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October 18 1812: Admiration for the Amiable Mathematician

On October 18, 1812, Lord Byron writes again to Lady Melbourne about Annabella Milbanke, or, as he calls her,  "the amiable Mathematician" or "my Princess of Parallelograms." Byron appears to be responding the Annabella's character study of him. He surmises that Annabella is "not disgusted with being admired" which seems to offer him hope for the future.  Byron ends the letter as follows:
"Pray let me hear from you; I am so provoked at the thought that our acquaintance may be interrupted by the old phantasy. – I had & have twenty thousand things to say & I trust as many to hear, but somehow our conversations never come to a clear conclusion. – I thank you again for your efforts with my Princess of Parallelograms, who has puzzled you more than the Hypothenuse; in her character she has not forgotten “Mathematics” wherein I used to praise her cunning. – Her proceedings are quite rectangular, or rather we are two parallel lines prolonged to infinity side by side but never to meet." 
Byron's letter is reproduced below. 

Byron to Lady Melbourne, from Cheltenham, October 18th 1812:
Octr. 18th. 1812

My dear Lady M. – – Of A. I have little to add, but I do not regret what has passed; the report alluded to had hurt her feelings, & she has now regained her tranquillity by the refutation to her own satisfaction without disturbing mine. – This was but fair – & was not unexpected by me, all things considered perhaps it could not have been better. – I think of her nearly as I did, the specimen you send me is more favourable to her talents than her discernment,  & much too indulgent to the subject she has chosen, in some points the resemblance is very exact, but you have not sent me the whole (I imagine) by the abruptness of both beginning & end.

– I am glad that your opinion coincides with mine on the subject of her abilities & her excellent qualities, in both these points she is singularly fortunate. – Still there is something of the woman about her; her preferring that the letter to you should be sent forward to me per esempio appears as if though she would not encourage, she was not disgusted with being admired. – I also may hazard a conjecture that an answer addressed to herself might not have been displeasing, but of this you are the best judge from actual observation – I cannot however see the necessity of its’ being forwarded unless <it> {I} was either to admire the composition or reply to ye. contents. – One I certainly do, the other would merely lead to mutual compliments very sincere but somewhat tedious. – By the bye, what two famous letters your own are, I never saw such traits of discernment, observation of character, knowledge of your own sex. & sly concealment of your knowledge of the foibles of ours, than in these epistles, & so that I preserve you always as a friend & sometimes as a correspondent (the oftener the better) believe me my dear LyM. I shall regret nothing but – the week we passed at Middleton till I can enjoy such another. –

Now for C – your name was never mentioned or hinted at – the passage was nearly as follows – “I know from the best authority, your own, that your time has passed in a very different manner, nor do I object to it, amuse yourself, but leave me quiet, what would you have? – I go nowhere, I see no one, I mix with no society – I write when it is proper – these perpetual causeless caprices are equally selfish & absurd.” &c. &c. & so on in answer to her description of her lonely lovelorn condition!!! much in the same severer style. – And now, this must end, if she persists I will leave the country, I shall enter into no explanations, write no epistles softening or severe; nor will I meet her if it can be avoided, & certainly never but in society, the sooner she is apprized of this the better, but with one so totally devoid of all conduct it is difficult to decide.  I have no objection to her knowing what passed about A. – if it would have any good effect, nor do I wish it to be concealed, even from others or the world in general, my vanity will not be piqued by it’s development, & though It was not accepted I am not at all ashamed of my admiration of the amiable  Mathematician. – I did not reproach C for “her behaviour” but the misrepresentation of it, & her suspicions of mine; why tell me she was dying instead of dancing when I had much rather hear she was acting, as she in fact acted? viz – like any {other} person in good health, tolerable society & high spirits. – – In short I am not her lover, & would rather not be her friend, though I never can nor will be her enemy. – If it can be ended let it be without any interference, I will have nothing more to do with it, her letters (all but one about Ld. Clare unanswered & the answer to that strictly confined to his concerns except a hint on vanity at the close) are filled with the most ridiculous egotism, “how the Duke’s mob observed her, how the boys followed her, the women caressed & the men admired, & how many lovers were all sacrificed to this brilliant fit of constancy. – Who wants it forsooth or expects it after sixteen? – – Can’t she take example from me, do I embarrass myself about A? – or the fifty B. C. D. E. F. U. H’s & c. & c. that have preceded her in cruelty or kindness (the latter always the greatest plague) not I, & really sans phrase I think my loss is the most considerable. – – – 

I hear Ly. Holland is ill I hope not seriously. – Ld. O. went today, & I am still here with some idea of proceeding either to Herefordshire or to Ld. Harrowby’s, & one notion of being obliged to go to London to meet my Agent. –

Pray let me hear from you; I am so provoked at the thought that our acquaintance may be interrupted by the old phantasy. – I had & have twenty thousand things to say & I trust as many to hear, but somehow our conversations never come to a clear conclusion. – I thank you again for your efforts with my Princess of Parallelograms, who has puzzled you more than the Hypothenuse; in her character she has not forgotten “Mathematics” wherein I used to praise her cunning. – Her proceedings are quite rectangular, or rather we are two parallel lines prolonged to infinity side by side but never to meet. –

Say what you please for or of me, & I will mean it. – Good Even my dear Ly. M. – ever yrs most affectionately
BN 
 

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