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V /y 



l 



LIBRARY 

OF THK 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. 

Class 



THE 



LITERARY LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE 



01 THE 



COUITESS OF BLESSIIGTOI. 



R. R. MADDEN, M.R.I. A., 

AUTHOR OF 

"TRAVELS ix THE EAST," "INFIRMITIES OF GENIUS," "THE MUSSULMAN," 
"SHRINES AND SEPULCHRES," "THE LIFE OF SAVONAROLA," ETC. 



L homme march e vers le tombeau, trainant apres lui, la chaine de ses 
esperances trompees." 

I N sT AV O, - V O. I. U M EjsV, ; I 

VOL, T. 



NEW YORK: 
II A R I 1 E U & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, 

?. 2 9 & 331 PEARL S T R K E T, 
F 1( A N K L I N S Q U A R K . 

1 855. 



DAS34 



DEDICATION, 



TO DOCTOR FREDERICK QUIN, M.D. 

I DEDICATE, my dear Q,uin, this work to you one of the 
most intimate friends of that gifted lady who is the subject 
of it, and whose entire confidence was possessed by you. 
I inscribe it to you in remembrance of old and happy days, 
of kind friends, and of many intimate acquaintances of our 
early days in Italy of people we have met in joyous scenes 
and memorable places; some highly gifted, subsequently 
greatly distinguished, most of whom have passed away since 
you and I first became acquainted with the late Countess 
of Blessington in Naples, upward of thirty years ago. 

Perhaps these pages may recall passages in our young 
days which, in the turmoil of the cares and struggles of 
advanced years, it may be a sort of recreation to our wearied 
minds and jaded energies to have presented to us again in 
a life-like form. 

In treading on this old Italian ground once more, and that 
portion of it especially best known to us a fragment of 
some bright star dropped from heaven : 

"That, like a precious gem, Parthenope 
Smiles as of yore the syren of the sea" * 

* The Heliotrope, or the Pilgrim in Italy, a Poem, by Dr. W. Beattie. 

224239 



1V DEDICATION. 

wo may have many graves to pass, and memories, not only 
of dear friends, but of early hopes, to make us thoughtful. 

But I trust we shall have also some pleasing recollections 
renewed by these Memoirs, and our old feelings of affection 
ate regard revived by them. 

I am, my dear Q,uin, faithfully yours, 

R. R. MADDEN. 
LONDON, >"ov. 1, 1854. 



CONTENTS OF VOL. I. 



INTRODUCTION. 

T AGB 

Early Origin. Pedigree .of the Sheehy Family. Notice of maternal 
Grandfather. Career of Edmund Power. Marriage of Marguerite 
Power. Captain Farmer s Death. Coroner s Inquest and Verdict of 
the Jury 1 

CHAPTER I. 

Notice of the Earl of Blessington. His Origin ; early Career. First and 
second Marriage, &c , 38 

CHAPTER II. 

Departure of the Blessingtons from London on a Continental Tour, Sep 
tember, 1822 63 

CHAPTER III. 
Byron and the Blessingtons at Genoa G9 

CHAPTER IV. 

The City and Bay of Naples. The Blessingtons, and their Society in 
Naples, June, 1822, to February, 182G 80 

CHAPTER V. 

Departure from Naples. Sojourn in Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, and 
Genoa. Return to Paris. February, 182G, to June, 1829 99 

CHAPTER VI. 

Return to Paris in June, 1828. Residence there. Death of Lord Bless 
ington. Departure of Lady Blessington for England in November, 
1830 11Q 

CHAPTER VII. 

Conversational Powers of distinguished Persons. Scamore Place and 
Gore House. Literary Circles. Rival Salons of Holland House and 



V1 CONTENTS. 

Reunions at the Countess of Charleville s. Residence of Lady Blcss 
ington at Seamore Place from 1832 to 1836 ; and Gore House. Ken 
sington Gore, from 1836. to April, 1S4 J . . 

CHAPTER VIII. 
The Break-up at < ion- House .16.") 

CHAPTER IX. 

Arrival of Lady Blcssington in Paris the middle of April. 1819. Her 
last Illness and Death on the 4th of June following. Notice of her 
Decease 1*1 

CHAPTER X. 
Notice ol the Career. Literary Tastes, and Talents of .Lady Blcssington. 1!)~ 

CHAPTER XI. 

Notice of the Writings of Lady Blessington. Connection with the An 
nuals. Results of her Literary Pursuits 214 

CHAPTER, XII. 
Poetical Effusions addressed to Lady Blcssington by various Persons. . 251 

CHAPTER, XIII. 

Notice of Count Alfred D Orsay. His Origin. Some Account of his 
rarlv Life. The Close of his Career, and Observations on his Talents, 
and the Application of them 4(> J 

CHAPTLR XIV. 
Preliminary Notice of the Correspondence of Lady Blessington 317 

CHAPTER XV. 
Sir William Gel! 3^J 

CHAPTER XVI 
Letters of Sir William (Jell to Lady Blessington . 1533 

CHAPTER XVII. 
Letters of Sir William Gell to Lady Blessington . . 330 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
Lrttcr* of Sir William Gell to Lady Blessington . . ;;-.> 



CONTENTS. yn 

CHAPTER XIX. 

t*A<JK 

Sir William Drummond. The Abbe Campbell , 335 

CHAPTER XX. 

Charles Reilly, Esq., Surgeon R. N. Dr. Quin. Sir Ferdinand R. E. 
D. Acton. Sir Frederick Faulkner. The Duke de Laval Montmoren- 
ci. Miss Bathurst. Piazzi. Sir Augustus D Este. Captain Hesse. 
Captain Garth 396 

CHAPTER XXI. 
The Hon. Richard Keppel Craven, and the Margravine of Anspach .... -109 

CHAPTER XXII. 

Thomas James Matthias, Esq., F.R.S., F.S.A. James Millingen. Ed 
ward Dodwell. The Archbishop of Tarento 422 

CHAPTER XXIII. 
Count Matuschewitz. Prince Schwartzenberg -13y 

CHAPTER XXIV. 
The Duke D Ossuna -142 

CHAPTER XXV. 
Monsieur Eugene Sue. Vicomte D Arlincourt 44t> 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Casimir Delavigne. Alfred De Vigny. Dwarkanauth Tajore. Rich 
ard Wcstmacott 458 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

Letter from John Auldjo, Esq., to Lady Blessington. Dr. Polidori. 
Sir \V. Drummond s Odin . . . 46G 



APPENDIX. 

No. I. 
Notice of Lord and Lady Canterbury, and of Mrs. Fairlie 475 

No. II. 
The Fate of the Sheehy.s in 1765 and 17fiG . .484 



y jji CON TENT 6 

No III 

The Case of Bernard Wright, Editor of Edmund Power s Paper, the 
Clonmel Ga/ette 500 

No. IV 
Certificate of .Marriage of Captain Fanner to Miss Marguerite Power. . . 513 

No. V. 
Notice of Captain Farmer s Letter in the Dublin Evening Packet 513 

No. VI. 

Proceedings on Inquest on the Body of Joseph Lonergan, shot by Ed 
mund Power, and Bill of Indictment and Information against Power . 51 n 

NO. ML 

Prosecution of Edmund Power for Libel on Colonel Bagwell 520 

No. VIII. 

Certificate of Burial of Memlvers of the Blessinirton Family in St. Thom 
as s Church, Dublin 523 

No. IX. 
Account of the Encumbrances on the Blessington Estates. ........... 524 

No. X. 
Rental of Blessington Estates, occ 528 

No. XI. 
Gore House 529 

No. XII. 
Count D Orsay and the Prince Louis Napoleon 529 

No. XIII. 
Theatrical Tastes of Lord Blessington s Father 537 

No. XIV. 
Duel between Michael Power, Esq., and Captain Kettlewcll 537 

No. XV. 
Precis of Trial M Carthy versus Solomon Watson. Banker, of Clonmel . K>7 



A MEMOIR 

OF THE 

LITERARY LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE 

OF THE 

COUNTESS OF BLESSIMTON, 



INTRODUCTION. 

THE task of Biography is not comprised only in an attempt to 
make a word picture, and likeness of a person that can be 
identified by its resemblance to the original ; to narrate a series 
of striking passages in the life of an individual, whose career 
it is intended to illustrate ; to record dates of remarkable events, 
and particulars of important occurrences ; to give a faithful ac 
count of signal failures and successes ; to delineate the fea 
tures of the individual described, and to make deportment and 
demeanor, manner of thought, and mode of expression, clearly 
perceptible to those for whom we write or paint in words. 
These are essential things to be done, but they are not all that 
are essential in human life-history, which should be descriptive 
not only of external appearance and accidental circumstances, 
but of the interior being, dispositions, and actual peace of mind 
of those of whom it treats. The great aim to be accomplished is 
to make the truthful portraiture of the person we describe and 
present to the public, stand out in a distinct shape and form, dis 
tinguishable from all other surrounding objects, an instructive, 
directive, suggestive, encouraging, or admonitory representation 

VOL. I. A 



of a character and career, as the case may be. The legitimate 
aim and end of that representation of a life will be gained if 
the biographer, in accomplishing his task, makes the portraiture 
of the individual described advantageous to the public, renews 
old recollections agreeably as well as usefully ; looks to the 
future in all his dealings with the past ; draws away attention 
from the predominant materialism of the present time ; vio 
lates no duty to the dead, of whom he treats ; no obligation to 
the living, for whose benefit he is supposed to write ; if, with 
out prejudice to truth or morals, he indulges his own feelings 
of kindness, and tenderness of regard for the memory of those 
who may have been his friends, and who have become the sub 
jects of his inquiries and researches ; if he turn his theme to 
the account of society at large, of literature also, and of its 
living votaries ; if he places worth and genius in their true po 
sition, and, when the occasion calls for it, if he manfully puts 
forward his strength to pull down unworthy and ignoble pre 
tensions, to unmask selfishness, to give all due honor to noble 
deeds and generous aims and efforts ; if he sympathizes sin 
cerely with struggling merit, and seeks earnestly for truth, and 
speaks it boldly. And if he has to deal with the career of one 
who has played an important part in public life or in fashiona 
ble circles, and would attain the object I have referred to, he 
will have to speak freely and fearlessly of the miseries and 
vexations of a false position, however splendid that position 
may be miseries which may not be escaped from by any efforts 
to keep them out of sight or hearing, either in the turmoil of 
a fashionable life, in the tumult of its pleasures, or in the soli 
tude of the dressing-room, the stillness of which is often more 
intolerable than the desert-gloom, the desolation of Mar iSaba, 
or the silence of La Trappe. 

All this can be done without composing homilies on the 
checkered life of man, or pouring forth lamentations on its vi 
cissitudes, and pronouncing anathemas on the failings of indi 
viduals, on whose conduct we may perhaps be wholly incompe 
tent or unqualified to sit in judgment. There is often matter 
for deep reflection, though requiring no comment from the biog- 



INTRODUCTION. 3 

rapher, to be found in a single fact seasonably noticed, in a 
passage of a letter, a sentence in conversation, nay, even at 
times in a gesture, indicative of weariness of mind in the midst 
of pomp and pleasure, of sickness of spirit at the real aspect of so 
ciety, wreathed though it may be with smiles and blandishments, 
at the hollowness of its friendships, and the futility of one s 
efforts to secure their happiness by them. I am much mistaken 
if this work can be perused without exciting feelings of strong 
conviction, that no advantageousness of external circumstances, 
no amount of luxury, no entourage of wit and learning, no dis 
tinction in fashionable or literary life, no absorbing pursuits of 
authorship, or ephemeral enjoyments in exclusive circles of 
haut ton, constitute happiness, or afford a substitute for it, on 
which any reliance can be placed for the peace and quiet of 
one s life. 

An intimate acquaintance and uninterrupted friendship with 
the late Countess of Blessington during a period of twenty- 
seven years, and the advantage of possessing the entire confi 
dence of that lady, are the circumstances which induced the 
friends of Lady Blessington to commit to me the task of editing 
an account of her Literary Life and Correspondence. To many 
other persons familiarly acquainted with her ladyship, eminent 
in different walks of literature and art, distinguished for abilities 
and acquirements, and well known in the world of letters, this 
task might have been confided with far more service to the ex 
ecution of it in every literary point of view. But, in other re 
spects, it was considered I might bring some advantages to this 
undertaking, one of no ordinary difficulty, and requiring no or 
dinary care and circumspection to surmount. The facilities I 
refer to are those arising from peculiar opportunities enjoyed 
of knowing Lady Blessington at an early period of that literary 
career which it is intended to illustrate, and the antecedents of 
that position in literature and the society of intellectual celeb 
rities which she occupied in London. 

The correspondence and other papers of Lady Blessington 
that have been made use of in these volumes are connected by 
a slender thread of biographical illustration, which may serve 



4 INTRODUCTION. 

to give some idea of the characters and position, and prominent 
traits or peculiarities of those who arc addressed or referred to 
in this correspondence, or by whom letters were written which 
are noticed in it. 

In doing this, I trust it will be found I am not unmindful of 
the obligations I am under to truth and charity, as well as to 
friendship obligations to the living as well as to the dead ; 
but, on the contrary, that I am very sensible that literature is 
never more profaned than when, such claims being forgotten or 
unfelt, statements or sentiments expressed in confidence to pri 
vate persons that are calculated to hurt the feelings, to injure 
the character, or prejudice the interests of individuals in any 
rank of life, are wantonly, malevolently, or inconsiderately dis 
closed. 

Such sentiments seem to have been acted on by a late emi 
nent statesman, and were well expressed in a codicil to his will, 
wherein he bequeathed to Lord Mahon and E. Cardwell, Esq., 
M.P., " all the unpublished papers and documents of a public 
or a private nature, whether in print or in manuscript, of which 
he should, at the time of his decease, be possessed," &c. " Con 
sidering that the collection of letters and papers referred to in 
this codicil included the whole of his confidential correspond 
ence for a period extending from the year 1817 to the time of 
his decease, that during a considerable portion of that period he 
was employed in the service of the crown, and that when not 
so employed, he had taken an active part in parliamentary 
business, it was highly probable that much of that correspond 
ence would be interesting, and calculated to throw light upon 
the conduct and character of public men, and upon the political 
events of the times." This was done in the full assurance that 
his trustees would so exercise the discretion given to them, that 
no honorable confidence should be betrayed, no private feelings 
be unnecessarily wounded, and no public interests injuriously 
aflfected. 

I think it is Sir Egerton Brydges who observes, " It is not 
possible to love literature and to be uncharitable or unkind to 
those who follow its pursuits." Nothing would certainly bo 



INTRODUCTION. 5 

Jmore uncharitable and unkind to literary people than to publish 
what they may occasionally say in private of one another in the 
way of raillery, banter, or persiflage, a ridicule-aiming turn, as 
if such badinage on paper, and escapades of drollery, with a 
dash of sarcasm, in conversation, were deliberate expressions 
of opinion, and not the smartness of the sayings, but the sharp 
ness of the sting in them, was to be taken into account in judg 
ing of the motives of those who gave utterance to things spoken 
in levity and not in malice. 

There is no necessity, indeed, with such materials as I have 
in my hands, to encumber my pages with any trivialities of this 
kind, or the mere worthless tittle-tattle of epistolary conversation. 

There is an abundance of thought-treasure in letters of peo 
ple of exalted intellect in this collection ; ample beauties in 
their accounts of scenery and passing events, and in their refer 
ences to current literature the works of art of the day, the 
chances and changes of political life, the caprices of fashion of 
the time, and the vicissitudes in the fortune of the celebrities 
of all grades in a great city to furnish matter well worthy of 
selection and preservation ; matter that would perish if not thus 
collected, and published in some such form as the present. 

I have no sympathies with the tastes and pursuits of the 
hangers-on of men of genius in literary society, who crawl into 
the confidence of people of exalted intellect to turn their ac 
quaintance with it to a profitable account ; to drag into notice 
failings that may have hitherto escaped attention, or were only 
suspected to exist, and to immortalize the errors of gifted indi 
viduals, whose credulity has been taken advantage of with a 
deliberate purpose of speculating on those failings that have 
been diligently observed and drawn out. 

Censure, it is said, is the tax which eminence of every kind 
pays for distinction. The tendency of our times especially is 
to pander to a morbid taste, that craves continually for signal 
spectacles of failings and imperfections of persons in exalted 
stations, for exhibitions of eminent people depreciated or de 
famed. The readiness of men to minister to the prevailing 
appetite for literary gossip, by violating the sanctity of private 



(3 INTRODUCTION. 

life, and often even the sacred ties of friendship, is not only to 
be lamented, but the crime is to be denounced. I have given 
expression to such opinions on those subjects at the onset of 
my career in literature, and they have undergone no change 
since the publication of them, upward of twenty years ago.* 

We naturally desire to know every thing that concerns the 
character or the general conduct of those whose productions 
have entertained or instructed us, and- we gratify a laudable 
curiosity when, for the purposes of good, we inquire into their 
history, and seek to illustrate their writings by the general tenor 
of their lives and actions. But when biography is made the 
vehicle of private scandal, the means of promoting sordid inter 
ests, and looks into every infirmity of human nature through a 
magnifying medium, which makes small imperfections seem to 
be large, and exaggerates large ones, it ceases to be a legitimate 
inquiry into private character or conduct, and no infamy is 
greater than the baseness of revealing faults that possibly had 
never been discovered had no friendship been violated, no con 
fidence abused by exaggerated representations of failings and 
defects, which take away from the reputation of the living, or 
dim the bright fame of the illustrious dead. 

" Consider," says a learned German, " under how many as 
pects greatness is scrutinized ; in how many categories curiosity 
may be traced, from the highest grade of inquisitiveness down 
to the most impertinent, concerning great men ! How the 
world never wearies striving to represent to itself their whole 
structure, conformation outward and inward. Blame not the 
world for such curiosity about its great ones : this comes of the 
world s old-established necessity to worship. Blame it not ; 
pity it rather with a certain loving respect. Nevertheless, the 
last stage of human perversion, it has been said, is when sym 
pathy corrupts itself into envy, and the indestructible interest 
we take in men s doings has become a joy over their faults and 
misfortunes : this is the last and lowest stage lower than this 
we can not go." 

" Lower than this we can not go !" says the German moralist. 
* The Infirmities of Genius, &c., in 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1833. 



INTRODUCTION. 7 

But suppose we do more than exult in these failings and mis 
fortunes ; that we sit in judgment on them, and judge not justly, 
but in an unchristian manner that is to say, with false weights 
and measures of justice, having one scale and standard of judi 
cial opinion for the strong and the unscrupulous in evil doing, 
and another for the weak, and ill-directed, and unfortunately 
circumstanced ; lower then I say men can go in the downward 
path of hypocrisy, when those most deserving of pity have more 
to fear from pretenders to virtue than from religion itself. At 
the tribunal of public opinion, there are some failings for which 
there must be an acquittal on every count of the indictment, or 
a condemnation on all. 

With respect to them, it is not for the world to make any in 
quiries into the antecedents of error ; whether they included 
the results of the tyranny, the profusion, the profligacy, and the 
embarrassments of an unworthy father, the constant spectacle 
of the griefs and wrongs of an injured mother, mournful scenes 
of domestic strife, of violence and outrage even at the domestic 
hearth, and riotous displays of ill-assorted revelry and carousing 
in the same abode, every-day morning gloom and wrangling, 
temporary shifts to meet inordinate expenses tending to event 
ual ruin, meannesses to be witnessed to postpone an inevitable 
catastrophe, and provide for the carousing of another night, the 
feasting of military friends, of condescending lords and squireen 
gentlemen of high rank and influence, justices of the peace of 
fiery zeal in provincial politics, men of mark in a country town, 
ever ready to partake of hospitality and to enjoy society set 
off with such advantages as beauty, and mirth, and gayety un 
restricted can lend to it. 

It is not for the world to inquire into the circumstance that 
may have led to an unhappy union or its unfortunate result ; 
whether the home was happy, the society that frequented the 
parental abode was safe and suitable for its young inmates ; the 
father s example was edifying in his family the care of his 
children sufficient for their security his love and tenderness 
the crown of their felicity ; whether he watched over his daugh 
ters as an anxious father should do, and treated them with 



8 INTRODUCTION. 

kindness and affection, bearing himself quietly and amiably to 
ward their mother and themselves ; whether their youth and 
innocence were surrounded with religious influences, and the 
moral atmosphere in which they lived from childhood and grew 
up to womanhood was pure and wholesome ! 

It matters not, in the consideration of such results, whether 
their peace and happiness were made things of sale and barter 
by a worthless father ! whether, in forcing them to give their 
hands where they could not give their hearts, they had been 
sold for a price, and purchased for a consideration in which 
they had no share or interest ! 

The interests of religion, of truth, and morality, do not require 
that we should throw aside all considerations of this sort, and 
come to a conclusion on a single fact, without any reference to 
the influences of surrounding circumstances. 

The grave has never long closed over those who have been 
much admired and highly extolled in their day ; who have 
been in society formidable competitors for distinction, or in 
common opinion very fortunate in life and successful in society, 
or some particular pursuit, before the ashes of those dead ce 
lebrities are raked for error. Those tombs, indeed, are seldom 
ransacked unsuccessfully ; but those who sit in judgment on the 
failings of their fellow-creatures are never more likely to be er 
roneous in their opinions than when they are most harsh and 
uncharitable in their judgments. Those persons who stand 
highest in the opinion of their fellow-rnen may rank very low 
in the estimation of the Supreme Judge of all ; and those for 
whose errors there is here no mercy, may have fewer advan 
tages of instruction and example, of position, and of favorable 
circumstances that have been thrown away to account for, than 
the most spiritually proud of the complacent self-satisfied, self- 
constituted judges and arraigners of their fellow-creatures. 

It has been said that " a great deal has been told of Gold 
smith (in the early and incidental notices of his career) which 
a friendly biographer would have concealed, or at least silently 
passed over ; he would have felt bound in duty to respect the 
character which he took on himself to delineate ; and while he 
withheld nothing that rould have enabled the public to form a 



INTRODUCTION. i) 

right estimate of the subject, he would not have drawn aside 
the curtain that concealed the privacy of domestic intercourse, 
and exposed to view the weakness and inconsistency of the 
thoughtless and confidential hours of a checkered and too for 
tuitous life. The skillful painter can preserve the fidelity of 
the resemblance, while he knows how to develop all becoming 
embellishments. In heightening what is naturally beautiful, in 
throwing a shade over the less attractive parts, he presents us 
with a work that is at once pleasing and instructive. The bi 
ographer must form his narrative by selection. All things be 
longing to a subject are not worth telling ; when the circle of 
information is once completed, it is often the wisest part to rest 
satisfied with the effect produced. Such, evidently, was the 
rule which guided Mason in the very elegant and judicious ac 
count which he gave of his illustrious friend Gray ; and though 
later inquirers have explored and unlocked some channels which 
he did not wish to open, they have left the original sketch very 
little altered, and hardly at all improved. In this he followed, 
though with a more liberal allowance to rational curiosity than 
had before been granted, the general practice of all biographers ; 
but Boswell s Life of Johnson opened at once the floodgates of 
public desire on this subject, and set up an example, too faith 
fully imitated, of an indiscriminate development of facts, grat 
ifying not a very honorable or healthy curiosity, with the mi 
nutest details of personal history, the eccentricities of social in 
tercourse, and all the singularities of private life. The original 
work, however defective we may think it in its plan, derived 
a lustre from the greatness of its subject ; but it has been the 
cause of overwhelming literature with a mass of the most heavy 
and tiresome biographies of very moderate and obscure men ; 
with cumbersome details of a life without interest, and charac 
ter without talent, and a correspondence neither illuminated 
with spirit nor enriched with fact. Yous me parlez, says 
D Olivet, d un homme de lettres ; parlez moi done de ses talens, 
parlez moi de ses ouvrages, mais laissez moi ignorer ses foi- 
blesses, et a plus forte raison ses vices."" 

* Gent. Mag., March, 1837. Notice of Prior s Life of Goldsmith, p. 229. 

A 2 



IQ INTRODUCTION. 

Those who are desirous to be acquainted with the parentage, 
education, and incidents in the early career of the subject of this 
memoir, will find the information they require, gracefully given, 
and with a tender feeling of affectionate regard for the memory 
of the deceased lady of whom this work treats, in a Memoir 
written by her niece, Miss Power. Extracts from that Memoir, 
by the kind permission of Miss Power, I have been allowed to 
avail myself of, and they will be found subjoined to this Intro 
duction, with such additional matter of mine appended to them 
as Lady Blessington s communications to me, both oral and writ 
ten, and my own researches, enable me to offer. 

The task I have undertaken is to illustrate the literary life 
of Lady Blessington. Her acquaintance with the literary men 
and artists of England, and foreign countries, dates from the 
period of her marriage with Lord Blessington, and her applica 
tion to literature, as a pursuit and an employment, from the time 
of the first continental tour, on which she set out in 1822. 

It is not necessary for me here, at least, to enter at large into 
her early history, though, with one exception, I am probably 
better acquainted with it than any other person living. The 
whole of that history was communicated to me by Lady Bless 
ington, I believe with a conviction that it might be confided to 
me with safety, and, perhaps, with advantage at some future 
time to her memory. 

EXTRACTS FROM A MEMOIR OF THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON 
BY Miss POWER, WITH ADDITIONAL MATTER IN BRACKETS IN 
SERTED BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS WORK. 

" Marguerite Blessington was the third child and second 
daughter of Edmund Power, Esq., of Knockbrit, near Clonmel, 
in the county of Tipperary, and was born on the first of Sep 
tember, 1790. Her father, who was then a country gentleman, 
occupied with field-sports and agricultural pursuits, was the only 
son of Michael Power, Esq., of Curragheen, and descended from 
an ancient family in the county of Waterford. Her mother also 
belonged to a very old Roman Catholic family, a fact of which 
she was not a little proud, and her genealogical tree was pre- 



INTRODUCTION. H 

served with a religious veneration, and studied till all its branch 
es were as familiar as the names of her children : My ancestors, 
the Desmonds, were her household gods, and their deeds and 
prowess her favorite theme." 

[Mr. Edmund Power, the father of Lady Blessington, was the 
son of a country gentleman of a respectable family, once in tol 
erable circumstances. His father, Mr. Michael Power, left him 
a small property, eight miles distant from Dungarvan, called 
Curragheen. 

He married, at an early age, a daughter of an ill-fated gen 
tleman, Mr. Edmund Sheehy, descended from one of the most 
respectable Roman Catholic families in the county of Tipperary. 

In 1843 Lady Blessington presented me with an account of 
the Sheehy family, drawn up with great care, and from that 
document, in the handwriting of Lady Blessington, which is in 
my possession, the following notice is taken verbatim. 

PEDIGREE OF THE SHEEHY FAMILY. 

" This ancient family possessed a large estate on the banks 
of the River Deel, in the county of Limerick, from the time that 
Maurice, the first Earl of Desmond s daughter, was married to 
Morgan Sheehy, who got the said estate from the earl as a por 
tion with his wife. 

" From the above Morgan Sheehy was lineally descended 
Morgan Sheehy, of Ballyallenane. The said Morgan married 
Ellen Butler, daughter of Pierce, Earl of Ormond, and the widow 
of Connor O Brien, Earl of Thomond, and had issue, Morgan 
Sheehy. The said Morgan Sheehy married Catherine Mac Car- 
thy, daughter to Donnough Mac Carthy-More, of Dunhallow, in 
the county of Cork ; and had issue, Morgan Sheehy, who mar 
ried Joan, daughter of David, Earl of Barrymore, in the county 
of Cork, and Lady Alice Boyle, eldest daughter of Richard, Earl 
of Cork ; and had issue, Morgan Sheehy, and Meanus, from 
whom the Sheehys of Imokilly, and county of Waterford, are 
descended. The said Morgan married Catherine, the eldest of 
the five daughters of Teige O Brien, of Ballycorrig, and of Eliza 
beth, daughter of Maurice, Earl of Desmond. He had issue, 



12 INTRODUCTION. 

three sons, John, Edmund, and Roger, and five daughters. Of 
the daughters, Joan married Thomas Lord Southwell ; Ellen 
married Philip Magrath, of Sleady Castle, in the county of Wa- 
terford, Esq. ; Mary married Eustace, son of Sir John Brown, 
of Cammus, Bart. ; and Anne married Colonel Gilbrern, of Kil- 
mallock. 

"Of the five daughters of the above Teige O Brien, Catherine 
married the above Morgan Sheehy, Esq. ; Honoria married Sir 
John FitzGerald, of Cloyne, Bart. ; Maudiu married O Shaugh- 
nessy, of Gort ; Julia married Mac Namara, of Cratala ; and 
Mary married Sir Thurlough Mac Mahon, of Cleana, in the coun 
ty of Clare, Bart. 

" Of the three sons of Morgan Sheehy, Esq., and Catherine 
O Brien, John, the eldest, married Mary, daughter of James Ca 
sey, of Rathcannon, in the county of Limerick, Esq. (It was in 
this John s time, abotit 1650, that Cromwell dispossessed the 
family of their estates.) The said John had issue John Sheehy, 
who married Catherine, daughter of Donough O Brien, of Dun- 
gillane, Esq. He had issue Charles Sheehy, who married Cath 
erine Ryan, daughter of Matthew Ryan, Esq., and of Catherine 
FitzGerald, daughter of Sir John FitzGerald, of Clonglish, Bart., 
and had issue John and William Sheehy, Esqs., of Spittal. The 
said John married Honoria Sullivan, maternal grand-daughter 
to McBrien, of Sally Sheehan, and had issue one son and two 
daughters, viz., William Sheehy, Esq., of Bawnfowne, county 
Waterford, and Eleanor and Ellen. (Here there is an omission 
of any mention of William Sheehy s marriage.) The said Ele 
anor married William Cranick, of Galbally, Esq., and had issue 
Ellen, who married Timothy Gluinlan, Esq., of Tipperary. Ed 
mund Sheehy,* Esq., son of the above-named W r illiam Sheehy, 
and brother to Eleanor and Ellen, married Margaret Sullivan, 
of Ballylcgate, and had issue Robert and James Sheehy, and 
two daughters, Ellen and Mary. The said Ellen married Ed 
mund Power, Esq., of Curragheen, in the county of Waterford ; 
and had issue, Anne, who died in her tenth year ; Michael, who 

* Executed in 176G for alleged rebellion. Edmund Sheehy was called Buck 
Sheehy, and lived at Bawnfowne, county Waterford. 



INTRODUCTION. 13 

died a Captain in the 2d West India Regiment at St. Lucia, in 
the West Indies ; Marguerite, who married, firstly, Captain St. 
Leger Farmer, of the 47th Regiment, who died in 1817, and 
secondly, the Earl of Blessington ; Ellen, who married John 
Home Purves, Esq., son of Sir Alexander Purves, Bart., of Purves 
Hall, in the county of Berwick, and secondly, to Viscount Can 
terbury ; Robert, who entered the army young, and left it a Cap 
tain in the 30th Regiment of Foot in 1823. The said Robert 
married Agnes Brooke, daughter of Thomas Brooke, Esq., first 
member of council at St. Helena ; and Mary Anne, married, in 
1831, to Count de St. Marsault."* 

In the Appendix will be found a detailed account of the per 
secutions of several members of the Sheehy family in 1765 and 
1766. It commenced with the prosecution, conviction, and ex 
ecution of a priest, Father Nicholas Sheehy, who was a cousin 
of Edmund Sheehy, the grandfather of Lady Blessington. 

If ever affrighted justice might be said to " swing from her 
moorings," and, passion-driven, to be left at the mercy of the 
winds and waves of party violence, it surely was in these iniqui 
tous proceedings ; and for innocence it might indeed be affirmed 
that there was no anchorage in the breasts of a jury, in those 
times, packed as it was for the purpose of conviction, or in the 
sanctuary of a court, surrounded by a military force to overawe 
its functionaries, and to intimidate the advocates and witnesses 
of the accused. The unfortunate Father Sheehy was found 
guilty of the murder of a man named John Bridge, and sen 
tenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, and the sentence 
was carried into execution at Clonmel. The head of the judi 
cially murdered priest was stuck on a spike, and placed over the 
porch of the old jail, and there it was allowed to remain for up 
ward of twenty years, till at length his sister, Mrs. Burke, was 
allowed to remove it. 

The next victim of the Sheehy family was the cousin of the 
priest, Edmund Sheehy, the grandfather of Lady Blessington ; 
and he, equally innocent, and far less obnoxious to suspicion of 

* Here ends the genealogical account of the Sheehy family, given me by Lady 
Blessington. R. R. M. 



14 INTRODUCTION. 

any misprision of agrarian outrage, was put to death a little later 
than his relative. 

Edmund Sheehy, the maternal grandfather of Lady Blessing- 
ton, who perished on the scaffold in May, 1766, arid was buried 
in Kilronan church-yard, left four children, Robert, James, Ellen, 
and Mary. One of his sisters had married a Dr. Gleeson, of 
Cavehill, near Dungarvan. His eldest son, Robert, was mur 
dered on his own property in 1831, at Bawnfowne, in the parish 
of Kilronan ; his eldest daughter, Ellen, married Edmund Power, 
Esq., of Curragheen, in the county of Waterford. This lady was 
not in anywise remarkable for her intellectual qualities. She 
was a plain, simple woman, of no pretensions to elegance of 
manners or remarkable cleverness. She died in Dublin up 
ward of twenty years ago. The second son, James, went to 
America at an early age, and was never afterward heard of. 
His youngest daughter, Mary, married a Mr. John Colins, the 
proprietor of a newspaper in Clonmel. 

Robert Sheehy, who was murdered in 1831, left a son (Mr. 
John Sheehy, first cousin of Lady Blessington), whom. I knew 
about two years ago in Clonmel, filling the situation of Master 
of the Auxiliary AVorkhouse (named Keyward Workhouse). 
Shortly after his marriage, Mr. Power removed to Knockbrit, a 
place about two miles from Cashel, and there, where he resided 
for many years, all his children were born.] 

" Beauty, the heritage of the family, was, in her early youth, 
denied to Marguerite : her eldest brother and sister, Michael 
and Anne, as well as Ellen and Robert, were singularly hand 
some and healthy children, while she, pale, weakly, and ailing, 
was for years regarded as little likely ever to grow to woman 
hood ; the precocity of her intellect, the keenness of her percep 
tions, and her extreme sensitiveness, all of which are so often 
regarded, more especially among the Irish, as the precursive 
symptoms of an early death, confirmed this belief, and the poor, 
pale, reflective child was long looked upon as doomed to a pre 
mature grave. 

" The atmosphere in which she lived was but little congenial 
to such a nature. Her father, a man of violent temper, and lit-/ 



INTRODUCTION. 15 

tie given to study the characters of his children, intimidated and 
shook the delicate nerves of the sickly child, though there were 
moments rare ones, it is true when the sparkles of her early 
genius for an instant dazzled and gratified him. Her mother, 
though she failed not to bestow the tenderest maternal care on 
the health of the little sufferer, was not capable of appreciating 
her fine and subtile qualities, and her brothers and sisters, fond 
as they were of her, were not, in their high health and boister 
ous gayety, companions suited to such a child. 

" During her earliest years, therefore, she lived in a world of 
dreams and fancies, sufficient, at first, to satisfy her infant mind, 
but soon all too vague and incomplete to fill the blank within. 
Perpetual speculations, restless inquiries, to which she could 
find no satisfactory solutions, perpetually occupied her dawning 
intellect ; and, until at last accident happily threw in her way 
an intelligence capable of comprehending the workings of the 
infant spirit, it was at once a torment and a blessing to her. 

" This person, a Miss Anne Dwyer, a friend of her mother s, 
was herself possessed of talents and information far above the 
standard of other country women in those days. 

" Miss Dwyer was surprised, and soon interested by the re 
flective air and strange questions which had excited only ridicule 
among those who had hitherto been around the child. The de 
velopment of this fine organization, and the aiding it to compre 
hend what had so long been a sealed book, formed a study 
fraught with pleasure to her ; and while Marguerite was yet an 
infant, this worthy woman began to undertake the task of her 
education. 

" At a very early age, the powers of her imagination had al 
ready begun to develop themselves. She would entertain her 
brothers and sisters for hours with tales invented as she pro 
ceeded ; and at last, so remarkable did this talent become, that 
her parents, astonished at the interest and coherence of her nar 
rations, constantly called upon her to improviser for the enter 
tainment of their friends and neighbors, a task always easy to 
her fertile brain ; and, in a short time, the little neglected child 
became the wonder of the neighborhood. 



