely” underlined twice.

from us—I perfectly agree with you my dearest
A that the present presents no hope of the sort—pray do not misunderstand me—supposing he returns, nothing could induce me

Wedy. I left off there dearest A. & have not been able to resume—I was going to say that nothing should induce me to see him again so frequently or in the way I have done—but that merely I see difficulties in saying I will never see you again—which I think you wd understand or if I could see you I could explain—I only hope it won’t appear to you that I am thinking of my own gratifications—

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
Friday (August 9 1816).

I’ve been thinking with dismay of the letter full of blots & scratches & imperfections of every description which I sent you the other day—how it was—or how it is I scarcely know—but I am in one constant hurry & worry—I lay (sic) in my Bed thinking all I would say to you & when I get up my thoughts are all put to flight by 10000 worries of the moment—however I am thankful for the kind allowances you make for me & for the prospect of a remedy in the hope of seeing you—my dearest A—it is too kind of you to wish it & think of it—I hope & think I can spin out my stay till the time you mention—I had not determined positively to go next week—tho’ I suppose towards the middle of it I might be at liberty to do so — — — I don’t know what good I could do at home—except as far as regards my Bairns—perhaps I may be of more use here—where we have friends who are trying to do us good—if we will let them. I am most anxious to see you—& I do suppose you would not object to my mentioning your wish to see me here to my Husband—if you do—say so truly—& don’t think ye worse of me for venturing to say to you I wish to see you—I know not whether it may appear a want of some feeling—but indeed there is so much I have to say to
you which it wd be endless to write—putting every other reason out of the question & there are many others dearest A—perhaps sadly selfish ones. I am very sorry to hear that
Ly Gosford is so unwell, I have 1000 times intended begging you to say something in return for her kind message in yr letter to Georgey

How is yr health my dearest A— & how is little A A—I will write again in a day or two—but I really think I may venture to say that my stay can be contrived very well—let me hear from you when you have a moment—I dine with Mrs Villiers to-day & will give yr message—God bless you & believe me ever yr most grateful & affec

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers.
Lowestoft. Aug. 13—(1816).

I desired A— to tell you I was decided to go to London by her remaining there, as I agree with you in thinking an interview particularly desirable—As I shall probably see her before you, I must again request to know your opinion on some points which I must be prepared to discuss—and in order that you may be enabled to judge, I will give you some extracts from her last letters.

[Extracts follow from Mrs. Leigh’s letter of Aug. 5.—Ed.]

I have deferred all further discussion till we meet—Now do you think I must then require the promise of her never voluntarily seeing him again, or shall I limit it to this that she will never see him at his house or her own?

I shall put myself and bairn in a Lodging somewhere between Knightsbridge and Green Street which will be the principal attractions to me—and I will do as I would be done by, by making use of you—If anything should happen to prolong A’s stay in Town, I should be glad
to have a little more time here. Have you heard I am turned Methodist?—so I read in a letter from London a few days ago, and I hope I am not become an Antinomian (a sect which abounds here) for they hold that the more sins one commits the better chance one has of Heaven—

I am very glad that I shall see you—and not so miserably as when we last met.

Yours most affecly
The Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers to Lady Byron.
August 17th 1816.

It does me good to think I shall see you so soon—and the thing that pleases me the most in A—— is her decided wish to stay to see you—She might so easily have avoided it as the Court attendance is over, & Mr. Leigh very cross at her being here—She had therefore ample pretence for going, (tho’ I don’t think her empressement to return to him great) but ever since you announced to her your intention of coming she has apparently been quite determined to stay—

. . . I found Lady Melbourne with A—— the other day—She (Ly. M.) seemed much annoyed at my entry, but as I did not think much good could come of that visit, I did not make a precipitate retreat but outstayed her—I asked no questions & A—— told me nothing of what she had said—She told me a few days ago she had had a letter from him that he had just read Glenarvon & only remarked that it was precious stuff1—I made little or no reply—this silence must astonish her & I am anxious to hear if she will remark upon it to you—I own I am now1 very sanguine about her & have the greatest hopes that your approaching interview will complete her reformation I might almost say salvation—Pray let me

1 Underlined twice.

know what day you come—Could I be of any use about a lodging for you? I had not heard of your Methodistical turn—

God bless you my dear Lady B.
Yours ever most affectly.

