By Dorothy Stein
During this engrossing biography, Dorothy Stein strips away the various layers of delusion to bare a narrative way more dramatic and engaging than past bills have indicated.
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Extra resources for Ada: A Life and a Legacy
Lady Byron was very fond of the latter form of treatment. In one letter she told Ada triumphantly, "I am rather better for a horrid mouthful of Leeches this rllorning. "85 They could be applied almost anywhere. Many conditions, when they affiicted women, were held to be somehow connected with the reproductive organs, and a number of derangements, both physical and mental, were attributed to sexual excitation, which, correctly, was thought to result in the sexual organs becoming engorged with blood.
He found the sensitiveness so fearfully increased as almost to require medical treatment. He afterwards met her at a party, when she in troduced herself as Lady Byron. S Moore's Life. Letters. and Journals oj Lord Byron was published in two volumes in 1 830 and 1 83 1 , by which time Lady Byron had been consulting phrenologists for a number of years. Deville may have been correct in his conclusion, from measuring the bumps on her head, that she was sensitive to public opinion. He was wrong, however, about her not having read Moore's book; she even published a pamphlet to register her objections to it, though it was supposedly printed for private circulation only.
I f yet more action seemed warranted, Lady Byron continued, Pupils of the upper school who were found to require physical strengthening or, as was the case with many, bodily fatigue, were sent for a time to field-labour with the lower school, a proceeding which in both cases acted as a wholesome medicine; whilst by the boys themselves, getting up at three o'clock. in the morning to earn a break fast with a thrashing-flail was regarded as one of the greatest pleasures. The sons of the wealthv thus learnt to resoec:t lahour in thf" nf"r"on " of the pupils of the poor school; whilst oIi the other hand the poor learnt to view their richer companions, not as enemies, but as sym pathising friends.