But what about Lady Byron, who, after less than a year of marriage to this most mercurial of poets, discovered that she could just take no more? Markus begins her chapter about the end with this: Reader, prepare for a train wreck.
Byron was definitely attracted to Annabella—but then there was his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. These two did not have a good history of staying away from each other, and when they were together, well, stuff happened. Annabella—“no fool,” as Markus puts it—threatened to break off with Byron. Who promptly fainted.
But the engagement proceeded, and the wedding took place on January 2, 1815, and Byron took no slow route to the consummation: It occurred on his couch as soon as they arrived at his place after the ceremony.
Although she loved Byron, Annabella had a hard time adjusting to his mercurial personality—his “terribly black moods,” his blasphemy, his excessive drinking, and eventually (of course) his wandering eye. Which was not the only organ that was wandering.
Still, they were together enough that she became pregnant, and her child, Ada, arrived on December 10, 1815. And just a month later—on January 14, 1816—Annabella left him. And that was pretty much the end of their association. As I mentioned earlier, he soon left England altogether, and he did not return until 1824, at which time he was in his coffin.