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Oct 17 1812: Annabella "Perfectly Right"

On October 17, 1812, Lord Byron writes to Lady Melbourne who has given him the news that  Annabella Milbanke has refused his marriage proposal. Byron responds gallantly saying, in effect, that she was probably right. He assures Lady Melbourne that he is not offended by her niece's refusal. “Cut her!” My dear Lady Melbourne. marry – Mahomet forbid! – I am sure we shall be better friends than before & if I am not embarrassed by all this I cannot see for the soul of me why she should." He adds:"She is perfectly right in every point of view." Later, he adds: "I have lost a thousand women in my time but never had the ill manners to quarrel with them for such a trifle.”

Byron's letter is reproduced below. 

Byron to Lady Melbourne, from Cheltenham, 
Cheltenham Octr. 17th. 1812


"Cut her!" my dear Lady M. Marry — Mahomet forbid! – I am sure we shall be better friends than before & if I am not embarrassed by all this I cannot see for the soul of me why she should – assure her contutto rispetto that The subject shall never be renewed in any shape whatever, & assure yourself my carissima (not Zia what then shall it be? chuse your own name) that were it not for this embarras with C. I would much rather remain as I am.

– – I have had so very little intercourse with the fair Philosopher that if when we meet I should endeavour to improve our acquaintance she must not mistake me, & assure her I never shall mistake her. – I never did you will allow; – & God knows whether I am right or not, but I do think I am not very apt to think myself encouraged. – She is perfectly right in every point of view, & during the slight suspense I felt something very like remorse for sundry reasons not at all connected with C nor with any occurrences since I knew you or her or hers; finding I must marry however on that score, I should have preferred a woman of birth & talents, but such a woman was not at all to blame for not preferring me; my heart never had an opportunity of being much interested in the business, further than that I should have very much liked to be your relation. – And now to conclude like Ld. Foppington, “I have lost a thousand women in my time but never had the ill manners to quarrel with them for such a trifle.” 

– Talking of addresses put me in mind of my address which has been murdered (I hear) in the delivery & mauled (I see) in the newspapers, & you don’t tell me whether you heard it recited, I almost wish you may not, if this be the case. – I am asked to Ld. O.’s & Ld. Harrowby’s  am wavering between the two. – I cannot sufficiently thank you for all the trouble you have taken on my account, the interest with which you honour me would amply repay for fifty vexations even if I felt any & perhaps I do without knowing it; but I can’t tell how it is, but I think C. may be managed now as well as if the whole had taken place if she has either pride or principle, because she may now be convinced with a little dexterity at her return that I am most anxious to end every thing – added to which the present denial will lessen me in her estimation as an article of value, & her Vanity will help marvellously to her conversion. – – You talk of my “religion” that rests between Man & {his} Maker & to him only can my feelings be known, for A. it had been sufficient not to find me an “infidel” in anything else. – I must now conclude for I am pressed by the post – pray let me hear from you often & believe me ever my dear Ly. M. 

yrs. most affectly.
B.









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