February 7 1816: Yes, I Do Want A Separation

Untitled

On February 7 1816, Lady Byron responds directly to Lord Byron telling him that in fact her father’s letter demanding a separation has her approval. 

If I had not written to Mrs. Leigh what I deemed a sufficient answer to the contents of your first letter, I should not have deferred the still more painful task of addressing yourself. Your second letter, received yesterday, seems to require from me this exertion. I am surprised at the manner in which that letter was delivered to me, since my correspondence, like my determination, is free. I have indeed placed myself under the protection of my parents, but I act on my own conviction independently, as they do theirs. You know what I have suffered, and would have sacrificed, to avoid this extremity—and the strong proofs of duty and attachment I have given by a persevering endurance of the most trying inflictions. After seriously and dispassionately reviewing the misery that I have experienced almost without an interval from the day of my marriage, I have finally determined on the measure of a separation which my father was authorised to communicate to you and to carry into effect. It is unhappily your disposition to consider what you have as worthless—what you have lost as invaluable. But remember that you believed yourself most miserable when I was yours. Every expression of feeling, sincerely as it might be made, would here be misplaced. ANNE ISABELLA BYRON.

Lady Byron also writes to John Cam Hobhouse, and very firmly but politely tells his to bugger off.

DEAR SIR, Your zeal in Lord Byron’s cause does not need an excuse to me. You must be ignorant of the long series of circumstances which have necessitated this afflicting step. If my determination were not founded on such grounds as made it irrevocable, its adoption would be perfectly inexcusable. I must therefore decline your visit and all discussion on this subject, though obliged by the friendly intention expressed in your offer. I remain your very obedient sert., A. I. BYRON

 

Lastly, Lord Byron responds to Sir Ralph Noel though he cannot accept the separation.

I have read Lady Byron’s letter, inclosed by you to Mrs. Leigh, with much surprise and more sorrow. Lady B. left London without a single hint of such feelings or intentions— neither did they transpire in her letters on the road, nor subsequent to her arrival at Kirkby. In these letters Lady Byron expresses herself to me with that playful confidence and affectionate liveliness which is perhaps a greater proof of attachment than more serious professions; she speaks to her husband of his child, like a wife and a mother. I am therefore reduced to the melancholy alternative of either believing her capable of a duplicity very foreign to my opinion of her character, or that she has lately sunk under influence, the admission of which, however respected and respectable heretofore, is not recognised in her vows at the altar. My house, while I have one, is open to her, and my heart always—even though I should have no other shelter to offer her. I cannot suspect Lady Byron of making the grounds stated the pretext for dissolving our connection with a view to escape from my scattered fortunes; although the time chosen for this proposition, and the manner in which it was made—without inquiry, without appeal, without even a doubt, or an attempt at reconciliation—might almost excuse such a supposition.

If I address you in strong language, Sir, I still wish to temper it with that respect which is required by the very duties you would persuade me to abandon, and request your candid interpretation of such expressions as circumstances have compelled me to use. I may not debase myself to implore as a suppliant the restoration of a reluctant wife, but I will not compromise my rights as a husband and as a father; I invite Lady Byron’s return—I am ready to go to her should she desire or require it—and I deprecate all attempts which have been made or may be made to part us. I have the honour to be, Sir, With great respect, Your most obed. and very humble servant. BYRON. To SIR R.NOEL, BART.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s