LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Theresa Villiers to Lady Byron, [15 September 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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[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