16 INTRODUCTION. 

" The increasing ages of their children, and the difficulty of 
obtaining the means of instruction for them at Knockbrit, in 
duced Mr. and Mrs. Power to put into practice a design long 
formed, of removing to Clonmel, the county town of Tipperary. 
This change, which was looked upon by her brothers and sisters 
as a source of infinite satisfaction, was to Marguerite one of al 
most unmingled regret. To leave the place of her birth, the 
scenes which her passionate love of nature had so deeply en 
deared to her, was one of the severest trials she had ever expe 
rienced, and was looked forward to with sorrow and dread. At 
last, the day arrived when she was to leave the home of her 
childhood, and sad and lonely she stole forth to the garden to 
bid farewell to each beloved spot. 

" Gathering a handful of flowers to keep in memory of the 
place, she, fearing the ridicule of the other members of the fam 
ily, carefully concealed them in her pocket ; and with many 
tears and bitter regrets, was at last driven from Knockbrit, 
where, as it seemed to her, she left all of happiness behind her." 

[The removal of the Powers from Knockbrit to Clonmel must 
have been about the year 1796 or 1797. Their house in Clon 
mel, which I lately visited, is a small, incommodious dwelling, 
near the bridge leading to the adjoining county of Waterford, at 
a place called Suir Island.] 

" At Clonmel, the improving health of Marguerite, and the so 
ciety of children of her own age, gradually produced their effect 
on her spirits ; and though her love of reading and study con 
tinued rather to increase than abate, she became more able to 
join in the amusements of her brothers and sisters, who, delight 
ed at the change, gladly welcomed her into their society, and 
manifested the affection which hitherto they had little opportu 
nity of displaying. 

" But soon it seemed as if the violent grief she had experi 
enced at quitting the place of her birth, was prophetic of the 
misfortunes which, one by one, followed the removal to Clonmel. 

" Her father, with recklessness too prevalent in his day, com 
menced a mode of living, and indulged in pleasures and hospi 
tality, which his means, though amply sufficient to supply nec 
essary expenses, were wholly inadequate to support. 



INTRODUCTION. 



17 



"In an evil hour he was tempted by the representations of a 
certain nobleman, more anxious to promote his own interest and 
influence than scrupulous as to the consequences which might 
result to others, to accept the situation of magistrate for the coun 
ties of Tipperary and Waterford, a position from which no pecu 
niary advantage was to be obtained, and which, in those times 
of trouble and terror, was fraught with difficulty and danger. 

" Led on by promises of a lucrative situation and hints at the 
probability of a baronetcy, as well as by his own fearless and 
reckless disposition, Mr. Power performed the painful and oner 
ous duties of his situation with a zeal which procured for him 
the animosity of the friends and relatives in the remotest degree, 
of those whom it was his fate, in the discharge of the duties of 
his office, to bring to punishment, and entirely precluded his 
giving the slightest attention to the business which had bid so 
fair to re-establish the fortunes of his family. His nights were 
spent in hunting down, with troops of dragoons, the unfortunate 
and misguided rebels, whose connections, in turn, burned his 
store-houses, destroyed his plantations, and killed his cattle ; 
while for all of these losses he was repaid by the most flatter 
ing encomiums from his noble friend, letters of thanks from the 
Secretary for Ireland, acknowledging his services, and by the 
most gratifying and marked attention at the Castle when he 
visited Dublin. 

" He was too proud to remind the nobleman he believed to be 
his friend of his often-repeated promises, while the latter, only 
too glad not to be pressed for their performance, continued to 
lead on his dupe, and, instead of the valuable official appoint 
ment, &c., &c., proposed to him to set up a newspaper, iri which 
his lordship was to procure for him the publication of the gov 
ernment proclamations, a source of no inconsiderable profit. 
This journal was, of course,. to advocate only his lordship s po 
litical views, so that, by way of serving his friend, he found a 
cheap and easy method of furthering his own plans. The result 
may be guessed ; Mr. Power, utterly uiisuited in every respect 
to the conduct of such an undertaking, only became more and 
more deeply involved, and year by year added to his difficulties." 



18 INTRODUCTION. 

[Alderman H , of Clonmel, a schoolfellow of one of the 

sons of Mr. Power, and well acquainted with the latter, informs 
me, " When Mr. Power came to Clonmel, he was about thirty 
years of age ; he was a good-looking man, of gentlemanly ap 
pearance and manners. He was then married. His first v/ife 
was a Miss Sheehy, of a highly respectable family. He en 
gaged in the business of a corn-merchant and butter buyer. 
Subsequently he became proprietor of the Clonmel Gazette, or 
Munster Mercury. The editor of it was the well-known Ber 
nard Wright. The politics of the paper were liberal Catholic 
politics Power was then a Catholic, though not a very strict or 
pbservant one.* The paper advocated the electioneering inter 
ests of the Landaff or Matthew family. 

" Bernard W r right," continues Alderman H , " the editor 

of the Clonmel Gazette, was my guardian. He was a man of 
wit, a poet, and an accomplished gentleman. He had been ed 
ucated for the Church in France. He was the only member of 
his family who was a member of the Roman Catholic religion. 
He had to fly from Paris at the time of the French Revolution. 
In the Irish rebellion of 1798, he was one of the victims of the 
savagery of Sir Thomas Judkin Fitzgerald, and the only one of 
those victims who made that ferocious man pay for his inhu 
manity after 1798." 

In January, 1844, when residing in Portugal, Mr. Jeremiah 
Meagher, Vice-consul at Lisbon, a native of Clonmel, and a 
clerk of Lady Blessington s father at the time the latter edited 
the Clonmel Gazette in that town, informed rne of many par 
ticulars relating to his connection with Mr. Power, and his great 
intimacy with Lady Blessington and her sister, which account 
Lady Blessington subsequently confirmed when I visited her in 
London, and spoke of my friend, the vice-consul, in the warmest 
terms of affectionate regard. 

* Power s family \verc Roman Catholics, but it seems that he had conformed 
to the Protestant religion, and had stipulated that his sons should be brought up 
in that faith, and had consented that his daughters should be of the religion of 
their mother, who was a Catholic. Mr. Power, however, when he had nothing 
more to expect from his great patrons, came back to the old church, lived for many 
years in it, and died, it may be said with perfect truth, " a very unworthy member 



INTRODUCTION. 19 

Mr. Meagher, in reference to the torture inflicted on Bernard 
Wright in 1798, said, "He was flogged severely for having a 
letter in the French language in his pocket, which had been 
addressed to him by one of his friends, he being a teacher of 
the French language. Poor Wright used to furnish articles of 
a literary kind for the paper, and assist in the management, but 
he had no political opinions of any kind. Of that fact he, Mr. 
Meagher, was quite certain. In 1804, the paper was prosecuted 
for a libel on Colonel Bagwell, written at the instigation of Mr. 
Watson, in the interest of Lord Donoughmore. There was a 
verdict against Power, and he was left to pay the costs." 

The newspaper concern was a ruinous affair to Mr. Power. 
Mr. Meagher says, " Of all the children of Mr. Power, Marguerite 
was his favorite. He never knew a person naturally better dis 
posed, or of such goodness of heart." He knew her subsequently 
to her marriage in 1804, when living at Cahir. 

Lady Blessington informed me that " her father s pursuits in 
carrying out the views of his patron, Lord Donoughmore, caused 
him to neglect his business. His affairs became deranged. To 
retrieve them, he entered into partnership, in a general mercan 
tile way, with Messrs. Hunt and O Brien, of Waterford. He 
expended a great deal of money there in building stores and 
warehouses. Those buildings, however, were burned by the 
people (it was imagined), in revenge for the cruelties he had 
practiced on them. 

" His violence," continued her ladyship, " which had formerly 
been of a political kind only, now became a sort of constitution 
al irascibility, his temper more and more irritable, his habits 
irregular and disorderly he became a terror to his wife and 
children. He treated his wife with brutality, he upbraided her 
frequently with her father s fate, and would often say to her, 
What more could be expected from the daughter of a convicted rebel? 

" His mercantile career was unfortunate ; his partners got rid 
of him after many fruitless remonstrances. He had overdrawn 
the capital he had put into the house by several thousand pounds. 
His next speculation was a newspaper, called the Clonmel Mer 
cury, which was set up by him at the instance of Lord Donough- 



oo INTRODUCTION. 

more, for the support of his lordship s electioneering interests in 
the county, and of his political opinions. Bernard Wright, the 
person who was flogged in 1798 by Sir John Judkin Fitzgerald 
for having a French letter in his pocket, was for some time the 
manager and editor of that paper. The paper was at length 
prosecuted for a libel written by Lord Donoughmore ; but his 
lordship left her father to bear the brunt of the action, and to 
pay the expense of the suit and the damages. The paper then 
went to ruin ; Mr. Power for some years previously had given 
himself up to dissipation, and his ailairs had become involved 
in difficulties even previously to his settling up the paper, so 
much so, that she (Lady Blessington) and her sister Ellen, while 
at school, had often felt the humiliation of being debarred from 
learning certain kinds of work, tambour embroidery, &c., on ac 
count of the irregularity of the payment of their school charges." 

Mr. Power was a fair, though not, perhaps, a very favorable 
specimen of the Irish country gentleman of some sixty years ago, 
fond of dogs, horses, wine, and revelry, and very improvident 
and inattentive to all affairs of business. He was a fine-looking 
man, of an imposing appearance, showy, and of an aristocratic 
air, very demonstrative of frills and ruffles, much given to white 
cravats, and the wearing of leather breeches and top boots. 
He was known to the Tipperary bloods as " a buck," as " shiver 
the frills," " Beau Power," and other appellations complimenta 
ry to his sporting character, rollicking disposition, and very re 
markable costume. 

When the times were out of joint in 1798, and for some years 
succeeding that disastrous epoch, Mr. Power, having thrown him 
self into local politics, and becoming deeply engaged in public 
affairs, acquired in a short time the character of a terrorist in 
the district that was the sphere of his magisterial duties. The 
hunting of suspected rebels, of persons thought to be disloyal in 
the late rebellion, even so long as four and five years after its 
complete suppression, became a favorite pursuit of Mr. Power. 
At length the energy of his loyalty went beyond the law. In 
scouring the country in pursuit of suspected rebels, he took it 
into his head to arrest a young man whom he met on the road. 



INTRODUCTION. ^1 

The unfortunate man fled at the approach of the armed gentle 
man with his pistol leveled at him. Mr. Power shot the flying 
peasant, seized the wounded man, set him on a horse, and car 
ried his dying prisoner first to his own house, and from thence 
to the jail at Clonmel. The unfortunate man died. Mr. Power 
was tried for the murder, and was acquitted. 

The particulars of this frightful affair were given me in 
1843 by Lady Blessington, and more recently by other parties 
having a very intimate knowledge of the circumstances refer 
red to. 

The account given me by Lady Blessington in some respects 
differs from the others ; but, though it contradicts them in some 
minor details, it must be borne in mind her ladyship s account 
is evidently derived from that put forward by her father in his 
defense. 

Though at the risk of being somewhat prolix, it seems best, 
in a matter of this kind, to give the several statements which 
seem deserving of attention separately. 

Lady Blessington, in speaking to me of this catastrophe, said, 

" On one occasion (when her father went out scouring the 
country for suspected rebels) he took his son Michael out with 
him. After riding along the road for some time, he informed 
the young man he was going to apprehend a very desperate fel 
low in the neighborhood, whom none of the constables dare lay 
hands on. The son, whose principles were altogether opposed 
to the father s, was reluctant to go on this mission, but dared 
not refuse. The father, approaching the cabin of the suspected 
peasant, saw a person at work in an adjoining field. Mr. Power 
galloped into the field, attended by his son and a servant, and 
leveling a pistol at the man s head, called on him to surrender 
(but exhibited no warrant for his apprehension). The man flung 
a stone at his assailant, whereupon Mr. Power, taking deliber 
ate aim, mortally wounded the man in the body. This was not 
sufficient ; he placed the wounded man on horseback behind his 
servant, and thus conveyed him to town, and in the first instance 
to his own place of abode, and then to jail." 

Lady Blessington added, that " she remembered with horror 



22 INTRODUCTION. 

the sight of the wounded man mounted behind the servant, as 
the party entered the stable-yard of her father s house ; pale 
and ghastly, his head sunk on his breast, his strength apparently 
exhausted, his clothes steeped with blood, when in this condi 
tion he was brought into the court-yard bound to the servant. 
The horror of this deed never left the mind of Michael Power ; 
it haunted him during his short career. He died at an early 
age in St. Lucia, one of the most noble-minded and tender 
hearted of human beings. Such was the influence of his char 
acter over the unfortunate wounded man, that when he was 
dying, he besought his family to take no steps against Mr. Pow 
er, and this was solely in consideration of the humanity exhib 
ited by the son. The man died, and Bagwell, from animosity 
to Power, on account of his alliance with the Donoughmore in 
terest, persuaded the family to prosecute Power. Proceedings 
were commenced against him, but the grand jury threw out the 
bill. A second bill was sent up subsequently and found, but 
Power fled to England, and returned in time to take his trial for 
murder. He was acquitted ; but the judge, even in those un 
happy times (it was about 1803), thought this murder going a 
little too far with the system of terror ; he reprobated the con 
duct of Power, and had his name expunged from the magistracy." 

Alderman H states that Mr. Power, in and after the re 
bellion of 1798, was what was called " an active magistrate, 
and when patrolling the country, he shot a young man named 
Lonergan, the son of a widow, a peasant. This poor fellow 
Power called a rebel, and had his dead body brought into town 
and hung out of the old court-house, or, as the place was called 
long subsequently, the main guard." 

This gentleman adds, " There the body was first seen by his 
mother after the boy s death, and after she had gazed on the 
body for a few instants, she knelt down and cursed her son s 
murderer." 

A lady, upon whose accuracy every dependence can be plared, 
Mrs. Ryan, a native of Tipperary (and nearly connected by mar 
riage with Mr. John O Connell), who knew Lady Blessington 
when a child, her father and Mr. Power being near neighbors, 



INTRODUCTION. 23 

states that Mr. Power, in the stormy period of 1798 and some 
succeeding years, sought to obtain local influence and distinction 
by hunting down the peasantry at the head of a troop of mount 
ed yeomanry. He succeeded in being made a magistrate. He 
was in the habit of scouring the country for suspected parties 
around his residence. 

At a period when martial law was in full force throughout 
the country, Mr. Power, in one of his scouring expeditions in his 
district, met a young lad going along the road, with a pitchfork 
in his hand, the son of an old widow woman living on the prop 
erty of Mr. Ryan s father. Mr. Power, on seeing the lad, at 
once decided he was a rebel, and his pitchfork was an evidence 
of treasonable intentions. The sight of the well-known terror 
ist and his troopers was at once sufficient to put the lad to night 
he ran into a field. Mr. Power fired at him as he was run 
ning ; the shot took effect, and death shortly afterward was the 
result. Mrs. Ryan states, the widow and her son (her only 
child) were harmless, honest, well-disposed people, much liked 
in the neighborhood. The lad, having broken the prong of his 
fork, was proceeding to the smith s forge in the evening of the 
day referred to to get it mended, when he had the misfortune 
to fall in with Mr. Power at an angle of a road, and was mur 
dered by him. Before the poor lad had left the cabin, his 
mother subsequently stated that she had said to him, " Johnny, 
dear, it s too late to go : maybe Mr. Power and the yeomen are 
out." The lad said, " Never mind, mother, I ll only leave the 
fork and come back immediately ; you know I can t do without 
it to-morrow. The widow watched for her son all night long 
in vain. He returned to her no more. She made fruitless in 
quiries at the smith s. She went into Clonmel in the morning, 
and there she learned her son had been shot by Mr. Power. 

The usual brutality of exposing the mutilated body of a pre 
sumed rebel in front of the jail was gone through in this case. 
The widow recognized the remains of her only child. Her 
piercing shrieks attracted attention. They soon ceased ; some 
of the bystanders carried away the old creature senseless and 
speechless. She had no one now of kith or kin to help her, no 



24 INTRODUCTION. 

one at home to mind her, and she was unable to rnind herself. 
Mrs. Ryan s father, a humane, good-hearted man, took pity on. 
the poor old forlorn creature. He had her brought to his own. 
home, and she remained an inmate of it to the day of her death. 
The children of this good man have a rich inheritance in his 
memory to be proud of and thankful to God for. The old 
woman never wholly recovered the shock she had sustained ; 
she moped and pined away in a state of listless apathy, that 
merged eventually into a state of hypochondria, and in a par 
oxysm of despondency she attempted to put an end to her ex 
istence by cutting her throat. 

Strange to say, although the windpipe was severed, and she 
lost a great deal of blood, the principal arteries being uninjured, 
with timely assistance and the best medical care she partially 
recovered, and was restored, not only to tolerable bodily health, 
but to a comparatively sound state of mind also. She died after 
a year or two. Scarcely any one out of Ryan s house cared for 
her or spoke about her; nothing more was heard of her or hers, 
but the voice of her innocent son s blood went up to heaven. 

The ways and wisdom of heaven are inscrutable indeed. 
Mr. Power, who shed that innocent blood, lived for some years 
in the midst of revelry and riot, and eventually died in his bed, 
not wanting for any of the necessaries or comforts of life, with 
ample time, but with no disposition for repentance for an ill- 
spent life. 

But the eldest son of Mr. Power, Michael, a noble-minded, 
generous, kindly-disposed youth, who looked with horror on the 
acts of his father, and was forced to witness the last barbarous 
outrage of his, to which reference has been just made, who 
never spoke to his sister Marguerite of that terrible outrage 
without shuddering at its enormity he died in a distant land, 
in the prime of life, suddenly, without previous warning or ap 
prehension of his untimely fate.] 

" About this time," says Miss Power, " Anne, the eldest of 
the family, was attacked by a nervous fever, partly the result 
of the terror and anxiety into which the whole of the family 
were plunged by the misfortunes which gathered round them, 



INTRODUCTION. 35 

aggravated by the frequent and terrible outbreaks of rage to 
which their father, always passionate, now became more than 
ever subject. In spite of every effort, this lovely child, whose 
affectionate disposition and endearing qualities entirely preclud 
ed any feeling of jealousy which the constant praises of her ex 
treme beauty, to the disparagement of Marguerite, might have 
excited in the breast of the latter, fell a victim to the disease, 
and not long after, Edmund, the second son, also died.* 

" These successive misfortunes so impaired the health and 
depressed the spirits of the mother, that the gloom continued to 
fall deeper and deeper over the house. 

" Thus matters continued for some years, though there were 
moments when the natural buoyancy of childhood caused the 
younger members of the family to find relief from the cloud of 
sorrow and anxiety that hung over their home. The love of 
society still entertained by their father brought not unfrequent 
guests to his board, and enabled his children to mix with the 
families around. Among those who visited at his house were 
some whose names have been honorably known to their coun 
try. Lord Hutchinson and his brothers, Curran, the brilliant 
and witty Lysaght, Generals Sir Robert Mac Farlane, and Sir 
Colquhoun Grant then lieutenant colonels officers of various 
ranks, and other men of talent and merit, were among these 
visitors, and their society and conversation were the greatest 
delight of Marguerite, who, child as she was, was perfectly ca 
pable of understanding and appreciating their superiority." 

[Among those also, in 1804, who were intimately acquainted 
with the Powers, were Captain Henry Hardinge, of the 47th 
Regiment of Foot, Captain Archibald Campbell, Major Edward 
Blakeney, and Captain James Murray of the same regiment.] 

"At fourteen, Marguerite began to enter into the society of 
grown-up persons, an event which afforded her no small satis 
faction, as that of children, with the exception of her brothers 
and sisters, especially Ellen, from whom she was almost insepar 
able, had but little charm for her. Ellen, who was somewhat 

* Lady Blessington, in the account of the family given to me by her ladyship, 
makes no mention of a son named Edmund. R. R. M. 

VOL. I. B 



25 INTRODUCTION. 

more than a year her junior, shared the beauty of her family, 
a fact of which Marguerite, instead of being jealous, was 
proud, and the greatest affection subsisted between the sisters, 
though there Avas but little similarity in their dispositions or 
pursuits. In order that they might not be separated, Ellen, 
notwithstanding her extreme youth, was permitted to accom 
pany her sister into the society of Tipperary. that is to say, to 
assemblies held there once a week, called Coteries. These, 
though music and dancing were the principal amusements, were 
not considered as balls, to which only girls of riper years were 
admitted. Here, though Ellen s beauty at first procured her 
much more notice and admiration than fell to the lot of her 
sister, the latter, ere long, began to attract no inconsiderable 
degree of attention. Her dancing was singularly graceful, and 
the intelligence of her conversation produced more lasting 
impressions than mere physical beauty could have won. 

"About this period the 47th Regiment arrived, and was sta 
tioned at Clonmel, and, according to the custom of country 
towns, particularly in Ireland, all the houses of the leading gen 
try were thrown open to receive the officers with due attention. 

"At a dinner given to them by her father. Marguerite was 
treated with marked attention by two of them, Captain Mur 
ray and Captain Farmer, and this attention was renewed at a 
juvenile ball given shortly after. 

" The admiration of Captain Murray, although it failed to 
win so very youthful a heart, pleased and flattered her, while 
that of Captain Farmer excited nothing but mingled fear and 
distaste. She hardly knew why ; for young, good-looking, and 
with much to win the good graces of her sex, he was generally 
considered as more than equal to Captain Murray in the power 
of pleasing. 

"An instinct, however, which she could neither define nor 
control, increased her dislike to such a degree at every succeed 
ing interview, that Captain Farmer, perceiving it Avas in vain 
to address her personally, applied to her parents, unknoAvn to 
her, offering his hand, with the most liberal proposals which a 
good fortune enabled him to make. In ignorance of an event 



INTRODUCTION. 



27 



which was destined to work so important a change in her des 
tiny, Marguerite received a similar proposal from Captain Mur 
ray, who at the same time informed her of the course adopted 
by his brother officer, and revealed a fact which perhaps ac 
counted for the instinctive dread she felt for him." 

[Captain Farmer was subject to fits of ungovernable passion, 
at times so violent as to endanger the safety of himself and 
those around him ; and at all times there was about him a cer 
tain wildness and abruptness of speech and gesture, which left 
the impression on her mind that he was insane.] 

"Astonishment, embarrassment, and incredulity were the feel 
ings uppermost in the girl s mind at a communication so every 
way strange and unexpected. 

"A few days proved to her that the information of Captain 
Farmer s having addressed himself to her parents was but too 
true ; and the further discovery that these addresses were 
sanctioned by them, filled her with anxiety and dismay. She 
knew the embarrassed circumstances of her father, the desire 
he would naturally feel to secure a union so advantageous in 
a worldly point of view for one of his children, and she knew, 
too, his fiery temper, his violent resistance of any attempt at 
opposition, and the little respect, or consideration, he entertain 
ed for the wishes of any of his family when contrary to his own. 
Her mother, too, gave but little heed to what she considered 
as the foolish and romantic notions of a child who was much 
too young to be consulted in the matter. Despite of tears, 
prayers, and entreaties, the unfortunate girl was compelled to 
yield to the commands of her inexorable parents ; and, at four 
teen and a half, she was united to a man who inspired her 
with nothing but feelings of terror and detestation."* 

[Captain Maurice St. Leger Farmer entered the army in 
February, 1795 ; he had been on half pay in 1802, and obtained 
his company the 9th of July, 1803, in the 47th Regiment of 
Foot.f In 1805 he continued in the same regiment, but in 1806 

* The brideman of Captain Farmer was a Captain Hardinge, of the 47th Reg 
iment. The captain became a general, and is now a lord. R. R. M. 
t Vide Army Lists for 1804, 5, 6. 



28 INTRODUCTION. 

liis name is not to be found in the Army List, neither of officers 
on full or on half pay.] 

" The result of such a union may be guessed. Her husband 
could not but be conscious of the sentiment she entertained 
toward him, though she endeavored to conceal the extent of 
her aversion ; and this conviction, acting upon his peculiarly 
excitable temperament, produced such frequent and terrible 
paroxysms of rage and jealousy, that his victim trembled in his 
presence. It were needless to relate the details of the period 
of misery, distress, and harrowing fear through which Margue 
rite, a child in years, though old in suffering, passed. Denied 
in her entreaties to be permitted to return to the house of her 
parents, she at last, in positive terror for her personal safety, 
fled from the roof of her husband to return no more." 

[There is a slight mistake in the passage above referred to. 
On Lady Blessington s own authority I am able to state, that 
she did return to her father s house, though she was very reluct 
antly received there. The particulars of this unhappy marriage 
had best be given in the words of Lady Blessington, and the 
following is* an account of it, furnished me by her ladyship on 
the 15th of October, 1853. 

* Her father was in a ruined position at the time Lady Bless 
ington was brought home from school, a mere child, and treated 
as such. Among his military friends, she then saw a Captain 
Farmer for the first time ; he appeared on very intimate terms 
with her father, but when she first met him, her father did not 
introduce her to him ; in fact, she was looked on then as a mere 
school-girl, whom it was not necessary to introduce to any 
stranger. In a day or two her father told her she was not to 
return to school : he had decided that she was to marry Captain 
Farmer. This intelligence astonished her ; she burst out cry 
ing, and a scene ensued in which his menaces and her protesta 
tions against his determination terminated violently. Her 
mother unfortunately sided with her father, and eventually, by 
caressing entreaties and representations of the advantages her 
father looked forward to from this match with a man of Cap 
tain Farmer s affluence, she was persuaded to sacrifice herself, 



INTRODUCTION. 29 

and to marry a man for whom she felt the utmost repugnance. 
She had not been long under her husband s roof before it 
became evident to her that her husband was subject to fits of 
insanity, and his own relatives informed her that her father 
had been acquainted by them that Captain Farmer had been 
insane ; but this information had been concealed from her by 
her father. She lived with him about three months, and dur 
ing this time he frequently treated her with personal violence ; 
he used to strike her on the face, pinch her till her arms were 
black and blue, lock her up whenever he went abroad, and 
often has left her without food till she felt almost famished. 
He was ordered to join his regiment, which was encamped at 
the Curragh of Kildare. Lady Blessington refused to accom 
pany him there, and was permitted to remove to her father s 
house, to remain there during his absence. Captain Farmer 
joined his regiment, and had not been many days with it, 
when, in a quarrel with his colonel, he drew his sword on the 
former, and the result of this insane act (for such it was 
allowed to be) was, that he was obliged to quit the service, 
being permitted to sell his commission. The friends of Captain 
Farmer now prevailed on him to go to India (I think Lady 
Blessington said in the Company s service) ; she, however, 
refused to go with him, and remained at her father s." 

Such is the account given to me by Lady Blessington, and for 
the accuracy of the above report of it I can vouch ; though, of 
course, I can offer no opinion as to the justice of her conclusions 
in regard to the insanity of Captain Farmer. But it must be 
stated fully and unreservedly that the account given by her la 
dyship of the causes of the separation, and those set forth in a 
recent communication of a brother of Captain Farmer to the edi 
tor of a Dublin evening paper are in some respects at variance. 

But in one important point the statement of the brother of 
Captain Farmer, in contradiction of the account given by Lady 
Blessington s niece of the habits of Captain Farmer, must be er 
roneous, if the finding of the jury at the inquest held on his body, 
and the evidence of the deputy marshal of the prison be correct. 

Mr. John Sheehy, now residing in Clonmel, the cousin of Lady 



30 



INTRODUCTION. 



Blessington, informs me that " he has a perfect recollection of 
the marriage of Lady Blessington with Captain Farmer. His 
father considered it a forced marriage, and used to speak of the 
violence done to the poor girl by her father as an act of tyranny. 
It was an unfortunate marriage," says Mr. Sheehy, " and it led 
to great misfortunes. It was impossible for her to live with 
Captain Farmer. She fled from him, and sought refuge in her 
father s house. 

" She refused to return to her husband, and a separation was 
agreed on by the parties. Mrs. Farmer found herself very un 
happily circumstanced in her former home. Her father was 
unkind, and sometimes more than unkind to her. She was 
looked on as an interloper in. the house, as one who interfered 
with the prospects and advancement in life of her sisters. It 
was supposed that one of the military friends of Mr. Power s, 
and a frequent visitor at his house, Captain Jenkins, then sta 
tioned at Tullow,had been disposed to pay his addresses to Miss 
Ellen Power, and to have married her, and was prevented by 
other stronger impressions made on him by one then wholly 
unconscious of the influence exerted by her."* The supposition, 
however, was an erroneous one. 

Captain Jenkins was brought up in the expectation of inher 
iting a large fortune in Hampshire, and was ultimately disap 
pointed in that expectation. For several years he had a large 
income, and having expended a great deal of money previously 
to his marriage, had been for many years greatly embarrassed. 
His embarrassments, however, did not prevent him from retain- 

* The officer referred to by Mr. Sheehy was a Captain Thomas Jenkins, of the 
llth Light Dragoons, a gentleman of a good family in Hampshire, and of very 
large expectations of fortune. 

By the Army List we find this gentleman entered the army in December, 1801. 
He held the rank of lieutenant in the llth Light Dragoons in January, 1802. In 
December, 1806, he obtained a captaincy, and continued to hold the same rank 
in that regiment till after the peace in 1815. In 1809 he was domiciled in Dublin, 
in Holies Street, and*Mrs. Farmer was then also residing in Dublin. In 1816 his 
name disappears from the Army Lists. He had an establishment at Sidmanton, 
in Hampshire, for three or four years previously to 1814. He served with his 
regiment in the latter part of the Peninsular campaign, and was absent from Sid 
manton nearly two years. R. R. M. 



INTRODUCTION. 31 

ing the esteem and regard of all who had known him in his 
more prosperous circumstances. He was a generous man, an 
amiable and high-minded gentleman, of elegant manners and 
pleasing address. He married, when rather advanced in years, 
the Baroness Calabrella a sister of a gentleman of some noto 
riety in his day, Mr. Ball Hughes the widow first of a Mr. Lee, 
and secondly of a Mr. De Blaquiere. This lady, who was pos 
sessed of considerable means, purchased a small property on the 
Continent, with some rights of seigniorage appertaining to it, 
from which the title is derived which she now bears. 

She resided for some years in Abbeville, up to a short period, I 
believe, of her second husband s death, which took place in Paris. 

This lady is the talented authoress of several remarkable pro 
ductions, was long intimately acquainted with Lady Blessing- 
ton, and held in very high estimation by her ladyship. 

" The house of Mr. Power," Mr. Sheehy states, " was made so 
disagreeable to Mrs. Farmer, that she might be said to have been 
driven to the necessity of seeking shelter elsewhere. 

" He remembers Mrs. Farmer residing at Tullow, in the county 
of Waterford, four miles from Lismore. His own family was 
then living at Cappoquin, within seven miles of Tullow. Mrs. 
Farmer wrote to her uncle and his daughters, but he disap 
proved of her separation from Captain Farmer, and refused on 
that account to allow his daughter to visit her. 

" Previously to her marriage with Captain Farmer," he adds, 
" idle persons gossiped about her alleged love of ball-room dis 
tinction and intimacy with persons remarkable for gayety and 
pleasure. But there was no ground for the rumor." 

Another gentleman well acquainted with the family, Alder 
man H , says : " Mrs. Farmer lived for nearly three years 

with her husband at different places. After the separation, she 
sojourned for some time with her aunt, Mrs. Gleeson, the wife 
of Dr. Gleeson, who lived at Uingville, near Dungarvan. She 
resided also occasionally at her father s with her sister Ellen, 
sans reproche (but not without great trials) ; her husband treated 
her badly." 

Mr. Jeremiah Meagher, British Vice-Consul at Lisbon, inform- 



32 



INTRODUCTION. 



ed me that he was in the employment of Mr. Power, in connec 
tion with the Clonmel Gazette, in 1804, at the period of the 
marriage of Marguerite Power with Captain Farmer ; that sub 
sequently to it he knew her when she was residing at Cahir. 

Mr. Meagher speaks in terms of the strongest regard for her. 
" He never knew a person so inclined to act kindly toward oth 
ers, to do any thing that lay in her power to serve others ; he 
never knew a person naturally better disposed, or one possessing 
so much goodness of heart. He knew her from childhood to the 
period of her marriage, and some years subsequently to it ; and 
of all the children of Mr. Power, Marguerite was his favorite." 
This is the testimony of a very honest and upright man. 
Mr. Meagher says : " She resided at Cahir so late as 1807. 
He thinks Captain Jenkins intimacy with the Power family 
commenced in 1807." And another informant, Mr. Wright, son 
of Bernard Wright, states that Mrs. Farmer, while residing at 
Cahir, visited frequently at Lord GlengalPs. Other persons have 
a recollection of Colonel Stewart, of Killymoon, being a favorite 
guest at the house of Mr. Power at many entertainments between 
1806 and 1807. 

The Tyrone militia was stationed at Clonmel or in its vicin 
ity about the period of Captain Farmer s marriage with Miss 
Power, or not long after that event. 

The colonel of this regiment was the Earl of Caledon (date 
of appointment, llth of August, 1804). The lieutenant colonel, 
Lord Mount] oy (date of appointment, 28th of September, 1804). 
His lordship was succeeded in the lieutenant colonelcy by Will 
iam Stewart, Esq., son of Sir J. Stewart, of Killymoon (date of 
appointment, 16th of April, 1805), and he continued to hold that 
rank from 1805 to 1812. As an intimate friend of Lady Bless- 
ington and her sister, Lady Canterbury, a few words of Colonel 
Stewart may not be out of place. 

He was a descendant of the junior branch of the Stewarts of 
Ochiltree, who were related to the royal line, and who received 
large grants from James I. after his accession to the British 
throne. Colonel Stewart s splendid seat and magnificent de 
mesne of Killymoon were hardly equaled, for elegant taste and 



INTRODUCTION. 33 

beauty of situation and scenery, in the county of Tyrone. The 
library, the remains of which I saw immediately after the sale 
of the property in 1850, was one of the richest in Ireland in 
Italian literature. The colonel had been much in Italy, and 
had carried back with him the tastes and habits of an accom 
plished traveler, and a lover of Italian lore. His personal ap 
pearance and manners were remarkable for elegance, and were 
no less prepossessing and attractive than his mental qualities 
and accomplishments. 

Sir John Stewart, the father of the late Colonel Stewart, died 
in October, 1825, at his seat, Killymoon. He had been a distin 
guished member of the Dungannon volunteer convention. " Sir 
John had been returned six times for the county Tyrone, and 
had been a member of the Irish and Imperial Parliament for 
forty years, during which time he was a steady, uniform, and 
zealous supporter of the Constitution in church and state. He 
filled the offices of counsel to the Revenue Board, Solicitor Gen* 
eral, and Attorney General ; and of him it was truly observed 
by an aged statesman, * that he was one of the few men who 
grew more humble the higher he advanced in political station. 
Sir John was married in the year 1790 to Miss Archdale, sister 
of General Archdale, M.P. for the county of Fermanagh, by whom 
he had two sons and a daughter."* 

In the several notices of Lady Blessington that have been 
published, there is a hiatus in the account given that leaves a 
period of about nine years unnoticed. 

In 1807 she was living at Cahir, in the county Tipperary, sep 
arated from her husband ; in 1809 she was sojourning in Dub 
lin ; a little later she was residing in Hampshire ; in 1816, we 
find her established in Manchester Square, London ; and at the 
commencement of 1818, on the point of marriage with an Irish 
nobleman. 

The task I have proposed to myself does not render it neces 
sary for me to do more than glance at the fact, and to cite a few 
passages more from the Memoir of Miss Power.] 

" Circumstances having at last induced Mrs. Farmer to fix 

* Annual Register, Appendix to Chronicle, 1825, p. 28f>. 

B2 



34 



INTRODUCTION. 



upon London as a residence, she established herself in a house 
in Manchester Square, where, with her brother Robert (Michael 
had died some years previously), she remained for a considera 
ble period. 

" Notwithstanding the troublous scenes through which she 
had passed, the beauty denied in her childhood had gradually 
budded and blossomed into a degree of loveliness which many 
now living can attest, and which Lawrence painted, and Byron 
sung." 

[Among the visitors at her house, we are told by Miss Power, 
was the Earl of Blessington, then a widower. And on the oc 
currence of an event in 1817 which placed the destiny of Mrs. 
Farmer in her own hands, his lordship s admiration was soon 
made known, and proposals of marriage were offered to her, and 
accepted by her, in 1818. 