[On August 31st Lady Byron came to London and the interview took place in which Mrs. Leigh made the full confession described in Chapter III., p. 65.

I insert here a memorandum in Lady Byron’s handwriting, undated, which was found with her correspondence of this time with Mrs. Leigh. It appears to me to be notes written by her preparatory to her interview with Mrs. Leigh.—Ed.]

Undated [September ? 1816.]

Do you sorrow most for the sin or for the consequences?—for the offence towards God—or the injury towards your fellow-creatures?

Do you sufficiently feel that every thought associated with such sin, is sinful, that the heart may be criminal though the actions are innocent?—And that in his state of mind & after what has past all affection for you must be more or less of this kind, therefore in seeking to keep it alive, or even in allowing it as may have appeared to you innocently, you have encouraged his guilt of heart, and distanced his repentance—Are you sincerely resolved never to indulge him or yourself in this self-deceiving way again? and strictly to confine your manifestations of Interest for him to what is required by the following considerations—provided they do not interfere with the determination of never being again on terms of familiar affection with him

1. To prevent exasperating him to a disclosure—

2. To prevent such appearances as would tacitly disclose your relative circumstances—
Whenever you have any communication with him, question your own heart most scrupulously whether these be simply your objects—whether you are not deceived by the wish of still being dear to him, or by the dread of those consequences from his displeasure, which led you to incur God’s anger—

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
The Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers to Lady Byron.
The Lady Byron
Lower Seymour Street.
September 12th 1816.

I have kept your servant unmercifully but unavoidably—

I thought I had acted2 better than it seems I have done—yet perhaps it may turn out for the best—You ask my opinion & I hardly know what to say—for this is a new point of view—but if you can (I doubt the possibility) induce her to confide in me it would be very advisable—perhaps the only way of effecting this would be by offering to speak to me yourself, so that she should have no confessions to make—I think I should on my part only make the condition of being ask’d no questions as to the sources of my information, tho’ I would assure

1 Underlined twice.

2 Underlined twice.

her, & with truth, that it came from quarters unconnected with you, and originating with
him—you of course know I mean Lady G.1 I can also with truth say that the reason of my being told was kindness to her to prevent my injuring her by over zeal—She never must know of any communication of yours—If she wd. consent to this it might be of use in your absence—perhaps—as she suspects my knowledge—otherwise it has always struck me that her knowing it was known by people who continued their affection for her might diminish her horror of the crime, wh. is already not too great—

If you can determine her to this measure I will be guided entirely by you as to my management of her—I will not see her to-day before I see you & will be with you before 4—I think Aunt S.2 might be stopped by the mention of other facts than those wh. concern A—— but more of this when we meet—

Yrs ever & most affectionately
[Finishes at edge of paper.]
Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Leigh.
Undated [September ? 1816.]

Mrs. Villiers has just left me—I was not mistaken as to the subject of our conversation—She had attached no credit to the report but after you left Town before, had received detailed information which originated with Lord B—— from an authority she could not doubt—This she asserted upon her honour, though she requests not to be questioned as to the Informant, who was actuated by no other motive than to prevent her from precipitating you into greater dangers by her imprudent & ignorant zeal—She has since acted the part she thought most friendly towards you, avoiding the duplicity of appearing to have any feeling towards him but horror, which was much increased by his treachery—I need not dwell upon her feelings towards you—Grief is the pre-

1 Probably Lady Granville.

2 Sophia Byron.

dominant one—She wished to consult with me, and also to make me the medium of this communication to you, being herself too ill at present to undertake a conversation with you upon it—She wishes to be spared in this respect, but will see you before you leave Town or not as you are inclined, and desires you to consider her as a friend whom in any emergency you may turn to, & consult—as you have formerly done—and that she will write to you unreservedly when
Col: L—— is absent—

This is the substance of what past—I hope I said for you all that you would think right—and I trust it is better that I should have been consulted by her—Believe me she is truly kind (though her feeling is very deep)—More to-morrow—Pray come early—God bless & protect you & yours—

I have read the lines1 to you—& think they ought not to be seen by any one—

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
White Hall
Thursday Night
[September 12, 1816.]

I scarcely know what to say except that I will be with you early2 to-morrow—& that I am grateful to you & to Mrs V—— I don’t think I can see her—& yet I wish you not to say so—and in fact I can’t just now say what I wish—If you have the lines, keep them. God bless you—

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers.
[Endorsed by Mrs. Villiers] Septr. 1816.

