'It is a further mistake on Mr. Moore's part, and I can prove it to be so, if proof be necessary, to represent Lady Byron, in the course of their courtship, as one inviting her future husband to correspondence by letters after she had at first refused him. She never proposed a correspondence. On the contrary, he sent her a message after that first refusal, stating that he meant to go abroad, and to travel for some years in the East; that he should depart with a heart aching, but not angry; and that he only begged a verbal assurance that she had still some interest in his happiness. Could Miss Milbanke, as a well-bred woman, refuse a courteous answer to such a message? She sent him a verbal answer, which was merely kind and becoming, but which signified no encouragement that he should renew his offer of marriage.
'After that message, he wrote to her a most interesting letter about himself, – about his views, personal, moral, and religious, – to which it would have been uncharitable not to have replied. The result was an insensibly increasing correspondence, which ended in her being devotedly attached to him. About that time, I occasionally saw Lord Byron; and though I knew less of him than Mr. Moore, yet I suspect I knew as much of him as Miss Milbanke then knew. At that time, he was so pleasing, that, if I had had a daughter with ample fortune and beauty, I should have trusted her in marriage with Lord Byron.
'Mr. Moore at that period evidently understood Lord Byron better than either his future bride or myself; but this speaks more for Moore's shrewdness than for Byron's ingenuousness of character.
'It is more for Lord Byron's sake than for his widow's that I resort not to a more special examination of Mr. Moore's misconceptions. The subject would lead me insensibly into hateful disclosures against poor Lord Byron, who is more unfortunate in his rash defenders than in his reluctant accusers. Happily, his own candour turns our hostility from himself against his defenders. It was only in wayward and bitter remarks that he misrepresented Lady Byron. He would have defended himself irresistibly if Mr. Moore had left only his acknowledging passages. But Mr. Moore has produced a "Life" of him which reflects blame on Lady Byron so dexterously, that "more is meant than meets the ear." The almost universal impression produced by his book is, that Lady Byron must be a precise and a wan, unwarming spirit, a blue-stocking of chilblained learning, a piece of insensitive goodness.
'Who that knows Lady Byron will not pronounce her to be everything the reverse? Will it be believed that this person, so unsuitably matched to her moody lord, has written verses that would do no discredit to Byron himself; that her sensitiveness is surpassed and bounded only by her good sense; and that she is
'"Blest with a temper, whose unclouded ray
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