March 15 1813: Byron, Melbourne and Caro


On March 15 1813, Lord Byron continues his delicate negotiations with Lady Caroline Lamb  through the intermediary of Lady Melbourne. He is trying to get his picture back and avoid any further unpleasantness with Caro. He has sent a letter or note to be be given to Caro (now lost) by Lady Melbourne. Byron is now unsure of whether to send the letter and writes to Lady Melbourne.

My dear Ly M. – I read the note (for letter it was not) in which there was no mention nor allusion to any females of any family whatever – I would not have allowed such an epistle to go – besides – whatever Ly. O. may have thought I am certain she entertains no such notions at present. – The last sentence in it I erased – because it expressed pity for C.– & I wished to spare her that humiliation. – This assertion then is a gross & malignant falsehood of your correspondents’ to make more mischief. – Pray – burn my letter – at any rate do not send it – I now recall my intention of complying with her request – & will not meet her – <upon>  her depositions will rival Ly. D’s. – – – I am so provoked at this last piece of malice – that I really am not fit to write a line – I will call soon – & hope to find you well – believe me – If Ly. O. entertained or expressed such opinions of you or yours – we should quickly quarrel – I would not give up those who have treated me with forbearance & kindness traduced even by her – & I certainly like her better than anything on earth. – ever yrs. dr. Ly. M

Lady Melbourne, a little irritated, responds to Byron’s letter that day. She tells him that she has written to Caro and asked her if she wants Byron’s letter.

Dear Ld B. – I will neither burn, read, nor keep yr. Letter – but I have written to C– to desire her to decide (as you will not) whether I shall send it to her, or return it to you – You are mistaken when you say “you believe I am not unacquainted with her abuse of Ly O for I really do not know what she has said The only time she has mentioned her {character} in her Letters to me, she certainly did not praise her, but that, I have never told any body, & no other person knows what it was, not even yourself – C– writes me word that Ly O says in her Letters that all the Females of her family as well as herself have spoken of her in a “gross manner” it may be so – I answer for nobody – all I can say is that I have never heard any thing of the Sort from any of those I have met, – as to myself I have had no conversation about her with any person except with you – & I do not think you will say I ever abus’d her. – Therefore on the whole I should rather guess that Ly O, has taken up this idea on light grounds – Ladys sometimes hear some trifling thing that has been said & fancy ten times more was meant. I do not at all wonder that you should dislike seeing C– before a 3d person the only wonder is that you ever agreed to it, but still you did not act with yr usual judgement in preferring Ly O to me – no tirade, declamation or mention of C– could have signify’d if sd before me, and I know nothing of Lovers if any thing she had sd before Ly O– would not have subjected you to some reproach at some time or other – besides you might have depended upon my leaving ye room if she had shewn a disposition to be quiet –& most assuredly in any case should not have been a listener – however I really am very glad that my attendance upon such an occasion has been dispensed with & am most obliged to you for having got me off – indeed if you had not desired it, I should not have agreed to it from the first – If it should be possible for me at any future time to obtain yr picture I certainly will do it – but at present I see no hopes – & if any Letters ever should be in my possession, I will burn them instantly – have you read the Times of to day – there is an Acct of Ld Moira’s having examined two Medical people, which will not redound to his kind nor to that of his employer – the remarks before the depositions, are very good. I am told but not on good authority that they are written by Mr Whitbread – I hear it is the fashion amongst Ladies to burn their News papers – that the Servants may not read such improprieties – they had better burn themwithout reading, when they are first brought, that would really be acting with propriety –— If you leave Town as you intended, the time is very near – & I conclude I shall not see you, but if you wish to hear what is going on when you shall have retired, send me yr directions Many thanks for yr good Wishes – if they are selfish, they are the more flattering – Yrs ever

As you sd I must get well, I have been out this Morg which I was told would do me good, & I have thoughts of going to Ld Hollands this Eve & you see this is doing ye best I can in obedience to yr orders but if I should catch cold in so doing, & be lay’d up in a Fever – I shall say you made me do this it is all yr fault This is ye. Lord’s method of reasoning –——

Lady Melbourne hears from Caro answering that she would like to receive Byron’s letter. Lady Melbourne writes a short note, probably sometime on March 15th–18th 1813, to Byron:

Dr Ld B – C– wrote to me Yesterday, to desire to have yr Letter, which I sent last Night, & you will probably hear from her to morrow – & I hope she will send you the Picture – I am sorry you did not come to Mrs Hopes as it was a very good party – or I might perhaps think so from its being new to me as I had not been out for a fortnight – after all – Novelty has its charms, & you would have thought it pleasant too – I wish’d for you at Supper – tho’ we had neither Lobster Sallad nor Champaign – Ministers & their Wives & their Supporters were very cross & peevish at the news from ye House of Com—s it was quite laughable to see them.
Yrs Dr Ld
B ever truly,

3 thoughts on “March 15 1813: Byron, Melbourne and Caro

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Posts: 1813/2013 | pastnow

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