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Lady Caroline Lamb tells the story of her relationship with Lord Byron -- The BEST letters, stories, history and the best romantic love writing - A Love Letter - Lord Byron to Lady Caroline Lamb ...

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Lady Caroline Lamb to Captain Thomas Medwin
Concerning her relationship with Lord Byron
November 1824

More about Lady Caroline Lamb Lady Caroline Lamb to Captain Thomas Medwin

Concerning Lord Byron

"SIR,--I hope you will excuse my intruding upon your time, with the most intense interest I have just finished your book which does you credit as to the manner in which it is executed and after the momentary pain in part which it excites in many a bosom, will live in despight of censure--and be gratefully accepted by the Public as long as Lord Byron's name is remembered--yet as you have left to one who adored him a bitter legacy, and as I feel secure the lines 'remember thee--thou false to him thou fiend to me'--were his--and as I have been very ill & am not likely to trouble any one much longer--you will I am sure grant me one favour--let me to you at least confide the truth of the past--you owe it to me--you will not I know refuse me.

"It was when the first Child Harold came out upon Lord Byron's return from Greece that I first had the misfortune to be acquainted with him--at that time I was the happiest and gayest of human beings I do believe without exception--_I had married for love_ and love the most romantic and ardent--my husband and I were so fond of each other that false as I too soon proved he never would part with me. Devonshire House was at that time closed from my Uncle's death for one year--at Melbourne House where I lived the Waltzes and Quadrilles were being daily practised, Lady Jersey, Lady Cowper, the Duke of Devonshire, Miss Milbanke and a number of foreigners coming there to learn--You may imagine what forty or fifty people dancing from 12 in the morning until near dinner time all young gay and noisy were--in the evenings we either had opposition suppers or went out to Balls and routs--such was the life I then led when Moore and Rogers introduced Lord Byron to me--What you say of his falling upstairs and of Miss Milbanke is all true. Lord Byron 3 days after this brought me a Rose and Carnation and used the very words I mentioned in Glenarvon--with a sort of half sarcastic smile--saying, 'Your Ladyship I am told likes all that is new and rare for a moment'--I have them still, and the woman who through many a trial has kept these relics with the romance of former ages--deserves not that you should speak of her as you do. Byron never never could say I had no heart. He never could say, either, that I had not loved my husband. In his letters to me he is perpetually telling me I love him the best of the two; and my only charm, believe me, in his eyes was, that I was innocent, affectionate, and enthusiastic.

Recall those words, and let me not go down with your book as heartless. Tell the truth; it is bad enough; but not what is worse. It makes me so nervous to write that I must stop--will it tire you too much if I continue? I was not a woman of the world. Had I been one of that sort, why would he have devoted nine entire months almost entirely to my society; have written perhaps ten times in a day; and lastly have press'd me to leave all and go with him--and this at the very moment when he was made an Idol of, and when, as he and you justly observe, I had few personal attractions. Indeed, indeed I tell the truth. Byron did not affect--but he loved me as never woman was loved. I have had one of his letters copied in the stone press for you; one just before we parted. See if it looks like a mere lesson. Besides, he was then very good, to what he grew afterwards; &, his health being delicate, he liked to read with me & stay with me out of the crowd. Not but what we went about everywhere together, and were at last invited always as if we had been married--It was a strange scene--but it was not vanity misled me. I grew to love him better than virtue, Religion--all prospects here. He broke my heart, & still I love him--witness the agony I experienced at his death & the tears your book has cost me. Yet, sir, allow me to say, although you have unintentionally given me pain, I had rather have experienced it than not have read your book. Parts of it are beautiful; and I can vouch for the truth of much, as I read his own Memoirs before Murray burnt them. Keep Lord Byron's letter to me (I have the original) & some day add a word or two to your work from his own words, not to let every one think I am heartless. The cause of my leaving Lord Byron was this; my dearest Mother, now dead, grew so terrified about us--that upon hearing a false report that we were gone off together she was taken dangerously ill & broke a blood vessel. Byron would not believe it, but it was true. When he was convinced, we parted. I went to Ireland, & remained there 3 months. He wrote, every day, long kind entertaining letters; it is these he asked Murray to look out, and extract from, when he published the journal; but I would not part with them--I have them now--they would only burn them, & nothing of his should be burnt. At Dublin, God knows why, he wrote me the cruel letter part of which he acknowledges in Glenarvon (the 9th of November, 1812)--He knew it would destroy my mind and all else--it did so--Lady Oxford was no doubt the instigator. What will not a woman do to get rid of a rival? She knew that he still loved me--I need not tire you with every particular. I was brought to England a mere wreck; & in due time, Lady Melbourne & my mother being seriously alarmed for me, brought me to town, and allowed me to see Lord Byron. Our meeting was not what he insinuates--he asked me to forgive him; he looked sorry for me; he cried. I adored him still, but I felt as passionless as the dead may feel.--Would I had died there!--I should have died pitied, & still loved by him, & with the sympathy of all. I even should have pardoned myself--so deeply had I suffered. But, unhappily, we continued occasionally to meet. Lord Byron liked others, I only him--The scene at Lady Heathcote's is nearly true--he had made me swear I was never to Waltz. Lady Heathcote said, Come, Lady Caroline, you must begin, & I bitterly answered--oh yes! I am in a merry humour. I did so--but whispered to Lord Byron 'I conclude I may waltz _now_' and he answered sarcastically, 'with every body in turn--you always did it better than any one. I shall have a pleasure in seeing you."--I did so you may judge with what feelings. After this, feeling ill, I went into a small inner room where supper was prepared; Lord Byron & Lady Rancliffe entered after; seeing me, he said, 'I have been admiring your dexterity.' I clasped a knife, not intending anything. 'Do, my dear,' he said. 'But if you mean to act a Roman's part, mind which way you strike with your knife--be it at your own heart, not mine--you have struck there already.' 'Byron,' I said, and ran away with the knife. I never stabbed myself. It is false. Lady Rancliffe & Tankerville screamed and said I would; people pulled to get it from me; I was terrified; my hand got cut, & the blood came over my gown. I know not what happened after--but this is the very truth. After this, long after, Ld. Byron abused by every one, made the theme of every one's horror, yet pitied me enough to come & see me; and still, in spight of every one, William Lamb had the generosity to retain me. I never held my head up after--never could. It was in all the papers, and put not truly. It is true I burnt Lord Byron in Effigy, & his book, ring & chain. It is true I went to see him as a Carman, after all that! But it is also true, that, the last time we parted for ever, as he pressed his lips on mine (it was in the Albany) he said 'poor Caro, if every one hates me, you, I see, will never change--No, not with ill usage!' & I said, 'yes, I _am_ changed, & shall come near you no more.'--For then he showed me letters, & told me things I cannot repeat, & all my attachment went. This was our last parting scene--well I remember it. It had an effect upon me not to be conceived--3 years I had _worshipped_ him.