The event above referred to was the death of Captain Far 
mer. Captain Farmer, subsequently to the separation about 
1807, having left his regiment, still serving in Ireland, went to 
the East Indies, obtained an employment there, and remained 
in it a few years. He returned to England about 1816, and be 
ing acquainted with persons involved in pecuniary embarrass 
ments, who had been thrown into prison during their confine 
ment within the rules of the Fleet, he visted them frequently, 
lived freely, and, I believe it may be added, riotously, with his 
imprisoned friends. 

On one occasion, of a festive nature, after having been regaled 
by them, and indulging to excess, in the act of endeavoring to 
sally forth from the room where the entertainment had been 
given, he rushed out of the room, placed himself on the ledge 
of the window to escape the importunities of his associates, fell 
to the ground in the court-yard, and died of the wounds he re 
ceived a little later. 

From the " Morning Herald" of October 28th, 181 7, the follow 
ing account is taken of the inquest on Captain Maurice Farmer : 
" An inquisition has been taken at the Bear and Rummer, 
Wells Street, Middlesex Hospital, on the body of Captain Mau- 
rico Farmer, who was killed by falling from a window in the 



INTRODUCTION. 35 

King s Bench Prison. The deceased was a captain in the army, 
upon half pay ; and having received an appointment in the serv 
ice of the Spanish Patriots, went, on Tuesday week, to take leave 
of some friends confined in the King s Bench Prison. The party 
drank four quarts of rum, and were all intoxicated. When the 
deceased rose to go home, his friends locked the door of the 
room to prevent him. Apprehensive that they meant to detain 
him all night, as they had done twice before, he threw up the 
window and threatened to jump out if they did not release him. 
Finding this of no avail, he got upon the ledge, and, while ex 
postulating with them, lost his balance. He hung on for some 
minutes by his hands, but his friends were too much intoxicated 
to be able to relieve him. He consequently fell from the two 
pair, and had one thigh and one arm broken, and the violence 
with which his head came in contact with the ground produced 
an effusion of blood on the brain. He was taken up in a state 
of insensibility, and conveyed to the Middlesex Hospital, where 
he died on Tuesday last. The deputy marshal of the King s 
Bench Prison attended the inquest. He stated that the friends 
of the deceased had no intention of injuring him ; but, from the 
gross impropriety of their conduct, the marshal had committed 
them to Horsemonger Lane Jail, to one month s solitary con 
finement. 

" The jury came to the following verdict : The deceased 
came to his death by accidentally falling from a window in the 
King s Bench Prison when in a state of intoxication. " 

In that statement made to me by Lady Blessingtoii in 1843, 
to which I have previously referred, I was informed, " In a few 
days after Captain Farmer s death, Perry, of the Morning Chron 
icle (then unknown to Lord Blessington), addressed a note to 
Lord Blessington, inclosing a statement, purporting to be an ac 
count of the death of Captain Farmer, sent to him for insertion 
in his paper, throwing an air of mystery over the recent catas 
trophe, asserting things that were utterly unfounded, and enter 
ing into many particulars in connection with his marriage. The 
simple statement of the facts on the part of Lord Blessington to 
Perry sufficed to prevent the insertion of this infamous slander, 



36 INTRODUCTION. 

and laid the foundation of a lasting friendship between Lord 
and Lady Blessington, and the worthy man who was then editor 
of the Morning Chronicle. 

Mr. Power, in the mean time, had become a ruined man, bank 
rupt in fortune, character, and domestic happiness. He removed 
to Dublin from Clonmel, and there, in Clarendon Street, Mrs. 
Power died, far advanced in years. Her husband married a sec 
ond time, upward of twenty years ago, a Mrs. Hymes, widow of 
a brewer of Limerick. This lady, whose maiden name was 
Yize, was a native of Clonmel. He had been supported for a 
great many years previously to his death by his two daughters, 
Lady Blessington and Lady Canterbury, who jointly contributed 
the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds a year toward his 
maintenance. He possessed no other means of subsistence, hav 
ing assigned over to his son a small farm which he possessed 
in the county of Waterford at the time the arrangement was en 
tered into by his daughters to contribute each sixty pounds a 
year for his maintenance. 

The claims on Lady Blessington were more extensive than 
can be well conceived. One member of her family had an an 
nual stipend paid monthly, from the year 1836 to 1839 inclu 
sive, of five pounds a month. In 1840 it was increased to eight 
pounds a month. From 1841 to 1847, inclusive, it was seven 
pounds a month. These payments, for which I have seen vouch 
ers, amounted, in all, to the sum of seven hundred and eighty- 
four pounds. I have reason to believe the stipend was contin 
ued to be paid in 1848, which additional sum would make the 
amount eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds devoted to the as 
sistance of one relative alone, exclusive of other occasional con 
tributions on particular occasions. 

Miss Mary Anne Power, the youngest sister of Lady Blessing- 
ton, married, in 1831, an old French nobleman of ancient fam 
ily, the Count Saint Marsault. The disparity of years in this al 
liance was too great to afford much expectation of felicity. The 
count returned to his own country, and his wife returned to her 
native land, preserving there, as elsewhere, a character for some 
eccentricity, but one uniformly irreproachable. 



INTRODUCTION. 



37 



Mrs. Dogherty, to whom allusion is made in the letters of 
Lady Blessington, was a relative of a Mr. Edward duinlan, of 
Clonmel, an old gentleman of considerable means, who had been 
connected by marriage with Lady Blessington s mother (vide 
genealogical account of the Sheehy family). Mr. duinlan died 
in November, 1836, leaving large fortunes to his daughters. On 
the occasion of the trial of Edmund Power for the murder of the 
boy Lonergan, till Mr. duinlan came forward with a sum of 
fifty pounds as a loan to Power, the latter was actually unable 
at the time to engage counsel for his defense. 

The Countess St. Marsault went to reside with her father on 
her arrival in Ireland, first at Arklow, afterward in lodgings at 
No. 18 Camden Street, Dublin, and next at 5 Lower Dorset 
Street, where, in the latter part of October, 1836, Mr. Power was 
reduced to such a helpless state of bodily debility and suffering, 
that he was " unable to make the slightest movement without 
screaming and groaning with agony." He was attended in Dub 
lin by a relative of his, a Dr. Kirwan, a first cousin. He ap 
pears to have died in the early part of 1837. On the 30th of 
January, 1837, the Countess of St. Marsault was no longer re 
siding in Dublin, but was then domesticated at the abode of an 
old lady of the name of Dogherty, a relative of hers, at Mont 
Bruis, near Cashel, in the county of Tipperary. There she re 
mained for nearly a year. " After an absence of thirty years 
she visited Clonmel." The date of this visit was April, 1837. 
She must then have quitted Clonmel in 1807, in very early 
childhood. In 1839 she returned to England. 

Mr. Power, at the time of his decease, was seventy years of 
age. A youth passed without the benefit of experience, had 
merged into manhood without the restraints of religion, or the 
influences of kindly home affections, and terminated in age with 
out wisdom, or honor, or respect, and death without solemnity, 
or the semblance of any becoming fitness for its encounter. The 
day before he died, the only thing he could boast of to a friend 
who visited him was, that he had been able to take his four or 
five tumblers of punch the evening before. 

This brief outline brings us to the period of the marriage of 



38 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSIN 7 GTON. 

Lord and Lady Blessington, at which it will be my province to 
commence the history of the literary career of her ladyship. 

Of Lockhart s " Life of Scott/ it has been observed, " There 
we have the author and the man in every stage of his career, 
and in every capacity of his existence Scott in his study and in 
court in his family and in society in his favorite haunts and 
lightest amusements. There he is to be seen in the exact rela 
tion in which he stood to his children, his intimates, his ac 
quaintances, and dependants the central figure, and the circle 
which surrounded it (Constable, the Ballantynes, Erskine, Ter 
ry, and a score or two besides), all drawn with such individual 
ity of feature, and all painted in such vivid colors, that we seem 
not to be moving among the shadows of the dead, but to live 
with the men themselves."* 

I hope, at least in one particular, it will be found I have en 
deavored to follow, even at an humble distance, the example of 
Scott s biographer, in placing before my readers the subject of 
my work in a life-like, truthful manner, as she was before the 
public in her works and in her saloons, and also in her private 
relations toward her friends and relatives.! 



CHAPTER I. 

NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTOX HIS ORIGIN, EARLY CA 
REER, FIRST A.\D SECOND MARRIAGE, ETC. 

THE first Earl of Blessington was a descendant of the Walter 
Stewart, or Steward, who, " on account of his high descent, and 
being the nearest branch of the royal family of Scotland," we 
are told by Lodge, f " was created Seneschal, or Lord High Stu 
art of Scotland, or Receiver of the Royal Revenues, from which 
office his family afterward took and retained their surname of 
Stewart." This office arid dignity were created by Malcolm the 
Third, of Scotland, after the death of Macdufic, in 1057. The 
descendants of the Lord High Constable became the founders of 

* Literary Gazette, February 15, 1851. 

t Irish Peerage, vol. ii.. p. 196, ed. Rvn, 1754. 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 39 

the house of Lenox, and one of them, by intermarriage with the 
daughter of King Robert Bruce, the founder of many noble fam 
ilies in England and Ireland. The first Stewart of this race who 
settled in Ireland was Sir William Stewart, of Aughentean and 
of Newtown Stewart, in the county of Tyrone, and his brother, 
Sir Robert Stewart, of Culmore, knights, " both very active and 
able gentlemen in the distracted times of King Charles the 
First." Sir Robert came into Ireland in the reign of James the 
First. He received from that monarch, for his Irish services, 
various grants of rectories and other Church property inLeitrim, 
Cavan, and Fermanagh, and subsequently a large tract of coun 
try of the confiscated lands of Ulster was obtained by his broth 
er William. In 1641 he raised and commanded a troop of horse 
and a regiment of foot of one thousand men. He was made 
Governor of Derry in 1643, and in that year totally routed the 
Irish under Owen O Neill at Clones. He and his brother, hav 
ing refused to take the Covenant, were deprived of their com 
mand, and sent, by Moiick s orders, prisoners to London. After 
many vicissitudes, Sir Robert returned to Ireland, and was ap 
pointed governor of the city and county of Derry in 1660. Sir 
William, " being in great favor with James the First, became 
an undertaker for the plantation of escheated lands in Ulster." 
He was created a baronet in 1623. He assisted largely in the 
plantation of Ulster, and profited extensively by it. He was a 
member of the Privy Council in the time of King James the 
First and Charles the First. At the head of his regiment, he, 
with his brother s aid, routed Sir Phelira O JNTeill at Strabane. 
He left many children ; his eldest son, Sir Alexander Stewart, 
sided with the Covenanters in 1648. He was killed at the bat 
tle of Dunbar, in Scotland, in 1653. By his marriage with a 
daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen, he had issue Sir William 
Stewart, who was made Gustos Rotulorum of the county of Don 
egal in 1678, and was advanced to the dignity of Baron Stewart 
of Ramaltan, and Viscount Mountjoy, in 1682, being constituted 
at the same time Master General of the Ordnance and colonel 
of a regiment of horse. 

William Stewart, first Viscount Mountjoy, was slain at the 



40 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

battle of Steinkirk, in Flanders, in 1692. He was succeeded by 
his son William, Viscount Mountjoy, who died in Bordeaux, 
without issue.* 

Alexander, brother of the preceding William, died during the 
lifetime of his brother, leaving an only daughter. 

The Right Honorable Luke Gardiner, member of Parliament 
and privy councilor, married, in 1711, Anne, sole daughter and 
heiress of the Honorable Alexander Stewart, second son of 
William, first Viscount Mount] oy.f 

Lord Primate Boulter recommended Mr. Luke Gardiner as a 
fit and proper person to be made a privy councilor. His views 
of fitness for that high office led him to look out for a sturdy 
parvenu of Irish descent, without regard to ancestry, who was 
capable of curbing the degenerate lords of the English Pale, and 
gentlemen in Parliament descended from English undertakers, 
too influential to be easily managed, who had become "Hiberni- 
ores quam Hibernis ipsis ;" in a few words, " such a one as Mr. 
Gardiner, to help to keep others in order" in the Privy Council. 

Primate Boulter, in a communication to the English minister 
recommending Mr. Gardiner, said : 

" There is another affair which I troubled the Duke of Dorset 
about, and which I beg leave to lay before your grace, which is 
the making Mr. Gardiner a privy councilor. He is deputy to 
the vice-treasurer of this kingdom, and one of the most useful 
of his majesty s servants here, as your grace will be fully satis 
fied when you do us the honor to be with us. There is nobody 
here more against increasing the number of privy councilors 
than I am, who think they are by much too numerous ; but it 

* Exshaw s London Magazine, 1754, p. 259. 

t Luke Gardiner s generally supposed origin and rise in the world from a me 
nial station in the service of Mr. White, of Leixlip Castle, a descendant of Sir 
Nicholas White, the owner and occupier of the castle in 1GG6, were subjects of 
some satirical pasquinades and witticisms in the early part of the last century. 
In reference to his alleged former servile situation, it was said that a noble friend 
of his, in embarrassed circumstances, once observed to him, on seeing him enter 
his carriage, " How does it happen, Gardiner, you never make a mistake and get 
up behind ?" To which Gardiner replied, " Some people, my lord, who have been 
long accustomed to going in, remain at last on the outside, and can neither get in 
nor up again." 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 41 

is because many have been brought in without any knowledge 
of business or particular attachment to his majesty s service, 
merely for being members of either house of Parliament, that 
we want such a one as Mr. Gardiner to help to keep others in 
order ; as he is most zealously attached to his majesty by affec 
tion as well as by interest, and is a thorough man of business, 
and of great weight in the country."* 

The practice of making Jews officers in the Inquisition was 
thought to have worked well in Spain, and to have served to 
keep the grandees in order. 

Luke Gardiner died at Bath in 1753, and was succeeded in 
his estates by his son, Charles Gardiner, who, on the demise of 
his maternal grandfather (when the male line of the Stewart 
family ceased), succeeded to all the property of the late lord. 
He married in 1741, and at his death left several children. 

His oldest son, the Right Honorable Luke Gardiner, inherited 
the Mountjoy estates. He was born in 1745, represented the 
city of Dublin in Parliament, was made a privy councilor, and 
held the rank of colonel in the Dublin volunteers, and subse 
quently in the Dublin militia. He held a command, also, in a 
volunteer corps in his native county. The Mountjoy title was 
renewed in his person. In 1789 he was created a baron, and 
in 1795 was advanced to the dignity of Viscount Mountjoy. 
He married, in 1773, the eldest daughter of a Scotch baronet, 
Sir William Montgomery, and sister of Anne, Marchioness of 
Townsend, by whom he had issue two sons, Luke and Charles 
John, and several daughters. 

1st. Luke, who died in 1781, in infancy. 

2d. Charles John, who succeeded his father, second Viscount 
Mountjoy, the late Earl of Blessington, born the 19th July, 1782. 

3d. Florinda, who died in 1786, aged twelve years. 

4th. Louisa, born in 1775, who married the Right Reverend 
Robert Fowler, D.D., Bishop of Dromore, and died in 1848, 
aged seventy -three years. 

5th. Harriet, born in 1776, died in 1849, aged seventy-three 
years. 

* Boulter s Letters. 



42 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

6th. Emily, who died in 1788. 

7th. Caroline, who died in 1782. 

8th. Elizabeth, who died in 1791, aged eight years. 

His lordship married, secondly, in 1793, Margaret, the eldest 
daughter of Hector Wallis, by whom he had issue, 

9th. Margaret, born in 1796, married the Honorable Hcly 
Hutchinson, died in 1825. 

The father of the late Earl of Blessington, the Right Honor 
able Luke Gardiner, Viscount Mountjoy, was an able and ener 
getic man. In his zeal for the public weal, he was by no means 
unmindful of his own interests. He advocated warmly the 
claims of the Roman Catholics ; he was one of the earliest and 
most zealous champions of their cause in the Irish Parliament. 
He took a very active and prominent part in the suppression of 
the rebellion of 1798 ; and on the 5th of June of that disastrous 
year, fell at the head of his regiment at the battle of New Ross. 

Mr. John Graham, a small farmer, still living on the Mount- 
joy Forest estate, in the county of Tyrone, now in his eighty 
sixth year, informs me the first Lord Mountjoy, in the year 1798, 
induced him to join his lordship s regiment, and to accompany 
him to "VVcxford. He was close to his lordship, at Three Bullet 
Gate, at the battle of New Ross, when the king s troops were 
attacked by a party of rebels, who lay in wait for them in the 
ditches on either side of the road, and commenced a heavy fire, 
which threw the troops into complete disorder. The general 
who was there in command ordered the troops to retreat ; and 
they did retreat, with the exception of Lord Mountjoy and a few 
soldiers of his regiment. Graham saw his lordship fall from his 
horse mortally wounded, and when he next saw him he was dead, 
pierced by several balls and with many pike-wounds also. 

Lord Mountjoy enjoyed several sinecures of considerable emol 
ument. The two principal ones were hereditary. The carica 
turists of his day devoted their sarcastic talents to the illustra 
tion of his supposed sinecurist propensities.* 

* In one of these productions, inquiry is made " why a gardener is the most 
extraordinary man in the world," and the following reasons are assigned in reply 
to the qurry : 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 43 

The Right Honorable Charles John Gardiner, second Viscount 
and Baron Mount] oy, in the county of Tyrone, at the time of his 
father s death in 1798, was in his seventeenth year. He was 
educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he ob 
tained the honorary degree of Master of Arts.* In 1803 he was 
appointed lieutenant colonel of the Tyrone militia, and in 1807 
a deputy lieutenant of the county of Tyrone ; in 1809 he was 
elected a representative peer for Ireland, and advanced to the 
Earldom of Blessington, June 22d, 1816. 

The origin of this latter title dates from 1763. Michael, 
Archbishop of Armagh (of the family of Boyle, Earl of Cork 
and Orrery), in 1665 was constituted Lord High Chancellor of 
Ireland, and in 1671 was sworn one of the lords justices. In 
1689 his house at Blessington was plundered by the Irish. He 
died in 1702, and was buried in St. Patrick s church. His eldest 
son, Murrogh, by his second marriage with a daughter of Der- 
mod, Earl of Inchiquin, was created Lord Tiscount Blessington, 
in the county of Wicklow, by patent, in 1673. He died in 1718, 
and was succeeded by his son Charles. One of the daughters 
of the preceding Viscount, Anne, in 1696, married Sir William 
Stewart, third Viscount Mountjoy, born in 1709. Charles, the 
second Viscount Blessington, was member of Parliament for 
Blessington in the reigns of (dueen Anne and George the First. 
The title became extinct by his lordship s death near Paris, 
without issue, in 1733. 

The Sir William Stewart, third Viscount Mountjoy above 
mentioned, who married a daughter of Murrogh, Viscount Bless 
ington, had been advanced to the dignity of an earl by the title 
of Earl of Blessington in 1745. f 

" Because no man has more business upon earth, and he always chooses good 
grounds for what he does. He turns his thyme to the best account. He is master 
of the mint, and fingers penny royal ; he raises his celery every year, and it is a 
bad year, indeed, that does not bring him in a plum ; he has more boughs than a 
minister of state, does not want London pride, rakes a little under the rose, but 
would be more sage to keep the Fox from his inclosures, to destroy the rotten 
Burroghs, and to avoid the blasts from the North, and not to Foster corruption, 
lest a Flood should follow. 

* Among Lord Blessington s contemporaries at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1798, 
were the late Lord Dudley, Lord Ebrington, Bishop Heber, &c. 

+ Archdall s Peerage, vol. vi.. p. 25G. 



44 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

Few young noblemen ever entered life with greater advan 
tages than the young Viscount Mountjoy ; he was possessed of 
a fine fortune at the time of his coming of age ; he had received 
an excellent education, was possessed of some talents, and a 
great deal of shrewdness of observation, and quickness of per 
ception in the discernment of talents and ability of any intel 
lectual kind. He had a refined taste for literature and arts. In 
politics he was a faithful representative of his father s princi 
ples. From the commencement of his career to the close of it, 
he supported the cause of the Roman Catholics. 

The first time that the Viscount Mountjoy spoke in the House 
of Lords, after having been elected a representative peer for 
Ireland in 1809, was in favor of a motion for the thanks of the 
House to Lord Viscount Wellington, and the army under his 
command, for the victory of Talavera ; when Lord Mountjoy, in 
reply to the Earl of Grosvenor s opposition to the motion, said 
that " no general was better skilled in war, none more enlight 
ened than Lord Viscount Wellington. The choice of a position 
at Talavera reflected lustre on his talents ; the victory was as 
brilliant and glorious as any on record. It was entitled to the 
unanimous approbation of their lordships, and the eternal grat 
itude of Spain and of this country." 

His lordship seldom attended his Parliamentary duties, and 
very seldom spoke. 

On the queen s trial in 1820, in opposing the bill of pains and 
penalties, Lord Blessington spoke in vindication of the character 
of Mr. Powell (who had been engaged in the Milan commission, 
and was assistant solicitor for the bill), " and expressed much 
regret that that person had any thing to do with the Milan com 
mission." 

John Allan Powell, Esq., was an intimate acquaintance of the 
Blessingtons. 

The young lord s manners, deportment, and demeanor were 
all in keeping with the qualities of his mind and the amiability 
of his disposition. That calamity was his, than which few 
greater misfortunes can befall a young man of large expecta 
tions prided, courted, flattered and beset by evil influences, 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 45 

the loss of a father s care, his counsel and control at the very 
age when these advantages are most needful to youth and in 
experience. 

The taste of all others which the young nobleman, on coming 
into his ample fortune, gave himself up to, was for the drama. 

He patronized it liberally, and was allured into all the pleas 
ures of its society. The green-room and its affairs the inter 
ests, and rivalries, and intrigues of favorite actors and actresses, 
the business of private theatricals, the providing of costly dresses 
for them, the study of leading parts for their performance (for 
his lordship was led to believe his talents were of the first order 
for the stage), engaged the attention of the young nobleman too 
much, and gave a turn in the direction of self-indulgence to 
talents originally good, and tastes naturally inclined to elegance 
and refinement. 

In 1822, Byron, thus spoke of Lord Blessington as he remem 
bered him in early life : " Mountjoy (for the Gardiners are the 
lineal race of the famous Irish viceroy* of that ilk) seems very 
good-natured, but is much tamed since I recollect him in all the 
glory of gems and snuff-boxes, and uniforms and theatricals, 
sitting to Strolling, the painter, to be depicted as one of the he 
roes of Agincourt." 

His father s great fondness for him had contributed in some 
manner to the taste he had acquired in very early life for gor 
geous ornaments, gaudy dresses, theatrical costumes, and milita 
ry uniforms. At the period of the volunteering movement in 
Ireland, about 1788 or 1789, when the boy was not above six or 
seven years of age, his father had him equipped in a complete 
suit of volunteer uniform, and presented him thus to a great 
concourse of people with a diminutive sword in the poor child s 
hand, on the occasion of a grand review at Newtown Stewart, at 
the head of the corps that was commanded by his lordship. 

* The famous lord deputy to whom Byron alludes was a fierce marauder and 
conquistador in the good old times of raid and of rapine of the good Queen Bess. 
Morrison, an English writer on Irish affairs (fol. 43), says, " Lord Mountjoy (the 
deputy) never received any to mercy but such as had drawn blood upon their fel 
low-rebels. Thus McMahon and McArt both offered to submit, but neither would 
be received without the other s head." 



46 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

His lordship had been unfortunately allowed to think, almost 
from his boyhood, that no obstacle stood between him and the 
gratification of his desires that could not be removed ; arid the 
result was what might be expected. 

This evil tendency to self-indulgence impeded the growth of 
all powers of self-control, and nourished a disposition to unre 
strained profusion and extravagance, whenever the gratification 
of the senses or allurements of pleasure were in question. 

His lordship, in the latter part of 1808 or the beginning of 
1809, made the acquaintance of a lady of the name of Browne 
(nee Campbell), remarkable for her attractions, and indebted to 
them chiefly, if not solely, for her distinction. 

The young lord found some difficulties in the way of the res 
olution he had formed of marrying this lady, but the obstacles 
were removed ; and while means were being taken for their 
removal and the marriage that was to follow it, Warwick House 
in Worthing was taken by his lordship for her abode, and there 
she resided for several months. 

Mrs. Browne belonged to a Scotch family of respectability, of 
the name of Campbell, and, as I am informed, a brother of hers 
represented in Parliament the borough in which his native place 
was situated, and was connected with a baronet of the same 
name. 

While the residence was kept up at Worthing, another place 
of abode was occasionally occupied in Portman Square, where 
his son Charles John was born. In 1811, his lordship took a 
house in Manchester Square, and there his daughter Emilie 
Rosalie was born. The following year he removed to Seymour 
Place, where he resided till the latter part of 1813. 

In 1812, the death of Major Browne (long expected) having 
taken place, Lord Mouiitjoy married " Mary Campbell, widow 
of Major Browne," as we are informed by the Peerage. 

Lord Mountjoy had not long resided in Seymour Place when 
he determined on going on the Continent. The health of Lady 
Mountjoy must have been at that period impaired. His lord 
ship s friend and medical attendant, Mr. Tegart, of Pall Mall, 
recommended a young physician of high character to accom- 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 



47 



pany the tourists ; and accordingly Dr. Richardson, (an old and 
valued friend of the author s) proceeded to France with them. 

The circumstances are to be kept in mind of this, marriage, 
the impediment to it, the waiting for the removal of it, the ac 
complishment of an object ardently desired, without reference 
to future consequences, without any regard for public opinion, 
or feelings of relatives ; the restlessness of his lordship s rnind, 
manifested in changes of abode, and the abandonment of his resi 
dence in London for the Continent soon after he had married, arid 
had gone to considerable expense in fitting up thatplace of abode. 

Lady Mountjoy did not long enjoy the honors of her elevated 
rank and new position. She died at St. Germain s, in France, 
the 9th of September, 1814. The legitimate issue of this mar 
riage was, first, Lady Harriet Anne Frances Gardiner, born the 
5th of August, 1812 (who married the Count Alfred D Orsay the 
1st of December, 1829 ; and, secondly, the Hon. Charles Spencer 
Cowper, third son of the late Earl Cowper, the 4th of January, 
1853, the Count D Orsay having died the 4th of August, 1 852) ;* 
second, the Right Hon. Luke Wellington, Viscount Mountjoy, 
born in 1814, who died in 1823, at the age of nine years and 
six months. 

The children of whom mention is not made in the Peerage 
were : 

First, Charles John, born in Portman Square, London, the 3d 
of February, 1810, now surviving, who retains a small portion 
of the Mountjoy Forest estate (the income from which is about 
.600 a year) ; all that remains, with a trifling exception, of the 
wreck of that once vast property of the Earl of Blessington. 

Second, Emilie Rosalie, commonly called Lady Mary Gardiner, 
born in Manchester Square, London, on the 24th of June, 1811 
(who married C. White, Esq., and died in Paris without issue 
about 1848). 

* The Honorable Charles Spencer Cowper is the youngest son of the late Earl 
Cowper, who married in 1805 the Honorable Emily Mary Lamb, eldest daughter 
of Penniston, first Viscount Melbourne. Lord Cowper died at Putney in June, 
1837. His widow married secondly Lord Palmerston, in 1839. The Honorable 
Charles Spencer Cowper, born in 1816, filled the office of Secretary of Legation 
in Florence. 



48 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

Lord Mountjoy s grief at the loss of his lady was manifested 
in a funeral pageant of extraordinary magnificence on the occa 
sion of the removal of her remains to England, and from thence 
to Ireland. One of the principal rooms in his lordship s Dublin 
residence, in Henrietta Street, was fitted up for the mournful 
occasion at an enormous cost. The body, placed in a coffin, 
sumptuously decorated, had been conveyed to Dublin by a Lon 
don undertaker of eminence in the performance of state funer 
als, attended by six professional female mourners, suitably at 
tired in mourning garments, and was laid out in a spacious room 
hung with black cloth, on an elevated catafalque, covered with 
a velvet pall of the finest texture, embroidered in gold and sil 
ver, which had been purchased in France for the occasion, and 
had recently been used at a public funeral in Paris of great pomp 
and splendor, that of Marshal Duroc. A large number of wax 
tapers were ranged round the catafalque, and the six profes 
sional female mutes, during the time the body lay in state, re 
mained in attendance in the chamber in becoming attitudes, 
admirably regulated ; while the London undertaker, attired in 
deep mourning, went through the dismal formality of conducting 
the friends of Lord Blessington who presented themselves to the 
place where the body was laid out ; and as each person walked 
round the catafalque, and then retired, this official, having per 
formed the lugubrious duties of master of the funeral solemni 
ties, in a low tone expressed a hope that the arrangements were 
to the satisfaction of the visitor. 

They ought to have been satisfactory ; the cost of them (on 
the authority of the late Lady Blessington) was between 3000 
and 4000. 

The remains of the deceased lady were conveyed with great 
pomp to St. Thomas s Church, Marlborough Street, Dublin, and 
were deposited in the family vault of Lord Blessington, and are 
now mingled with the dust of the latest descendants of the il 
lustrious Lord President Mountjoy. 

One of the friends of Lord Blessington, who witnessed the 
gorgeous funeral spectacle, well acquainted with such pageants, 
informs me the magnificence of it was greater than that of any 
pimilnr performance of private obsequies he evor saw. 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 



49 



But this great exhibition of extravagant grief, and the enor 
mous outlay made for its manifestation, was in the bright and 
palrny days of Irish landlordism, when potatoes flourished, and 
people who had land in Ireland lived like princes. The Scotch 
haberdasher who now lords it over a portion of the broad lands 
of the Mountjoys will live, however, and bury his dead after a 
very different fashion. 

The once gorgeous coffin, covered with rich silk velvet and 
adorned with gilt mounting, in which the remains of the " Right 
Hon. Mary Campbell, Viscountess Mountjoy," were deposited, is 
still recognizable by its foreign shape from the other surrounding 
receptacles of noble remains above it and beneath it. But the 
fine silk velvet of France, and the gilt mountings of the coffin of 
the Viscountess Mountjoy, have lost their lustre. Forty years of 
sepulchral damp and darkness have proved too much for the costly 
efforts of the noble Earl of Blessington to distinguish the remains 
of his much-loved lady from those of the adjacent dead. 

About the latter part of 1815 Lord Blessington was in Ireland. 
He gave a dinner-party at his house in Henrietta Street, which 
was attended by several gentlemen, among whom were the 
Knight of Kerry, A. Hume, Esq., Thomas Moore, Sir P. C., Bart., 
James Corry, Esq.,* Captain Thomas Jenkins, of the llth Light 
Dragoons, and one or two ladies. His lordship, on that occasion, 
seemed to have entirely recovered his spirits ; and to one of the 
guests, who had not been in the house or the room, then the 
scene of great festivity, since the funeral solemnities which have 
been referred to had been witnessed by him there less than two 
years previously, the change seemed a very remarkable one. 
Captain Jenkins left the company at an early hour, to proceed 
that evening to England, and parted with his friends, not with 
out very apparent feelings of emotion. 

* James Corry, Esq., who figures a good deal in Moore s Journals, was a bar 
rister, whose bag had never been encumbered with many, I believe I might say 
with any, briefs. He was admitted to the bar in 1796. For many years he filled 
the office of Secretary to the Trustees of the Linen Manufacture, in their offices 
in Lurgan Street. He was a man of wit and humor, assisted in all the private 
theatricals of his time, not only in Dublin, but in the provinces, and particularly 
those at the abodfc of LoYd Mduntjoy at Rash, near Omagh. 

Voi. I. C 



50 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

Lord Mount] oy did not long remain a widower. His lady died 
in September, 1814, and on the 16th of February, 1818, his 
lordship was united to a lady of the name of Farmer, who had 
become a widow four months previously in 1817. 

The marriage of Lord and Lady Blessington took place by spe 
cial license, at the church in Bryanston Square. There were 
present Sir \V. P. Campbell, Baronet, of Marchmont, William 
Purves, Esq., Robert Power, Esq., and F. S. Pole, Esq. 

This work is not intended to be a biography of Lady Blessing- 
ton, but to present a faithful account of her literary life and cor 
respondence. 

From the period of her marriage with the Earl of Blessington, 
that intercourse with eminent men and distinguished persons of 
various pursuits may be said to date ; and from that period I 
profess to deal with it, so far as the information I have obtained, 
and the original letters and manuscripts of her ladyship in my 
hands, will enable me to do. 

Mrs. Farmer had been separated from her husband, Captain 
Maurice St. Leger Farmer, of Poplar Hall, county Kildare, for 
upward of twelve years, resided much in England, at Sidmanton, 
in Hampshire, for several years previously to the termination of 
the war, and in the latter part of 1815 had made London her 
place of residence, and had a house taken for her in Manchester 
Square in 1816.* 

Lord Mountjoy s second marriage was entered into after an 
acquaintance that had commenced may years previously in Ire 
land, and had been long interrupted. 

The lady of his love was then twenty-eight years of age, in 
the perfection of matured beauty that bright and radiant beauty 
which derives its power not so much from harmony of features 

* There, in 1810, I am informed by one of the most eminent medical men in 
London, he had met Lord Blessington at dinner. I have likewise been informed 
by the late Mr. Arthur Tegart, of Pall Mall, then intimately acquainted with the 
parties, that he also had frequently met Lord Blessington at Mrs. Farmer .s, but 
never unaccompanied by some mutual friend or acquaintance. Mr. Tegart, the 
intimate and medical attendant of Curran, Grattan, and Ponsonby, a gentleman 
most highly respected by all who knew him, and by none more than the writer of 
these lines, died in 1829, in his sixty-ninth year. 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 5^ 

and symmetry of form, as from the animating influences of in 
telligence beaming forth from a mind full of joyous and of kindly 
feelings and of brilliant fancies that kind of vivid loveliness 
which is never found where some degree of genius is not. Her 
form was exquisitely moulded, with an inclination to fullness ; 
but no finer proportions could be imagined ; her movements 
were graceful and natural at all times, in her merriest as well 
as in her gravest moods. 

The peculiar character of Lady Blessington s beauty seemed 
to be the entire, exact, and instantaneous correspondence of ev 
ery feature, and each separate trait of her countenance, with the 
emotion of her mind, which any particular subject of conversa 
tion or object of attention might excite. The instant a joyous 
thought took possession of her fancy, you saw it transmitted as 
if by electrical agency to her glowing features ; you read it in 
her sparkling eyes, her laughing lips, her cheerful looks ; you 
heard it expressed in her ringing laugh, clear and sweet as the 
gay, joy-bell sounds of childhood s merriest tones. 

There was a geniality in the warmth of her Irish feelings, an 
abandonment of all care, of all apparent consciousness of her 
powers of attraction, a glowing sunshine of good humor, and 
of good nature in the smiles and laughter, and the sallies of the 
wit of this lovely woman in her early and her happy days (those 
of her Italian life, especially from 1823 to 1826), such as have 
been seldom surpassed in the looks, gesture, or expression of any 
other person, however beautiful. The influence of her attrac 
tion was of that kind described by the poet : 

" When the loveliest expression to features are joined, 
By nature s most delicate pencil designed, 
And blushes unbidden, and smiles without art, 
Speak the softness and feeling that dwell in the heart." 
Her voice was ever sweetly modulated and low " an excellent 
thing in woman !" Its tones were always in harmonious concord 
with the traits of her expressive features. There was a cordial 
ity, a clear, silver-toned hilarity, a correspondence in them, ap 
parently with all her sensations, that made her hearers feel 
" she spoke to them with every part of her being," and that 



52 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

their communication was with a kindly-hearted, genial person, 
of womanly feelings and sentiments. The girlish-like joyous- 
ness of her laugh, the genuine gaycty of her heart, of her "petit 
risfollatre" the eclats of those Jordan-like outbursts of exuber 
ant mirthfulness which she was wont to indulge in contribu 
ted not a little to her power of fascination. All the beauty of La 
dy Blessington, without the exquisite sweetness of her voice, 
and the witchery of its tones in pleasing or expressing pleasure, 
would have been only a secondary attraction. 

Mirabeau, in one of his letters, descants on the perfections of a 
French lady unc dame spirituelle, of great powers of attraction : 

" "When she talks, she is the art of pleasing personified. Her 
eyes, her lips, her words, her gestures, are all prepossessing ; 
her language is the language of amiableness ; her accents are 
the accents of grace ; she embellishes a trifle ; interests upon 
nothing; she softens a contradiction; she takes off the insipid 
ity of a compliment by turning it elegantly ; and when she has 
a mind, she sharpens and polishes the point of an epigram bet 
ter than all the women in the world. 