A—— is with me—and wishes me to express her most grateful sense of all your kindness, on which she will not trespass by any thing that could agitate you in

1Epistle to Augusta. See Appendix F.

2 Underlined twice.

your present state—and will therefore decline your friendly offer of calling upon her to-day—at the same time that she feels great comfort in the hope of hearing from you—Thank you once more for all your consideration for me—& still more for her & believe me,

Ever yours most affectly.,

The above was written under A’s inspection—I have only to add that I see all I could wish in her towards you—& the humblest sense of her own situation—I have told her from you that the informant you alluded to was no relation of hers—& she will not enquire further—I have settled with Murray to cut out those lines & give them to her—She has shown me of her own accord his letters to her—having only suppressed them because of the bitterness towards me—they are absolute love letters—and she wants to know how she can stop them—No more time—But you shall hear from E. Farm.

Lady Byron to the Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers.
E. Farm.1
Septr. 14 (1816).

My dear Mrs. Villiers—I am inclined, on consideration, to apprehend some disadvantages in a communication to the Wilmots—and my reasons are chiefly from the nature of Mr W’s character—His defect certainly is vanity, and I suspect that might be wounded by her having placed confidence in any one, besides myself, preferably to him & Mrs W—Now I am sure it is not her wish to extend it to them, and I see no good, on the contrary harm, in her ever thinking them in possession of it—Mr W—did injury before, without meaning it, to her state of feelings, by trying to alarm instead of softening—of this I am now thoroughly convinced—He requires to be softened himself, and had not the tact which makes good intentions acceptable to people’s feelings—With very useful executive powers in the time

1 Lord Auckland’s house—Eden Farm.

of action, he cannot lay them aside in the time of rest, and when things had better be left to take their own course, is always wanting to do something—of these facts I wish to make you aware for the future benefit of all parties—

A—— consults me with the deepest feeling upon this point—whether she did not owe it to you voluntarily to renounce all connection with you, for your future sake—in case of any disclosure—and I really believe she would sacrifice any thing to prevent your suffering by your generosity—I told her that as a wife and mother I thought she ought to avail herself of your friendship—The knowledge that you could & would forgive her transgressions only seemed to humble her more—I have nothing to regret in my own conduct towards her, at least I hope not, except that I was at one time inclined to adopt Mr. W’s system—

Do you not think you have reason to write to Lady G1 and soften her?—

The effect of knowing that she was still further betrayed, was such as made her determine at first never to write to him again—but this is not to be desired—nor any violent resolution—I only mention it as it shows the feelings you wished to arise—

I cannot say with how much satisfaction, though of a melancholy kind in some respects, I review my visit to Town—in the hope of its having contributed something to the welfare & comfort of those who are dear to me—and amongst such friends I can never forget you—

Yours most affectly.,
The Hon. Mrs. Geo. Villiers to Lady Byron.
[1 South Place. Knightsbridge]
Sunday [September 15, 1816]

You misunderstood me dear Lady B. I never meant that the Wilmots should know what had passed between

1 Lady Granville.

Augusta & me—the question I asked you related entirely to what had passed between A. & you1—the knowledge of which would I thought tend to soften him—& as I thought it possible that I might see them before you would, I wished to ask you whether there should be any and what restrictions to my communication as to what had passed with you.

I am persuaded you see Mr W’s character in a very true light—I have long been convinced that Vanity was his weak point—His conduct towards you when called upon to interfere gave me a good impression of his head and heart—& I think there is a great deal of agrément in his society but I think his sarcasms can be very bitter—& bitterness at this moment towards poor A would be a cruelty. I have more difficulty in making out Mrs W’s character as she is more reserved—but at all events you may rely on my never communicating to either what has recently passed between A & me and of which I must tell you more—

When I got your note and found she declined seeing me I felt I was doing unkindly by her, & I could not reconcile myself to it—I thought she would always have a dread of our first meeting and it was selfish in me to put it off.

