February 6 1815: Byron Saved by Annabella

On February 6 1815 Lord Byron writes to Lady Melbourne, from Seaham, County Durham. The night before there had been a fire in his dressing room. Byron was saved by his wife.

Fy. 6th. 1815 –
My dear Lady Me – I write to you upon mourning paper – all my Gilt (spell it with a u if you like) is gone – but it is really not malaprop. – for last night was nearly my last – as thus. – Thanks to my father in law & your worshipful brother’s collieries & coals – my dressing room {fire} was so diabolically pregnant with charcoal – that I was taken almost to Lady like fainting – & if Bell. had not in the nick of time postponed old Nick for the present – and sluiced me with Eau de Cologne and all sorts of waters besides – you might now have been repairing your latest suit of black to look like new for your loving nephew. – All this is true – upon the word of a man hardly resuscitated – & Bell. herself has not been quite well since with her exertions – – this is in favour of matrimony for had I been single – the lack of aid would have left me suffocated – it was in bed that I was overwhelmed (though the Charcoal was in the next – my dressing room) and how her lungs withstood it I can’t tell – but so it is – she is alive – and thanks to her so am I. – – – – –

Our guests are gone – and I am very anxious to hear from you – you owe me a letter if not two – for this makes my third to your one. – – – News are none – except shipwrecks, and County meetings – the sea & the freeholders have been combustling about the Eastwind – & the property tax – and vessels have been lost – and speeches found in great plenty. – I am yawning hideously – because I can’t hear your answer – instead of reading it – and this part of the night – the “Sweet of it” (as Falstaff says) in London – is the drowsiest here – so Good night
ever thine

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