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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 8.djvu/42

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16
[CHAP. I.
CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOL.

6.—To his Mother.[1]

Southwell, [Sept. 1803].

My dear Mother,—I have sent Mealey[2] to day to you, before William came, but now I shall write myself.

  1. This letter is endorsed by Hanson, "Lord Byron to his mother, "1803," In September, 1803, at the end of the summer holidays, Byron did not return to Harrow. Dr. Drury asked the reason, received no reply, and, on October 4, applied to Hanson for an explanation. Hanson's inquiry drew from Mrs. Byron, on October 30, the following answer, with which was enclosed the above letter from Byron:—

    "You may well be surprized, and so may Dr. Drury, that Byron is not returned to Harrow. But the Truth is, I cannot get him to return to school, though I have done all in my power for six weeks past. He has no indisposition that I know of, but love, desperate love, the worst of all maladies in my opinion. In short, the Boy is distractedly in love with Miss Chaworth, and he has not been with me three weeks all the time he has been in this county, but spent all his time at Annesley.

    "If my son was of a proper age and the lady disengaged, it is the last of all connexions that I would wish to take place; it has given me much uneasiness. To prevent all trouble in future, I am determined he shall not come here again till Easter; therefore I beg you will find some proper situation for him at the next Holydays. I don't care what I pay. I wish Dr. Drury would keep him.

    "I shall go over to Newstead to-morrow and make a last effort to get him to Town."

    The effort, if made, failed. On November 7, 1803, Mrs. Byron wrote again:—

    "Byron is really so unhappy that I have agreed, much against my inclination, to let him remain in this County till after the next Holydays."

    It was not till January, 1804, that Byron returned to Harrow.

    Miss Mary Anne Chaworth, the object of Byron's passion, was then living with her mother, Mrs. Clarke, at Annesley, near Newstead (see Poems, vol. i. p. 189, and note 1). The grand-niece of the Mr. Chaworth who was killed in a duel by William, fifth Lord Byron, on January 26, 1765 (Annual Register, 1765, pp. 208-212 ; and State Trials, vol. xix. pp. 1178-1236), and the heiress of Annesley, she married, in August, 1805, John Musters, by whom she had a daughter, born in 1806. (See "Well! thou art happy!" Poems, vol. i. p. 277; see also, for other allusions to Mrs. Chaworth Musters, ibid., pp. 210, 239, 282, 285; and "The Dream" of July, 1816.) In Byron's memorandum-book, he describes a visit which he paid to Matlock