LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lady Byron to Theresa Villiers, 8 July 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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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.