By Dorothy Stein
During this engrossing biography, Dorothy Stein strips away the numerous layers of fable to bare a narrative way more dramatic and engaging than past money owed have indicated.
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Extra resources for Ada: A Life and a Legacy
His plans for her included a Catholic upbringing and a proper Continental marriage. He heartily disliked women with intellectual pretensions, and his ridicule had often reduced even the complacent, self-righteous Annabella to tears. What effect would he have had on Ada, who gloried in her mind but retained a diffident sensitivity to criticism? How would she have flourished in the face of his sardonic wit? In his famous farewell lines to his wife, Byron had asserted, "Even though unforgiving, never / 'Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.
14 So she proceeded to write some letters of instruction and inquiry about the baby's health and daily routine. Yet she was nothing if not introspective, and there was none to whom she tried more assiduously to justify her feelings and conduct than her notebook. She reflected and decided that her inability to love her child stemmed from her uncertainty over custody. She expressed her sentiments in verse, for she too wrote poetry: 18 Chapter 1 The Urmatural Mother, Dec 1 6, 1 8 1 5 My Child! Forgive the seeming wrong The heart with-held from thee But owns its bondage doubly strong, Resolving to be free.
Once she was installed, however, he never visited her, though Shelley did. He even resented the child's demands for visits, sweets, and gifts, which he condemned as cupboard love. But when Allegra died in the convent, aged only a litde over five years, Byron grieved extravagandy. He had her expensively em balmed and shipped back to England for burial at Harrow, his old public school. If Allegra had survived, how would he have aided her mind's development? His plans for her included a Catholic upbringing and a proper Continental marriage.