LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lady Byron to Augusta Leigh, 31 December [1819]

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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Kirkby [Friday] Decr 31st [1819]

Dearest A—As I think the return, if it takes place, is likely to be sudden, and for that reason to preclude deliberation, it is certainly better that we should openly discuss the subject, previously, tho but for your request, I should have been reluctant on your account to resume it.

I was aware that in the letter sent through Mrs Villiers, I recapitulated some arguments which I had before urged to you, but I wished to present a full view of the case—You were mistaken, dear A—in supposing that I ever admitted the validity of any reasons in favor of personal intercourse, tho’ I was persuaded that you might be justified in not breaking off the correspondence—However it is well that you have enabled me to correct that error—I will distinctly consider your reasons for thinking that it would be “impossible” for you to decline seeing B—you state them to be these—

“1st that you could not allege any satisfactory reason for that conduct—To this I reply that since the publication of Manfred & Don Juan and the greater notoriety of their author’s character, consideration for the good of your children would be deemed a sufficient justification by those whose opinions have most weight in society—and I should think that Col: Leigh might be persuaded of this by others, if not entirely by yourself.

2ndly You still retain the hope of influencing him beneficially—What is the foundation for this hope?—Has it not been during the period of your associating with him that he has acted in a manner the most contrary, surely, to your views of what is for his welfare? Do not take upon yourself the responsibility of asserting that you have influence over him—The answer would be “How has it been used”?—I am very far from wishing to detach you from him in any way by which he could
be injured—It is under the existing circumstances that I foresee nothing but evil to both from your being with him—but were he to renounce his vicious habits and give evidence of a better state of mind, it would afford me consolation to know that you were confirming his amendment, in person or otherwise—

3rdly You may say you “cannot believe in the depth & strength” of his wicked dispositions towards you “when there is nothing else”—Do you mean nothing else to prove them but his occasional letters? Is experience nothing? Did you not before indulge the delusion that he was not in earnest till it was fatally proved that he was?—“Angry with you” dear A—No—my feelings are very different—I deeply lament to think that you are still too much influenced by early prepossessions and by hopes which to me appear totally unfounded, and likely to lead into danger—I have no suspicions of your being actuated by mercenary views, but I think you ought not to reject, without good reason, any advantages offered to your children—

I do not consider you bound to me in any way. I told you what I knew, because I thought that measure would enable me to befriend you—and chiefly by representing the objections to a renewal of personal communication between you & him—On reference to the letters which you returned to me, and to some other memorandums, I find that I have taken every opportunity of doing this—& you have never before made your dissent intelligible to me—with such objects in view, I considered myself justified in departing from my declaration made when I told you my knowledge of former guilt that our intercourse must be limited.1—We must, according to your present intentions act independently of each other. On my part it will still be with every possible consideration for you & your children—and should I by your reception of him be obliged to relinquish my intercourse with you, I will do so in such manner as shall be least prejudicial

1 In the first draft of the letter the next sentence began: “If he returns, we must,” etc.

to your interests.—I shall most earnestly wish that the results of your conduct may tend to establish your peace instead of aggravating your remorse—but, entertaining these views of your duty & my own, could I in honesty or in friendship suppress them—?—

Ever yours affectionately
A I B.

Pray write to me at Mr Carr’s, Frognall, Hampstead. to let me know that you have received this letter and what your impressions are—I may have failed in expressing my deep interest in your happiness, but I trust that you will believe it.