A Delightful Situation for ANY Lady!

Dst Annabella 

I have just taken the Dss of Devonshire’s House from next Sunday the 12th for one Year at 700£ – as Ld B wants Space I hope it will suit him –

but after that, I am in rather a fright at what I have done – but all I can say, is. that I have not done it hastily – for at first I would not take it –

& have this morning been with all ye great House brokers – & on seeing what they ask for very indifferent Houses & how few are to be let furnish’d I went back to this, & concluded the bargain…

Now for an Acct of the House first perhaps you are not aware that the entrance is down Some Steps, which makes what is commonly call’d the Ground floor, Up stairs, but the rooms are extremely pleasant, the Dss lived entirely on this floor, she had a Dining room, Sitting room, & Bedchamber & a fourth room of a good Size but which she made her Maid’s Room.

These are well furnish’d not Splendidly but comfortably with Good Couches & large Chairs & Drugget over all the rooms in the House.

Over these rooms there are the same Number but these are only furnish’d with common furniture, as Mr Foster lived in them –

If you should take these for Yourself you will be obliged to move the Dss’s furniture up Stairs – & I think you must have Some additions – which you may hire at some Upholsterers.

The Atticks & Garrets are perfectly well furnish’d – in all there are Sixteen Beds in the House extremely good & Clean but no one very large…

I think You might continue for 3 or 4 days to live in the Dss’s rooms as she inhabited them, as the rooms have all Separate communications – & as there are two bedchambers close together You could do very well for that time and then Settle how the rooms Upstairs Should be arranged –

I determined to run ye risk of taking ye Dss’s where ye furniture is all clean & ye Beds quite good & the Situation delightfull…

You may come to this next Week if You please – There is a Housemaid there who has a room where all the Dss’s things which she left are put up – Of course whether you keep her on or not she may I have no doubt keep the Key of this room – as there are plenty & it will be no inconvenience to you to have it lock’d up –

The Offices are very good – & all sorts of useful things will be found in the House in plenty –

the Bell is going – & I am in ye greatest hurry – we are in ye midst of riots…

Aunt Melbourne

7th March 1815

Dramatis Personae:

‘Annabella’ Anne Isabella Lady Noel Byron (1792-1860)

‘Dss of Devonshire’ Elizabeth Cavendish Duchess of Devonshire (1759-1824)

‘Ld B’ George Gordon Lord Noel Byron (1788-1824)

‘Mr Foster’ John Thomas Foster (1747–1796) and Husband to the Duchess of Devonshire

‘Aunt Melbourne’ Elizabeth Lamb Viscountess Melbourne (1751-1818) Aunt to Lady Byron and Confidant of Lord Byron