" Her eyes sparkle with pleasure ; the most delightful sallies 
flash from her fancy ; in telling a story she is inimitable the 
motions of her body and the accents of her tongue are equally 
genteel and easy ; an equable flow of sprightliness keeps her 
constantly good-humored and cheerful, and the only objects of 
her life are to please and be pleased. Her vivacity may some 
times approach to folly, but perhaps it is not in her moments of 
folly she is least interesting and agreeable." 

Mirabeau goes on enlarging on one particular faculty which 
she possessed, and for which she was remarkable, beyond all 
comparison with other women a power of intellectual excita 
tion which roused up any spark of talent in the minds of those 
around her : 

" She will draw wit from a fool ; she strikes with such address 
the chords of self-love, that she gives unexpected vigor and agil 
ity to fancy, and electrifies a body that appears non-electric."* 

* Mirabeau s Letters during his residence in England, translated, in 2 vols. 
London, 1832. 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 53 

Lady Blessington might have sat for the portrait of the spir 
itual French woman that Mirabeau has sketched with so much 
animation ! 

Soon after their marriage, Lord Blessington took his bride 
over to Ireland, to visit his Tyrone estates ; but that was not 
the first occasion of the lady s visit to Mountjoy Forest. 

The marriage had been so far kept a secret that many of 
Lord Blessington s friends were not aware of it at the time of 
his arrival in Dublin. He invited some of those with whom he 
was most intimately acquainted to a dinner at his. house in 
Henrietta Street.* 

Some of those first mentioned were only made acquainted with 
the recent marriage when Lord Blessington entered the drawing- 
room with a lady of extraordinary beauty, and in bridal costume, 
leaning on his arm, whom he introduced as Lady Blessington. 

Among the guests, there was one gentleman who had been 
in that room only four years before, when the walls were hung 
in black, and in the centre, on an elevated platform, was place d 
a coffin, with a gorgeous velvet pall, with the remains in it of a 
woman, once scarcely surpassed in loveliness by the lady then 
present radiant in beauty, and decked out in rich attire all in 
white, in bridal costume. Stranger events and more striking 
contrasts are often to be encountered in brilliant circles and in 
noble mansions than are to be met with even in books of fiction. 

The Blessingtons proceeded from Dublin to the county of Ty 
rone ; but preparations were previously made by his lordship 
for the reception of his bride at Mountjoy Forest of a most costly 
description. 

* The Gardiner family owned the fee simple of the whole street nearly, and 
the house No. 10, at the west end, and north side of Henrietta Street, which now 
constitutes the Queen s Inns Chambers, formerly held by the Right Honorable 
Luke Gardiner, Lord Mountjoy, and subsequently in the possession of the late 
Right Honorable Charles John, Earl of Blessington. The house was sold in 1837 
to Tristram Kennedy, Esq., for 1700. Immediately in front of Lord Blessing- 
ton s abode, the noted Primate Boulter erected his palace, which he makes men 
tion of in his letters. The worthy primate wanted only the scholarship and mu 
nificence of Wolsey, and the great intellectual powers and political wisdom of 
Richelieu, to be a very distinguished temporally-minded churchman, and unspir- 
itualized sacerdotal statesman. 



54 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

Speaking of these extravagant arrangements of her husband, 
Lady Blessington has observed in one of her works, " The only 
complaint I ever have to make of his taste is its too great splen 
dor ; a proof of which he gave me when I went to Mountjoy 
Forest on my marriage, and found my private sitting-room hung 
with crimson Genoa silk velvet, trimmed with gold bullion 
fringe, and all the furniture of equal richness a richness that 
was only suited to a state-room in a palace."* 

Some of the frieze-coated peasantry of the Mountjoy Forest 
estate, still surviving on the wrecked property (that has lately 
gone through the Encumbered Estates Court), but now living in 
penury in wretched hovels, who remember the great doings in 
the house of their lord on the occasion referred to, speak of " the 
wonderful doings" of his lordship, and of " the terrible waste of 
money," and " the great folly of it," that was witnessed by them. 

Folly, indeed, there were abundant proofs of, in the lavish 
expenditure, which Lady Blessington attributed to rather too 
great a taste for splendor. I consider these things as evidence 
of a state of insanity of Lord Blessington, partially developed, 
even at the early period referred to, manifested subsequently on 
different occasions, but always pointing in one direction. The 
acts of Lord Blessington on several occasions, in matters con 
nected with both his marriages, it always appeared were the 
acts of a man of an unsound judgment, that is to say, of a man 
insane on subjects which he had allowed to obtain entire pos 
session of his mind, and with respect to objects which he had 
devoted all his energies to attain, wholly irrespective of future 
consequences. 

At the time of Lord Blessington s marriage, his fortune was 
embarrassed to some extent, as he imagined, through the mis 
management of his agents, but, in point of fact, by his lordship s 
own extravagances, and the numerous encumbrances with which 
he had already charged his estates. 

It was owing, in no small degree, to Lady Blessington s ad 
vice, and the active steps she had caused his lordship to take for 
the retrieval of his affairs, that his difficulties were to some ex- 

* The Idler in France, vol. i., p. 117. 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 55 

tent diminished, and his rental increased considerably. From 
30,000 a year it had decreased to 23,000 or 24,000 ; but 
for two years previously to his departure from England it rath 
er exceeded that amount. 

I visited several of the surviving tenants of Lord Blessington, 
still living on the Mountjoy estate, near Armagh, in March, 1845. 
All concurred in one statement, that a better landlord, a kinder 
man to the poor, never existed than the late Lord Blessington. 
A tenant was never evicted by him ; he never suffered the ten 
ants to be distressed by an agent, however much in need he 
might stand of money ; he would not suffer them to be pressed 
for rent, to be proceeded against, or ejected. Graham, one of 
the oldest and most respectable tenants on the estate, says he 
is aware of his lordship, at a period when he was in great want 
of money, having written to the agent not to press the tenants 
too much, even for arrears that had been long due ; that, rather 
than they should be dealt harshly with, he would endeavor to 
obtain money on mortgage in London ; and Graham adds, the 
money his lordship then required was thus obtained by him. 
" He took after his father in this respect. He looked on his ten 
ants as if he was bou?id to see they suffered no injury at the hands 
of any person acting for him on his estate." 

The residence of the father of the late Lord Blessington, on 
the Mountjoy Forest estate in Tyrone, was on the town land of 
Rash, near the " Church of Cappagh," on the opposite side of 
the river, about a quarter of a mile from the cottage residence 
to which Lord Blessington subsequently removed. 

The Dowager Lady Mountjoy resided at Rash for some years 
after the death of her husband in 1798. 

And here, also, prior to 1814, the late Lord Blessington re 
sided when he visited his Tyrone estates ; and about 1807, ex 
pended a great deal of money in enlarging the offices, building 
an extensive kitchen and wine-cellars, and erecting a spacious 
and elegantly decorated theatre, and providing " properties," 
and a suitable wardrobe of magnificent theatrical dresses for it. 

The professional actors and actresses were brought down by 
his lordship, for the private theatricals at Mountjoy Forest, from 



56 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

Dublin, and some even from London. But there were amateur 
performers also, and two of the old tenants remember seeing his 
lordship act " some great parts ;" but what they were, or wheth 
er of a tragic or a comic nature, they can not say ; they only 
know " he was thought a fine actor, and the dresses he wore 
were very grand and fine." 

The ladies who acted were always actresses from the Dublin 
theatres, and during the performances at Rash, his lordship had 
them lodged at the house of the school-mistress, in the demesne 
near the avenue leading to the house. 

The " quality" who came down and remained at Rash during 
the performances, which generally lasted for three or four weeks 
each year, were entertained with great hospitality by his lord 
ship. 

The expenditure was profuse in the extreme for their enter 
tainment, arid the fitting up and furnishing of places of tempo 
rary accommodation for them during their brief sojourn. 

The dwelling-house of Rash was more a large cottage, with 
some remains of an older structure, than a nobleman s mansion. 

Moore, in his Diary, September 1 1th, 1832, alludes to the the 
atricals of Lord Blessington, but without specifying time or place. 
He refers to a conversation with Corry about the theatricals of 
his lordship. " A set of mock resolutions, one of which w r as the 
following, chiefly leveled at Crampton, who was always imper 
fect in his part * That every gentleman shall be at liberty to 
avail himself of the words of the author in case his own inven 
tion fails him. " 

These theatricals were at Rash, in Tyrone. 

To an inquiry addressed to Sir P. C on the subject of 

these theatricals, I received a note informing me he had never 
heard of any theatricals in Dublin got up by the Blessingtons, 
and that, if there had been any such there, he must have heard 
of it, nor was he the person alluded to in the mock resolutions ; 
" he had neither hand, act, nor part in theatricals of any descrip 
tion." The observation might possibly allude, for any thing he 
knew to the contrary, to a brother, who had been dead many 
years. 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 57 

The taste for theatricals survived the theatre in Mountjoy 
Forest. In June, 1817, Lord Blessington took a leading part in 
the public entertainment and testimonial given to John Philip 
Kemble on his retirement from the stage. At the meeting 
which took place at the Freemasons Tavern, when a piece of 
plate was presented to Kemble, Lord Holland presided ; on his 
right hand sat Mr. Kemble, and on his left the Duke of Bedford. 
Lords Blessington, Erskine, Mulgrave, Aberdeen, Essex, and 
many other noblemen were present ; and among the literary and 
artistic celebrities were Moore, Campbell, Rogers, Croker, and 
the great French tragedian, Talma. Lord Blessington assisted 
also in the well-known Kilkenny theatricals. He took parts 
which required to be gorgeously appareled ; on one occasion, 
he played the part of the Green Knight, in " Valentine and Orson." 

The theatricals at Rash lasted from 1808 to 1812. The first 
Lady Blessington was there during one season, and remained 
for several months. 

The period selected for the theatricals at Rash was usually 
the shooting season. But the guests were not confined to sports 
men ; the latter came occasionally accompanied by their ladies, 
and what with their field-sports and the stage amusements, 
there was no dearth of enjoyments and gayety for a few weeks 
in a place that all the rest of the year was a dull, solitary, life 
less locality, in the midst of a forest some fourscore miles from 
the metropolis. 

The second Lady Blessington did not visit Mountjoy Forest 
during the period of the theatricals. It was the peculiarity of 
Lord Blessington to throw himself with complete abandon into 
any passion or pursuit that came in his way, and to spare no ex 
pense or sacrifice of any kind to obtain, as soon as possible, the 
fullest enjoyment that could possibly be derived from it ; and 
110 sooner was the object so ardently desired accomplished, the 
expense encountered, and the sacrifice made for its attainment, 
than the zest for its delight was gone ; other phantoms of pleas 
ure were to be pursued, and no sooner grasped than to be relin 
quished for some newer objects of desire. 

The delights of the chase in Mountjoy Forest, and of the the- 



58 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

atre at Rash, after a few years, became dull, tame, and tiresome 
amusements to the young lord. He went to England, contract 
ed engagements there which led to his making London princi 
pally his place of abode, and Mountjoy Forest and the theatre 
at Rash were allowed to go to ruin. 

The Dowager Lady Mountjoy had left Rash, and fixed her 
abode in Dublin prior to 1807. The house became in a short 
time so dilapidated as to be unfit to live in. His lordship gave 
directions to have extensive repairs and additions made to a 
thatched house of middle size, about a quarter of a mile distant 
from Rash. The furniture was removed to this place, which 
Lord Blessingtoii called " the Cottage," arid the old home at 
Rash was left to go to ruin. 

When I visited the place recently, nothing remained but some 
vestiges of the kitchen and the cellars. The theatre had utter 
ly disappeared, and nothing could be more desolate than the site 
of it. The grounds and garden had been broken up, the trees 
had been all cut down in the vicinity. Here and there, trunks 
and branches, yet unremoved, were lying on the ground. The 
stumps of the felled trees, in the midst of the debris of scattered 
timber, gave an unpleasant and uncouth aspect to a scene that 
had some melancholy interest in it for one who had known the 
noble owner of this vast property. 

The extent of the estate appears almost incredible ; I am told 
its extreme length exceeded ten miles. 

But though the theatre erected by Lord Blessington on his es 
tate has wholly disappeared, one structure on it exists : a vault 
beneath the chancel of the church of Cappagh, on the estate, 
which he intended for his tomb, and which, in several notices of 
his lordship s death, and some memoirs of Lady Blessington, is 
erroneously stated to have been the place of sepulture of his re 
mains. \ was misled by those accounts, and visited the vault, 
in the expectation of finding his remains there. But no inter 
ment had ever taken place there, though it was constructed by 
his lordship with the intention above-mentioned ; and at his 
death, orders had been sent down from Dublin to have the vault 
prepared for his interment : these orders, however, had been 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 59 

countermanded, for what reason I know not, and the remains of 
his lordship were deposited in St. Thomas s Church, in Marl- 
borough Street, along with the remains of his father. 

It has been also erroneously stated that the remains of his 
lordship s first wife were deposited in the vault beneath the 
chancel of Cappagh Church ; such, however, is not the fact. 

In September, 1816, Lord Blessingtoii visited his estate of 
Mountjoy Forest. His first wife had been then dead nearly two 
years. He brought down some friends of his from Dublin, and 
invited others from the neighborhood of his estate to come on a 
visit to " the Cottage." 

Among the guests, I was informed by tenant farmers on the 
estates who have a recollection of these circumstances, were 
Mr.Corry, Major and Mrs. Purvis, Colonel Stewart of Killymoon, 
Mrs. Farmer, and also Captain Jenkins.* 

The most extravagant expense was gone into in fitting up 
and decorating the Cottage for some weeks previously to the 
arrival of his lordship and his guests. 

The walls were hung with costly drapery. The stairs and 
passages were covered with fine baize. Nothing could exceed 
the elegance of the decorations, and furnishing of an abode that 
was destined only for a residence of a few weeks. 

During the sojourn of Lord Blessingtoii and his friends at the 
Cottage, several gentlemen of the neighborhood were enter 
tained. 

Among the visitors was an old clergyman, Father O Flagher- 
ty, parish priest of Cappagh, a simple-minded, good man, who 
was the dispenser of the bounty of Lord Blessingtoii among the 
poor of the estate, long subsequently to this visit, to a very large 
amount. 

Lord Blessington had no sec-tarian feelings it never entered 
his mind what the religion of a man was by whom assistance 
was needed ; and his worthy Roman Catholic almoner, although 
a man by no means highly cultivated, polished in his manners, 
or peculiarly happy in his style of epistolary correspondence, en- 

* A Capt. Montgomery, of the Navy, a very intimate friend of the Blessingtons, 
at some period was on a visit to the Cottage, but the precise date I do not know. 



60 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

joyed the full confidence and strong regard of Lord Blessington, 
and also of his lady. 

Lady Blessington, on her subsequent visit, was the means of 
procuring for her great favorite, Father O Flagherty, a donation 
from his lordship that enabled the good padre either to repair 
or rebuild the Catholic place of worship of his parish. He con 
tinued to correspond with the Blessingtons when they resided 
in London, and for some time while they were on the Continent, 
and the epistles of the good old man were very great literary 
curiosities. 

In 1823, Lord Blessington, unaccompanied by Lady Blessing- 
ton, visited his Tyrone estates ; he came to the Cottage accom 
panied by Colonel Stewart of Killymoon. 

In 1825, his lordship again and for the last time visited his 
Tyrone estates. He was accompanied then by General Count 
D Orsay, the father of the Count Alfred D Orsay , and also by a 
young French nobleman, the Count Leon. 

From some cause or other, Lady Blessington appeared to have 
formed a strong antipathy, on the occasion of her last visit, to 
Mountjoy Forest as a place of residence even for a few weeks. 
She prevailed on Lord Blessington to return to London, perhaps 
earlier than he had intended, and expressed her determination 
never again to return to Mountjoy Forest, if she could help it. 

After a few weeks spent in Tyrone, the Blessingtons returned 
to London. The new-married lady, having exchanged her abode 
in Manchester Square for the noble mansion in St. James s 
Square, found herself suddenly, as if by the magic wand of an 
enchanter, surrounded by luxuries, gorgeous furniture, glittering 
ornaments, and pomp and state almost regal. The transition 
was at once from seclusion arid privacy, a moderate establish 
ment, and inexpensive mode of life, into brilliant society, mag 
nificence, and splendor to a condition, in short, little inferior to 
that of any lady in the land. 

The eclat of the beauty of Lady Blessington and of her re 
markable mental qualities, of the rare gifts and graces with 
which she was so richly endowed, was soon extensively diffused 
over the metropolis. 



NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. (jl 

Moore, in his Diary of April, 1822, mentions visiting the Bless- 
ingtons in London at their mansion in St. James s Square. 
The fifth of the month following, he says he called, with Wash 
ington Irving, at Lady Blessington s, " who is growing very ab 
surd ! I have felt very melancholy and ill all this day, she 
said. Why is that ? I asked. Don t you know ? No. It 
is the anniversary of my poor Napoleon s death. " 

Any one acquainted with Lady Blessington will perceive in 
this remark a great want of knowledge of her character and opin 
ions, and will not fail to discover in her observation evidences 
of that peculiar turn for grave irony which was one of her char 
acteristics. I have seldom met a literary person so entirely free 
from all affectation of sentimentality as Lady Blessington. 

In the new scenes of splendor and brilliancy which her lady 
ship had been introduced into on her marriage with Lord Bless 
ington, she seemed as if it was her own proper atmosphere, to 
which she had been accustomed from infancy, in which she now 
lived and moved. 

Greatness and magnificence were not thrust upon her she 
seemed born to them. In all positions she had the great art of 
being ever perfectly at home. There was a naturalness in her 
demeanor, a grace and gentleness in her mind and manner a 
certain kindliness of disposition and absence of all affectation 
a noble frankness about her, which left her in all circles at her 
ease sure of pleasing, and easily amused by agreeable and 
clever people. 

In 1818, when Lady Blessington was launched into fashiona 
ble life, and all at once took her place, if not at the head of it, 
at least among the foremost people in it, she was twenty-eight 
years of age. 

For three years, her mansion in St. James s Square, nightly 
thronged by men of distinction, was the centre of social and 
literary enjoyments of the highest order in London. Holland 
House had its attractions for the graver spirits of the times, but 
there was no lack of statesmen, sages, scholars, and politicians 
at the conversaziones of Lady Blessington. 

Charleville House, too, had its charms for well-established au- 



62 NOTICE OF THE EARL OF BLESSINGTON. 

thors for blue-stocking ladies especially, of all lines of author 
ship for distinguished artists and noble amateurs, for foreign 
ministers and their attaches. 

But Lady Blessington had certain advantages over all Aspa- 
sian competitors in society she was young and beautiful, witty, 
graceful, and good-humored ; and these advantages told with 
singular effect in the salon ; they tended largely to establish her 
influence in society, and to acquire for her conversations in it a 
character it might never otherwise have obtained. 

The Blessingtons splendid mansion in St. James s Square in 
a short time became the rendezvous of the elite of London ce 
lebrities of all kinds of distinction ; the first literati, statesmen, 
artists, eminent men of all professions, in a short time became 
habitual visitors at the abode of the new-married lord and lady. 

Among the distinguished foreigners who visited the Blessing- 
tons in St. James s Square in the latter part of 1821 or the 
commencement of 1822, were the Count de Grammont (the pres 
ent Due de Guiche) and his brother-in-law, a young Frenchman 
of remarkable symmetry of form and comeliness of face, and of 
address and manners singularly prepossessing, the Count Alfred 
D Orsay, then in the prime of life, highly gifted, and of varied 
accomplishments, truly answering Byron s designation of him, a 
"cupidon dechaine." The count s sojourn in London at that time 
was short ; but the knowledge he seems to have gained of its 
society, if the account given of his diary be true, must have been 
considerable. This was the beginning of an intimate acquaint 
ance with the Blessingtons, one in many respects of great mo 
ment to his lordship and to others an intimacy which termi 
nated only in death.* 

Two royal English dukes condescended, not unfrequently, to 
do homage at the new shrine of Irish beauty and intellect in St. 
James s Square. Canning, Lord Castlcreagh, the Marquis of 
Lansdowne, and Lords Palmerston and Russell, Burdett and 
Brougham, Scarlett and Jekyll, Erskine, and many other celeb 
rities, paid their devoirs there. Whig and Tory politicians and 

* This acquaintance did not commence, as it has been generally asserted, by 
accident, in a French hotel, when the Blessingtons were on their way to Italy. 



DEPARTURE OF THE BLESSINGTONS FROM LONDON. 53 

lawyers, forgetful of their party feuds and professional rivalries 
for the nonce, came there as gentle pilgrims. Kemble and Mat 
thews, Lawrence and Wilkie eminent divines too, Dr. Parr and 
others. Rogers, Moore, and Luttrel were among the votaries 
who paid their vows in visits there, not angel-like, for theirs 
were neither " few nor far between." But among all the dis 
tinguished persons who visited Lady Blessington, none were 
more devoues in their attachment, or ardent in their admiration 
of the talents and traits, intellectual and personal, of the fair 
lady, than the late Earl Grey. 



CHAPTER II. 

DEPARTURE OF THE BLESSINGTONS FROM LONDON ON A CON 
TINENTAL TOUR, SEPTEMBER, 1822. 

THE love of change, of travel, of excitement the necessity 
for distraction, for novelty, and new effects, not only in scenery, 
but in society, seems to have led to Lord Blessingtori s determ 
ination to abandon his magnificent abode in St. James s Square 
at a time when nothing appeared wanting that wealth, beauty, 
and brilliant society could supply, to render that abode every 
thing that could be desired by those who think such necessa 
ries all that can be desirable to make homes happy. 

But Lord Blessington, although yet a young man, had drained 
his cup of pleasure and enjoyments of every kind to the dregs, 
and the taste of the draught that remained on his palate re 
quired new cordials, and other stimulants of increasing strength 
continually, to keep down the loathing he already felt for all the 
allurements of fashion, the follies of the day, the foil and tinsel 
glories of the green-roorn, and the life behind the scenes of the 
drama, arid of that other theatre of society, with its tableaux 
vivants, arid its varied performances by the real actors on the 
stage of aristocratic life. Lord Blessington was palled and sa 
tiated with pleasure, and no kind of eclat or of distinction in 
English society had now any charm for him. And yet this 
young nobleman, thus early blaze and exhausted, prematurely 



64 DEPARTURE OF THE BLESSINGTONS FROM LONDON. 

impaired in mental energies, was fitted for better things, and 
was naturally amiable, and possessed many eminent qualities 
which might have rendered him, under other circumstances of 
education and position, a most estimable and a very useful man 
to his country and to society. 

The 22d of August, 1822, the Blessingtons, accompanied by 
Miss Mary Ann Power, the youngest sister of Lady Blessington, 
and Mr. Charles James Matthews, the only son of the celebrated 
comedian, set out on a Continental tour, and made their arrange 
ments for an intended sojourn of some years in the south of 
Europe. 

Miss Mary Ann Power was then about one-and-twenty, bear 
ing no resemblance to her sister in face or form, but, neverthe 
less, far from unattractive. She was remarkably slight, rather 
of low stature, of small, regular features, good complexion, light 
brown hair, always tastefully arranged ; an extremely pretty 
and girlish-looking young lady, with bluish laughing eyes, and 
altogether a piquant expression of countenance, une petite ?nignon, 
pleasingly original and naive in her modes of thinking and act 
ing, always courted and complimented in society, and coquetted 
with by gentlemen of a certain age, by humorists in single 
blessedness, especially like Gell, and by old married bachelors 
like Lander and the Duke Laval de Montmorency. 

Charles Matthews could hardly then have been twenty years 
of age. He had been intended for the profession of an archi 
tect, and was articled to a person of eminence in London in that 
profession. Lord Blessington had kindly offered his father to 
take charge of the young man, and to afford him every facility 
of pursuing his professional studies in Italy. That offer was 
accepted, and for upward of two years young Matthews remain 
ed with the Blessingtons on the Continent, and was no slight 
acquisition to their party. A merrier man within the limits of 
becoming mirth it would be difficult to And. He was an ad 
mirable mimic, had a marvelous facility in catching peculiari 
ties of manners, picking up the different dialects of the several 
parts of Italy he passed through. But with all his comic tal 
ents, love of fun and frolic, ludicrous fancies, and overflowing 



DEPARTURE OF THE BLESSINGTONS FROM LONDON. 65 

gayety of heart, he never ceased to be a gentleman, and to act 
and feel like a man well-bred, well-disposed, and well-principled. 

The writer s reminiscences of Charles Matthews are of an old 
date upward of thirty years ; but they are of too pleasurable a 
kind to be easily effaced. 

In her journals Lady Blessington makes frequent allusions to 
her " happy home" in St. James s Square, and at the moment 
of departure, of " the almost wish" she was not going from it ; 
and some dismal forebodings take the form of exclamations : 
" What changes ! what dangers may come before I again sleep 
beneath its roof!" Many changes, indeed, came before she re 
turned from the Continent. She never beheld her husband be 
neath that roof again ! 

Lord Blessington s preparations in Paris for the approaching 
touring campaign in Italy were of a very formidable description. 
The commissariat department (including the culinary) was am 
ply provided for ; it could boast of a battcrie de cuisine on a most 
extensive scale, which had served an entire club, and a cook 
who had stood fire in the kitchen of an emperor. No Irish no 
bleman, probably, and certainly no Irish king, ever set out on 
his travels with such a retinue of servants, with so many vehi 
cles and appliances of all kinds to ease, comfort, and luxurious 
enjoyment in travel. 

Byron s traveling equipage, according to Medwin, when he 
arrived in Florence, accompanied by Rogers, consisted of seven 
servants, five carriages, five horses, a monkey, a bull-dog, and 
a mastiff", nine live cats, three pea-fowls, and some hens ; his 
luggage, or what Caesar would call " his impedimenta," consist 
ed of ; a very large library of modern books, a vast quantity of 
furniture, "with trunks and portmanteaus of apparel of course 
to correspond to the other parts of the equipage. 

Lord Blessington set out with an abundance of" impediments ;" 
but in his live-stock he had no bull-dogs, mastifis, monkeys, cats, 
pea-fowls, or hens. 

On her arrival in Paris, Lady Blessington mentions in her 
diary receiving a visit from her old friend the Baron Denon, and 
finding " all her French acquaintances charmed to see her." 



66 DEPARTURE OF THE BLESSINGTONS FROM LONDON. 

Mention is made of two previous visits of hers to Paris. Her 
former sojourn there must have been of some duration, and 
previously to her second marriage ; in her letters of this period 
we find a familiarity with French idiom, and the conversational 
terms of French society, which could only have been acquired 
by a good deal of intercourse with French people in their own 
country. 

In her Italian journal of the 31st of August, 1822, she speaks 
of her " old friend the baron," " a most amusing man," " a com 
pound of savant and petit maitrc, one moment descanting on 
Egyptian antiquities, and the next passing eulogiums on the joli 
chapcau, or robe of his female visitors, who seems equally at 
home in detailing the perfections of a mummy, or in describing 
le mignon pied d une charmante femme, and not unfrequent- 
ly turns from exhibiting some morceau d antiquite bien remarqua- 
ble to display a cast of the exquisite head of Pauline Borghese."* 

September 1st, the diary opens with the words "my birth 
day." Her ladyship could be sad and sentimental, but is obliged 
to smile and seem joyful at receiving the congratulations of her 
friends that she had added another year to her age, and at a 
period of woman s life, too, when one had passed thirty. 

During the short sojourn of the Blessingtons in Paris, Tom 
Moore was frequently with them at a restaurateur s : Lady 
Blessington descended " La Montagne Russe ;" but then Tom 
Moore often visited the spot, and greatly enjoyed her descent, 
and it was pleasant to observe with what a true zest he entered 
into every scheme of amusement, though the buoyancy of his 
spirits and resources of his mind rendered him so independent 
of such means of passing time.f Lady Blessington descants on 
the agreeable excitement of the extreme velocity of this loco 
motive amusement ; but we need not marvel at Tom Moore s 
true zest in entering into it, accompanied with her ladyship, 
when we find Dr. Johnson dwelling on the enjoyment of travel 
ing fast in a post-chaise with a pretty woman among the great 
pleasures of life. 

Perhaps it was one of those rapid journeys on the " Montague 

* The Idler in Italy, Par. ed., 1839, p. 8. f Ibid., p. 28. 



DEPARTURE OF THE BLESSINGTONS FROM LONDON. 57 

Russe," that Moore s conversation reminded her ladyship " of 
the evolutions of some bird of gorgeous plumage, each varied 
hue of which becomes visible as he carelessly sports in the air. 

Xln her observations on art, literature, and society, there are 
ample evidences of originality of mind, of true feeling, of refined 
taste, and an intimate acquaintance with the light literature of 
France and Italy. Many of her passing remarks have the merit 
of those short and memorable sayings which get the name of 
maxims and apothegms. Speaking of the Louvre, which she 
had visited " at least thirty times," and that was her third visit 
to Paris, she found, " like fine music, fine sculptures and fine 
pictures gain by long acquaintance." 

" There is something that stirs the soul and elevates the feel 
ings in gazing on those glorious productions of master minds, 
where genius has left its ineffaceable impress to bear witness 
to posterity of its achievements." 

The excellence of art, like every thing that is exquisite in 
workmanship and spiritual in conception, is to be appreciated 
by an intuitive sense, that gives a true perception of the sub 
lime and beautiful ; " it is to be felt, and not reasoned upon." 

In the galleries of the Louvre, she sickens of the " cant of 
criticism," she turns away from the connoisseurs, " to meditate in 
silence on what others can talk about, but can not comprehend." 

" Here Claude Lorraine seems to have imprisoned on canvas 
the golden sunshine in which he bathes his landscapes. There 
Raphael makes us, though stern Protestants, worship a Madonna 
and child, such is the innocence, sweetness, and beauty with 
which he has imbued his subjects." 

Poor Lady Blessington s " stern Protestantism" is lugged in, 
head and shoulders, into a criticism which really stood in no 
need of the intrusion of any religious opinions. Her faith in 
Raphael s perfections required no apology. In qualifying her 
admiration of the exquisite portraiture of innocence, sweetness, 
and beauty of the Virgin and child, it must have been rather 
painful to her (not a Protestant) to have to descend to the cant 
of criticism, which was so justly odious to her. 

"While the fair countess was absorbed in art, and occupied 



68 DEPARTURE OF THE BLESSINGTONS FROM LONDON. 

with the sublime and beautiful, in the most glorious works of 
the ancient masters in the Louvre and the gallery of Versailles, 
my lord was securing the services of the culinary artist of great 
celebrity, already referred to, who had been the cook of an em 
peror, and providing a very extensive batterie dc cuisine a com 
plete equipage of a cooking kind, en ambulance, for their Italian 
tour. 

After a sojourn of twelve days in Paris, the Blessingtons and 
their party set out for Switzerland. 

The customary pilgrimages were made to Ferney, the many 
shrines at the base of Mount Jura, on the borders of the Lake 
of Geneva, the birth-place and haunts of Rousseau, the homes 
for a time of Gibbon, Shelley, Byron, and De Stael, then the 
place of abode of John Philip Kemble, and a little later, his 
place of burial in the cemetery of Lausanne. Several days were 
spent in visiting monuments and other marvels of Lyons, Vienne, 
Grenoble, Valence, Orange, and on the 20th of November they 
arrived at Avignon. Here they remained till the 12th of Feb 
ruary, 1823, mixing a good deal in the fashionable circles of the 
town and its environs, making frequent excursions to the cele 
brated fountain of Vanclure, the site of the chateau of Laura, 
and visiting that of her tomb, in the ruins of the Church of the 
Cordeliers, those of the Palace of the Popes, and the Inquisition 
with all its horrors. Lady Blessington speaks of the repug 
nance, the feelings of " a native of dear, free, happy England," 
at the sight of such a place, and in the heat of her abhorrence 
of the crimes committed in it, fancies herself a native of England. 

In her diary of the 20th of December, Lady Blessington says, 
"Spent last evening at Madame de C. s; met there the Due 

and Duchess de C G . Madame was dame d honneur 

to Marie Louise, and has all the air and manner of one accus 
tomed to find herself at home in a court." 

The persons indicated by the initials C G were the 

Due and Duchesse de Caderousse Grammont, who then resided 
in their chateau in. the vicinity of Avignon. But no mention is 

J t"3 

made of any other member of their family in the Avignon so 
ciety of the Blessingtons, though there was one who was an ob 
ject of some interest to the party. 



BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 69 

After a prolonged stay of two months and upward at Avig 
non, Lady Blessingtoii says in her diary, " It is strange how soon 
one becomes habituated to a place. I really feel as much at 
home at Avignon as if I had spent years there." 

On the 12th of February, 1823, Lady Blessingtoii and her 
party, increased by a young Frenchman of a noble family, pre 
viously known in England, lately met with in Paris, and subse 
quently at Valence and Avignon, now a compagnon de voyage, 
set out for Italy, via Marseilles, Toulon, and Nice, and on the 
31st of March they arrived at Genoa. 

In the diary of that day, the uppermost thought in Lady Bless- 
ingtori s mind is thus recorded : " And am I, indeed, in the same 
town with Byron ! And to-morrow I may perhaps behold him !" 

There are two works of Lady Blessington s, " the Idler in It 
aly"* and " the Idler in France,"! in which an account is given 
of her tours, and her observations on the society, manners, sce 
nery, and marvels of all kinds of the several places she visited 
and sojourned in. 



CHAPTER III. 

BYRON AXD THE BLESSIXGTONS AT GENOA. 

THE 1st of April, 1823, Lady Blessington s strong desire was 
gratified she saw Byron. But the lady was disappointed, and 
there is reason to believe that the lord, always indisposed abroad 
to make new acquaintances with his countrymen or women, 
was on the occasion of this interview taken by surprise, and not 
so highly gratified by it as might have been expected, when the 

* The Idler in Italy, in 3 vols. 8vo, was published in 1839, and is descriptive of 
her visit to Paris, and sojourn there from the first of September to the 12th of the 
same month, 1822 ; her route through Switzerland, and extensive tour in Italy, ex 
tended over a period of five years, the greater portion of which was spent in Naples. 

t The Idler in France, subsequently published, is descriptive of her residence 
in Paris for a period of two years and a half, from the autumn of 1828 to the end 
of November, 1830, when she returned to England. 

In her manuscript memoranda and commonplace books there are also frequent 
references to persons whom she had met with in her travels, and observations on 
places she had visited, several of which are almost identical with passages in 
"the Idlers." 



70 BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 

agrcmens and personal attractions of the lady are taken into con 
sideration. 

Lady Blessington s expression of disappointment has a tincture 
of asperity in it which is seldom, indeed, to be found in her ob 
servations. There are very evident appearances of annoyance 
of some kind or another in the account given by her of this in 
terview, occasioned either by the reception given her by Byron, 
or at some eccentricity, or absence of mind, that was unexpect 
ed, or apparent want of homage on his part to her beauty or 
talents on this occasion, to which custom had habituated her. 

It must also be observed, that the interview with her ladyship 
is described as having been sought by Lord Byron. It is more 
than probable, however, a little ruse was practiced on his lord 
ship to obtain it. It is stated by one who has a good knowledge 
of all the circumstances of this visit, that a rainy forenoon was 
selected for the drive to Byron s villa ; that shelter was neces 
sitated, and that necessity furnished a plea for a visit which 
would not have been without some awkwardness under other 
circumstances. Lord Blessington, having been admitted at once 
on presenting himself at Byron s door, was on the point of tak 
ing his departure, apologizing for the briefness of the visit on 
account of Lady Blessington being left in an open carriage in 
the court-yard, the rain then falling, when Byron immediately 
insisted on descending with Lord Blessington, and conducting 
her ladyship into his house. 

" When we arrived," says Lady Blessington, " at the gate of 
the court-yard of the Casa Saluzzo, in the village of Albano,* 
where he resides, Lord Blessington and a gentleman of our party 
left the carriage and sent in their names. f They were admit 
ted immediately, and experienced a very cordial reception from 
Lord Byron, who expressed himself delighted to see his old ac 
quaintance. Byron requested to be presented to me, which led 
to Lord Blessington s avowing that I was in the carriage at the 
gate, with my sister. Byron immediately hurried out into the 

* About a mile and a half from Genoa. R. R. M. 

t The gentleman s name will be found in a letter of Byron to Moore, dated 2d 
April, 1823. 



BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 71 

court, and I, who heard the sound of steps, looked through the 
gate, and beheld him approaching quickly toward the carriage 
without his hat, and considerably in advance of the other two 
gentlemen." 

The visit was a long one ; and many questions were asked 
about old friends and acquaintances. Lady Blessington says 
Byron expressed warmly, at their departure, the pleasure which 
the visit had afforded him and she doubted not his sincerity; 
not that she would arrogate any merit in her party to account 
for his satisfaction, but simply because she could perceive that 
Byron liked to hear news of his old associates, and to pass them 
en revue, pronouncing sarcasms on each as he turned up in con 
versation. 

In a previous notice of this interview, which bears some in 
ternal evidence of having been written long after the period it 
refers to, lamenting over the disappointment she felt at finding 
her beau ideal of a poet by no means realized, her ladyship ob 
serves : " "Well, I never will allow myself to form an ideal of 
any person I desire to see, for disappointment never fails to en 
sue." 

Byron, she admits, had more than usual personal attractions, 
" but his appearance nevertheless had fallen short of her expect 
ations." There is no commendation, however, without a con 
comitant effort at depreciation. For example, her ladyship ob 
serves, " His laugh is musical, but he rarely indulged in it dur 
ing our interview ; and when he did, it was quickly followed 
by a graver aspect, as if he liked not this exhibition of hilarity. 
"Were I asked to point out the prominent defect of Byron s man 
ner, I should pronounce it to be a flippancy incompatible with 
the notion we attach to the author of Childe Harold and Man 
fred, and a want of self-possession, and dignity that ought to 
characterize a man of birth and genius. Notwithstanding this 
defect, his manners are very fascinating more so, perhaps, than 
if they were dignified ; but he is too gay, too flippant for a 
poet."* 

Lady Blessington was accompanied on this occasion by her 

* Idler in Italy, p. 392. 



72 BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 

sister, Miss Mary Anne Power, now Comtesse de St. Marsault. 
Byron, in a letter to Moore, dated April 2d, 1823, thus refers to 
this interview : 

"Your other allies, whom I have found very agreeable per 
sonages, are Milor Blessington and epouse, traveling with a very 
handsome companion in the shape of a French count (to use 
Farquhar s phrase in the Beaux Stratagem), who has all the air 
of a Cupidon dechaine, and is one of the few specimens I have 
seen of our ideal of a Frenchman before the Revolution, an old 
friend with a new face, upon whose like I never thought that 
we should look again. Miladi seems highly literary, to which, 
and your honor s acquaintance with the family, I attribute the 
pleasure of having seen them. She is also very pretty, even in 
a morning a species of beauty on which the sun of Italy does 
not shine so frequently as the chandelier. Certainly English 
women wear better than their Continental neighbors of the same 
sex. Mountjoy seems very good-natured, but is much tamed since 
I recollect him in all the glory of gems and snuff-boxes, and uni 
form, and theatricals, and speeches in our house I mean of 
Peers I must refer you to Pope, whom you don t read and 
won t appreciate, for that quotation (which you must allow to 
be poetical) and sitting to Stroelling, the painter (do you re 
member our visit, with Leckie, to the German ?), to be depicted 
as one of the heroes of Agincourt, with his long sword, saddle, 
bridle, Whak fal de," &c. } &c. 

We thus find, from the letter of Byron to his friend Moore, 
that the Blessingtons were accompanied by the Count Alfred 
d Orsay in their visit to his lordship, and that he was one of the 
party on their arrival and at their departure from Genoa. 

It is probable that the arrangements for the count s journey 
to Italy with the Blessingtons had been made in Paris, though 
he did not accompany them from that city, but joined them first 
at Valence on the Rhone, and subsequently at Avignon. 

D Orsay, who had been attached to the French army of the 
pretended expedition against Spain, abandoned his profession 
in an evil hour for the career of a mere man of pleasure and of 
fashion. 



BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 73 

Byron and the Blessingtons continued to live on the most in 
timate terms, we are told by Lady Blessington, during the stay 
of the latter at Genoa ; and that intimacy had such a happy in 
fluence on the author of Childe Harold, that he began to aban 
don his misanthropy. On the other hand, I am assured by the 
Marquise de Boissy, formerly Countess of Guiccioli, that the 
number of visits of Byron to Lady Blessington during the entire 
period of her sojourn in Genoa did not exceed five or six at the 
utmost, and that Byron was by no means disposed to. afford the 
opportunities that he believed were sought, to enable a lady of 
a literary turn to write about him. But D Orsay, she adds, at 
the first interview, had struck Byron as a person of considerable 
talents and wonderful acquirements for a man of his age and 
former pursuits. " Byron from the first liked D Orsay ; he was 
clever, original, unpretending ; he affected to be nothing that he 
was not." 

Byron sat for his portrait to D Orsay, that portrait which sub 
sequently appeared in the New Monthly Magazine, and after 
ward as a frontispiece of her ladyship s work, "Conversations 
with Lord Byron." 

His lordship suffered Lady Blessington to lecture him in prose, 
and, what was worse, in verse. He endeavored to persuade 
Lord Blessington to prolong his stay in Genoa, and to take a 
residence adjoining his own named " II Paradiso." And a ru 
mor of his intention to take the place for himself, and some 
good-natured friend observing, " II diavolo e ancora entrato in 
Paradiso," his lordship wrote the following lines : 

Beneath Blessington s eyes 

The reclaimed Paradise 
Should be free as the former from evil ; 

But if the new Eve 

For an apple should grieve, 
What mortal would not play the devil 1 

But the original conceit was not in poetry. 

Lady Blessington informed rne that, 011 the occasion of a mask 
ed ball to be given in Genoa, Byron stated his intention of going 
there, and asked her ladyship to accompany him : en badinant 

VOL. !. D 



74 BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 

about the character she was to go in, some one had suggested 
that of Eve Byron said, " As some one must play the devil, I 
will do it." 

Shortly before her departure from Genoa, Lady Blessington 
requested Byron to write some lines in her album, and, accord 
ingly, he composed the following stanzas for her : 

TO THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON. 

1. 
You have ask d for a verse : the request 

In a rhymer twere strange to deny ; 
But my Hippocrene was but my breast, 
And ray feelings (its fountain) are dry. 

2 
Were I now as I was, I had sung 

What Lawrence has painted so well ; 
But the strain would expire on my tongue, 

And the theme is too soft for my shell. 

3. 
I am ashes where once I was fire, 

And the bard in my bosom is dead ; 
What I loved I now merely admire, 

And my heart is as gray as my head. 

4. 

My life is not dated by years 

There are moments which act au a plow ; 

And there is not a furrow appears, 
But is deep in my soul as my brow. 

5. 

Let the young and the brilliant aspire 

To sing what I gaze on in vain ; 
For sorrow has torn from my lyre 

The string which was worthy the strain. 

Moore speaks of the happy influence of Lady Blessington s 
society over the mind of Byron : 

" One of the most important services conferred upon Lord By 
ron by Lady Blessington during this intimacy was that half re 
viving of his old regard for his wife, and the check which she 
contrived to place upon the composition of Don Juan, and upon 



BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 75 

the continuation of its most glaring immoralities. He spoke of 
Ada ; her mother, he said, has feasted on the smiles of her in 
fancy and growth, but the tears of her maturity shall be mine. 
Lady Blessington told him that if he so loved his child, he should 
never write a line that could bring a blush of shame to her cheek, 
or a sorrowing tear to her eye ; and he said, You are right ; 1 
never recollected this. I am jealously tenacious of the undi 
vided sympathy of my daughter ; and that work (Don Juan), 
written to beguile hours of tristesse and wretchedness, is well 
calculated to loosen my hold on her affections. I will write no 
more of it would that I had never written a line. In this 
gentler mind, with old loves, old times, and the tenderest love 
that human heart can know, all conducing to soothe his pride 
and his dislike of Lady Byron, he learned that a near friend of 
her ladyship was in Genoa, and he requested Lady Blessington 
to procure for him, through this friend, a portrait of his wife. 
He had heard that Lady Byron feared he was about to come to 
England for the purpose of claiming his child. In requesting 
the portrait and in refuting the report, he addressed the follow 
ing letter to Lady Blessington : 

" May 3, 1623. 

" DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, My request would be for a copy of the min 
iature of Lady B. which I have seen in possession of the late Lady Noel, as 
I have no picture, or indeed memorial of any kind of Lady B., as all her let 
ters were in her own possession before I left England, and we have had no 
correspondence since at least on her part. My message with regard to the 
infant is simply to this effect, that in the event of any accident occurring to 
the mother, and mv remaining the survivor, it would be my wish to have her 
plans carried into effect, both with regard to the education of the child, and 
the person or persons under whose care Lady B. might be desirous that she 
should be placed. It is not my intention to interfere with her in any way on 
the subject during her life ; and I presume that it would be some consolation 
to her to know (if she is in ill health, as I am given to understand), that in no 
case would any thing be done, as far as I am concerned, but in strict con 
formity with Lady B. s own wishes and intentions, left in what manner she 
thought proper. Believe me, dear Lady B., your obliged, " &c. 

At length, in the early part of June, 1823, the Blessmgtons 
took their departure from Genoa, and Moore tells us how the 
separation affected Byron : 



76 BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 

" On the evening before the departure of his friends, Lord and 
Lady Blessington, from Genoa, he called upon them for the pur 
pose of taking leave, and sat conversing for some time. He was 
evidently in low spirits, and after expressing his regret that they 
should leave Genoa before his own time of sailing, proceeded to 
speak of his own intended voyage in a tone full of despondence. 
Here, said he, * we are all now together ; but when, and 
where, shall we meet again ? I have a sort of boding that we 
see each other for the last time ; as something tells me I shall 
never again return from Greece. Having continued a little 
longer in this melancholy strain, he leaned his head upon the 
arm of the sofa on which they were seated, and, bursting into 
tears, wept for some minutes with uncontrollable feeling. 
Though he had been talking only with Lady Blessington, all 
who were present in the room observed, and were affected by, 
his emotion, while he himself, apparently ashamed of his weak 
ness, endeavored to turn off attention from it by some ironical 
remark, spoken with a sort of hysterical laugh, upon the effects 
of nervousness. He had, previous to this conversation, present 
ed to each of the party some little farewell gift a book to one, 
a print from his bust by Bartolini to another, and to Lady Bless 
ington a copy of his Armenian Grammar, which had some man 
uscript remarks of his own on. the leaves. In now parting with 
her, having begged, as a memorial, some trifle which she had 
worn, the lady gave him one of her rings ; in return for which 
he took a pin from his breast, containing a small cameo of Napo 
leon, which he said had long been his companion, and presented 
it to her ladyship. The next day Lady Blessington received 
from him the following note : 

" Albaro, Juno 2, 1823. 

" My DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, I am superstitious, and have recollected 
that memorials with a point are of less fortunate augury : I will, therefore, 
request you to accept, instead of the pin, the inclosed chain, which is of so 
slight a value that you need not hesitate. As you wished for something worn, 
I can only say that it has been worn oftcner and longer than the other. It is 
of Venetian manufacture, and the only peculiarity about it is that it could only 
be obtained at or from Venice. At Genoa they have none of the same kind. 
I also inclose a rintr, which I would wish Alfred to keep; it is too large to 



BYRON AND THE BLESS1NGTONS AT GENOA. 77 

wear ; but it is formed of lava, and so far adapted to the fire of his years and 
character. You will perhaps have the goodness to acknowledge the receipt 
of this note, and send back the pin (for good luck s sake), which I shall value 
much more for having been a night in your custody. 

" Ever faithfully your obliged, &c. 
" P.S. I hope your nerves are well to-day, and will continue to flourish. " 

Some fourteen years only had elapsed since that criticism ap 
peared in the Edinburgh Review on his (Byron s) juvenile po 
ems, which began with these words : " The poesy of this young- 
lord belongs to the class which neither gods nor men are said 
to tolerate." 

And in the interval between the date of the publication of 
"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" in 1809, and that of 
the visit of the Blessingtons to Genoa in June, 1823, and his 
departure for Greece a little later, the poesy of the young lord 
manifested to the world that it belonged to a class which all the 
powers of criticism could not decry or crush. A few months 
only had elapsed since Byron parted with Lady Blessington and 
bade adieu to Italy, and the career of the poet was near its 
close in Greece. 

In 1828, again at Genoa, Lady Blessington, alluding to Byron s 
death, writes : "I sat on the chair where I had formerly been 
seated next him ; looked from the window whence he had 
pointed out a beautiful view ; and listened to Mr. Barry s graph 
ic description of the scene, when, becalmed in the Gulf of Genoa, 
the day he sailed for Greece, he returned and walked through 
the rooms of his deserted dwelling, filled with melancholy fore 
bodings. He had hoped to have found in it her whom he was 
destined never more to behold that fair and young Italian lady, 
the Contessa Guiccioli whose attachment to him had triumphed 
over every sentiment of prudence and interest, and by its devotion 
and constancy half redeemed its sin. But she, overwhelmed by 
grief at the sad parting, had been placed in a traveling carriage 
while almost in a state of insensibility, and was journeying to 
ward Bologna, little conscious that he whom she would have 
given all she possessed on earth to see once more was looking 
on the chamber she had left and the flowers she had loved, his 



78 BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 

mind filled with a presentiment that they should never meet 
again. 

"Such is one of the bitter consequences resulting from the viola 
tion of ties never severed idthout retribution."* 

Lady Blessington s feelings of regard for Byron s memory were 
by no means such as might have been desired. 

Moore s sentiments with respect to the reputation of his de 
parted friend were not altogether those which might have been 
expected. 

Campbell s feelings in relation to the fame of a brother bard, 
who had only recently been a living rival, were those which 
some who knew him well always feared they would prove ; 
they were something more than merely cold and unkindly they 
were passionately inimical. At a period when most other lit 
erary men who ever had an acquaintance with Byron, or sym 
pathy with his literary pursuits, would have avoided entering 
into a controversy with his enemies, and espousing the views of 
his opponents, Campbell with avidity seized an opportunity of 
rushing into print to wound the reputation of a brother bard, 
whose fame during his lifetime he might not with impunity have 
assailed. A periodical of the time, commenting on this ill-ad 
vised proceeding, observed : " This strange matter has now as 
sumed another and a darker shade from the interference of Mr. 
Campbell, who, assuming to be the personal champion of Lady 
Byron, has stepped forward to throw the most odious imputations 
upon the character of Lord Byron which can possibly be left to 
the worst imaginations to conceive. Against this course we pro 
test, in the name of all that is honorable in human nature. We 
were the undeviating censurers of the poet s injurious produc 
tions during his lifetime ; but we can not do otherwise than con 
demn, in far stronger terms, any attempt, after he is laid in his 
grave, to blast him forever by mysterious and voiceless whis 
perings. Of what monstrous crime was he guilty ? for, unless 
he was guilty of some monstrous crime, a foul wrong is done to 
his memory. His accusers are bound by every moral and sacred 
tie to be definite in their charge : against such there is a possi- 

* The Idler in Italy, vol. iii., p. 365. 



BYRON AND THE BLESSINGTONS AT GENOA. 79 

bility of defense ; but there can be no shield against the horri 
bly vague denunciation which has been so intemperately hurled 
at the unprotected and unanswering dead. And what called this 
forth ? A very slight surmise by Mr. Moore against the parents 
of Lady Byron ; to repel which, she comes rashly out with a 
statement that damns the husband of her bosom ; and, as if this 
were not enough, the zeal of Mr. Campbell advances to pour ad 
ditional suspicion and ignominy upon his mouldering ashes. The 
fame of a Byron is public property ; and, after what has passed, 
it is imperative on his adversaries either to fix some eternal 
brand upon it, such as can justify their language, or confess that 
they have used expressions which no conduct of his could au 
thorize. And we are persuaded that they must do the latter; 
for it is incredible that any woman of the spirit and honor of 
Lady Byrori could have lived an hour with a man whom she 
knew to be a detested criminal, and far less that she should 
have corresponded with him in playful and soothing letters. 
The plea of insanity itself can not reconcile this with any thing 
like the atrocious guilt now by circumstance imputed ; and we 
do earnestly trust that an explanation will be vouchsafed, which 
will set this painful discussion at rest in a manner more satis 
factory to the world. Having, in these few remarks, grappled 
with the main point at issue, we abstain from saying a syllable on 
minor affairs ; and we do not deem ourselves in a condition to 
blame any one of the parties we have been obliged to name."* 

Lord Byron s yacht, " the Bolivar," was purchased by Lord 
Blessington previously to his departure from Genoa, and it was 
subsequently considered by Lady Blessington that the poet drove 
a hard bargain with her husband. 

Medwin, however, as a proof of Byron s lavish and inconsid 
erate expenditure, and his incongruity of action in regard to 
money matters, states that he gave -1000 for a yacht which he 
sold for 300, and yet refused to give the sailors their jackets. 

The 2d of June, 1823, the Blessingtoiis set out from Genoa 
for Naples, via Lucca, Florence, Vienna, and Rome ; took their 
departure from the Eternal City the 13th of the same month, 
and arrived at Naples on the 17th. 

* Literary Gazette. 



THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. THE J5LESSINGTONS AND THEIR 

SOCIETY IN NAPLES. JUNE, 1823, TO FEBRUARY, 1826. 

JUNE 2d (1823), the Blessingtons left Genoa, and passed 
through Lucca, where they stayed a few days, and arrived in 
Florence on the 8th of the same month. Here they remained 
till the 1st of July. Lady Blessing-ton spent her whole time vis 
iting monuments of antiquity, churches, galleries, villas, and pal 
aces, associated with great names and memories. In no city in 
Italy did she find her thoughts carried back to the past so forci 
bly as at Florence. A thousand recollections of the olden time 
of the merchant princes, the Medici, and the Pazzi of all the 
factions of the republic, the Neri and Biarichi, the Guelphs and 
Ghibellines, recurred to memory in her various visits to the dif 
ferent localities of celebrity in the noble city, the grandeur and 
beauty of which far surpassed her expectations. After a so 
journ of about three weeks in Florence, the party set out for 
Rome. On the 5th of July, the first view of the Eternal City 
burst on the pilgrims from St. James s Square. 

As they entered the city, the lone mother of dead empires, all 
appeared wrapped in silent solemnity, not wanting, however, in 
sublimity. " Even the distant solitude of the Campagria," says 
Lady Blessington, " was not divested of the latter. But in the 
evening the Corso was crowded with showy equipages, occu 
pied by gayly-dressed ladies, and thronged with cavaliers on 
prancing steeds riding past them. Nothing could surpass the 
gayety of the evening scene, or contrast more strangely with the 
gloom of the morning aspect of the sombre suburbs." 

The mournful contemplations awakened by the ruins of an 
cient Rome are frequently spoken of by Lady Blessington. 

I can not help thinking they were of too mournful a charac 
ter for her ladyship to make that city of the dead, of shattered 



THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. gj 

thrones and temples, of shrines and sepulchres, a place of abode 
congenial to her feelings, tastes, and predilections. 

The Eternal City and its everlasting monuments appear to 
have made less impression on the mind of Lady Blessington 
than might have been expected by those acquainted with her 
refined tastes and literary acquirements. 

The gloom of the sombre monumental city seemed oppressive 
to her spirits ; the solemn aspect of the sites of palaces renown 
ed of old, and those sermons in stones of crumbling monuments, 
and all the remaining vestiges of a people, and their idols of 
long past ages, speaking to the inmost soul of decay and de- 
structibility, were not in accordance with her turn of mind, arid 
her natural taste for objects and scenery that exhilarated the 
senses, and communicated joyousness to every faculty. Naples, 
in Lady Blessington s opinion, and not Rome, was the appropri 
ate locality for an elysium that was to last forever, and for any 
sojourn of English tourists of haut ton that was intended to be 
prolonged for the enjoyment of Italian skies and sunshine, scen 
ery and society. 

On the 14th of July, nine days after her arrival in Rome, 
Lady Blessington writes in her diary, " Left Rome yesterday, 
driven from it by oppressive heat, and the evil prophecies dinned 
into my ears of the malaria. I have no fears of the effect of 
either for myself, but I dare not risk th^m for others." 

There were other circumstances besides those referred to, in 
all probability, which determined the precipitate departure from 
Rome. All the appliances to comfort, or rather to luxury, which 
had become necessary to Lady Blessington, had not been found 
in Rome. Her ladyship had become exceedingly fastidious in 
her tastes. The difficulties of pleasing her in house accommo 
dation, in dress, in cookery especially, had become so formida 
ble, and occasioned so many inconveniences, that the solicitude 
spoken of for the safety of others was only one of the reasons 
for the abrupt departure referred to. 

With the strongest regard for Lady Blessington, and the full 
est appreciation of the many good qualities that belonged to her, 
it can not be denied that, whether discoursing in her salons, or 

D2 



82 THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 

talking with pen in hand on paper in her journals, she occasion 
ally aimed at something like stage eilects, acted in society and 
in her diaries, and at times assumed opinions, which she aban 
doned a little later, or passed oiFappearances for realities. This 
was done with the view of acquiring esteem, strengthening her 
position in the opinion of persons of exalted intellect or station, 
and directing attention to the side of it that was brilliant and 
apparently enviable, not for any unworthy purpose, but from a 
desire to please, and perhaps from a feeling of uncertainty in 
the possession of present advantages. 

The first impressions of Lady Blessington of the beauty of the 
environs of Naples, the matchless site of the city, its glorious 
bay, its celebrated garden, the Villa Reale, its delightful climate, 
and exquisite tints of sea and sky, and varied aspect of shore 
and mountain, of isles and promontories, are described by her, 
in her diaries, in very glowing terms. 

Her hotel, the Gran Bretagna, fronted the sea, and was only 
divided from it by the garden of the Villa Reale, filled with 
plants and flowers, and adorned with statues and vases. The 
sea was seen sparkling through the openings of the trees, with 
numbers of boats gliding along the shore. In the " Idler in Ita 
ly," Lady Blessington thus speaks of the delightful climate and 
its cheering influences : 

" How light and elastic is the air ! Respiration is carried on 
unconsciously, and existence becomes a positive pleasure in such 
a climate. Who that has seen Naples can wonder that her chil 
dren are idle, and luxuriously disposed ? To gaze on the cloud 
less sky and blue Mediterranean, in an atmosphere so pure and 
balmy, is enough to make the veriest plodder who ever courted 
Plutus abandon his toil, and enjoy the delicious dole e far 1 nicntc 
of the Neapolitans."* 

A few words of this epitome of Paradise may be permitted to 
one who enjoyed its felicity of clirne, and site, and scenery for 
upward of three years. 

The city of Naples retains no vestiges of Greek or Roman an 
tiquity. It occupies the site of two ancient Greek towns, Palse- 

* Tho Ifllrr in ftalv. p. "241. P;ir. orl.. 1839. 



THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 33 

opolis, founded by Parthenope, and Neapolis, or the New Town. 
Eventually they merged into one city, which became a portion 
.of the Roman Empire, and obtained the name of Neapolis. The 
Bay of Naples, for the matchless beauty of its situation and its 
surrounding scenery, is unrivaled. Its circling beach extends 
from the promontory of Pausilippo to Sorrento, a line of more 
than thirty miles of varied beauty and magnificence. This city, 
with its churches, palaces, villas, and houses, luxuriant gardens 
and vineyards, with the surrounding hills and grounds thickly 
planted in the vicinity, backed by the Apennines, well deserves 
its poetical designation, " Unpezzo di ciclo caduto in terra." Na 
ples, it is truly said, " viewed by moonlight, is enchanting. The 
moon, pouring out an effulgence of silvery light from a sky of 
the deepest azure, through a pure and transparent atmosphere, 
places all the prominent buildings in strong relief; and while 
it makes every object distinctly visible, it mellows each tint, 
and blends the innumerable details into one vast harmonious 
whole, throwing a bewitching and indescribable softness and re 
pose on the scene." 

From the time that this city and territory fell under the power 
of the Romans, to the period of the destruction of Pompeii in the 
year of our Lord 79, Neapolis, on account of the beauty of its sit 
uation and excellence of its climate, became the favorite place 
of residence in the winter season, and the chosen sojourn for a 
continuance of several of the magnates of the Eternal City, of 
the Emperor Tiberius for the last years of his iniquitous reign 
of many of the most illustrious sages arid philosophers of Rome. 
For some centuries subsequently to the destruction of Pompeii, 
Naples shared the calamitous fate of the other Italian cities : 
it was ruled, harassed, pillaged, and devastated successively 
by Goths, Vandals, Saracens, Lombards, and Parmans, and ulti 
mately by Germans, French, and Spaniards. The flight of the 
King of Naples in 1799 the short reign of Joseph Bonaparte 
the rule of Murat his deposition, execution and other modern 
vicissitudes, it is hardly necessary to refer to. 

The Castello dell Novo, standing on a projecting insulated 
rock, commands the entire of the two semicircular bays on which 



84 THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 

the city stands. In one direction extends the long line of shore 
on which are the Chiatamone, the Marino and Chiaja, with nu 
merous ascending terraces of streets behind them, crowned by 
Fort St. Elmo and Castello Nuovo, the convent of Camaldole, 
the Palazzo Belvidere, and the hill of the Vomero ; and still far 
ther westward, the Promontory of Pausilippo terminates the land 
view, arid in this vicinity lie the beautiful little islands of Ischia 
and Procida. In the other direction, to the eastward of the Cas 
tello dell Novo, are semicircular clusters of houses, convents, and 
churches, with the mole, the light-house, and harbor, the quay 
of Santa Lucia, surmounted by the Palace of Capo di Monte, and 
the eminence of Capo di Chino, and in the distant background 
the bold outlines of the Apennines, with their tints of purple va 
rying with the atmosphere, and presenting a different aspect 
with the several changes of the setting sun. Still farther by 
the eastern shore is the Ponte Madelena leading to Portici and 
Torro del Grseco, the sites and ruins of Pompeii and Hercula- 
neum, and rising up in the vicinity, in the plains of the Cam- 
pagna Felice, Vesuvius of portentous aspect, sombre and majes 
tic, with all its associations of terror and destruction, and the tra 
ditionary horrors of its history, from those of 79 A.D. to the latest 
eruptions of signal violence in 1821, are recalled as we approach 
its base or ascend the dreary foot-path in the ravines of molten 
lava or ragged scorise and masses of huge rock that have been 
torn from the sides of the crater in some past eruptions. 

Still farther along the shore to the southeast stands Castella- 
mare, a place of resort noted for its coolness and refreshing sea- 
breezes, the site of the ancient Stabia, the summer retreat of the 
elite of Naples. A little farther is the delightful scenery of 
Monte S.Michel, Sorrento, the birth-place of Tasso, and the Cape 
Campanello, the ancient Athenaeus, or Promontory of Minerva, 
terminate the land view to the eastward. At the entrance to 
the bay, where the expanse is greatest between the eastern and 
western shore, in a southern direction, is the island of Capri, the 
ancient CapreoR, eighteen miles distant from the opposite ex 
tremity of the Bay of Portici, about four miles from the nearest 
shore. The extreme length of the island is about four miles ; 



THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 85 

in breadth it is about two miles. The peak of the southern 
mountain of the island is about 2000 feet high. Several ruins, 
supposed to be of palaces of the imperial monster Tiberius, exist 
on this island. 

The extreme length of Naples is from the Ponte Madelena 
to Pausilippo, along the sea-shore, a distance of about four miles. 
The breadth is unequal ; at the west end it is contracted be 
tween the hills of the Vomero and the Belvidere and the sea 
side, and in the interval there are only three or four streets. 
Toward the centre it extends from the Castello dell Novo north 
ward to the Capo di Monte and Monte di Chino, and in this 
direction the breadth of this most ancient part of the city, and 
most densely populated from the quay of St. Lucia to the emi 
nences of Capo di Monte and Capo di Chino, is about two miles. 
The main street, Strada del Toledo, runs nearly parallel with 
the shore. It is broad, and fronted with large houses, five or 
six stories high, in which are the principal shops of the city. 
The population amounts to about 380,000 inhabitants ; there are 
upward of 300 churches ; the lazzaroni are estimated at 40,000 ; 
the clergy, monks, and nuns, at 7800. 

The Castello dell Novo is built on a rock, which projects into 
the sea from the Chiatamone, which separates it from Pizzo Fal 
cone. It was formerly called Megera, then Lucullanum. The 
last of the Roman Emperors, Romulus Augustulanus, is said to 
have been imprisoned here in 476. The fortress consists now of 
a composed mass of buildings, ancient and modern. In one of 
the old gloomy apartments, the Glueen Joanna was for some time 
confined. Its venerable commandant in 1822-4, and for many 
years previously, was a brave old Irish officer, General "Wade. 

Willis has happily sketched the Bay of Naples in a few 
words, not destitute of poetry or of graphic talent. 

" The bay is a collection of beauties, which seems to me more 
a miracle than an accident of nature. It is a deep crescent of 
sixteen miles across, and little more in length, between the 
points of which lies a chain of low mountains, called the island 
of Capri, looking from the shore like a vast heap of clouds brood 
ing at sea. In the bosom of the crescent lies Naples. Its pal- 



80 THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 

aces and principal buildings cluster around the base of an abrupt 
hill crowned by the castle of St. Elmo, and its half million of 
inhabitants have stretched their dwellings over the plain to 
ward Vesuvius, and back upon Posilippo, bordering the curve 
of the shore on the right and left with a broad white band of 
city and village for twelve or fourteen miles. Back from this, 
on the southern side, a very gradual ascent brings your eye to 
the base of Vesuvius, which rises from the plain in a sharp cone, 
broken in at the top ; its black and lava-streaked sides descend 
ing with the evenness of a sand-hill, on one side to the disin 
terred city of Pompeii, and on the other to the royal palace of 
Portici, built over the yet unexplored Herculaneurn. In the 
centre of the crescent of the shore, projecting into the sea by a 
bridge of two or three hundred feet in length, stands a small 
castle, built upon a rock, on one side of which lies the mole 
with its shipping. The other side is bordered, close to the 
beach, with the gardens of the royal villa, a magnificent prom 
enade of a mile, ornamented with fancy temples and statuary, 
on the smooth alleys of which may be met, at certain hours, all 
that is brilliant and gay in Naples. Farther on, toward the 
northern horn of the bay, lies the Mount of Posilippo, the ancient 
coast of Baiao, Cape Misenum, and the mountain isles of Procida 
and Ischia ; the last of which still preserves the costumes of 
Greece, from which it was colonized centuries ago. The bay 
itself is as blue as the sky, scarcely ruffled all day with the wind, 
and covered by countless boats fishing or creeping on with their 
picturesque lateen sails just filled ; while the atmosphere over 
sea, city, and mountain is of a clearness and brilliancy which 
is inconceivable in other countries. The superiority of the sky 
and climate of Italy is no fable in any part of this delicious land ; 
but in Naples, if the day I have spent here is a fair specimen, 
it is matchless even for Italy. There is something like a fine 
blue veil of a most dazzling transparency over the mountains 
around, but above and between there seems nothing but view 
less space nothing like air that a bird could rise upon. The 
eye gets intoxicated almost with gazing on it."* 

* Pencilings by the Wuy, p. 32. 



THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 87 

" I can compare standing on the top of Vesuvius and looking 
down upon the bay and city of Naples to nothing but mounting 
a peak in the infernal regions overlooking Paradise. The larger 
crater encircles you entirely for a mile, cutting off the view of 
the sides of the mountain ; and from the elevation of the new 
cone, you look over the rising edge of this black field of smoke 
and cinders, and drop the eye at once upon Naples, lying asleep 
in the sun, with its lazy sails upon the water, and the green hills 
inclosing it clad in the indescribable beauty of an Italian at 
mosphere. Beyond all comparison, by the testimony of every 
writer and traveler, the most beautiful scene in the world 
the loveliest water and the brightest land lay spread out before 
us. With the stench of hot sulphur in our nostrils, ankle deep 
in black ashes, and a waste of smouldering cinders in every 
direction around us, the enjoyment of the view certainly did not 
want for the heightening of contrast."* 

The Bay of Naples, long after the departure of Lady Blessing- 
ton from its shores, ceased not to be a favorite theme both in 
conversation and composition with her ladyship. 

The sketch of its beauties appeared in the " Book of Beauty" 
for 1834, and again came out, retouched, in one of her later pub 
lications, " The Lottery of Life." 

THE BAY OF NAPLES 
In the Summer of 1824. 

" It is evening, and scarcely a breeze ruffles the calm bosom 
of the beautiful bay, which resembles a vast lake, reflecting on 
its glassy surface the bright sky above, and the thousand stars 
with which it is studded. Naples, with its white colonnades 
seen amid the dark foliage of its terraced gardens, rises like an 
amphitheatre : lights stream from the windows and fall on the 
sea beneath like colums of gold ; the castle of St. Elmo crown 
ing the centre ; Vesuvius, like a sleeping giant in grim repose, 
whose awakening all dread, is to the left ; and on the right are 
the vine-crowned heights of the beautiful Vomero, with their 
palaces and villas peeping forth from the groves that surround 

* Ponrilinas by (ho Way, p. 43. 



88 THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 

them ; while rising above it, the convent of Camaldoli lifts its 
head to the skies. Resina, Portici, Castelamare, and the lonely 
shores of Sorrento, reach out from Vesuvius as if they tried to 
embrace the isle of Capri, which forms the central object ; and 
Pausilipo and Misenum, which, in the distance, seemed joined 
to Procida and Ischia, advance to meet the beautiful island on 
the right. The air, as it leaves the shore, is laden with fra 
grance from the orange-trees and jasmine, so abundant round 
Naples ; and the soft music of the guitar, or lively sound of the 
tambourine, marking the brisk movements of the tarantella, 
steals on the ear. But hark ! a rich stream of music, silencing 
all other, is heard, and a golden barge advances ; the oars keep 
time to the music, and each stroke of them sends forth a silvery 
light ; numerous lamps attached to the boat give it, at a little 
distance, the appearance of a vast shell of topaz floating on a 
sea of sapphire. Nearer and nearer draws this splendid pa 
geant, the music falls more distinctly on the charmed ear, and 
one sees that its dulcet sounds are produced by a band of glitter 
ing musicians clothed in royal liveries. This illuminated barge 
is followed by another with a silken canopy overhead, and the 
curtains drawn back to admit the balmy air. Cleopatra, when 
she sailed down the Cydnus, boasted not a more beautiful ves 
sel ; and, as it glides over the sea, it seems impelled by the 
music that precedes it, so perfectly does it keep time to its en 
chanting sounds, leaving a bright trace behind, like the memory 
of departed happiness. But who is he that guides this beau 
teous bark ? His tall and slight figure is curved, and his snowy 
locks, falling over ruddy cheeks, show that age has bent, but not 
broken him ; he looks like one born to command a hoary Nep 
tune steering over his native element ; all eyes arc fixed, but 
his follow the glittering barge that precedes him. Arid who is 
she that has the seat of honor at his side ? Her fair, large, and 
unmeaning face wears a placid smile, and those light blue eyes 
and fair ringlets speak her of another land ; her lips, too, want 
the fine chiseling which marks those of the sunny clime of 
Italy ; and the expression of her countenance has in it more of 
-earth than heaven. Innumerable boats, filled with lords and 



THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 89 

ladies, follow, but intrude not on the privacy of this royal bark, 
which passes before us like a vision in a dream. He who steer 
ed was Ferdinand, King of the Sicilies, and she who was beside 
him Maria Louisa, ex-Empress of France." 

Many a glorious evening have I passed with the Blessingtons 
in 1823 and in the early part of 1824, sailing in the Bay of Na 
ples, in their yacht, the Bolivar, which had belonged to Lord 
Byron; and not unfrequently, when the weather was particular 
ly fine, and the moonlight gave additional beauty to the shores 
of Portici and Castelamare, Sorrento, and Pausilippo, the nio;ht 
has been far advanced before we returned to the Mole. 

