LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lady Byron to Theresa Villiers, 28 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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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.
A. I. B.