« ПредишнаНапред »
mencement of our Holidays. If she does, it will be impossible for me to call on my Sister, previous to my leaving it, and at the same time I cannot conceive what the Deuce she can want at this season in London. I have written to tell her that my Holidays commence on the 6th of August, but however, July the 1st is the proper day.—I beg that if you cannot find some means to keep her in the Country that you at least will connive at this deception which I can palliate, and then I shall be down in the country before she knows where I am. My reasons for this are, that I do not wish to be detained in Town so uncomfortably as I know I shall be if I remain with her; that I do wish to see my Sister; and in the next place she can just as well come to Town after my return to Notts, as I don't desire to be dragged about according to her caprice, and there are some other
I think unnecessary to be now mentioned. If you will only contrive by settling this business (if it is in your power), or if that is impossible, not mention anything about the day our Holidays commence, of which you can be easily supposed not to be informed. If, I repeat, you can by any means prevent this Mother from executing her purposes, you will greatly oblige.
(1805, July 8. Letter 29, to John Hanson,
Vol. I., p. 68.)
Well, my dearest Augusta, here I am, once more situated at my mother's house, which together with its inmate is as agreeable as ever. I am at this moment vis-à-vis and tête-à-tête with that amiable personage, who is, whilst I am writing, pouring forth
AUGUSTA BYRON'S “INGRATITUDE"
complaints against your ingratitude, giving me many oblique hints that I ought not to correspond with you, and concluding with an interdiction that if you ever after the expiration of my minority are invited to my residence, she will no longer condescend to grace it with her Imperial presence. You may figure to yourself, for your amusement, my solemn countenance on the occasion, and the meek lamblike demeanour of her Ladyship, which, contrasted with my saintlike visage, forms a striking family painting, whilst in the background, the portraits of my Great-grandfather and Grandmother, suspended in their frames, seem to look with an eye of pity on their unfortunate descendant, whose worth and accomplishments deserve a milder fate. I am to remain in this Garden of Eden one month, I do not indeed reside at Cambridge till October, but I set out for Hampshire in September where I shall be on a visit till the commencement of the term. In the mean time, Augusta, your sympathetic correspondence must be some alleviation to my sorrows, which however are too ludicrous for me to regard them very seriously; but they are really more uncomfortable than amusing.
(1805, August 6. Letter 31, to the Hon.
Augusta Byron, Vol. I., p. 72.) I have at last succeeded, my dearest Augusta, in pacifying the dowager, and mollifying that piece of flint which the good Lady denominates her heart. She now has condescended to send you her love, although with many comments on the occasion, and many compliments to herself. But to me she still continues to be a torment, and I doubt not would
continue so till the end of my life. However, this is the last time she ever will have an opportunity, as, when I go to college, I shall employ my vacations either in town; or during the summer I intend making a tour through the Highlands, and to Visit the Hebrides with a party of my friends, whom I have engaged for the purpose. This my old preceptor Drury recommended as the most improving way of employing my Summer Vacation, and I have now an additional reason for following his advice, as I by that means will avoid the society of this woman, whose detestable temper destroys every Idea of domestic comfort. It is a happy thing that she is my mother and not my wife, so that I can rid myself of her when I please, and indeed, if she goes on in the style that she has done for this last week that I have been with her, I shall quit her before the month I was to drag out in her company, is expired, and place myself anywhere, rather than remain with such a vixen. As I am to have a very handsome allowance, which does not deprive her of a sixpence, since there is an addition made from my fortune by the Chancellor for the purpose, I shall be perfectly independent of her, and, as she has long since trampled upon, and harrowed up every affectionate tie, It is my serious determination never again to visit, or be upon any friendly terms with her. This I owe to myself, and to my own comfort, as well as Justice to the memory of my nearest relations, who have been most shamefully libelled by this female Tisiphone, a name which your Ladyship will recollect to have belonged to one of the Furies. You need not take
AN ORDER FROM "THE COURT"
the precaution of writing in so enigmatical a style in your next, as, bad as the woman is, she would not dare to open any letter addressed to me from you.
(1805, August 10. Letter 32, to the Hon.
Augusta Byron, Vol. I., p. 75.)
As might be supposed I like a College Life extremely, especially as I have escaped the Trammels or rather Fetters of my domestic Tyrant M" Byron, who continued to plague me during my visit in July and September.
I am afraid the specimens Í have lately given her of my Spirit, and determination to submit to no more unreasonable demands (or the insults which follow a refusal to obey her implicitly whether right or wrong), have given high offence, as I had a most fiery Letter from the Court at Southwell on Tuesday, because I would not turn off my Servant (whom I had not the least reason to distrust, and who had an excellent character from his last Master) at her suggestion, from some caprice she had taken into her head. I sent back to the Epistle, which was couched in elegant terms, a severe answer, which so nettled her Ladyship, that after reading it, she returned it in a Cover without deigning a Syllable in return.
The Letter and my answer you shall behold when you next see me, that you may judge of the Comparative merits of Each. I shali let her go on in the Heroics, till she cools, without taking the least notice. Her Behaviour to me for the last two years neither merits my respect, nor deserves my affection. I am comfortable here, and having one of
the best allowances in College, go on Gaily, but not extravagantly. I need scarcely inform you that I am not the least obliged to M" B. for it, as it comes off my property, and She refused to fit out a single thing for me from her own pocket; my Furniture is paid for, and she has moreover a handsome addition made to her own income, which I do not in the least regret, as I would wish her to be happy, but by no means to live with me in person. The sweets of her society I have already drunk to the last dregs, I hope we shall meet on more affectionate Terms, or meet no more.
But why do I say meet ? her temper precludes every idea of happiness, and therefore in future I shall avoid her hospitable mansion, though she has the folly to suppose She is to be mistress of my house when I come of (age].
(1805, November 6. Letter 38, to the Hon.
Augusta Byron, Vol. I., p. 81.) I have news for you which I bear with Christian Resignation and without any violent Transports of Grief. My Mother (whose diabolical Temper you well know) has taken it into her Sagacious Head to quarrel with me, her dutiful Son. She has such a Devil of a Disposition, that she cannot be quiet, though there are fourscore miles between us, which I wish were lengthened to 400. The Cause too frivolous to require taking up your time to read or mine to write. At last, in answer to a Furious Epistle, I returned a Sarcastick Answer, which so incensed the Amiable Dowager that my Letter was sent back without her deigning a Line in the cover.