October 22 1814: Lord Byron Bets Wrong

On October 22 1814, Lord Byron writes to John Cowell. His friends had reminded him of a bet that Byron had made some time ago. Six years earlier Byron had calculated that the odds of him marrying were one hundred to one. He had made bets on these odds which he was now forced to pay given his anticipated marriage to Miss Milbanke. There was some dispute, and differing recollections, as to the identity of the betters but Byron magnanimously paid.  Byron is learning that his marriage will be costly.

October 22, 1814.
“My dear Cowell, – Many and sincere thanks for your kind letter—the bet, or rather forfeit, was one hundred to Hawke, and fifty to Hay (nothing to Kelly), for a guinea received from each of the two former. I shall feel much obliged by your setting me right if I am incorrect in this statement in any way, and have reasons for wishing you to recollect as much as possible of what passed, and state it to Hodgson. My reason is this: some time ago Mr. * * * required a bet of me which I never made, and of course refused to pay, and have heard no more of it; to prevent similar mistakes is my object in wishing you to remember well what passed, and to put Hodgson in possession of your memory on the subject.

I hope to see you soon in my way through Cambridge. Remember me to H., and believe me ever truly,” &c.

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