The furniture of the cabin of the Bolivar reminds one of its 
former owner. The table at which he wrote, the sofa on which 
he reclined, were in the places in which they stood when he 
owned the yacht. Byron was very partial to this vessel. It 
had been built for him expressly at Leghorn. On one occasion 
I was of the party, when, having dined on board, and skirted 
along the shores of Castelamare and Sorrento, the wind fell 
about dusk, and we lay becalmed in the bay till two or three 
o clock in the morning, some six or eight miles from the shore. 
The bay was never more beautiful than on that delightful night ; 
the moonlight could not be more brilliant. The pale blue sky 
was without a cloud, the sea smooth and shining as a mirror, 
and at every plash of an oar glittering with phosphorescent 
flashes of vivid light. But all the beauties of the bay on that 
occasion wasted their loveliness on the weary eyes of poor Lady 
Blessington that long night in vain. 

" Captain Smith," capitaine par complaisance, a lieutenant of 
the navy, who had the command of the Bolivar, a very great 
original, on that as well as many other occasions served to re 
lieve the tedium of those aquatic excursions, which were some 
times a little more prolonged than pleased Lady Blessington. 
Her ladyship had a great turn and a particular talent for grave 
banter, for solemn irony, verging on the very borders of obvi 
ous hoaxing. It was a very great delight to her to discover a 
prevailing weakness, vanity, absurdity, prejudice, or an antipa 
thy in an extravagant or eccentric, vain or peculiar person, and 



90 THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 

then to draw out that individual, and seem to read his thoughts, 
throwing out catch-words and half sentences to suggest the kind 
of expression she desired or expected to solicit, and then lead 
ing the party into some ridiculous display of oddity or vanity, 
and exceedingly absurd observations. 

But this was done with such singular tact, finesse, and deli 
cacy of humor, that pain never was inflicted by the mystifica 
tion, for the simple reason that the badinage was never sus 
pected by the party on whom it was practiced, even when carried 
to the very utmost limit of discretion. This taste for drawing 
out odd people, and making them believe absurd things, or ex 
press ridiculous ones, was certainly indulged in, not in a vulgar 
or coarse manner, but it became too much a habit, and tended, 
perhaps, to create a penchant for acting in society, and playing 
off opinions, as other persons do jokes and jests, for the sake of 
the fun of the performance. 

The Count D Orsay, who was a man of genuine wit and won 
derful quickness of perception of the ridiculous wherever it ex 
isted, also possessed this taste for mystifying and eliciting ab 
surdity to a very great extent, and rendered no little aid to Lady 
Blessington in these exhibitions of talent for grave irony and 
refined banter, which ever and anon, of an evening, she was 
wont to indulge in. In Naples, poor " Captain Smith s" anxi 
ety for promotion, and high sense of fitness for the most exalted 
position in his profession, furnished the principal subjects for 
the display of this kind of talent. 

The poor captain was " fooled to the very top of his bent. 
He was drawn out in all companies, in season and out of sea 
son, on the subject of posting. The Admiralty were regularly 
lugged into every argument, and it invariably ended with an in 
quiry "why he was not posted." The same observations in 
reply were always produced by an allusion to the Lords of the 
Admiralty ; and the same replies, with unerring precision, were 
sure to follow the inquiry about post rank. " There was no pat 
ronage for merit." " He ought to have been posted fifteen years 
ago." " Half the post-captains in the navy were his juniors, 
though all got posted because they had patrons." "But the 



THE CITY AND BAY OF NAPLES. 91 

Lords of the Admiralty never posted a man for his service, 
and " The disconcerted lieutenant would then be interrupted 
by D Orsay with some such good-nature d suggestion as the fol 
lowing, in his broken English : " Ah, my poor Smid, tell miladi 
over again, my good fellow ; once more explain for Mademoiselle 
Power, too, how it happens Milords of the Admirals never post 
ed you ?" 

Then would the lieutenant go over the old formula in a queru 
lous tone, without the slightest change of voice or look. 

In July, 1823, the Blessingtons established themselves at the 
Palace or Villa Belvidere, on the Vornero, one of the most beau 
tiful residences in Naples, surrounded by gardens overlooking 
the bay, and commanding a most enchanting view of its exqui 
site features. Though the palace was furnished suitably for a 
Neapolitan prince, Lady Blessington found it required a vast 
number of comforts, the absence of which could not be com 
pensated by beautifully decorated walls and ceilings, marble 
floors, pictures, and statues, and an abundance of antiquated so 
fas, and chairs of gigantic dimensions, carved and gilt. The 
Prince and Princess Belvidere marveled when they were in 
formed an upholsterer s services would be required, arid a vari 
ety of articles of furniture would have to be procured for the 
wants of the sojourners who were about to occupy their mansion 
for a few months. The rent of this palace was extravagantly 
high ; but nothing was considered too dear for the advantage of 
its sight and scenery. 

Lady Blessington thus describes her new abode : " A long 
avenue, entered by an old-fashioned archway, which forms part 
of the dwelling of the intendente of the Prince di Belvidere, 
leads through a pleasure ground filled with the rarest trees, 
shrubs, and plants, to the palazzo, which forms three sides of a 
square, the fourth being an arcade that connects one portion of 
the building with the other. There is a court-yard and fount 
ain in the centre. A colonnade extends from each side of the 
front of the palace, supporting a terrace covered with flowers. 
The windows of the principal salons open on a garden formed 
on an elevated terrace, surrounded on three sides by a marble 



92 SOCIETY OF THE BLESSINGTONS AT NAPLES. 

balustrade, and inclosed on the fourth by a long gallery, filled 
with pictures, statues, and alti and bassi relievi. On the top 
of this gallery, which is of considerable length, is a terrace, at 
the extreme end of which is a pavilion, with open arcades, and 
paved with marble. This pavilion commands a most enchant 
ing prospect of the bay, with the coast of Sorrento on the left ; 
Capri in the centre, with Nisida, Procida, Ischia, and the prom 
ontory of Misenum to the right ; the foreground filled up by 
gardens and vineyards. The odor of the flowers in the grounds 
around this pavilion, and the Spanish jasmine and tuberoses that 
cover the walls, render it one of the most delicious retreats in 
the world. The walls of all the rooms are literally covered with 
pictures ; the architraves of the doors of the principal rooms are 
of Oriental alabaster and the rarest marbles ; the tables and con 
soles are composed of the same costly materials ; and the furni 
ture, though in decadence, bears the traces of its pristine splen 
dor. Besides five salons de reception on the principal floor, the 
palace contains a richly-decorated chapel and sacristy, a large 
salle de billard, and several suites of bed and dressing rooms."* 

Never did English lady of refined tastes make a sojourn in 
the neighborhood of Pompeii and Herculaneum, visit the various 
localities of Naples and its vicinity, carry out researches of an 
tiquarian interest, and inquire into the past amid the ruins of 
Pccstum and Beneventum, Sorrento, Amalfi, Salerno, Ischia, and 
Procida, and Capri, under such advantageous circumstances as 
Lady Blessington. 

When she visited Herculaneum she was accompanied by Sir 
William Gell ; when she examined museums and galleries de 
voted to objects of art, ancient or modern, she was accompanied 
by Mr. Uwins, the painter, or Mr. Richard Westmacott, the sculp 
tor, or Mr. Millingen, the antiquarian, who " initiated her into 
the mysteries of numismatics." If she made an excursion to 
Ptestum, it was with the same erudite cicerone ; or when she 
had an evening visit to the Observatory, it was in the company 
of Mr. Herschel (now Sir John), or the famous Italian astrono 
mer Piazzi. Or if she went to Beneventum, or the Torre di 

* The Idler in Italy, p. 247. P;ir. cd., 1839. 



SOCIETY OF THE BLESSINGTONS AT NAPLES. 93 

Patria, the site of the ancient Liternum, it was in the agreeable 
society of some celebrated savant. 

The visit to Pompeii, with Sir William G-ell as cicerone, has 
been immortalized by Lady Blessington in some admirable stan 
zas, the first and last of which I present to my readers : 
" Lonely city of the dead ! 

Body whence the soul has fled, 

Leaving still upon thy face 

Such a mild and pensive grace 

As the lately dead display, 

While yet stamped upon frail clay, 

Rests the impress of the mind, 

That the fragile earth refined. 

* # * # * 

" Farewell, city of the dead ! 

O er whom centuries have fled, 

Leaving on your buried face 

Not one mark time loves to trace ! 

Dumb as Egypt corpses, you 

Strangely meet our anxious view ; 

Showing to the eager gaze 

But cold still shades of ancient days." 

Among the papers of Lady Blessington, I found some beauti 
fully written verses on the ruins of Psestum, without name or 
date, which appear to have been sent to her by the author of 
them. 

Her ladyship visited Paestum in May, 1824, accompanied by 
Mr. Millingen, Mr. C. Matthews, and Lord Morpeth ; and prob 
ably these lines may have been composed by one of her com 
panions on that occasion. 

P^STUM. 

" Mid the deep silence of the pathless wild, 
Where kindlier nature once profusely smiled, 
Th eternal temples stand ; unknown their age, 
Untold their annals in historic page ! 
All that around them stood, now far away, 

Single in ruin, mighty in decay ! * 

Between the mountains and the neighb ring main, 
They claim the empire of the lonely plain. 
In solemn beauty, through the clear blue light, 
The Doric columns rear their awful height ! 



94 SOCIETY OF THE BLESSINGTONS AT NAPLES. 

Emblems of strength untamed ! yet conquering time 

Has mellowed half the sternness of their prime ; 

And bade the richer, mid their ruins grown, 

Imbrown with darker hues the vivid stone. 

Each channeled pillar of the fane appears 

Unspoiled, yet softened by consuming years. 

So calmly awful ! so serenely fair ! 

The gazers rapt still mutely worship there. 

Not always thus, when full beneath the day, 

No fairer scene than Paestum s lovely bay ; 

When her light soil bore plants of every hue, 

And twice each year her beauteous roses blew ; 

While bards her blooming honors loved to sing, 

And Tuscan zephyrs fanned th eternal spring. 

When in her port the Syrian moored his fleet, 

And wealth and commerce filled the peopled street ; 

While here the trembling mariner adored 

The seas dread sovereign, Posidonia s lord ; 

With native tablets decked yon hallowed walls, 

Or sued for justice in her crowded halls ; 

There stood on high the white-robed Flamen, there 

The opening portal poured the choral prayer ; 

While to the searching heaven swelled loud the sound, 

And incense blazed, and myriads knelt around. 

Tis past ! the actors of the plain are mute, 
E en to the herdsman s call, or shepherd s flute ! 
The toils of art, the charms of nature fail, 
And death triumphant rules the tainted gale. 
From the lone spot the affrighted peasants haste, 
A wild the garden, and the town a waste. 

But they are still the same : alike they mock 

The invader s menace and the tempest s shock ; 

And ere the world had bowed at Csesar s throne, 

Ere yet proud Rome s all-conquering name was known, 

They stood, and fleeting centuries in vain 

Have poured their fury o er the enduring fane. 

Such long shall stand, proud relics of a clime 

Where man was glorious, and his works sublime ; 

While in the progress of their long decay, 

Thrones shrink to dust, and nations pass away."* 

* I visited P;stum in company with Mr. Greenongh, one of the Vice Presi- 
flmN of the Geographical Society, and Mr. Burton, the architect, in 1823, a short 



SOCIETY OF THE BLESSINGTONS AT NAPLES. 95 

I accompanied Lady Blessington and her party on the occa 
sion, I think, of their first visit to Mount Vesuvius. The account 
in the " Idler in Italy" of the ascent is given with great liveli 
ness and humor, but the wit and drollery of some of the persons 
who were of this party contributed to render the visit one of 
the merriest, perhaps, that ever was made to a volcano, and to 
the joyousness of the expedition altogether I think her ladyship 
has hardly done justice. 

I had previously made a very singular excursion to Vesuvius, 
accompanied by a blind gentleman, who used to boast of his 
having come from England expressly to see an eruption. He 
was certainly recompensed for his pains by having an opportu 
nity afforded him, during his sojourn in Naples, of hearing the 
bellowing of the disemboguing volcano, of the greatest violence 
that had occurred in recent times. 

The great eruption of June, 1821, was witnessed by me. I 
accompanied to the mount the celebrated blind traveler, Lieu 
tenant Holman, the evening on which the violence of the erup 
tion was at its greatest height. He has given an account of our 
night ascent, and adventures by no means free from peril, in his 
"Narrative of a Journey in France, Italy, Savoy, &c., in the 
years 1819, 1820, and 1821," page 234. We set off from Na 
ples about five o clock in the afternoon, as my blind companion 
says in his work, " with the view of seeing the mountain by 
time only before the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Hunt in that vicinity. No traveler 
has said so much to the purpose of Paestum in so few words as Forsyth. 

" On entering the walls of Paastum I felt all the religion of the place. I trod 
as on sacred ground. I stood amazed at the long obscurity of its mighty ruins. 
They can be descried with a glass from Salerno, the high road of Calabria com 
mands a distant view, the city of Capaccio looks down upon them, and a few 
wretches have always lived on the spot ; yet they remain unnoticed by the best 
Neapolitan antiquaries. Pelegrino, Capaccio, and Sanfelicc wrote volumes on 
the beaten tracks of topography, but they never traveled. 

" I will not disturb the dreams of Paoli, who can sec nothing here but the work 
of Tuscans and the Tuscan order ; nor would I, with other antiquaries, remount to 
the Sybarites, and ascribe these monuments monuments the most simple, sage, 
austere, energetic to a race the most opposite in character. Because the Pa^stan 
Doric differs in all its proportions from that of the exaggeration of mass which 
awes every eye, and a stability which, from time unknown, has sustained in the 
air these ponderous entablatures. The walls are fallen, and the columns stand ; 
the solid has failed, and the open resists," 



96 SOCIETY OF THE BLESSINGTONS AT NAPLES. 

moonlight." Passing through Portici, we reached Resina about 
seven o clock, and at the base of the mountain took a conductor 
from the house of Salvatori. Visitants usually ascend on asses 
two thirds of the way toward the summit, but my blind friend 
preferred walking, " to see things better with his feet." We 
reached the hermitage by eight or nine o clock, where we supped, 
and did great justice to the hermit s fare. The eruption was 
chiefly of light ashes, when we proceeded upward from the 
hermitage, and the road or path, at all times difficult, was now 
doubly so from the heavy dust and scoria3, interspersed with 
large and dark stones, which lay all along it. The shower of 
ashes was succeeded, as we ascended, by torrents of red-hot lava, 
that streamed over the crater in the direction of the wind, and, 
like a river of molten lead, as it descended, and lost its bright 
red heat, flowed down not impetuously, but slowly and gradu 
ally, in a great broad stream, perhaps sixty or eighty feet wide, 
toward the sea to the east of Resina. We proceeded along the 
edge of this stream for some distance, and my blind friend form 
ed his notions of its consistence, rate of flowing, and tempera 
ture by poking his staff in this stream of lava, and feeling the 
charred stick when he removed it. The great crater was then 
in repose. At length we reached the spot where a great fissure, 
somewhat lower than the crater, was emitting torrents of lava 
and sulphurous vapors. My blind friend would not be persua 
ded to remain behind when the guide conducted us to any spot 
particularly perilous, and especially to one where fire and ashes 
were issuing from clefts in the rock on which we walked. He 
insisted on walking over places where we could hear the crack 
ling effects of the fire on the lava beneath our feet, and on a 
level with the brim of the new crater, which was then pouring 
forth showers of fire and smoke, and lava, and occasionally 
masses of rock of amazing dimensions, to an enormous height in 
the air. A change of wind must inevitably have buried us, ei 
ther beneath the ashes or the molten lava. The huge rocks 
generally fell back into the crater from which they issued. The 
ground was glowing with heat under our feet, which often 
obliged us to shift our position. Our guide conducted us to the 



SOCIETY OF THE BLESSINGTONS AT NAPLES, 97 

edge of a crater, where a French gentleman had thrown him 
self in about two months previously. He had written some 
lines in the travelers book at the hermitage on his ascent, in 
dicative of the old fact that " the course of true love never did 
run smooth." 

The view of the Bay of Naples and of the distant city from 
the summit of Vesuvius on a beautiful moonlight night, without 
a cloud in the sky, such as we had the good fortune to enjoy, 
was almost magic in its effect ; such serenity, and repose, and 
beauty in perfect stillness, formed a striking contrast with the 
lurid glare of the red-hot masses that were emitted from the vol 
cano, and the frightful bellowings of the burning mountain on 
which we stood. 

I should have observed that there are, properly speaking, two 
summits, one westward, called Somma, the other South Vesuvius. 
In 1667, an eruption had added two hundred feet to the craters 
elevation. But in the present eruption a very large portion of 
this crater had fallen in. 

We got back to Portici at three o clock in the morning, and to 
Naples at four. 

Lady Blessington has given some account of her " descents 
into the graves of buried cities," and her ascent also to the sum 
mit of Mount Vesuvius. In some of these visits and excursions 
I had the pleasure of accompanying her, when the admirable 
and erudite cicerone of her ladyship was Sir "William Gell.* 

Among the English who frequented the Palazzo Belviiloro, 
the following may be enumerated as the elite, or most highly 
esteemed of the visitors there : Sir "William Drummond, fefir 
William Gell, the Honorable Keppel Craven, Mr. William Ham- 

* Herculaneum was founded A.M. 2757, sixty years before the siege of Troy, 
about 3092 years ago. It was destroyed by the same eruption of Vesuvius, in the 
year 79 A.D., which buried Pompeii. Scarcely any more than a mere reference 
to the fact of the destruction of either city is to be found in Pliny, or any ancient 
author. 

The buried cities remained undiscovered till 1641 years after their destruction. 

Herculaneum had been successively ruled by the Etruscans, Oscians, Sam- 
nites, Greeks, and, when destroyed, by the Romans. The original founder was 
said to be the Theban Hercules. Portici and Resina are built over the buried city. 

VOL. I. E 



8 SOCIETY OF THE BLESSINGTONS AT NAPLES. 

Iton, the British minister to the Neapolitan court ; Colonel Cha- 
oner Bisse, the Honorable R. Grosvenor, Captain Gordon, broth- 
r of Lord Aberdeen ; Mr. Matthias, the author of " the Pursuits 
f Literature ;" Lord Guilford, Count (now Prince) Paul Lieven, 
! ,ord Ashley, Mr. Evelyn Denison, Mr. Richard Williams, Sigrior 
alvaggi, a distinguished litterateur ; the Due de Rocco Romano, 
vlarchese Guiliano, Due de Cazarano, Lord Dudley and Ward, 
,jord Howden, and his son Mr. Cradock ; later, if I mistake not, 
Jolonel Caradoc, the Honorable George Howard, the present 
jord Morpeth, Mr. Millingen, the eminent antiquarian ; Mr. 
Charles Matthews, the son of the celebrated comedian ; Lord 
Ponsonby, Prince Ischitelli, Mr. J. Strangways, the brother of 
L,ord Ilchester ; Mr. H. Baillie, Mr. Herschel, the astronomer ; 
Ir. Henry Fox (now Lord Holland), Mr. J. Townsend (now Lord 
; ydney), Count de Camaldole, General Church, General Flores- 
m Pepe, Mr. Richard Westmacott, the Due de FitzJames, Cas- 
nir Delavigne, Filangiere (Prince Satriani), son of the well- 
:nown writer on jurisprudence ; Mr. Bootle Wilbraharn, Jim., 
he Abbe Monticelli, an eminent geologist ; the Archbishop of 
Carento, Sir Andrew Barnard, Signor Piazzi, a celebrated as- 
ronomer, the discoverer of the planet Ceres. 

The situation of the villa Belvidere the lovely prospect from 
ihe terrace that communicated with the principal saloon the 
classic beauty of the house, the effect of the tasteful laying out 
of the grounds the elegance of the establishment, and the pre 
cious objects of modern art, of an ornamental kind, of bijouterie, 
porcelain", ivory, gems of great rarity, and vases of exquisite form 
and workmanship, and relics too of antiquity, of great value, col- 
ected by Lady Blessington throughout Italy, or presented to her 
by connoisseurs and dilettante like Gell, and Millingen, and 
Oodswell, and Drummond it would be difficult to exaggerate 
he merits of, or to describe adequately the effects of, so many 
xcellences were combined in the admirable tout ensemble of that 
/ilia, when it was the abode of the Countess of Blessington. 

Who ever enjoyed the pleasures of her elegant hospitality in 
that delightful abode, and the brilliant society of the eminent 
persons by whom she was habitually surrounded there, and can 



SOJOURN IN ROME. 99 

forget the scene, the hostess and the circle, that imparted to the 
villa Belvidere some of the Elysian characteristics that poetry 
has ascribed to a neighboring locality ? 

Difficulties with the proprietor of this mansion obliged the 
Blessingtoris to quit their Neapolitan paradise on the YOUKTO 
for the villa Gallo, situated on another eminence, that of Capo 
di Monte, the end of March, 1825, and there they remained till 
February the following year. 



CHAPTER V. 

DEPARTURE FROM NAPLES, SOJOURN IN ROME, FLORENCE, MILAN, 

VENICE, AND GENOA. RETURN TO PARIS. FEBRUARY, 1 826, 

TO JUNE, 1829. 

THE Blessingtons and their party having made Naples their 
head-quarters for upward of two years and a half, took their de 
parture the end of February, 1826, and arrived at Rome the be 
ginning of March following. 

The departure froiii Naples was sudden, and the cause for that 
suddenness is not explained in the journals of Lady Blessington. 

The Blessingtons arrived in Rome from Naples the beginning 
of March. They remained in Rome till about the middle of the 
month, and then set out for Florence. 

We find them in the month of April in that city, where Lord 
and Lady Normanby were then entertaining the inhabitants 
with theatricals. They remained in Florence nearly nine 
months. In December they were once more at Genoa, but he 
who had made their previous sojourn there so agreeable was 
then numbered with the dead. Before the close of the month 
we find them established at Pisa, where they had the pleasure 
of meeting the Due and Duchesse de Guiche. 

Lady Blessington had met Lord John Russell in Genoa. She 
had known his lordship in England, and thought very highly 
both of his talents and the amiability of his disposition. With 
the exception of the Duke of York, who was an especial favorite 
of her ladyship, Lord Grey, and perhaps Lord Durham, none of 



IQQ SOJOURN IN ROME. 

the persons who frequented the abode of the Blcssingtous in f>t. 
James s Square were spoken of in such warm terms of regard 
and esteem by Lady r>lessington as Lord John Russell. She 
thus speaks of him in her Naples diary: 

"lie came and dined with us, and was in better health and 
spirits than I remember him when, in England, lie is exceed 
ingly well read, and has a quiet dash of humor, that renders his 
observations very amusing. AHien the reserve peculiar to him 
is thawed, lie can be very agreeable ; and the society of his Ge 
noese friends having had this eJlect, he appears here to much 
more advantage than in London. Good sense, a considerable 
power of discrimination, a highly-cultivated mind, and great 
equality of temper, are the characteristics of Lord John Russell ; 
and these peculiarly lit him for taking a distinguished part in 
public life. The only obstacle to his success seems to me to 
be the natural reserve of his manners, which, by leading people 
to think him cold and proud, may preclude him from exciting 
that warm sentiment of personal attachment rarely accorded, 
except to those whose uniform friendly demeanor excites and 
strengthens it ; and without this attraction, it is difficult, if not 
impossible, for a statesman, whatever may be the degree of es 
teem entertained for his character, to have devoted friends and 
partisans, accessories so indispensable for one who would fill a 
distinguished rile iu public life. 

" Lord John Russell dined with us ajrain yesterday, and no 
body could be more agreeable. He should stay t\vo or three 
years among his Italian friends, to wear oil forevor the reserve 
that shrouds so many good qualities, and conceals so many agree 
able ones ; and he would then become as popular as he deserves 
to be. But he will return to England, be again thrown into the 
clique which political differences keep apart from that of their 
opponents, become as cold and distant as formerly ; and people 
will exclaim at his want of cordiality, and draw back from what 
they consider to be his haughty reserve."* 

The Blessingtons remained in Pisa till the latter part of June, 
1827. TYc find them again in Florence from July to the No 
vember following. 

* The Idler in Italy, Par. cd,, 1839, p. 370. 



SOJOURN IN FLORENCE. 101 

At Florence, in 1826 and 1827, Lady Blessington was ac 
quainted with Demidoff, " the Russian Crcesus ;" with Lord l)il- 
lon, the author of an epic poem, " Eccelino, the Tyrant of Padua," 
a production more complacently read aloud by his lordship on 
various occasions than often patiently listened to by his hear 
ers ; the Prince Borgfyese, a " noble Roman," remarkable, for his 
obesity, the number and size of his gold rings, and the circum 
stance of his being the husband of the sister ofl^apoleon La 
petite et Mignonne Pauline;" Lamartine, " very good-looking 
and distinguished in his appearance, who dressed so perfectly 
like a gentleman that one never would suspect him to be a 
poet ;" Cornte Alexandre de la Borde, and his son M. Leon de 
la Borde ; Mr. Jerningham, the son of Lord iStailord ; Henry 
Anson, " a line young man, on his way to the East" (and never 
destined to return from it) ; Mr. Strangways, in the absence of 
Lord Burghersh officiating as Charge d Aflaires ; Mr. Francis 
Hare, " gay, clever, and amusing;" and in May, 1827, AYaltcr 
Savage Landor, " one of the most remarkable writers of his 
day, as well as one of the most remarkable and original of 
men." This was the first time of meeting with Mr. Landor, and 
(iuring the sojourn of the Blessingtons in Florence there were 
few days they did not see him. The strongest attachment that 
comes within the legitimate limits and bonds of literary friend 
ships was soon formed between Lady Blessington and the cel 
ebrated author of " Imaginary Conversations." 

Hallam, the historian, the young Lord Lifibrd, " formed for 
the dolcfi far niente of Italian life," with his imploring expres 
sion of Laissez moi tranquille in his good-natured face, were 
then likewise residing there ; and Lord and Lady Normanby 
also were still sojourning there in 1827. Lord Xormanby, dur 
ing his sojourn there, was a frequent visitor at the Blessingtons . 
His taste for theatricals was quite in unison with Lord Blessing- 
ton s, while his taste for literature, his polished and fascinating 
manners, his desire to please, arid disposition to oblige, and 
most agreeable conversation, furnished peculiar attractions for 
Lady Blessington. Lord Normanby was then thirty years of 
age, in the incipient stage of fashionable authorship, beginning: 



102 SOJOURN IN FLORENCE. 

to write novels, in the habit of contributing to albums, ambi 
tious of politics, and exhibiting his turn for them by occasional 
prose articles for revie\vs and magazines. 

The riessingtons, though they had retraced their steps to 
ward the North, were now veering between Florence, Genoa, 
and Pisa, and seem to have seldom turne-4 their thoughts home 
ward. St. James s Square was beginning to disappear from 
their recollections. Those connected with Lord Blessington by 
the ties of blood residing in his own country were seldom 
thought of; new scenes and new acquaintances appear to have 
taken fast hold of his tastes and feelings. 

AYhen Lord Blessington quitted England in September, 1822, 
he had four children; his eldest son, Charles John GJardiner, 
born in Portman Square, London, the 3d of February, 1810, was 
then twelve years of <ige. 

Kis eldest daughter, Lmilie R,osalie Hamilton, commonly call 
ed Lady Mary Gardiner, born in Manchester Square the 24th 
of June, 1811, was then (iu 1822) eleven years of age. His 
legitimate daughter, the lion. Harriet Anne Jane Frances, com 
monly called Lady Harriet Gardiner, born in Seymour Place the 
5th of August, 1812, was then ten years of age ; and his legiti 
mate son, the Hon. Luke Gardiner, commonly called Lord Mount- 
joy, born in 1813, was then nine years of age. The eldest son, 
Charles John Gardiner, had been placed at school ; the two 
daughters and the yonnsr Lord Mountjoy had been left under 
the care of Lady Harriet Gardiner, the sister of Lord Blessing- 
ton, who was then residing in Dublin, at the house of the Bishop 
of Ossory, the brother-in-law of Lord Blessington, in Merrion 
Square, South. 

The Dowager Lady Mountjoy (the second wife of the first 
Lord Mountjoy) was then also living in Dublin.* 

The Gth of April, 1823, Lady Blessington mentions in her diary 
at Genoa the news, having just reached Lord Blessington Vy 
* In August, 1839, the Right Hon. Margaret Viscountess Mountjoy died in 
DuMin :it ;>n advr.nced age. She was the second wife of the Right lion. Luke 
(jardincr, Lord Viscount Mountjoy, father of the late Earl of Blessington by a 
former marriage. She married Viscount Mountjoy in 1793, and became a widow 
in 1798. She resided chiefly in Dublin for many years previous to her decease. 



SOJOURN IN GENOA. 



103 



courier from London, of the death of his son and heir, the young 
Lord Mouutjoy, on the 26th of March preceding. 

The boy was only in his tenth year. He was the only legiti 
mate son of Lord Blessington, and by his death his lordship was 
enabled to make a disposition of his property of a very strange 
nature a disposition of it which it is impossible to speak of in 
any terms except those of reprehension, and of astonishment at 
the fatuity manifested in the arrangements made by his lord 
ship, and in the contemplated disposal of a daughter s hand 
without reference to her inclinations or wishes, or the feelings 
of any member of her family. 

Within a period of three months from the time of the death 
of his only son, on the 22d of June, 1823, Lord Blessington sign 
ed a document purporting to be a codicil to a former will, mak 
ing a disposition of his property and a disposal of the happines? 
of one or other of his then two living daughters an arrange 
ment at once imprudent, unnatural, and wanting in all the con 
sideration that ought to have been expected at the hand of a 
father for the children of a deceased wife. Partial insanity 
might explain the anomalies that present themselves in the 
course taken by Lord Blessington in regard to those children ; 
and my firm conviction, the result of my own observation, is, 
that at the period in question, when this will was made, Lord 
Blessington could not be said to be in a state of perfect sanity 
of mind ; but, on the contrary, was laboring under a particulai 
kind of insanity, manifested by an infatuation and infirmity of 
mind in his conduct with respect to his family affairs, though 
quite sane on every other subject, which unfitted him to dispost 
of his children at that juncture, and had assumed a more de 
cided appearance of monomania after that disposal was made 

At Genoa, June the 22d, 1823, Lord Blessington made a codi 
cil to his will, wherein it is set forth that General Albert D Or- 
say (the father of the Count Alfred) had given his consent t 
the union of his son with a daughter of his lordship. But it i? 
evident, from the terms of this document, that it was then op 
tional with the count to select either of the daughters of hit 
lordship . 



104 SOJOURN IN GENOA. 

CODICIL. 

" GENOA, June 2d, 1823. 

" Having had the misfortune to lose my beloved son Luke 
Wellington, and having entered into engagements with Alfred, 
Comte D 0rsay,that an alliance should take place between him 
and my daughter, which engagement has been sanctioned by 
Albert, Count D Orsay, general, &c., in the service of France, 
this is to declare and publish my desire to leave to the said 
Alfred D Orsay my estates in the city and county of Dublin 
(subject, however, to the annuity of three thousand per annum, 
which sum is to include the settlement of one thousand per an 
num to my wife, Margaret, Countess of Blesiiiton, subject also 
to that portion of debt, whether by annuity or mortgage, to which 
my executor and trustee, Luke Norman, shall consider them to 
be subjected), for his and her use, whether it be Mary (baptized 
Smilie) Rosalie Hamilton, or Harriet Anne Jane Frances, and 
to their heirs male, the said Alfred and said Mary, or Harriet, 
forever in default of issue male, to follow the provisions of the 
will and testament. 

" I make also the said Alfred D Orsay sole guardian of my son 
Charles John, and my sister, Harriet Gardiner, guardian of my 
daughters, until they, the daughters, arrive at the age of sixteen, 
at which age I consider that they will be marriageable. 

" I also bequeath to Luke Norman my estates in the county 
of Tyrone, &c., in trust for my son, Charles John, whom I desire 
to take the name of Stewart Gardiner, until he shall arrive at 
the age of twenty-five, allowing for his education such sums as 
Alfred D Orsay may think necessary, and one thousand per an 
num from twenty-one to twenty-five. 

" Done at Genoa, life being uncertain, at eight o clock on the 
morning of Monday, June the second, one thousand eight hund 
red and twenty -three. BLESIXTOX." 

I find in the papers of Lady Blessington a letter of a noble 
lord, dated September 20th, 1836, inclosing a copy of the codicil 
above mentioned, sent to him for an opinion, and the following 
reference to it of the great legal authority. " Inclosed is the 



LORD BLESSilNGTON S WILL. 



105 



opinion. I regret that it is not, and can not be more favor 
able : 

" I have read the statement, will, and codicil, and am of opin 
ion that the legatee is liable for the rent and taxes, and subject 
to all the covenants of the lease." 

At the date of this letter, Lord Blessington had been dead 
about six years. 

On the 31st of August, 1823, Lord Blessington executed his 
last will and testament, formally carrying out the intentions, in 
respect to the marriage of one of his daughters, briefly express 
ed in the preceding codicil. This will was executed only two 
months later than the document above referred to ; and it mer 
its attention, that the provision made for the Countess of Bless 
ington, in the former codicil, of an annuity of 3000, inclusive 
of a preceding marriage settlement of 1000 a year, is reduced 
in the will of the 31st of August to 2000 a year, including the 
marriage settlement of .1000 per annum ; so that in after 
years, when it was generally believed that Lady Blessington had 
an income of 3000 a year, she in reality had only 2000. 

EXTRACTED FROM THE REGISTRY OF HIS MAJESTY^ COURT OF 
PREROGATIVE IN IRELAND. 

" This is the last will arid testament of me, Charles John, Earl 
of Blessington, of that part of the united kingdom called Ireland. 
I give Luke Norman, Esquire, for and during the time he shall 
continue agent of my estates, in the county and city of Dublin, 
and in the county of Tyrone, twelve hundred pounds per annum, 
in lieu of receivers fees. I appoint Alfred D Orsay, Count of 
], in France, Luke Norman, Esquire, and Alexander 
Worthington, Esquire, my executors ; and I give unto each of 
them one thousand pounds. I give to Isabella Birnly, Michael 
McDonough, and John Bullock, one hundred pounds each. I 
give and devise my real and personal estate to said Alfred D Or 
say, Luke Norman, and Alexander Worthington, for the follow 
ing purposes : First, for the payment of two thousand pounds, 
British, per annum (inclusive of one thousand pounds settled on 
her at the time of my marriage), to my wife Margarette, or 

E2 



106 LORD BLESSINGTON S WILL. 

Margaret, Countess of Blessington ; and I give to her all her own 
jewels, requesting that she may divide my late wife s jewels 
between my two daughters at the time of her decease. 1 give 
to Robert Power and Mary Anne Power one thousand pounds 
each. I give to my daughter Harriet Anne Jane Frances, com 
monly called Lady Harriet, born at my house at Seymour Place, 
London, on or about the 3d day of August, 1812, all my estates 
in the county and city of Dublin, subject to the following charge. 
Provided she intermarry with my friend, and intended son-in- 
law, Alfred D Orsay, I bequeath her the sum of ten thousand 
pounds only. 1 give to rny daughter Emilic Rosalie Hamilton, 
generally called Lady Mary Gardiner, born in Manchester Square, 
on the 24th June, 1811, whom I now acknowledge and adopt as 
my daughter, the sum of twenty thousand pounds. 

" In case the said Alfred D Orsay intermarries with the said 
Emilic, otherwise Mary Gardiner, 1 bequeath to her my estates 
in the county and city of Dublin. The annuity of two thousand 
pounds per annum, British, to be paid to my beloved wife out 
of the said estates. I give to my son Charles .John, who 1 de 
sire may take the name of Stewart Gardiner, born in Portman 
Square, on the 3d day of February, 1810, all my estates in the 
county of Tyrone, subject to the following charges ; also the re 
version of my Dublin estates, in case of male issue of said 
daughters. In case of male issue, lawfully begotten, I leave 
these estates to the second son of Alfred D Orsay and my daugh 
ter ; or if only one son, to him, in case of failure to male issue, 
to go to the male issue of rny other daughter. My estates are 
to be subject in the first instance to the payment of my debts. 
I give to my wife the lease of my house in London, at the ex 
piration of which the furniture, books, ice., &c., are to be re 
moved to the intended residence at Mountjoy Forest ; and I di 
rect that the said house be built according to the plan now laid 
down, and do empower my said executors to borrow money for 
the said purpose. I give to rny wife all rny carriages, her para 
phernalia and plate. I give to my son Charles John rny plate, 
wardrobe, swords, cVc., &c,., &c. I appoint Alfred D Orsay 
guardian of rny son Charles John until he arrives at the age of 



RETURN TO ROME. 



