December 11 1815: Byron Would Have Preferred a Son


On December 11 1815, Augusta Leigh, Byron’s half sister, writes to Byron’s good friend, Francis Hodgson, to announce the birth of Ada Augusta Byron. She also mentions that she would like to speak to him. It is likely that she would like to discuss Byron, and his erratic and violent behavior. She also lets slip that Byron would have preferred a son.

13, Piccadilly Terrace, Monday Night, December 11th 1815
MR. HODGSON,— I know How happy you will be to hear of Lady Byron’s safety and the birth of a very fine little Girl. This event happened at one o’clock yesterday, and both Mother and Daughter have been, and are, as well as possible in every respect. I would have communicated this by today’s post, but had so many Epistles to write and no spare Franks, that I was compelled, however unwillingly, to defer it till tomorrow’s. B. is in great good looks, and much pleased with his Daughter, though I believe he would have preferred a Son. I am one of those who always endeavour to think “whatever is, is right,” and independent of that I see several reasons for being well satisfied with Miss B.

I have often lately thought I would give half the world at least, that I could have an hour’s conversation with you. Don’t allude to this hint in your answer, for fear of its being read by others; but tell me, if there should be any chance of your being in Town soon. The subject only concerns you so far as you are interested for others, and I must add B. mentions you always most affectionately. I was most happy to hear of your being so, but ten thousand vexations have prevented me of late from saying it, and writing any but disagreeable letters. You will therefore kindly pardon omissions, and may offer my best regards to Mrs. H. I have left my 3 young ones at home, and only brought my eldest girl; they are all well and I am ever,
Dear Mr. H, yours very truly,

P.S.—remember my caution, and don’t repeat it even to the winds.

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