is another feature of this mask of state. I
know no one more habitually destitute of that enthusiasm
he so beautifully expresses, and to which he can work
up his fancy chiefly by contagion. I had heard
he was the best of brothers, the most generous of
friends; and I thought such feelings only required
to be warmed and cherished into more diffusive benevolence.
Though these opinions are eradicated, and could never
return but with the decay of my memory, you will not
wonder if there are still moments when the association
of feelings which arose from them soften and sadden
my thoughts. But I have not thanked you, dearest
Lady Anne, for your kindness in regard to a principal
object,—that of rectifying false impressions.
I trust you understand my wishes, which never were
to injure Lord Byron in any way: for, though
he would not suffer me to remain his wife, he cannot
prevent me from continuing his friend; and it was
from considering myself as such that I silenced the
accusations by which my own conduct might have been
more fully justified. It is not necessary to
speak ill of his heart in general: it is sufficient
that to me it was hard and impenetrable; that my own
must have been broken before his could have been touched.
I would rather represent this as my misfortune than
as his guilt; but surely that misfortune is not to
be made my crime! Such are my feelings:
you will judge how to act. His allusions to
me in ‘Childe Harold’ are cruel and cold,
but with such a semblance as to make me appear so,
and to attract all sympathy to himself. It is
said in this poem that hatred of him will be taught
as a lesson to his child. I might appeal to
all who have ever heard me speak of him, and still
more to my own heart, to witness that there has been
no moment when I have remembered injury otherwise
than affectionately and sorrowfully. It is not
my duty to give way to hopeless and wholly unrequited
affection; but, so long as I live, my chief struggle
will probably be not to remember him too kindly.
I do not seek the sympathy of the world; but I wish
to be known by those whose opinion is valuable, and
whose kindness is clear to me. Among such, my
dear Lady Anne, you will ever be remembered by your
It is the province of your readers, and of the world
at large, to judge between the two testimonies now
before them,—Lady Byron’s in 1816
and 1818, and that put forward in 1869 by Mrs. B.
Stowe, as communicated by Lady Byron thirteen years
ago. In the face of the evidence now given,
positive, negative, and circumstantial, there can be
but two alternatives in the case: either Mrs.
B. Stowe must have entirely misunderstood Lady Byron,
and been thus led into error and misstatement; or we
must conclude that, under the pressure of a lifelong
and secret sorrow, Lady Byron’s mind had become
clouded with an hallucination in respect of the particular
point in question.