LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

In Whig Society 1775-1818
Mrs George Lamb to Lady Melbourne, [1816]

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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My dear Lady Melbourne,

Since you have spoken to me openly, I will do so too. I suppose everybody makes some excuse to themselves for their conduct, and I perhaps have no better one than many others, but I will at least try to explain if not excuse what must seem to you quite inexcusable. I have for many years thought myself slighted and not loved. Some people may make up their minds to this, and turn their thoughts to other things, & make new interests to themselves, but I could not. I am therefore peculiarly alive to any warmth of affection and attachment from others. I detest deceit and concealment, and believed I could be happier living out of the world even with loss of reputation with those who loved me, than in it, struggling to appear happy with those who did not care for me. I have struggled seven years, and my courage at last failed me. I
was told
George appeared unhappy at my absence and wrote to him to ask if he was so, and this was his answer—“Who the deuce says I am unhappy? If I am it is only at some theatrical worry. I do not like your absence certainly—it fidgets me and unsettles me, and I get through less business in consequence.” This was not the language of a person who loved or regretted me, but I suppose he was perfectly unconscious of what was passing in my mind. I have now received one which has made me, (it is no exaggeration to say), miserable—because it shows him to be so—and no plan of life could be tolerable to me, that involved him in misery. I wait therefore for one letter more, and I will do whatever he requires. I will either return to England, or he shall join me here, but if I make the sacrifice I must be satisfied that it is for his happiness I make it, and not to avoid the tittle tattle of the world. One word I must say on Mr. B[rougham]’s account. You fancy he has estranged me from you all—I swear to you most solemnly that he never had such a wish or intention. He felt it awkward to be much with you, and so did I, and what perhaps added to the coldness of my manner just at the time was the difference of our opinions about Lady Byron. Since we have been here I have scarcely seen him; some remarks were made which annoyed Clifford & I prevailed upon him to go away, or at least not to see me. The being detained here has been very uncomfortable to us all, but Mrs. C.1 has been taken ill, and we are very uncertain when we can move. The Duchess is waiting for us at Florence. If George is ill I will set out from hence & return home directly.