The publication, by Lord Lindsay, of Lady Anne Barnard’s communication, makes it now possible to tell fully, and in Lady Byron’s own words, certain incidents that yet remain untold. To me, who know the whole history, the revelations in Lady Anne’s account, and the story related by Lady Byron, are like fragments of a dissected map: they fit together, piece by piece, and form one connected whole.
In confirmation of the general facts of this interview, I have the testimony of a sister who accompanied me on this visit, and to whom, immediately after it, I recounted the story.
Her testimony on the subject is as follows:—
’MY DEAR SISTER,—I have a perfect recollection of going with you to visit Lady Byron at the time spoken of in your published article. We arrived at her house in the morning; and, after lunch, Lady Byron and yourself spent the whole time till evening alone together.
’After we retired to our apartment
that night, you related to me the
story given in your published account, though with many more
particulars than you have yet thought fit to give to the public.
’You stated to me that Lady Byron was strongly impressed with the idea that it might be her duty to publish a statement during her lifetime, and also the reasons which induced her to think so. You appeared at that time quite disposed to think that justice required this step, and asked my opinion. We passed most of the night in conversation on the subject,—a conversation often resumed, from time to time, during several weeks in which you were considering what opinion to give.
’I was strongly of opinion that justice required the publication of the truth, but felt exceedingly averse to its being done by Lady Byron herself during her own lifetime, when she personally would be subject to the comments and misconceptions of motives which would certainly follow such a communication.
‘M. F. PERKINS.’
I am now about to complete the account of my conversation with Lady Byron; but as the credibility of a history depends greatly on the character of its narrator, and as especial pains have been taken to destroy the belief in this story by representing it to be the wanderings of a broken-down mind in a state of dotage and mental hallucination, I shall preface the narrative with some account of Lady Byron as she was during the time of our mutual acquaintance and friendship.
This account may, perhaps, be deemed superfluous in England, where so many knew her; but in America, where, from Maine to California, her character has been discussed and traduced, it is of importance to give interested thousands an opportunity of learning what kind of a woman Lady Byron was.
Her character as given by Lord Byron in his Journal, after her first refusal of him, is this:—