10; 



twenty-five years, the settlement of twelve thousand pounds t< 
be null and void on his obtaining the Tyrone estates. I appoin 
my beloved wife guardian of my daughter Harriet Anne ; an 
I appoint my sister Harriet guardian of my daughter commonl 
called Lady Mary. I give to Isabella McDougal, of Perth, or, 
hundred pounds per annum for her life, it being bequeathed hi 
by my first wife, Mary Campbell, Viscountess Mountjoy. I giv 
to the National Gallery, intended to be formed in London ui: 
der royal protection, my picture of the Three Graces, by Si 
Joshua Reynolds, with a desire that The gift of Charles John 
Earl of Blessington, may be affixed to the said picture, as ai 
encouragement to others to contribute to the said collection. . 
give to my sister, Harriet Gardiner, five hundred pounds pc: 
annum for her natural life. I revoke all other wills by m 
made, and declare this to be my last will and testament. I, 
witness whereof, I have to this my last will, contained in fiv 
sheets of paper, set to the first four my hand, and to this, th 
fifth and last, my hand and seal, this 31st day of August, 1822 
Blessington seal." 

The marriage, then, of Count D Orsay with a daughter qf Lor 
Blessington we find determined on at Genoa so early as the 2 
of June, 1823 ; and it was not till the 1st of December, 1827 
four years and a half subsequently to that determination, tha 
the long-contemplated event took place. 

In December, 1827, the Blessingtons returned to Rome froii 
Florence, after a sojourn there of upward of four months. 

They engaged the two principal floors of the Palazzo Negro 
ni, for six months certain, at the rent of 100 guineas a month 
(at the rate of 1200 guineas a year).* This abode though norn 
inally furnished, had to be further provided with hired " mei 
lies" the cost of which was about twenty pounds a month. Tl 
seeds of the Encumbered Estates Court were being sown in It;: 
ly, as well as in other Continental countries, pretty extensive] 
some thirty years ago by our Irish landed proprietors. 

* While this enormous expenditure for house accommodation was going on 
Italy, the noble mansion in St. James s Square, in London, and the Irish re 
dence, Mountjoy HOU?P, on the Tyrone estate, were kept up by Lord Blessingt< 



108 SOJOURN IN ROME. 

In the month of March, 1828, on my return from the East, I 
visited the Blessingtons at the Palazzo Negroni, and there, for 
the first time, I beheld the recently married daughter of the 
Earl of Blessington. 

Had I been a member of their family, I could not have been 
received with greater kindness and warmth of feeling. 

During rny stay in Rome, I dined with them most days, and 
passed overy evening at their conversaziones. 

Their salons, as at Naples, were regularly filled every even 
ing with the elite of the distinguished foreigners and natives, 
artists and literati of the Eternal City. 

The Count D Orsay had been married the 1st of December, 
1827, to Lady Harriet Frances Gardiner, who was then fifteen 
years of age and four months. 

It was an unhappy marriage, and nothing to any useful pur 
pose can be said of it except that Lord Blessington sacrificed his 
child s happiness by causing her to marry, without consulting 
her inclinations or her interests. 

Taken from school without any knowledge of the world, ac 
quaintance with society, or its usages and forms, wholly inexpe 
rienced, transferred to the care of strangers, arid naturally in 
disposed to any exertion that might lead to efforts to conciliate 
them, she was brought from her own country to a distant land, 
to wed a man she had never seen up to the period of her arri 
val in Italy, where, Avithin a few weeks of her first meeting with 
that foreign gentleman, who had been on terms of intimacy with 
her father, she was destined to become his bride. 

Lady Harriet was exceedingly girlish-looking, pale and rather 
inanimate in expression, silent and reserved ; there was no ap 
pearance of familiarity with any one around her ; no air or look 
of womanhood, no semblance of satisfaction in her new position 
were to be observed in her demeanor or deportment. &he sel 
dom or never spoke, she was little noticed, she was looked on 
as a mere school-girl ; I think her feelings were crushed, re 
pressed, and her emotions driven inward by the sense of slight 
and indifference, and by the strangeness and coldness of every 
thing aronnd her ; and she became indifferent, and strange arid 



SOJOURN IN ROME. 109 

cold, and apparently devoid of all vivacity and interest in socie 
ty, or in the company of any person in it. People were mistaken 
in her, and she, perhaps, was also mistaken in others. Her fa 
ther s act had led to all these misconceptions and misconstruc 
tions, ending in suspicions, animosities, aversions, and total es 
trangements. 

In the course of a few years, the girl of childish mien arid 
listless looks, who was so silent and apparently inanimate, be 
came a person of remarkable beauty, spirituclle, and intelligent, 
the reverse in all respects of what she was considered where 
she was misplaced arid misunderstood.* 

A few days before I quitted Rome for England, I received a 
kind letter from Lord Blessington to his friend John Gait, which 
I never had an opportunity of delivering . This letter of his 
lordship was dated Rome, March, 6, 1828. 

ci Rome, March 6, 1828. 

" MY DEAR GALT, The bearer of this letter, Mr. Madden, is a gentleman 
of literary acquirement and talent. He has lately returned from the East, and, 
besides an account of deserts and Arabs, Turks and Greeks, he will be able 
to give you an account of your old friends at Rome. 

" Believe me, yours most truly, BLESSINGTON. 

"John Gait, Esq." 

May the 7th, 1828, Mr. Mills gave a farewell dinner to the 
Blessingtons at his villa Palatina, a day or two before their de 
parture from Rome. A party of the friends of the Blessingtons 
were invited to meet them, and the final meeting and separa 
tion were any thing but joyous. 

" Schemes of future meeting, too faintly spoken to cheat into 
hope of their speedy fulfillment, furnished the general topic ; and 
some were there, already stricken with maladies, the harbin 
gers of death and they, too, spoke of again meeting ! Yet who 

* Lady Harriet D Orsay and her aunt, Miss Gardiner, visited the Continent in 
the latter part of 1833 or beginning of 1834. In September, 1835, Lady Harriet 
and her sister, Miss Emily Gardiner, were in Dublin, residing with their aunt. 
Shortly after, Miss Emily Gardiner was married to a Mr. Charles White. Mr. 
White some years ago traveled a good deal, principally in the East, wrote some 
rtorks of light literature, and an account of bis travels. As a gentleman of good 
education, agreeable manners and conversation, he was known to the frequenters 
of Gore House many years ajro. He had resided in many parts of the Continent, 
and latterly altogether in Belgium. Mrs. White died in Paris about ten years ago. 



HO SOJOURN IN ROME. 

can say whether the young and the healthy may not be sum 
moned from life before those whose infirmities alarm us for their 
long continuance in it? 

"And there were with me two persons, to whom every ruin 
and every spot in view were familiar as household words ; 
men who had explored them all, with the feelings of the histo 
rian, the research of the antiquarian, and the reflections of the 
philosopher Sir "William Gell and Mr. Dodwell ; both advanced 
toward the downward path of life, every step of which rapidly 
abridges the journey, and consequently reminds parting friends 
of the probability that each farewell may be the last. There 
was our host, seated in a paradise of his own creation, based on 
the ruins of the palace of the Caesars, yet, forgetful for the mo 
ment of the mutability of fortune of which such striking memo 
rials were before his eyes, thinking only that we were on the 
eve of parting. Mrs. Dodwell was there, her lustrous eyes often 
dimmed by a tear of regret at our separation, but her rare beau 
ty in no way diminished by the sadness that clouded a face al 
ways lovely." 

Sir "William Gell and Count Paul Esterhazy carne to the Pa 
lazzo Negroni to see the Blessingtons take their departure. 
" Poor Gell !" says Lady Blessington in her diary, " I still seem 
to feel the pressure of his hand, and the tears that bedewed 
mine, as he pressed it to his lips, and murmured his fears that 
we should meet no more. 

" * You have been visiting our friend Drummond s grave to 
day, said he, and if you ever come to Italy again, you will find 
me in mine. 

This was in the early part of May, 1828, and in the month of 
April, 1836, the accomplished, witty, ever jocund and facetious 
Sir "William Gell was in his grave. 

Lady P)lessington, quitting Rome, speaks of her sad present 
iment that she should see the Eternal City no more. She de 
scants in her diary on the uncertainty of life, and especially in 
the case of those older or more infirm than ourselves, as if we 
were more exempt from danger and death than they. " Strange 
delusion ! that while we tremble for those dear to us, the con- 



DEPARTURE FROM ROME. m 

viction of the irrevocable certainty of our own dissolution is less 
vividly felt ! we picture our own death as remote, and conse 
quently less to be dreaded ; and even when most impressed with 
the awful conviction that we, like all other mortals, must pass 
away, though our reason acknowledges the truth, our hearts re 
fuse to believe that the event may be near." 

The " event" was then twenty-one years distant from her own 
door of life. 

From Pbome the Blessingtons proceeded to Loretto, where they 
visited the shrine of the Santa Casa. " The pious votaries of 
superstition," the folly of their munificence, wasting jewels " to 
decorate an idol," the tawdry appearance of " the glittering toy 
shop," " the heterogeneous mixture of saints and sybils," of 
pagan rites and superstitious practices, came in for a pretty large 
share of the customary reprehension of English travelers from 
Lady Blessington, the value of which, of course, mainly depends 
on the sincerity of the reprover. 

In the present instance, however, Lady Blessington was cer 
tainly not so much proclaiming her own sentiments as writing 
up to the readable mark of those who were to be her public. 

From Loretto the travelers proceeded to Ancona and Ravenna, 
and in the latter place a spectacle was witnessed which Lady 
Blessington has described in her published diary ; but one very 
striking circumstance connected with it is not mentioned in the 
diary, but was told to me by her ladyship. 

"Various were the conjectures we formed as to the probable 
cause of the desertion of the silent and solitary city through 
which we were pacing, and vainly did AVC look around in search 
of some one of whom to demand an explanation of it ; when, on 
turning the corner of a larger street or place than w r e had hith 
erto passed, the mystery was solved in a manner that shocked 
our feelings not a little, for we suddenly carne almost in per 
sonal contact with the bodies of three men hanging from bars 
erected for the purpose of suspending them. Never did I be 
hold so fearful a sight ! The ghastly faces were rendered still 
more appalling by the floating matted locks and long beards, 
which, as the bodies were agitated into movement by the wind, 



vISIT T0 PADUA AND VERONA. 

moved backward and forward. The eyes seemed starting from 
their sockets, and the tongues protruded from the distended lips, 
as if in horrid mockery. I felt transfixed by the terrible sight, 
from which I could not avert my gaze ; and each movement of 
the bodies seemed to invest them with some new features of 
horror. A party of soldiers of the Pope guarded the place of 
execution, and paced up and down with gloomy looks, in which 
fear was more evident than disgust. Within view of the spot 
stood the tomb of Dante, whose Inferno offers scarcely a more 
hideous picture than the one presented to our contemplation. 
The papal uniform, too, proclaiming that the deaths of these 
unfortunate men had been inflicted by order of him who pro 
fessed to be the vicar of the Father of Mercy on earth, added 
to the horror of the sight."* 

Lady Blessington informed me there was another person who 
witnessed this horrid spectacle, and who was more strongly af 
fected by it than any of the party. That person was a noble 
marquis, of some celebrity in Ireland, who, traveling the same 
route as the Blessingtons, had left his own caleche, and entered 
that of Lord and Lady Blessington ; and beholding the dead 
bodies suspended from the gallows, became deadly pale and 
almost insensible. 

Ferrara and Padua were next visited by the Blessingtons on 
their route to Venice. In the latte v city they fixed their res 
idence for several weeks ; and the journals of Lady Blessington 
abound with evidence of the excellent use she made of her time 
and talents in visiting remarkable monuments and recording 
her observations. 

At Venice the Blessm ions again made the acquaintance of 
their old friend, Walter ravage Landor. Verona was next vis 
ited by them on their route to Milan. 

In her diary she speaks of having spent several hours in the 
Ambrosian Library, conducted through it by the Abbe Bentivo- 
glio, a man of great erudition, whom Lady Blessington had 
known in Naples, a friend of the good Archbishop of Tarento. 
The library contains 50,000 volumes and 10,000 manuscripts; 

* Tho Idler ia Italy, vol. iii., p. 33. 



THE BLESSINGTONS AT MILAN. 113 

and among its treasures, the "Virgil" that had "belonged to Pe 
trarch, in which is his note to Laura. The next object that ex 
cited Lady Blessington s attention was a lock of golden hair of 
Lucretia Borgia, the daughter of Alexander the Sixth. Once 
before she saw a lock of that same golden hair on the breast 
of Byron, consisting of about twenty fair hairs, resembling fine 
threads of gold, which he had obtained from the ringlet at the 
Ambrosian Library, and always wore. 

Nine or ten letters from Lucretia Borgia to the Cardinal Bem- 
bo are placed in a casket, with the lock of hair she sent to him. 
Lady Blessington makes no mention in her journal of having 
been given a small tress of this golden hair of the too celebrated 
Lucretia ; but that precious gift came into my hands among the 
other papers of Lady Blessington ; and in her hand-writing of 
the envelope that incloses it, it is stated, that the hair in ques 
tion was given to her by the Abbe Bentivoglio, of the Ambrosian 
Library, a descendant of the Bembo family. 

There is a remarkable reference to the hair of Lucretia Bor 
gia in the " New Monthly Magazine :" 

" Auburn is a rare and glorious color, and I suspect will al 
ways be more admired by us of the North, where the fair com 
plexions that recommend golden hair are as easy to be met 
with as they are difficult in the ^outh. Ovid and Aiiacreon, 
the two greatest masters of the ancient world in painting ex 
ternal beauty, both seem to have preferred it to golden, not 
withstanding the popular cry in the other s favor : unless, in 
deed, the hair they speak of is too dark in its ground for auburn. 

" Perhaps the true auburn is something more lustrous through 
out, and more metallic than this. The cedar, with the bark 
stripped, looks more like it. At all events, that it is not the 
golden hair of the ancients has been proved to rue beyond a 
doubt by a memorandum in my possession, worth a thousand 
treatises of the learned. This is a solitary hair of the famous 
Lucretia Borgia, whom Ariosto has so praised for her virtues, and 
whom the rest of the world is so contented to call a wretch. It 
was given rne by a wild acquaintance, who stole it from a lock 
of her hair preserved in the Ambrosian Library at Milan. On 
the envelope he put <i happy motto, 



114 THE BLESSINGTONS AT MILAN. 

* And beauty draws us with a single hair. 

"If ever hair was golden, it is this. It is not red, it is not 
yellow, it is not auburn ; it is golden, and nothing else ; and, 
though natural-looking too, must have had a surprising appear 
ance in the mass. Lucrctia, beautiful in every respect, must 
have looked like a vision in a picture an angel from the sun."* 

As an example of the happy style, and just views, and cor 
rect judgment of Lady .Dlcssington, 1 may cite the following pas 
sage, in reference to a visit to the subterranean shrine of St. 
Carlo Borromeo, in the Duomo, the sarcophagus of rock crystal 
which preserves the mortal remains of the renowned prelate in 
pontifical attire : 

" Carlo Borromeo was one of the most remarkable men to 
whom Italy has ever given birth ; and those who might be dis 
posed to undervalue the canonized saint, must feel a reverence 
for the memory of the man, whose patriotism, courage, and char 
ity entitle his name to the esteem of posterity. Elevated to 
the rank of cardinal at the early age of twenty-two, his conduct 
justified the partiality of his uncle, Pope Pius IV., who conferred 
this dignity on him. As a scholar no less than as a divine was 
this excellent man distinguished ; but his courageous and un 
ceasing exertions during the plague that ravaged his country in 
1576 are beyond all praise. These are remembered with a 
feeling of lively admiration, that the costly trappings and brill 
iant diamonds which decorate his remains might fail to awaken 
for the saint; and we turned from the crystal sarcophagus arid 
its glittering ornaments to reflect on the more imperishable mon 
ument of his virtues the fame they have left behind. 

I could not contemplate the crucifix borne by this good and 
great man in the procession during the fearful plague without 
a sentiment of profound reverence. It is carefully preserved 
under a glass case, and, I confess, appears to me to be a far 
more befitting monument than the costly sarcophagus of rook 
crystal to the glory of him who, actuated by his deep faith in 
it, was enabled to fulfill duties from which the less pious and 
charitable shrank back in terror. "f 

* New Monthly Mag., part iii., 1825. t The Idler in Italy, vol. iii., p. 299. 



RESIDENCE IN PARIS. H5 

From Milan the Blessingtoris turned their steps at length in 
a homeward direction, at least toward Paris, and at the close of 
1828 once more found themselves in their old quarters at Ge- 
noa. Five years previously, Byron often stood conversing with 
Lady Blessington on the balcony of her hotel, or walked about 
the gardens of it with her. The several spots where she re 
membered to have seen him distinctly recalled him to her mem 
ory. She again seemed to look upon him, to see his features, 
to perceive his form, " to hear the sound of that clear, low, and 
musical voice, never more to be heard on earth." But one day, 
while these sweot and bitter fancies were presenting themselves 
to her imagination, she saw a young lady, an English girl, who 
resembled Byron in an extraordinary degree, accompanied by 
an elderly lady. That English girl was " Ada, sole daughter 
.of my house and heart," and the elderly lady was her mother, 
the widow of Lord Byron. 

The City of Palaces had few attractions on this last visit for 
Lady Blessington. 

One episode more in the Italian journals is narrated, and we 
come to the concluding line : " We have bidden farewell to our 
old and well-remembered haunts at Genoa, and to-morrow we 
leave it, and perhaps forever!" 

Here ends the second phase in the career I have before refer 
red to the Italian life of Lady Blessington. 



CHAPTER VI. 

RETURN TO PARIS IN JUNE, 1828. RESIDENCE THERE. DEATH 

OF LORD BLESSIXGTON. DEPARTURE OF LADY BLESSINGTON 

FOR ENGLAND IN NOVEMBER, 1830. 

IN June, 1828, the Blessingtons arrived in Paris, at the ex 
piration of six years from the period of their former sojourn 
there. Their first visitors were the Due and Duchesse de 
Guiche ; the latter " radiant in health and beauty," the Due 
looking, as he always did, " more distingue than any one else 
the perfect beau ideal of a gentleman." 



116 RESIDENCE IN PARIS. 

The Blcssingtons took up their abode in the Hotel de Terasse, 
Rue de Rivoli. After some time they rented the splendid man 
sion of the Mareehal Xey, in the Rue de Bourbons, the princi 
pal apartments of which looked on the Seine, and commanded 
\ a delightful view of the Tuilleries Gardens. This hotel was a 
type of the splendor that marked the dwellings of the imperial 
I noblesse. 

The rent of this hotel was enormously high, and the expense 
which the new inmates went to in adding to the splendor of its 
decorations and furniture was on a scale of magnificence more 
commensurate with the income of a prince of some vieUe cuitr 
than with that of an Irish landlord. 

AYith the aid of those magicians," the French upholsterers, 
the Hotel Xcy soon assumed a wonderful aspect of renewed 
splendor. The principal drawing-room had a carpet of dark 
crimson, with a gold-colored border, with wreaths of flowers of 
brightest hues. The curtains were of crimson satin, with em 
bossed borders of gold color, and the sofas, bergeres, fauteuils, 
UK! chairs, were richly carved and gilt, and covered with satin, 
to correspond with the curtains. Gilt consoles and chiffonicres, 
on which marble tops were placed wherever they could be dis 
posed ; larjje mirrors, gorgeous buhl cabinets, costly pcndulcs of 
bronze, magnificent candelabras, abounded in the long suite of 
salons, boudoirs, and sitting-rooms. The furniture of the bed 
room was kept a secret by Lord Blessington till quite completed, 
in order to give a surprise to her ladyship when its surpassing 
splendor was to burst upon her all at once at the first view of 
this apartment. ; The only complaint I ever have to make of 
his taste," observes her ladyship, " is its too great splendor. . . 
. . . . "\\ c feel like children with a new plaything in our beau 
tiful house ; but how, after it, shall we ever be able to reconcile 
ourselves to the comparatively dingy rooms in >St. James s 
Square, which no furniture or decoration could render any thing 
like the Hotel Key?"* 

At length, ; the scheme laid by Lord Blessington" to surprise 
his lady " for he delighted in such plans" was revealed on 

Th<- Idler in Franco, vol. j., p. 117. 



RESIDENCE IN IRAKIS. 117 

the doors of the chambre a coucher and dressing-room being 
thrown open. " The whole fitting up," says Lady Blessington, 
" is in exquisite taste ; and, as usual, when my most gallant of 
all gallant husbands that it ever fell to the happy lot of woman 
to possess interferes, no expense has been spared. The bed, 
which is silvered instead of gilt, rests on the backs of two large 
silver swans, so exquisitely sculptured that every feather is in 
alto-relievo, and looks as fleecy as those of the living bird. 
The recess in which it is placed is lined with white fluted silk, 
bordered with blue embossed lace ; and from the columns that 
support the frieze of the recess, pale blue silk curtains, lined 
with white, are hung, which, who ti drawn, conceal the recess 
altogether." 

In one of her letters she enlarges on this subject. 

"A silvered sofa has been made, to fit the side of the room 
opposite the fire-place, near to which stands a most inviting Lcr- 
gcrc. An escritoire occupies one panel, a book-stand the other, 
and a rich coffer for jewels forms a pendant to a similar one for 
lace or India shawls. A carpet of uncut pile, of a pale blue, a 
silver lamp, and a Psyche glass ; the ornaments, silvered, to cor 
respond with the decorations of the chamber, complete the fur 
niture. The hangings of the dressing-room are of blue silk, 
covered with lace, and trimmed with rich frills of the same ma 
terial, as are also the dressing-stands and ehaire longnc, and the 
carpet and lamp are similar to those of the bed. A toilet-table 
stands before the window, and small jardinieres are placed in 
front of each panel of looking-glass, but so low as not to impede 
a full view of the person dressing in this beautiful little sanc 
tuary. The salle de bain is draped with white muslin, trimmed 
with lace ; and the sofa arid the lergere. arc covered with the 
same. The bath is of marble, inserted in the floor, with which 
its surface is level. On the ceiling over it is a painting of Flora, 
scattering flowers with one hand, while from the other is sus 
pended an alabaster lamp in the form of a lotus." 

Poor Lady Blessington, summing up the wonderful effects of 
the various embellishments and decorations, the sensations pro 
duced by such luxuriant furniture, coffers for jewels and India 



118 RESIDENCE IN PARIS. 

shawls, gorgeous hangings, and glittering ornaments of every 
kind, observes : " The effect of the whole is chastely beautiful, 
and a queen could desire nothing better for her own private 
apartments." 

The gilt frame-work of the bed, resting on the backs of the 
large silver swans, it does not do to think of when visiting the 
Mountjoy Forest estate in Tyrone, that did belong to the late 
Earl of Blesskigton, when one enters the cabin of one of the 
now indigent peasantry, from the sweat of whose brow the 
means were derived that were squandered in luxury in foreign 
lands, luxury on a pai with any Oriental voluptuousness of which 
we read in the adornment of palaces. 

Lord Blessington, when fitting up the Hotel Key in this sump 
tuous manner, was co-operating very largely indeed with others 
of his order, equally improvident and profuse, in laying the 
I foundation of the Encumbered Estates Court Jurisdiction in 
Ireland. 

We are reminded, by the preceding account of the fitting up 
of the Hotel Ney for the Blessingtons, of the imperial pomp of 
one of the palaces of Napoleon, a short time only before 1m 
downfall. At Fontainebleau, soon after the abdication of the em 
peror, Haydon visited the palace, and thus describes the mag 
nificence which was exhibited in the decoration and furniture 
of that recent sojourn of imperial greatness : 

"The chateau I found superb, beyond any palace near Paris. 
It was furnished with fine taste. Napoleon s bed hung with 
the richest Lyons green velvet, with painted roses, golden fringe 
a foot deep ; a footstool of white satin, with gold stars ; the top 
of the bed gilt, with casque and ostrich plumes, and a golden 
eagle in the centre grappling laurel. Inside the bed was a mag 
nificent mirror, and the room and ceiling were one mass of gold 
en splendor. The panels of the sides were decorated in chiaro 
scuro with the heads of the greatest men. 

" No palace of any sultan of Bagdad or monarch of India ever 
exceeded the voluptuous magnificence of these apartments." 

Shortly before the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act, 
Lady Blessington received at Paris a letter from Lord Rosslyn, 



VIEWS ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF IRELAND. 119 

urging the attendance of Lord Blessington in his place in Par 
liament, and his support of the Emancipation Act. 

Lord Blessington, on receipt of Lord Rosslyn s letter, imme 
diately proceeded from Paris to London, expressly to give his 
vote in favor of the great measure of Emancipation. 

" His going to England/ observes Lady Blessington, * at this 
moment, when he is lar from well, is no little sacrifice of per 
sonal comfort ; but never did lie consider self when a duty was 
to be performed. I wish the question was carried, and he safe 
ly back airain. What would our political friends say if they 
knew how strongly I urged him not to go, but to send his proxy 
to Lord Rosslyn?"* 

\\ hile Lord Blessington remained in London, i had the pleas 
ure of seeing him on several occasions. A day or two before 
his departure from London, I breakfasted with him at his resi 
dence at St. James s -Square. 

I never saw him to more advantage, or more deeply interest 
ed on any public matter, than he seemed to be in the measure 
he had come over to support, and which he deemed of the high 
est importance to the true interests of Ireland. 

Whatever the defects may have been in his character, in one 
respect he was certainly faultless : he had a sincere love for his 
country and for his countrymen. 

The following fctateracnt of his opinions on the means of bet 
tering the condition oi the country was made to me four years 
previously to the period above-mentioned, when presenting me 
with a letter of introduction to the British minister at Constan 
tinople.! 

" I wish you would, at Constantinople or Smyrna, turn your 
thoughts to the subject of Ireland ; but it is a diincult task to 

* The Idler in France, vol. ii., p. G. 

t "Naples, August 15th, 1824. 

" MY DEAR SIR, I send you the letter for Lord Strangford, which I hope may 
be useful to you. I trust the experiment you are about to make will be success 
ful. You will have the advantage, at least, of seeing the world ; and a medical 
man has very great opportunities of seeing the interior of Turkish modes of life. 
Wishing you health and prosperity, I remain, yours very truly, 

" BLESSINGTON. 

"R. R. Madden, Esq." 



120 MEWS OX THE IMPROVEMENT OF IRELAND. 

encounter, as you say, for an Irishman indignant at many acts 
of former oppression and injustiec. Upon the subject of repeal 
of the "Union, I fear it would be worse than a negative measure. 
"We are impoverished in money and talent. England has a su- 
perabundaney of the one, and a sufficiency of the other, if she 
will apply her materials to our good, ^end the Parliament back 
to Dublin, and that city will, perhaps, flourish again ; but 1 fear 
the same e fleet could not be produced through the kingdom ; 
and if, to forward the views which I think absolutely necessary 
for Ireland, the Commons imposed heavy taxes, being refused 
aid from England, the people would have cause for dissatisfac 
tion, and an Irishman s mode of expressing it is blows, and not 
words. Let the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland separate it 
self in toto from the Pope, and receive from the British Parlia 
ment a respectable revenue. Establish a better mode of edu 
cating the priesthood, take away the tithes, and pay the Reform 
ed Church out of the public purse. Admit Catholics to the 
houses of Parliament and the Bench, at the same time establish 
ing throughout Ireland an extensive gendarmerie, not for polit 
ical, but policial purposes, Make the nobility and gentry live 
on their estates or sell them. Give a grant sufficient to cut ca- 
iials in all directions. Establish co]onies of industrious citizens 
in what are now barren districts. Let there be neither Ribbon- 
men, Free-masons, or Orangemen. Let the offenders against 
the public peace, of whatever party, be sent to the colonies. 
Let the middling classes be taught that public money is levied 
for the public good, and not for individual advantage, and then 
Ireland will be, what it should be from its situation and with its 
natural advantages, a gem in the ocean." 

His lordship had returned from London only a few days, when, 
one forenoon, feeling himself slightly indisposed, he took some 
spoonfuls of eau de Melisse in water, and rode out, accompa 
nied by his servant, in the heat of the day, along the Champs 
Elysees. 

lie had not proceeded far when he was suddenly attacked by 
apoplexy, and was carried home in a state of insensibility, where 
all means wexv, vrorteil to in vain for his relief. 



LORD BLESSINGTON S DEATH. 



121 



On the 23d of May, 1829, thus suddenly died Charles James 
Gardiner, second Lord Blessington, in his forty-sixth year. He 
was the only surviving son of the first marriage of Viscount 
Mountjoy. 

At the age of sixteen he succeeded his father, who was slain 
at Ross, June 5th, 1798. He was elected a representative Peer 
for Ireland about 1809, and was advanced to his earldom, June 
22d, 1816. 

Lord Blessington s remains were conveyed to Ireland, arid de 
posited in the family vault, in St. Thomas s Church, Marlbor- 
ough Street, where his father s remains were "buried, and also 
those of his first wife ; of his son and heir, the Hon. Luke Will 
iam Gardiner; of his sister Margaret, the wife of the Hon. John 
Hely Hutchinson ; of his sister Louisa, wife of the Right Rev. 
Dr. Fowler, Lord Bishop of Ossory ; and of his sister, the Hon. 
Harriet Gardiner. In the church there is only one mural tablet 
bearing an inscription in memory of any member of the Bless 
ington family. 

To the loved Memory 
Of the HONORABLE MARGARET, Wife of 

JOHN HELY HUTCHINSON, ESQ., 

Daughter of Luke Gardiner, Viscount Mountjoy, 

Who fell at New Ross, in 1798, 

At the head of his Regiment : 
She died October 13, 1825, aged 29 years. 

The remains of the husband of this lady, the Right Hon. John 
Hely Hutchinson, third Earl of Donoughmore, were deposited in 
the same vault, September 17, 1851. The earl died in his sixty- 
fourth year. 

In one of Mr. Landor s unpublished " Imaginary Conversa 
tions," in which the discoursers are Lord Mountjoy, the father of 
the Earl of Blessington, and Lord Edward Fitzgerald, there are 
two notes written in 1829, immediately after the death of Lord 
Blessington. In the first note Mr. Landor observes : 

" Lord Mountjoy was killed in the beginning of the insurrec 
tion of 1798 ; he left an only son, the Earl of Blessington, who 
voted for the Union in the hope that it would be beneficial to 



122 LETTER OF MR. LAN DOR. 

Ireland,* though the project had suspended the erection of sev 
eral streets and squares on his estate in Dublin, and it was proved 
to him that he must lose by it two thirds of his rent-roll ; he 
voted likewise in defense of Queen Caroline, seeing the insuffi 
ciency of the evidence against her, and the villainy of the law 
officers of the crown : he esteemed her little, and was person 
ally attached to the king. For these votes, and for all he ever 
gave, he deserves a place, as well as his father, in the memory 
of both nations." 

The second note thus refers to the recent death of Lord Bless- 
ington. 

u Scarcely is the ink yet dry upon my paper, when intelligence 
reaches me of the sudden death of Lord Blcssington. 

" Adieu, most pleasant companion ! Adieu, most warm-heart 
ed friend ! Often and long, and never with slight emotion, shall 
I think of the many hours we have spent together ; the light 
seldom ending gravely ; the graA r er always lightly. 

" It will be well, and more than I can promise to myself, if 
my regret at your loss shall hereafter be quieted by the assur 
ance which she, who best knew your sentiments, has given me, 
that by you, among the many, I was esteemed and beloved among 
the few." 

On the news of the death of Lord Blessihgton reaching Mr. 
Landor, he addressed the following lines to the countess : 

<; Baths of Lucca, June 6. 

" DEAR LADY BLESSIXGTOX. If I defer it any longer, I know not how or 
when I shall be able to fulfill so melancholy a duty. The whole of this day I 
have spent in that torpid depression, which you may feel without a great ca 
lamity, and which others can never feel at all. Every one that knows me 
knows the sentiments I bore toward that disinterested, and upright, and kind- 
hearted man, than whom none was ever dearer or more delightful to his 
friends. If to be condoled with by many, if to be esteemed and beloved by all 
whom you have admitted to your society, is any comfort, that comfort at least 
is yours. I know how inadequate it must lie at such a moment, but I know 
too that the sentiment will survive when the bitterness of sorrow shall have 
passed away. Yours very faithfully, W. S. LANDOR." 

Mr. Landor is mistaken. Lord Blessington did not vote for the Union 
R, R. M. 



LETTERS. 



123 



In another letter to Lady Blessington, Mr. Landor thus ex 
pressed himself on the same subject : 

"July 21,1289. 

" DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, Too well was I aware how great my pain 
must be in reading your letter. So many hopes are thrown away from us by 
this cruel and unexpected blow. I can not part with the one, of which the 
greatness and the justness of your grief almost deprives me, that you will re 
cover your health and spirits. If they could return at once, or very soon, you 
would be unworthy of that love which the kindest and best of human beings 
lavished on you. Longer life was not necessary for him to estimate your af 
fection for him, and those graces of soul which your beauty in its brightest 
day but faintly shadowed. He told me that you were requisite to his happi 
ness, and that he could not live without you. Suppose, then, he had survived 
you, his departure, in that case, could not have been so easy as it was, uncon 
scious of pain, of giving it, or leaving it behind. I am comforted at the re 
flection that so gentle a heart received no affliction from the anguish and de 
spair of those he loved. 

" You have often brought me over to your opinion after an obstinate rather 
than a powerful contest ; let me, now I am more in the right, bring you over 
by degrees to mine. 

" And believe me, dear Lady Blessington, your ever devoted servant, 

"W. S. LANDOR." 

Dr. Richardson, the Eastern traveler, and former traveling 
physician of Lord Blessington, in writing to Lady Blessington 
from Rarnsgate, the 25th of April, 1832, on the death of her 
husband, says, 

" YOUR late lord is never absent from my mind ; during life he occupied the 
largest share of my affections, his friendship was my greatest honor and pride, 
and his memory is the dearest of all in the keeping of my heart. I feel his 
loss every day of my life, and shall never cease to feel it till my eyes close on 
all this scene of things till we meet again in another and a better world. 

" Yours, my dear Lady Blessington, very sincerely, 

" R. RICHARDSON." 

At the time of the decease of Lord Blessington, his affairs 
were greatly embarrassed. The enormous expenditure in 
France and Italy, and in London also, previously to his departure 
for the Continent in 1822, was not met by the rental of his vast 
estates. 

It will be seen by the schedules appended to the act of Par 
liament for the sale of the Blessington estates (to be found in 
the Appendix), that the rental of the properties referred to in 



12 4 THE BLESSINGTON ESTATES. 

the act was estimated, in 1846, at 22,718 14s. 7d. But when 
his lordship succeeded to the title and estates, the rental was 
about 30,000 a year. 

In 1814 he sold a valuable property in the barony of Stra- 
bane, in the county of Tyrone, the rental of which was very con 
siderable. The remaining estates, by mismanagement, constant 
changes of agents, the pressure of mortgages, and other causes 
of ruin, arising out of absenteeism, improvidence, and embar 
rassments, became much reduced. 

The extent of the Mountjoy territory in Tyrone and Donegal, 
into which Lord Blessington came to possession, may be imag 
ined, when the extreme length of one of the Tyrone properties 
could be described as " a ride of several miles." 

The three estates of Lord Blessington in Tyrone were the fol 
lowing : 

1st. The JSTewtown Stewart estate, called Mountjoy Forest, 
on which property the residence of Lord Blessington, " the Cot 
tage," was situated, which was sold in 1846 or 1847. 

2d. The Mountjoy estate near Killymoon produced 5000 
or 6000 a year. The demesne, comprising one thousand nine 
hundred acres, according to Mr. Graham s account, " the largest 
demesne in Europe of any private gentleman s property," was 
sold four or five years ago. 

3d. Aughcrtain estate, near Clogher, the first portion of the 
estreated Ulster lands which came into the possession of one of 
the first adventurers in Ireland of the Stewart family, comprised 
fourteen town lands ; it was sold for 98,000. The produce 
of the sale of a large portion of the territory of the O Ncil of 
the Red Hand went to pay the debts of a French count to the 
Jews and money-lenders of London. 

In the county of Donegal there was another estate of the 
Mountjoy family, named " Conroy ;" but this valuable property 
had been sold previously to the death of Lord Blessington. 

In 1813 Lord Blessington obtained advances of money from 
the Globe Insurance Company, for which he gave them an an 
nuity for one young life. Amount of annuity, 526. 

