LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Augusta Leigh to Lady Byron, 3 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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6 M. B.2
Wednesday Evg. July 3 (1816)

When I begin writing to you my dear Annabella one thought crowds so fast upon another that I become quite bewildered—and every attempt I make to express myself is perfectly unsatisfactory to myself—I fear must be so to you—I regret this the more as all I hear from you only serves to increase my sense of the obligations I owe you—I shall not however say much of them—in the first place because I am dumb always when I feel deeply—and in the next it might only add to the appearance of duplicity (which with yr present opinions) you must believe me guilty of—I only wish every past & present thought could be open to you—you would then think less ill of me than you do now—I declare—after the strictest examination of my own heart, there is not one act or thought towards yourself I would not wish you acquainted with—You say my dear A—— I have been the cause of your sufferings—if I have it has been innocently—this must be my only consolation—Had I even entertained the slightest suspicions of any “doubts” of yours—I never could or would have entered your house—perhaps I did wrong as it was to do so—but I was under delusion certainly—(I don’t mean mad). The little portion of peace now remaining is in the reflexion that

1 Georgiana Leigh, afterwards Mrs. Trevanion.

2 Six Mile Bottom.

I endeavoured to do right. I bless God daily who alone has enabled me to preserve that—& I fervently pray that He will also enable me to endure my present trials & all future ones it may seem fit to Him to inflict so as eventually to turn them into blessings. For your sake—and not to prolong a discussion (so) painful to you—so useless to me—I will try to be brief as possible—Dearest
A—— I have not wronged you. I have not abused your generosity—I accept with gratitude & shall ever value every kind feeling of yours among my greatest blessings—I should have the same comfort I have ever felt in meeting you “as my Friend & Sister” since intentionally I have never injured you. You would pity me did you know what I must ever feel either in your absence or presence for having been the cause of one moment’s unhappiness to you! but rely upon one thing. I will never seek to see you while it is your wish I should not—One ray of comfort & hope suggested itself in the thought that we may meet again—that my future conduct may conduce to it—Tell me—pray—of anything in that which could by possibility atone for the past—in pity—tell it me dearest A. that I may have one more chance of happiness—

(Thursday. 4th July.) In respect to the “recent parts of my conduct openly unfavourable to you”—will you at a convenient opportunity explain what they were? for I really cannot guess—& surely I had friends who wd have sincerely told me of such circumstances in my conduct. Dear A. surely you have been misinformed—supposing me actuated by no better motive—regard for myself should have deterred me from such acts. I certainly have never wished to injure you—nor do I think I could had I desired it—I have another thing to say on the subject of my transmitting accounts of little A. A. It was imposed upon me without consulting me—though I heard the intention mentioned in a vague manner like others—My head was not then equal to judge whether it wd be right or wrong—& indeed I never considered it a certainty, till too late to decline it.
Ever since the receipt of your first letter—I have wished to do so—& have only been deterred by the fear of exciting suspicions which I would not do for the world. As long as I thought myself secure of your approbation, affection and esteem I really would never, have never, even to spare myself, declined any thing for the comfort or good of either party—but—now1 I do owe it to myself & others to avoid every possibility however remote of incurring censure—I wish I knew how to manage this! I have hitherto made it a rule to avoid every subject which might create or renew irritation——

Your kind offer about Georgiana—There is no human Being to whom I would so soon entrust her as you—I cannot say more except that all1 your kindness will ever be gratefully felt & remembered—every act, & I am fully aware how more & more I owe you gratitude—God bless you, my dearest A——

All this is quite unsatisfactory to me—as perfectly inadequate to express my feelings to you—I am so sorry you are not better—it is a comfort that Ly Gosford is with you & that you have no uneasiness about little A. A.—How is your Mother? I conclude not at Lowestoffe—you talked of Tunbridge for her & I hope she has tried it—I expect George2 on Sunday—& as our letters are 2 days on the road I fear I can’t hear from you by that day—I believe I shall be obliged to go to Town—perhaps next week—I will let you know if I do—

I am interrupted & obliged to conclude in haste—

Ever yr most grateful & affe
A. L.