January 31 1815: Corbeau Blanc

On January 31 1815, Lady Melbourne writes to Lord Byron.

My dear Ld B – I have been longing to write to you these 3 or 4 days but have been incapable – a complaint which I used to be subject to, laid me upon my Couch in a state of stupefaction. I have not had it, for these last Eight Years & had hoped it was one of ye advantages of age, to be free from irritation of  Nerves – you are all this time saying what is this? patience, & I’ll tell as shortly as I can, – it is a sort of Nervous Head ache which affects yr . sight & sometimes you see half a Face, & sometimes two Faces – I see you laugh! – & I know it is both laughable & lamentable! The first to whoever hears the description, the last, to those who feel it – for when it goes off it terminates in a Violent Head ache, & leaves you quite unhinged, a unfit for ye . Slightest exertion but its gone now – & I have sd . enough about it, in all conscience what a suspicious person you are, on some points you guess right, on others wrong. You say I write cautiously, & you mention having been married 3 Weeks – if that is not ye time to be cautious, I don’t know what is. You were wrong about ye . Letter in which I mention’d Ly Blar – I had nothing particular to say & wrote about her, as the News of ye day, but I certainly did not write it to be seen, I never wish people to get into bad habits, I know once begun, they are not easily broken.

I must thank you for saying you forgive (what you are pleased to call) my doubts, & for not allowing my sincerity to prevent yr still having confidence {<in>} me; I willingly accept the office, in which you have install’d me & hope always to be your Corbeau blanc. (You remember Voltaire’s tale) I wish you may hit as justly upon the Corbeau Noir & avoid her – So Ld Stafford is gone over to Ministers for a Dukedom, & Erskine for a Green Ribbon, when a fool shews such a want of Steadiness & principle I only laugh at <them> him, but when a Clever Man like Erskine contradicts all his professions of so many Yrs standing for the sake of a few dinners, & a “painted String” I own y’ it puts me out of Temper & out of patience & inclines me to indulge a bad opinion of all Men – he is named the Green Man which was told Sr S Romilly, who said; and now in the House of Lords he’ll be ye Green Man & still. I hope you have not heard this before. I have had a copy of Moore’s lines sent me today, with which I am delighted (Complaint of a Mistress to her Lover) They have acquired great celebrity, by its being known, that You Wept when they were Sung to you do you acknowledge the truth of this? –

Moore has had the greatest success at Chatsworth – all the Ladies quite enthusiastic about his agreableness. Emily writes me word, we have lost some of our company – but still are gay. Alas! Moore left us Yesterday. – Your former favourite Ly Susan Ryder has been there displaying all her Graces to the Master of the Mansion who does not seem inclined to Grace her in return – seriously they say the attack is quite a la Worcester but will not succeed – a few days past I received a Letter <I received a Letter> from a Lady with the following, “wish me joy of Ld Bs being really married as I am saved a wonderful number of questions, seriously I am very glad of it for his sake as Matrimony appears to me ye best chance of Steadying his Mind without weakening his Genius,” I thought this opinion singular enough to be worth copying – I can only say Amen – ainsi soit il – & it seems to be going on prosperously & wisely whilst you proceed on ye . plan of allowing yourself to be directed by yr . Wife – that is the way to be a good & a contented Husband. – You know I agree with you when you say you are a very good natur’d person – every body will find you so if they abstain from plaguing you when you are not in good Spirits, (we’ll give it that name) & if they do they deserve to meet with rebuffs – write to me Mon cher Neveu et Choisisez mieux votre temps – I am inclined to think that gave some Ombrage but keep faith with me, & say nothing, remember that altho’ you have no Corbeau Noir, actually Noir – you may have one flying about, with many black Feathers in her plumage – I am sorry to find people have a bad opinion of Ld Portth’s case,101 Leach told George ye . other day y’. he thought the Chancellor must grant an injunction & Sr S Romilly soon after sd . he could see no reason why he should – I certainly had rather depend upon the latter than upon ye . former – but there is an idea that ye case is a very strong one agst him – They tell me there is a very amusing Book just publish’d – memoires sur la Guerre des Francais en Espagne par M Roccard, I am going to buy it shall I send it believe it is the Man who was le bien Aimè de Made de Stael (poor Man) & to whom it was reported she was married – but I do not believe that was true Ly Ossuslston writes word {from Paris}, “it is quite over with Made. de Stael, since her Letter to Murat, nobody can bear her. She thinks only of courting Ministers, but they will have nothing to say to her” They are wiser than ours, did I ever tell you that most of them went to ye Regent to desire him to go & pay her a Visit, & gave for a reason, that she had such a powerful Pen – that it was of great consequence to make her speak well of this Country – what a mean Set they are – You will think there is no end to my Pen God bless you
Most affy. y
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