Pages

December 21 1812: Byron and an Englishwoman's Revenge


On December 21 1812, Lord Byron writes to Lady Melbourne, again the topic that dominates is Lady Caroline Lamb, who has written to him  “you have told me how foreign women revenge – I will show you how an Englishwoman can.” Byron also tells Lady Melbourne that he has plans to travel abroad with Hobhouse in the coming year.
Byron to Lady Melbourne, December 21st 1812: Decr. 21st. 1812 
My dear Ly. Melbourne -- I have not written to you for some days which must be some wonder & great relief to yourself – I do not presume that my epistle to the most amiable of the Ponsonbys [Caroline Lamb's maiden name] will have much effect & I fear Ly. B will not deem it sufficiently “soothing.” – As the Lady however seems to have imagined herself extremely terrific in my eyes I could not altogether humour the mistake, & leave it to the inhabitants of Chili (or where is it?) to worship the D — l. “Soothing!” quotha! I wonder who wants it most! I think at least some portion of that same soothing syrup ought to fall to my share. – – – 
We have some talk here of a voyage to Sicily &c. in the Spring – if so – I shall be of the party – but this is merely speculation for the present – Hobhouse & myself have serious thoughts of “Levanting” once more & I expect to hear from him soon on that & other subjects. – – You will not be sorry to find me once more “on the wings of the wind” & I hope you will send me some English intelligence foreign & domestic. – I shall still retain Kinsham (the place I have taken) even if I go abroad; – if it will be any satisfaction to the respectable C to know that she has had some share in disgusting me with this country she may enjoy it to the full – if it were not for others I would set sail tomorrow. – My resentment against her is merely passive – I never will degrade myself into her enemy – notwithstanding all the provocatives so plentifully administered. – I shall soon discover if she has been tampering with Clare, but shall not interfere between them further than concerns myself – she will make nothing of him – he has too much sense & too little vanity to be fooled like his friend. – – I wish much to see you on my return to London which will not be before the 12th. of next month, – if then – we are all very happy & serene – no scenes – a great deal of music – good cheer – spirits & temper – & every day convinces me of the contrast – by the bye – this travelling scheme as far as regards all except Hobhouse & myself must be a secret – being the first between you & me & if you keep it well – I have ten more for your discreet ear when we meet. –
I have not received the letter you mention from Ly. B – & have no great interest in its’ safe arrival – I do not want any recantations & the old or new excuses – whatever the impression may be on others on my mind it is indelible – but let that pass – it is odd that her last letter to me (which came with yours) contains nothing but more general menaces of vengeance & professions of not unwelcome hatred – but {no} particular denunciations of a serious description – the closing sentence is awfully amiable & I copy it – “you have told me how foreign women revenge – I will show you how an Englishwoman can” – – very like the style of Miss Matthews in Amelia & Lucy in the Beggar’s Opera – & by no means having even the merit if Novelty in my ears. – A Namesake of C’s was much more polite in her expressions though equally angry – & now – if I may trust the authority of several reputable  gentlefolks – does me the honour after the interval of several years to speak of me in very gentle terms – & perhaps in the year 1820 your little Medea may relapse into a milder tone. Believe me dear Ly. M.  ever yrsBn

P.S. – I think your plan with her not so good as yr. general plans are – as long as she is in ye. country & has nothing to do but gallop on the turnpike [Ms. tear: “&”] scribble absurdities she will be unmanageable – but a fortnight in town – the 10.th Uniform, the first fool & the last comer will work wonders – commit her to C. Square & she will forget every thing if not herself into the bargain – but you know best after all. – – –  



No comments:

Post a comment