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Lord Clare to Lord Byron 28 July 1805

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“Harrow on the Hill, July 28th, 1805.

“Since you have been so unusually unkind to me, in calling me names whenever you meet me, of late, I must beg an explanation, wishing to know whether you choose to be as good friends with me as ever. I must own that, for this last month, you have entirely cut me,—for, I suppose, your new cronies. But think not that I will (because you choose to take into your head some whim or other) be always going up to you, nor do, as I observe certain other fellows doing, to regain your friendship; nor think that I am your friend either through interest, or because you are bigger and older than I am. No—it never was so, nor ever shall be so. I was only your friend, and am so still,—unless you go on in this way, calling me names whenever you see me. I am sure you may easily perceive I do not like it; therefore, why, should you do it, unless you wish that, I should no longer be your friend? And why should I be so, if you treat me unkindly? I have no interest in being so. Though you do not let the boys bully me, yet if you treat me unkindly, that is to me a great deal worse.

“I am no hypocrite, Byron, nor will I, for your pleasure, ever suffer you to call me names, if you wish me to be your friend. If not, I cannot help it. I am sure no one can say that I will cringe to regain a friendship that you have rejected. Why should I do so? Am I not your equal? Therefore, what interest can I have in doing so? When we meet again in the world (that is, if you choose it), you cannot advance or promote me, nor I you. Therefore I beg and, entreat of you, if you value my friendship,—which, by your conduct, I am sure I cannot think you do,—not to call me the names you do, nor abuse me. Till that time, it will be out of my power to call you friend. I shall be obliged for an answer as soon as it is convenient; till then

“I remain yours,
* *

“I cannot say your friend.”