November 4 1814: I Shall Become Lord Annabella


On November 4 1814, Lord Byron, in Seaham, visiting his fiancée Annabella, writes to Lady Melbourne.

Seaham. Novr. 4th. 1814

My dear Lady Me. –  I have been here these two days – but waited to observe before I imparted to you “my confidential Counsel” as Master Hoar would say – my remarks. – –

Your brother pleases me much – to be sure his stories are long – but I believe he has told most of them – & he is to my mind the perfect gentleman – – but I don’t like Lady Mile. at all – I can’t tell why – for we don’t differ – but so it is – she seems to be every thing here – which is all very well – and I am & mean to be very conformable & dutiful but nevertheless I wish she & mine aunt could change places as far as regards me & mine. – A’s meeting & mine made a kind of scene. – though there was no acting nor even speaking – but the pantomine was very expressive – – she seems to have more feeling than we imagined – but is the most silent woman I ever encountered – which perplexes me extremely – I like them to talk – because then they think <th> less – much cogitation will not be in my favour – besides I can form my judgements better – since unless the countenance is flexible – it is difficult to steer by mere looks – I am studying her but I can’t boast of my progress in getting at her disposition – and if the conversation is to be all on one side – I fear committing myself – & those who only listen – must have their thoughts so much about them – as to seize any weak point at once – however the die is cast – neither party can  recede – the lawyers are here – mine & all – & I presume the parchment once scribbled I shall become Lord Annabella. – – I can’t yet tell whether we are to be happy or not – I have every disposition to do her all possible justice – but I fear she won’t govern me – & if she don’t it will not do at all – but perhaps she may mend of that fault. – – –

I have always thought – first that she did not like me at all – & next – that her supposed {after} liking  was imagination – this last I conceive that my presence would – perhaps has removed – if so – I shall soon discover it – but mean to take it with great philosophy – and to behave attentively & well – though I never could love but that which loves – & this I must say for myself – that my attachment always increases in due proportion to the return it meets with – & never changes in the presence of it’s object – to be sure like Mrs. Damer I have “an opinion of absence.” – – – –
Pray write – I think you need not fear that the answer to this will run any of the risks you apprehend – It will be a great comfort to me in all events to call you Aunt & to know that you are sure of my being
ever yrs
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