December 20 1814: A Licence is All That Remains

On December 20 1814, Lord Byron writes to Annabella Milbanke to confirm that the Archbishop has provided his permission so that they can marry on a place other than a church; say in Annabella’s drawing room.

Dearest Bella—There’s the Archbishop’s answer for you—and now we have only to get the license—  and become one forthwith. I hope papa & Mamma will be kept in good humour by his Holiness’s gratulation and am vastly sorry that you were scolded for my absence of which you are perfectly innocent—as you must recollect with what zeal you opposed my departure. As I must set out to settle divers concerns—and see after this same passport to our union—excuse my Laconism and believe me much more diffusely and attachedly ever thine

Annabella Milbanke writes to Byron, from Seaham, on the same day.

If you think there would have been some convenience in having Newstead sold before our marriage, I wish it had been so—but as it must be a long business, and the settlements are adapted to that contingency, it really appears to me that the previous sale is of little importance compared with other considerations. But I feel that these pros and cons have been already too much discussed between us …

I have one request to make for myself. If you conceive or feel there is any cause which can render you dissatisfied, or less satisfied, with your intended return next week—that you will prefer it to all I have said in favour of that measure. Your letters leave something for conjecture. We shall have the more to talk of—and—if I don’t forget it all as usual in your presence, I have many things to ask and hear. But it is useless to think of them before, so I will try and go to sleep.

P.S.—Why should I not own to some conjectures which, if the mere workings of imagination, I am not too proud to submit to censure—if not, it is for my good they should be confirmed. I will then ask— Are you less confident than you were in the happiness of our marriage? You will never deceive me—to that promise I trust—entirely and exclusively.

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