"Shortly after he married, once, Lady Melbourne took me to see his Wife in Piccadilly. It was a cruel request, but Lord Byron himself made it. It is to this wedding visit he alludes. Mrs. Leigh, myself, Lady Melbourne, Lady Noel, & Lady Byron, were in the room. I never looked up. Annabella was very cold to me. Lord Byron came in & seemed agitated--his hand was cold, but he seemed kind. This was the last time upon this earth I ever met him. Soon after, the battle of Waterloo took place. My Brother was wounded, & I went to Brussels. I had one letter while at Paris from Ld. Byron; a jesting one; hoping I was as happy with the regiment as he was with his 'Wife Bell.' When I returned, the parting between them occurred--& my page affair--& Glenarvon. I wrote it in a month under circumstances would surprise every body, but which I am not at liberty to mention. Besides, it has nothing to do with your book and would only tire you. Previous to this, I once met, & once only, Lady Byron. It was just after the separation occurred. She was so altered I could hardly know her--she appeared heart broken. What she then said to me _I may not repeat_--she was however sent away, she did not go willingly.

"She accused me of knowing every thing, & reproached me for not having stopped the marriage. How could I! She had been shewn my letters, and every one else. It is utterly false that she ever opened the desk--the nurse had nothing to do with the separation--

"From that hour, Lady Byron & I met no more, & it was after this, that, indignant & miserable, I wrote Glenarvon. Lady B. was more angry at it than he was--From that time, I put the whole as much as I could from my mind. Ld. Byron never once wrote to me--and always spoke of me with contempt. I was taken ill in March this year--Mrs. Russell Hunter & a nurse sat up with me. In the middle of the night I fancied I saw Ld. Byron--I screamed, jumped out of bed & desired them to save me from him. He looked horrible, & ground his teeth at me; he did not speak; his hair was straight; he was fatter than when I knew him, & not near so handsome. I felt convinced I was to die. This dream took possession of my mind. I had not dreamed of him since we had parted. It was, besides, like no other dream except one of my Mother that I ever had. I am glad to think it occurred before his death as I never did & hope I never shall see a Ghost. I have even avoided enquiring about the exact day for fear I should believe it--it made enough impression as it was. I told William, and my Brother & Murray at the time. Judge what my horror was, as well as grief, when, long after, the news came of his death, it was conveyed to me in two or 3 words--'Caroline, behave properly, I know it will shock you--Lord Byron is dead'--This letter I received when laughing at Brockett Hall. Its effect or some other cause produced a fever from which I never yet have recovered--It was also singular that the first day I could go out in an open Carriage, as I was slowly driving up the hill here,--Lord Byron's Hearse was at that moment passing under these very walls, and rested at Welwyn. William Lamb, who was riding on before me, met the procession at the Turnpike, & asked whose funeral it was. He was very much affected and shocked--I of course was not told; but, as I kept continually asking where & when he was to be buried, & had read in the papers it was to be at Westminster Abbey, I heard it too soon, & it made me very ill again."

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Lady Caroline Lamb -- Free letter from Lady Caroline Lamb tells her story and her side about her tempestuous relationship with Lord Byron. Also here you'll find the best romantic songs and love letters with history and information about the masher, Lord Byron and his mistress, Lady Caroline Lamb.