“Marriage has often been represented as the proper goal and terminus of a wild and dissipated career, and it has been supposed to be the appointed mission of good women to receive wandering prodigals, with all the rags and disgraces of their old life upon them, and put rings on their hands and shoes on their feet, and introduce them, clothed and in their right minds, to an honorable career in society.”
Oh, my sainted aunt. Friend of the Toast Elon Green turned me on this 5,000-word essay by Harriet Beecher Stowe (!) in the Atlantic (!!) vindicating Lady Byron (!!!) that ultimately caused “fifteen thousand of the Atlantic’s subscribers (about one third of the readership) [to] cancel in protest, almost wrecking the magazine in what Oliver Wendell Holmes dubbed the Byron whirlwind.'”
“Her answer was a frank, outspoken avowal of her love for him, giving herself to him heart and hand. The good in Lord Byron was not so utterly obliterated that he could receive such a letter without emotion, or practice such unfairness on a loving, trusting heart without pangs of remorse. He had sent the letter in mere recklessness; he had not seriously expected to be accepted.”
PILE MORE SICK BURNS UPON HIS UNDESERVING HEAD, HARRIET. LORD BYRON CAN SUCK AN EGG. I had to stop reading this essay at multiple points to whisper “kablammo” to myself, as the author intended. God bless you and keep you all.
“When her husband described to her the continental latitude,—the good-humored marriage, in which complaisant couples mutually agreed to form the cloak for each other’s infidelities,—and gave her to understand that in this way alone she could have a peaceful and friendly life with him, she answered him simply: ‘I am too truly your friend to do this.'”
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.