Lord Byron, the hero of the story, is represented as a human being endowed with every natural charm, gift, and grace, who, by the one false step of an unsuitable marriage, wrecked his whole life. A narrow-minded, cold-hearted precisian, without sufficient intellect to comprehend his genius, or heart to feel for his temptations, formed with him one of those mere worldly marriages common in high life; and, finding that she could not reduce him to the mathematical proprieties and conventional rules of her own mode of life, suddenly, and without warning, abandoned him in the most cruel and inexplicable manner.
It is alleged that she parted from him in apparent affection and good-humour, wrote him a playful, confiding letter upon the way, but, after reaching her father’s house, suddenly, and without explanation, announced to him that she would never see him again; that this sudden abandonment drew down upon him a perfect storm of scandalous stories, which his wife never contradicted; that she never in any way or shape stated what the exact reasons for her departure had been, and thus silently gave scope to all the malice of thousands of enemies. The sensitive victim was actually driven from England, his home broken up, and he doomed to be a lonely wanderer on foreign shores.
In Italy, under bluer skies, and among a gentler people, with more tolerant modes of judgment, the authoress intimates that he found peace and consolation. A lovely young Italian countess falls in love with him, and, breaking her family ties for his sake, devotes herself to him; and, in blissful retirement with her, he finds at last that domestic life for which he was so fitted.
Soothed, calmed, and refreshed, he writes ‘Don Juan,’ which the world is at this late hour informed was a poem with a high moral purpose, designed to be a practical illustration of the doctrine of total depravity among young gentlemen in high life.
Under the elevating influence of love, he rises at last to higher realms of moral excellence, and resolves to devote the rest of his life to some noble and heroic purpose; becomes the saviour of Greece; and dies untimely, leaving a nation to mourn his loss.
The authoress dwells with a peculiar bitterness on Lady Byron’s entire silence during all these years, as the most aggravated form of persecution and injury. She informs the world that Lord Byron wrote his Autobiography with the purpose of giving a fair statement of the exact truth in the whole matter; and that Lady Byron bought up the manuscript of the publisher, and insisted on its being destroyed, unread; thus inflexibly depriving her husband of his last chance of a hearing before the tribunal of the public.
As a result of this silent persistent cruelty on the part of a cold, correct, narrow-minded woman, the character of Lord Byron has been misunderstood, and his name transmitted to after-ages clouded with aspersions and accusations which it is the object of this book to remove.