I therefore wrote her a very long letter from the impulse of the moment assuring her that as my compassion had been excited & my affection not alienated when I first heard for truth, all that I had so long rejected with scorn, it was not likely to be so now that I knew from you that she was all that we could wish and all that I trusted she wd ever be—I told her that I considered her the Victim to the most infernal plot that had ever entered the heart of man to conceive, that I wish’d I could think the Plot was over, but I was positive it was not—that I warned her to be on her guard & that the best precaution she could take was unbounded unreserved confidence in you—that not a letter—a note—a word should pass between her & him without being submitted to you—that you

1 Underlined twice.

were her Guardian angel & the only person who could assist her to counteract the execrable villany of the other. I told her that my horror, my detestation, my execration of the person who had beguiled & betrayed her exceeded all my powers of expression and that with the exception of forgiveness no other feelings than those I described could, should or ought to exist in her mind towards him—I hope you will not think me wrong in speaking of him in such strong terms but I thought it well she shd be impressed with the idea that such must1 be the feelings of those who knew such facts. I told her that I wd call upon her for a minute in the course of the day but I wd not talk on the subject—I went accordingly—She commanded herself better than I expected very kind in her manner & evidently wished to dine with me—I therefore pressed it. My aunt brought her & carried her home and
Georgy too—we had no conversation—Mr V. was particularly kind to her & she got on very well—She gave me the enclosed note which pray burn when read—I own I am very glad this has passed—I am glad she was horror struck with his further treachery—all this will help to alienate her feelings from him—I spoke very strongly of those lines to her—I wonder whether he still possesses many of her former letters to him—They alone would be proof positive—& he may certainly turn them against her if his revenge is roused—his word only would hardly succeed now—I think you have great reason my dear Ly B. to rejoice in your efforts to save this unfortunate being, for I do really believe & hope they will be rewarded by success—I am going to Ld Clarendon’s today and shall not return till tomorrow Evg at the End of the week I believe we go to Worthing—but always direct here—and pray write soon

Most affectionately Yrs ever

1 Underlined twice.

The Hon. Mrs. Leigh to Lady Byron.
S. M. B.
Tuesday [September] 17th [1816]

Your letter has given me the greatest comfort and I do not dread your misunderstanding my unexpressed feelings towards you—for all your kindness & consideration—I am glad to think I have anticipated your advice as much as possible by endeavouring to avoid a recurrence to the past—it has certainly been very unsuccessfully as yet—I can’t understand the inconsistency of his fears—& his actions constantly tending to realize them!! Thank you 100000 times my own dear Sis—for all your kind thoughts for me—I shall be glad that you see Mrs V again I have a very great dread of her thinking me a perfect stone! & perhaps she will believe you that I am not—I feel I can’t undeceive her—for the more anxious I am—the less I am able—She terms you my Guardian Angel & I am sure you are so—Towards another person—she is very violent in her expressions of resentment—& it is I daresay very natural but I think it better not to say a word in answer—tho’ in fact I am the one much the most to blame—& quite inexcusable1—You know—I trust—that I am anxious to make every atonement—& will assist me—Your suspicions—Do they particularly allude to my own Maid? I have thought of that, but can’t perceive any cause for them there; the great partiality always manifested towards him I think wd prove that—but my blindness about other things as you say ought to make me more watchful. I arrived safe on Saturday—& found things better in some ways than I expected—the alarm I hinted at to you was nothing—the Spirits better than they have been for some time but without any particular reason, for affairs are ye same—so of course durability can’t be expected. He is gone to-day into

1 Nearly three years before, Byron had written to Lady Melbourne of Augusta: “it was not her fault”; and had begged Lady Melbourne not to speak so harshly of her to him, “the cause of all.”

Hertfordshire till Friday or Saturday—yesterday—rode to meet
Lord & Ly D1 in their way North—they are lately returned from Geneva & were told very seriously that I was there disguised as a Page—their informer could not be persuaded that it was not so—Pray my dearest A do you think that the allusions in C H2—can do any harm—I did not read them—I have not heard from Murray in answer. When I write to B. it will be as you advise—Do not show the letter I sent you to Mrs V. I should think it wrong to any but you—My Guardian Angel!

I am not sure whether yr letter was read—but it was exactly the sort of thing to have made the best impression—how kind in you dearest A. there was an enquiry as I expected as to your reception & manner &c—I replied as we had agreed wd be best which was quite satisfactory—I have no time for more now—but believe dearest all I would say for yr kindness—& do write to me—say how you & Ada are—Georgey sends her love—

Ever yr most grateful & affec.

1 Darlington.

2Childe Harold.”