In 1813 he got money again from the same company, for 



CHARGES ON THE ESTATES. 



125 



which he gave an annuity for the life of A. Mocatta, a youth, 
of 520. 

In 1813 he got money from the company, for which he gave 
an annuity for the life of William Coles, of 510. 

In 1813 he obtained money from the same company, for 
which he gave an annuity for the life of A. Angelo Tremonan- 
do, of 527. 

In 1814 he obtained money from A. Tremonando, and gave 
a life annuity of 880. 

In 1814, for other pecuniary accommodation, he gave an an 
nuity to Alexander Nowel], for the lives of Frances and Henry 
Josias Stracy, and Rev. T. Whittaker, of 1000. 

In 1816 he obtained money advances from Henry Fauntleroy, 
for which he gave an annuity for the lives of John Fauntleroy, 
and William and James Watson, of 500. 

In 1817 Lord Blessington borrowed largely money on mort 
gages. In that year he raised on mortgage to Conyngham 
M< Alpine, Esq., 11,076. 

In 1821 he borrowed from the Westminster Insurance Com 
pany, on mortgage, 25,000. 

In 1825 he borrowed from the same company, on mortgage, 
5000. 

In 1823 he borrowed from Thomas Tatham, Esq., on mort 
gage, 4000. 

, The following items give the principal amounts of annuities, 
mortgages, judgments, and other debts, legacies, sums of mon 
ey, and incumbrances charged upon or affecting the estate of 
Charles John, Earl of Blessington, at the time of his decease : 

Mortgages from 1783 to 1823 inclusive, 47,846. 

Legacies of the late earl, 23,353. 

Legacy to the Honorable Harriet Gardiner, to be raised only 
on certain contingencies set forth in the will, 9230. 

Settlement on marriage of Lady Harriet with Count D Orsay, 
40,000. 

Judgments, 13,268. Bond debts, 10,357. 

Promissory notes, letters of acknowledgments, and I. 0. U. s, 
from 1808 to 1828, 10,122. 



!20 DEEDS OF SETTLEMENT. 

Simple contract debts due, or claimed to be due, to parties by 
the Earl of Blessington, 6878. 

Total of debts, incumbrances, and legacies of the Earl of 
Blessington, set forth in the fourth schedule, 161,044. 

But to this sum there is to be added that of annuities given, 
by Lord Blessington to various parties, bankers, Jews, and oth 
ers, to the amount of 7887. 

By the fifth schedule appended to the act, it appears the 
mortgages and sums of money which had been charged by the 
Count D Orsay on the estates of Lord Blessington from 1837 to 
1845 amounted to 20,184. 

An act of Parliament (Viet. 9, cap. 1) was passed the 18th of 
June, 1846, "for vesting the real estates of the Earl of Bless 
ington in trustees for sale, for the payment of his debts, and for 
other purposes." 

The act sets out with reciting a deed of settlement, dated 3d 
of August, 1814, made shortly after the first marriage of the 
earl. 

By this deed, Josias Henry Stracey, Esq., of Berners Street, a 
partner of Fauntleroy, the banker, was appointed a trustee over 
all the Tyrone estates, for the purpose of securing to Lord Bless- 
ingtou s son, Charles John Gardiner, a sum of 12,000 on his 
coming of age, and the interest of that sum till he had obtained 
the age of twenty-one. 

The next deed recited is one of lease and release, dated 16th 
of February, 1818, on the occasion of the intended marriage of 
the earl with Margaret Farmer, of " Manchester Square, widow," 
settling one thousand a year on that lady in the event of that 
marriage taking place ; which marriage eventually took place 
the 16th of February, 1818. 

The will of the earl, dated 31st of August, 1823, is next re 
cited, bequeathing "2000 British per annum to Lady Blessing- 
ton (inclusive of 1000 settled on her at the time of his mar 
riage), to Robert Power 1000, and Mary Anne Power 1000 
each. To his daughter, Lady Harriet, all his estates in the 
county of Dublin, subjected to certain charges," provided she 
intermarried with his " friend and intended son-in-law. Alfred 



DEEDS OF SETTLEMENT. 127 

D Orsay ;" and in the event of her refusal, he bequeathed to her 
only the sum of 10,000. To his daughter Emilie Rosalie 
Gardiner, commonly called Lady Mary Gardiner, whom he here 
by acknowledged and adopted as his daughter, he left the sum 
of 20,000 ; but in case she married Alfred D Orsay, he be 
queathed all his Dublin estates to her, chargeable, however, 
with the payment of the annuity before mentioned to Lady 
Blessington. To his son, Charles John Gardiner, he left all his 
estates in Tyrone, subject to certain charges, also the reversion 
of his Dublin estates in case of failure of male issue, lawfully 
begotten, of said daughters. 

[It is to be borne in mind, when this will was made, the 31st 
of August, 1823, his lordship s daughter Harriet, whose mar 
riage he provided for, being born the 3d of August, 1812, was 
just eleven years of age.] 

The act then goes on to recite a deed of settlement made in 
contemplation of the marriage between Count and Countess 
D Orsay, dated 2d of November, 1827 ; the parties to this deed 
being Lord Blessington of the first part, Count D Orsay of the 
second part, Lady Harriet Gardiner of the third part, the Due de 
Guiche, lieutenant general and premier (ecuyer) of his royal 
highness the Dauphin, and Robert Power, formerly captain of 
the 2d Regiment of Foot, then residing at Mountjoy Forest, of 
the fourth part. 

The deed is stated to be for the purpose of making a provi 
sion for the said Alfred, Count D Orsay, and Lady Harriet Gar 
diner, who is described as " then an infant of the age. of fifteen 
years or thereabouts." 

Lord Blessington bound himself by this deed to pay, within 
twelve months after the solemnization of this marriage, the sum 
of 20,000 British to the trustees, the Due de Guiche and Rob 
ert Power ; and bound his executors, within twelve months after 
his decease, to pay said trustees 20,000 more, to be invested 
in the funds, and the interest thereof to be paid to Count D Or 
say, and after his decease to the said Lady Harriet during her 
life ; the principal at her death to go to any issue by that mar 
riage ; and in the event of failure of issue, to be held in trust 



128 BEQUESTS OF LORD BLESSINGTON. 

for the executor and administrator of the said Alfred, Count 
D Orsay. 

Then the act recites the marriage of the Count D Orsay with 
Lady Harriet during the lifetime of the said earl, of there being 
no issue by that marriage, and of their Icing separated in the year 
1831, and having lived wholly separate from that time.* 

The death of the earl is then mentioned, having occurred ori 
the 25th of May, 1829, and the fact of the will being duly 
proved in the Prerogative Court ; and it is also stated that his 
lordship was possessed of estates in Kilkenny which were not 
devised by his will ; that his lordship s son, Charles John Gar 
diner, had filed a bill against Lady Blessington, Count and 
Countess D Orsay, in 1831 ; that the will was declared by a de 
cree in Chancery well proven, and that the trusts therein speci 
fied should be carried into execution ; that receivers should be 
appointed ; that Luke Norrnaii should continue agent of the es 
tates, and that an account should be taken of all debts and in- 
cumbrances on the same ; that the 18th of June, 1834, the Mas 
ter in Chancery reported on the charges arid debts on the estates, 
and on the 14th of July, 1834, an order was made directing a 
sum of j500 to be paid yearly to the Count D Orsay, and 450 
to the Countess D Orsay, for their maintenance. 

Various bequests of his lordship are recited in this document : 
to Lady Blessington he bequeathed the lease of his house in 
London (in St. James s Square) ; at the expiration of the lease, 
the furniture, books, &c., were to be removed to Mountjoy For 
est estate in Tyrone, where a house was to be built according 
to plans then laid down, empowering executors to borrow money 
for the purpose. " All his carriages, her paraphernalia and 
plate," he left also to his wife ; to his son John " his plate, 
wardrobe, swords," &c., ixc. He appointed Alfred D Orsay 
guardian of his son Charles John Gardiner till he carne of age, 
the previous settlement of JC12,000 to be null and void on his 
obtaining the Tyrone estates. " He appointed his beloved wife 
guardian of his daughter Harriet Anne, and appointed his sister 

* The date of the deed of separation between the Count and Countess D Orsay 
is the 15th and 16th of February, 1838. 



DEED OF SEPARATION. 129 

Harriet guardian of his daughter commonly called Lady Mary." 
To his sister, Miss Harriet Gardiner, he left an annuity for life 
of 500. 

A deed of separation between the Count and Countess D Or- 
say is referred to, setting forth that Count D Orsay had granted 
several annuities for his life to his creditors, with power to re 
purchase the same, and had charged the interest on the two 
sums of .20,000 settled on him at the period of his marriage 
by Lord Blessington, and that he required a sum to redeem the 
same amounting to about 23,500. 

That Countess D Orsay also had incurred some debts, and re 
quired a sum of 10,000, or thereabouts, to discharge the same ; 
that Charles John Gardiner had incurred some debts, secured 
by judgments on the Tyrone estates, amounting to 10,000; 
and that Countess D Orsay had entered into an agreement to 
purchase all the interests and claims of the several parties to 
whom bequests were made and debts were due, and that to pay 
off said incumbrances and liabilities a sum of 120,500, ap 
plicable to the purchase of Count D Orsay s annuities and some 
other purposes, would be required. By a subsequent agree 
ment, the latter sum was raised to 180,000, "and such other 
sums as might be found necessary" among other objects for se 
curing to Count D Orsay, within a period of ten years, a sum of 
42,000. 

Eventually, by two orders of the Court of Chancery, one of the 
6th of February, 1845, and another the 13th of February, 1846, 
it was decreed the trustees, when the sanction of an act should 
be procured, would be empowered to make sales of several es 
tates to the amount of 350,000, to pay off all incumbrances 
and claims. 

The act for the sale of the Blessington estates was passed in 
1846. Its provisions have been duly carried into execution. Of 
the vast properties of the Mountjoys, there remains a remnant 
of them, producing about 6000 a year, to be still disposed of. 

Lord Blessington by his will put an end to the wealth, honor, 
and territorial greatness of the ancient race of the Mountjoys. 

Thus passes away the glory of " the English Pale" in Ireland. 

F 2 



THREE REMARKABLE WOMEN. 



CHAPTER VII. 

CONVERSATIONAL POWERS OF DISTINGUISHED PERSONS. SEA- 
MORE PLACE AND GORE HOUSE LITERARY CIRCLES. RIVAL SA 
LONS OF HOLLAND HOUSE, AND REUNIONS AT THE COUNTESS 
OF CHARLEVILLE S. RESIDENCE OF LADY BLESSINGTON AT 
SEAMORE PLACE FROM 1832 TO 1836, AND AT GORE HOUSE, 
KENSINGTON GORE, FROM 1836 TO APRIL, 1849. 

ABOUT twenty years ago there were three circles of fashion 
able society in London, wherein the intellectual celebrities of 
the time did chiefly congregate. Three very remarkable wom 
en presided over them : the Countess of Blessington, the Count 
ess of Charlevillc, and Lady Holland. The qualities, mental 
and personal, of the ladies, differed very much ; but their tastes 
concurred in one particular : each of them sought to make so 
ciety in her house as agreeable as possible, to bring together as 
much ability, wit, and intellectual acquirements as could be as 
sembled and associated advantageously ; to elicit any kind, or 
any amount, however small, of talent that any individual in 
that society might possess, and to endeavor to make men of let 
ters, art, or science, previously unacquainted, or estranged, or 
disposed to stand aloof, and to isolate themselves in society, think 
kindly and favorably of one another. I am not quite sure, how 
ever, that a very kindly feeling toward each other prevailed 
among the rival queens of London literary society. 

The power and influence of Lady Blessington s intellectual 
qualities consisted chiefly in her conversational talents. It would 
be difficult to point out any particular excellence, and to say that 
one constituted the peculiar charm of her conversation. 

It was something of frankness and archness, without the least 
mixture of ill nature, in every thing she said, of enjoucmcnt in 
every thought she uttered, of fullness of confidence in the out- 
spoakinp of her sentiments, and the apparent absence of ovory 



LADY BLESSINGTON S INTELLECTUAL QUALITIES. 131 

arriere pensce in her mind, while she laughed out unpremeditat 
ed ideas, and bo?i mots spontaneously elicited, in such joyous 
tones, that it might be said she seldom talked without a smile 
at least on her lips ; it was something of felicity in her mode 
of expression, and freedom in it from all reserve, superadded to 
the effect produced by singular loveliness of face, expressiveness 
of look and gesture, and gracefulness of form and carriage, that 
constituted the peculiar charm of the conversation of Lady Bless- 
ington. 

She seldom spoke at any length, never bored her hearers with 
disquisitions, nor dogmatized on any subject, and very rarely 
played the learned lady in discourse. She conversed with all 
around her in " a give and take" mode of interchange of senti 
ments. She expressed her opinions in short, smart, and telling 
sentences ; brilliant things were thrown off with the utmost 
ease ; one bon mot followed another, without pause or effort, for 
a minute or two, and then, while her wit and humor were pro 
ducing their desired effect, she would take care, by an apt word 
or gesture, provocative of mirth and communicativeness, to draw 
out the persons who were best fitted to shine in company, and 
leave no intelligence, however humble, without affording it an 
opportunity and an encouragement to make some display, even 
in a single trite remark or telling observation in the course of 
conversation. 

How well Lady Blessington understood the excellencies and 
art of brilliant and effective conversation, may be noticed in the 
following observation : 

" The conversation of Lamartirie," says Lady Blessington, " is 
lively and brilliant. He is, I am persuaded, as amiable as he is 
clever, with great sensibility, which is indicated in his counte 
nance as well as it is proved in his works ; he possesses sufficient ! 
tact to conceal, in general society, every attribute peculiar to the . 
poetical temperament, and to appear only as a well-informed, 
well-bred, sensible man of the world. This tact is probably the 
result of his diplomatic career, which, compelling a constant 
friction with society, has induced the adoption of its usages."* 
* The Idler in Italy, Par. ed., p. 372, 1839. 



13 2 LADY BLESSINGTON S INTELLECTUAL QUALITIES. 

We are told that " books which make one think" are most 
valued by people of high intelligence ; but conversation which 
makes one think I do not think is the description of discourse 
which would tell best in the salons, even of Gore House, when 
it was most frequented by eminent literary men, artists, and 
state politicians. Conversation which makes one laugh, which 
tickles the imagination, which drives rapidly, pleasantly, and 
lightly over the mind, and makes no deep impression on the 
road of the understanding, which produces oblivion of passing 
cares, and amuses for the time being, is the enjoyment in real 
ity that is sought in what is called the brilliant circles of litera 
ture and of art, a la mode. How does the conversation of such 
circles tally with the taste for reading referred to in the follow 
ing passage ? 

" I, for my own part," says Archdeacon Hare, " have ever 
gained the most profit, and the most pleasure also, from the 
books which have made me think the most ; and when the dif 
ficulties have once been overcome, these are the books which 
have struck the deepest root, not only in my memory and under 
standing, but likewise in my affections. If you would fertilize 
the mind, the plow must be driven over and through it. The 
gliding of wheels is easier and rapider, but only makes it harder 
and more barren. Above all, in the present age of light read 
ing, that is, of reading hastily, thoughtlessly, indiscriminately, 
unfruitfully, when most books are forgotten as soon as they are 
finished, and very many sooner, it is well if something heavier 
is cast now arid then into the midst of the literary public. This 
may scare and repel the weak ; it will rouse and attract the 
stronger, and increase their strength by making them exert it. 
Tn the sweat of the brow is the mind as well as the body to eat 
its bread. Are writers, then, to be studiously difficult, and to tie 
knots for the mere purpose of compelling their readers to untie 
them ? Not so. Let them follow the bent of their own minds. 
Let their style be the faithful mirror of their thoughts. Some 
minds are too rapid, and vehement, arid redundant to flow along 
iu lucid transparence ; some have to break over rocks, and to 
force a way through obstacles which would have dammed them 



LADY BLESSINGTON S INTELLECTUAL QUALITIES. 133 

in. Tacitus could not write like Caesar. Niebuhr could not write 
like Goldsmith."* 

Goldsmith s conversation, however, was not calculated to 
make men in society either think or laugh much. 

" Mr. Fox," we are told, in a recent biography, "declared that 
he learned more from conversation than all the books he had 
ever read. It often happens, indeed, that a short remark in con 
versation contains the essence of a quarto volume."! 

Lady Blessington had a particular turn for cramming a vast 
deal of meaning into an exceeding small number of words. She 
not only had a natural talent for condensing thoughts, and pro 
ducing them in terse, vigorous, and happily-selected terms, but 
she made a study of saying memorable things in short, smart 
sentences, of conveying in a remark some idea of the import, 
essence, and merits of an entire book. 

Lord John Russell, in his Preface to the fifth volume of Moore s 
"Memoirs," makes an observation, very just and singularly fe 
licitous in its expression, in reference to the conversational 
powers of Sir James Mackintosh and Sidney Smith: 

" There are two kinds of colloquial wit which equally con 
tribute to fame, though not equally to agreeable conversation. 
The one is like a rocket in a dark air, which shoots at once into 
the sky, and is the more surprising from the previous silence 
and gloom ; the other is like that kind of fire-work which blazes 
and bursts out in every direction, exploding at one moment, and 
shining brightly in its course, and changing its shape and color 
to many forms and many hues. 

" The great delight of Sidney Smith was to produce a suc 
cession of ludicrous images ; these followed each other with a 
rapidity that scarcely left time to laugh ; he himself laughing 
louder and with more enjoyment than any one. This electric 
contact of mirth came and went with the occasion ; it can not 
be repeated or reproduced ; any thing would give occasion to 
it 

"Of all those whose conversation is referred to by Moore, Sir 
James Mackintosh wafe the ablest, the most brilliant, and the 

* Guesses at Truth. f Moore s Memoirs. 



134 LADY BLESSINGTON S INTELLECTUAL QUALITIES. 

best informed. A most competent judge in this matter has said, 
Till subdued by age and illness, his conversation was more 
brilliant and instructive than that of any human being I ever 
had the good fortune to be acquainted with. His stores of 
learning were vast, and of those kinds which, both in serious 
and in light conversation, are most available." 

It would be idle to compare the conversational talents of Lady 
Blessingtoii with those of Sidney Smith or Sir James Mackin 
tosh in any respect but one, namely, the power of making light 
matters appear of moment in society, dull things brilliant, and 
bright thoughts, given utterance to even in sport, contribute to 
the purposes of good humor, tending to enliven, amuse, and ex 
hilarate people s minds in society when sought for amusement 
and relaxation. 

The perfection of conversational talent is said " to be able to 
.say something on any subject that may be started, without be 
traying any anxiety or impatience to say it." The Prince de 
Ligrie, a great authority in conversational matters, said, "Ce qui 
coute le plus pour plaire, c est de cacher que 1 011 s cnnuie. Ce 
ivest pas en amusant qu on plait. On n amuse pas meme si 
1 on s amuse ; c est en faisaiit croire que I oii s amuse." 

Madame de Stael spoke of conversation emphatically as an 
art: 

" To succeed in conversation, we must possess the tact of per 
ceiving clearly, and at every instant, the impression made on 
those with whom we converse ; that which they would fain con 
ceal, as well as that which they would willingly exaggerate the 
inward satisfaction of some, the forced smiles of others. "We 
must be able to note and arrest half-formed censures as they 
pass over the countenance of the listeners, by hastening to dis 
sipate them before self-love be engaged against us. There is 
no arena in which vanity displays itself under such a variety of 
forms as in conversation."* 

Of all the women of our age, Madame dc Stael was the most 
eminently intellectual. With genius, and judgment, and powers 
uf mental application of the highest order, $he was imbued with 

L Allemagm:. 



BYRON S OPINION OF MADAME DE STAEL. 135 

poetry and enthusiasm, she was of a sanguine, impulsive nature, 
wonderfully eloquent, chivalrous, patriotic, a lover of liberty and 
glory, and, withal, womanly in her feelings and affections. She 
delighted in society ; with her large heart, and well-stored head, 
and remarkable powers of conversation, it is no wonder the cir 
cles of a metropolis that was in that day the great centre of civ 
ilization should have peculiar attractions for her ; Paris, with 
its brilliant society, where her literary reputation had its birth, 
became her world. She gloried in society, and was the chief 
grace, glory, and ornament of it. 

Byron, said to Lady Blessington that " Madame de Stael was 
certainly the cleverest, though not the most agreeable woman 
he had ever known ; she declaimed to you instead of convers 
ing with you, never pausing except to take breath ; and if, during 
that interval, a rejoinder was put in, it was evident that she did 
not attend to it, as she resumed the thread of her discourse as. 
though it had not been interrupted." 

His lordship went on to say that she was in the habit of losing 
herself in philosophical disquisitions, and although very eloquent 
and fluent when excited in conversation, her language was some 
times obscure, and her phraseology florid and redundant. 

Lady Blessington s love for London and its celebrities was of 
the same all-absorbing nature as that of Madame de Stael for 
Parisian society. 

The exile of the illustrious baroness from the French capital 
was " a second death" to her, we are told in a recent admirable 
memoir. 

" It appears strange that banishment from Paris should thus 
have been looked upon by Madame de Stael as an evil, and 
cause of suffering almost beyond her endurance. "With her 
great intellectual resources, her fine heart, capable of attaching 
itself to whatever was lovable or excellent, and the power she 
possessed of interesting others, and of giving the tone to what 
ever society she entered, one would have supposed that she, of 
all people, ought not to have depended for her happiness upon 
any clique or association, however brilliant. But, though she 
viewed with deep interest and philosophical curiosity every form 



13 6 MADAME DE STAEL. 

of human society, she only seems to have loved that to which 
she had been accustomed, and to have felt herself at home only 
in the midst of the bustle and excitement among which her life 
had begun. She was not yet fully alive to the beauties of na 
ture. Like Charles Lamb, she preferred the sweet security of 
streets to the most magnificent scenery the world contained, 
and thought, with Dr. Johnson, that there was no scene equal to 
the high tide of human existence in the heart of a populous 
city. When guests who came to visit her at Geneva were in 
ecstasies with its lovely scenes, Give me the Rue de Bac, she 
said : I would rather live in Paris in a fourth story, and with a 
hundred a year. I do not dissemble : a residence in Paris has 
always appeared to me, under any circumstances, the most de 
sirable of all others. French conversation- excels nowhere ex 
cept in Paris, and conversation has been, since my infancy, my 
greatest pleasure. " 

One who knew her peculiar talents and characteristics well 
has observed of her in later years : " An over-stimulated youth, 
acting on a temperament naturally ardent and impassioned, had 
probably aggravated these tendencies to a morbid extent ; for in 
the very prime of her life, and strength of her intellect, it would 
have seemed to her almost as impossible to dispense with the 
luxury of deep and strong emotions, as with the air which sus 
tained her existence." 

Madame de Stael had this advantage over all the learned and 
literary women of her time she was born and bred in the midst 
of intellectual excitement, conversational exhibitions, triumphs 
of imagination, and all the stirring scenes of a grand drama, 
which opened with bright visions of freedom, and renewed vigor 
and vitality for the human race, though it terminated in a ter 
rible denouement of revolution and widely-extended phrensy. 

Madame de Stacl lacked one great source of influence and 
power in conversation, namely, beauty. Her features were 
flexible, but strongly marked and somewhat masculine ; but 
her eyes were full of animation, vivacity, and expression, and 
her voice was finely modulated and harmonious, peculiarly touch 
ing and pleasing to the car, while her movements wore srrace- 



HOLLAND HOUSE. 137 

ful and dignified. She entered on life at the beginning of a 
mighty revolution, with lofty aspirations and glorious inspira 
tions, animated by enthusiastic feelings of love of liberty, of hu 
manity, of glory, and exalted virtue. There was no affectation 
in these heroic sentiments and chivalrous imaginings : they 
were born with her ; they were fostered in her ; the times in 
which her lot was cast developed them most fully. 

It would be vain to look for intellectual power in the literary 
women of other lands, of our time, that could have produced 
"Thoughts on the French Revolution," " Ten Years of Exile," 
" Sophia, or Secret Sentiments," " On the Influence of Passions 
in Individuals and National Happiness," " Literature, consider 
ed in its connection with Social Institutions," "Delphine," " Co- 
rinne," " Germany," &c., &c., &c. 

The labor of her great works on the French Revolution, after 
her return to her beloved Paris, at the period of the restoration 
of Louis the Eighteenth, contributed, it is supposed, to the 
breaking down of her health, after a short but memorable ca 
reer of wonderful literary toil and application of the mental fac 
ulties. She died in 1817, at the age of fifty-one years. 

Of Holland House society, Mr. Macauley, in an article in the 
" Edinburgh Review," has commemorated the brilliancies ; and 
Lord John Russell has likewise recorded its attractions in terms 
worthy of a man of letters and a lover of the amenities of liter 
ature. In his preface to the six volumes of" Moore s Memoirs," 
he seems to revel in the short snatches of literary occupation 
which he has indulged in, at the expense of politics and affairs 
of state, when he describes the conversational powers of Lord 
Holland, and the display of them in those circles which his lord 
ship and his friend Moore were in the habit of frequenting. He 
characterizes the charms of Lord Holland s conversation as com 
bining a variety of excellencies of disposition, as well as of men 
tal endowments, generous sentiments and principles, kindliness 
of nature, warmth of feeling, remarkable cheerfulness of dispo 
sition, toleration for all opinions, a keen sense of the ridiculous, 
good memory, an admirable talent for mimicry, a refined taste, 
an absence of all formality, a genial warmth and friendliness of 



138 HOLLAND HOUSE. 

intercourse in society. " He won," says Lord John, "without 
seeming to court, he instructed without seeming to teach, and 
he amused without laboring to be witty. But of the charm 
which belonged to Lord Holland s conversation future times can 
form no adequate conception : 

" The pliant muscles of the varying face, 

The mien that gave each sentence strength and grace, 
The tuneful voice, the eye that spoke the mind, 
Are gone, nor leave a single trace behind. 

I find among the papers of Count D Orsay a few slight but 
graphic sketches of Lord Holland and some of his contempora 
ries worthy of the writer, and possibly these may be all that 
now remain of those delineations of London celebrities by the 
count which Byron refers to in his letters. 

"It is impossible," says the count, "to know Lord Holland 
without feeling for him a strong sentiment of affection ; he has 
so much goodness of heart, that one forgets often the superior 
qualities of mind which distinguish him ; and it is difficult to 
conceive that a man so simple, so natural, and so good, should 
be one of the most distinguished senators of our days." 

Holland House was the well-known place of reunion of the 
most eminent men of the time for nearly a century ; the scene 
of innumerable wit combats, and keen encounters of intelligence 
and talent. 

The late Lord Holland s reputation for classical attainments 
and high intelligence, fine tastes and cultivated mind, his en 
couragement of art and literature, conversational talents, and 
elegant hospitality, are not better known than his amiability of 
disposition, kindliness of heart, and genial, noble, loving nature, 
prompting him ever to generous conduct, and liberal, and some 
times even heroic acts of benevolence. 

One evidently well acquainted with Lady Holland thus speaks 
of the brilliant circles over which she so long presided, and of 
the qualities of heart and mind which enabled her to give to the 
reunions of men of letters, wit, art, and science, the attractions 
which characterized them. 

* Moore s Memoirs, vol. v. 



HOLLAND HOUSE. 139 

" Beyond any other hostess we ever knew, and very far be 
yond any host, she possessed the tact of perceiving and the pow 
er of evoking the various capacities which lurked in every part 
of the brilliant circles she drew around her. To enkindle the 
enthusiasm of an artist 011 the theme over which he had achieved 
the most facile mastery ; to set loose the heart of the rustic poet, 
and imbue his speech with the freedom of his native hills ; to 
draw from the adventurous traveler a breathing picture of his 
most imminent danger, or to embolden the bashful soldier to 
disclose his own share in the perils and glories of some famous 
battle-field ; to encourage the generous praise of friendship 
when the speaker and the subject reflected interest on each 
other, or win the secret history of some eilort which had aston 
ished the world, or shed new lights on science ; to conduct those 
brilliant developments to the height of satisfaction, and then to 
shift the scene by the magic of a word, were among her daily 
successes. And if this extraordinary power over the elements 
of social enjoyments was sometimes wielded without the entire 
concealment of its despotism if a decisive check sometimes re 
buked a speaker who might intercept the variegated beauty of 
Jeffrey s indulgent criticism, or the jest announced and self-re 
warded in Sidney Smith s delighted and delighting chuckle, the 
authority was too clearly exerted for the evening s prosperity, 
and too manifestly impelled by an urgent consciousness of the 
value of those golden hours which were fleeting within its con 
fines, to sadden the enforced silence with more than a moment 
ary regret. If ever her prohibition, clear, abrupt, and decisive, 
indicated more than a preferable regard for livelier discourse, it 
was when a depreciatory tone was adopted toward genius, or 
goodness, or honest endeavor, or when some friend, personal or 
intellectual, was mentioned in slighting phrase. 

" Habituated to a generous partisanship by strong sympathy 
with a great political cause, she carried the fidelity of her devo 
tion to that cause into her social relations, and was ever the tru 
est and fastest of friends. The tendency, often more idle than 
malicious, to soften down the intellectual claims of the absent, 
which so insidiously besets literary conversation, and teaches a 



14 HOLLAND HOUSE. 

superficial insincerity even to substantial esteem and regard, 
found no favor in her presence ; and hence the convex sations 
over which she presided, perhaps beyond all that ever flashed 
with a kindred splendor, were marked by that integrity of good 
nature, which might admit of their exact repetition to every 
living individual whose merits were discussed without the dan 
ger of inflicting pain. 

" Under her auspices, not only all critical, but all personal talk 
was tinged with kindness ; the strong interest which she took 
in the happiness of her friends shed a peculiar sunniness over 
the aspects of life presented by the common topics of alliances, 
and marriages, and promotions ; and not a promising engage 
ment, or a wedding, or a promotion of a friend s son, or a new 
intellectual triumph of any youth with whose name and history 
she was familiar, but became an event on which she expected 
and required congratulation as on a part of her own fortune. 

" Although there was naturally a preponderance in. her soci 
ety of the sentiment of popular progress, which once was cher 
ished almost exclusively by the party to whom Lord Holland 
was united by sacred ties, no expression of triumph in success, 
no virulence in sudden disappointment, was ever permitted to 
wound the most sensitive ear of her conservative guests. It 
might be that some placid comparison of recent with former 
time spoke a sense of peaceful victory, or that on the giddy edge 
of some great party struggle, the festivities of the evening might 
take a more serious cast as news arrived from the scene of con 
test, and the pleasure be deepened with the peril ; but the feel 
ing was always restrained by the present evidence of perma 
nent solaces for the mind which no political changes could dis 
turb. If to hail and welcome genius, or even talent which re 
vered and imitated genius, was one of the greatest pleasures of 
Lord Holland s life, to search it out and bring it within the 
sphere of his noble sympathy was the delightful study of hers. 
How often, during the last half century, has the steep ascent of 
fame been brightened by the genial appreciation she bestowed, 
and the festal light she cast on its solitude ! How often has the 
assurance of success received its crowning delight amid the ge- 



CHARLEVILLE HOUSE. 141 

nial luxury of her circle, where renown itself has been realized 
in all its sweetness !"* 

CHARLEVILLE HOUSE, CAVENDISH SQUARE. 

The late Dowager Lady Charleville was a remarkable person, 
eminently gifted, and highly accomplished. The author had 
the honor of knowing her ladyship intimately about twenty 
years ago. Few women possessed sounder judgment, or were 
more capable of forming just opinions on most subjects. 

Dublin and its society at the time of the Union, and for some 
years before, as well as after that measure, was a frequent sub 
ject of conversation with her. All the Irish celebrities of those 
times were intimately known by her ; Clare and Castlereagh, 
young Wesley and Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Lord Moira, and 
the Beresfords, cum multis aliis, of most dissimilar political ele 
ments. Throughout her whole career, it seemed to be a settled 
plan of hers to bring persons of worth, of opposite opinions, to 
gether, and to endeavor to get them to think justly and favora 
bly of one another, as if she considered one of the chief causes 
of half the estrangements and animosities that exist was the 
groundless misapprehensions of unacquainted people of the same 
class, pursuits in life, or position in society. 

The Countess Dowager of Cork, at the same period that Ladies 
Blessington, Holland, and Charleville collected round them their 
several celebrities of fashion and literary eminence, was the 
centre of a brilliant circle of London celebrities. From 1820 
to 1840 was frequently to be seen at the London theatres this 
genuine representative, in all but one respect, of the celebrated 
Ninon, de 1 Enclos. 

The Right Hon. Mary, Countess Dowager of Cork and Derry, 
resided for a great many years in New Burlington Street. Her 
ladyship s soirees were not on so extensive a scale as those of 
Lady Blessington and Lady Holland, but still they were crowd 
ed with fashionable and distinguished people. Lady Cork, when 
Miss Monckton, was one of Dr. Johnson s favorites. " Her vivac 
ity," we arc told, " exhilarated the sage ;" and they used to talk 

* Remarks on the character of Lady Holland, in the if Morning Chronicle." 



142 SEAMORE PLACE. 

together with all imaginable ease. Frequent mention of her is 
made by Boswell. She was born in 1746 ; her father was John 
Monckton, first Viscount Galway. In 1784 she married the 
Earl of Cork. For a large portion of her life she occupied a 
conspicuous place in London society. Her residence in New 
Burlington Street was a rendezvous of wits, scholars, sages, and 
politicians, and bas blcux of celebrity. "Her social reputation 
dates from her attempts, the first of the kind (in England), to in 
troduce into the routine and formation of our high life some 
thing of the wit and energy which characterized the society of 
Paris in the last century- While still young, she made the house 
of her mother, Lady Galway, the point of rendezvous where 
talent and genius might mingle with rank and fashion, and 
the advantages of intellectual endowments be mutually inter 
changed." 

The endeavors of Miss Monckton to give a higher tone to the 
society in which she found herself in the latter part of the last 
century had the beneficial effect of thinning the crowds round 
the faro-tables, then the nightly excitement of both sexes. Her 
Sunday parties were the first that were attempted without this 
accompaniment. Her ladyship, to the last enjoying society ; 
" ready for death, but not wishing to see him coming," died at 
the age of ninety-four, in her house in Burlington Street, the 
20th of May, 1840. 

SEAMORE PLACE. 

Lady Blessington, in one of her novels, " The Victims of So 
ciety," wherein abundance of sarcasm was bestowed on the lion 
izing tendencies of English fashionable society, refers to " the 
modern Mecamases of May-fair" (in which locality her ladyship 
resided when this novel was written by her), " who patronise 
poets and philosophers, from association with whom they expect 

to derive distinction A few of the houses, with the most 

pretensions to literary taste, have their tame poets and pctds 
litterateurs, who run about as docile and more parasitical than 
lap-dogs ; and, like them, are equally well fed, ay, and certainly 
equally spoiled. The dull pleasantries, thrice-told anecdotes, 



SEAMORE PLACE. 



143 



and resumes of the scandal of each week, served up rechauffes 
by these pigmies of literature, are received most graciously by 
their patrons, who agree in opinion with the French writer, 
<; Nul iv aura de 1 esprit, 
Hors nous et nos amis. " 

Not even, we may add, in Seamore Place or Kensington Gore, 
where the experience was chiefly gained which enabled poor 
Lady Blessington to delineate " The Victims of Society." 

Lady Blessington returned to London from the Continent in 
November, 1830. In the latter part of 1831 she took up her 
abode in Seamore Place, May Fair. The mansion in St. James s 
Square, which had been bequeathed to her by Lord Blessington, 
was far too expensive an establishment to be kept up by her 011 
an income of two thousand a year. Having disposed of her in 
terest in it, she rented the house in Seamore Place from Lord 
Mountford, and fitted it up in a style of the greatest magnifi 
cence and luxury.* Here, in the month of March, 1832, 1 found 
her ladyship established. The Count and Countess D Orsay 
were then residing with her. The salons of Lady Blessington 
were opened nightly to men of genius and learning, and persons 
of celebrity of all climes, to travelers of every European city of 
distinction. Her abode became a centre of attraction for the 
beau monde of the intellectual classes, a place of reunion for re 
markable persons of talent or eminence of some sort or another, 
and certainly the most agreeable resort of men of literature, art, 
science, of strangers of distinction, travelers, and public charac 
ters of various pursuits, the most agreeable that ever existed in 
this country. 

Perhaps the agremens of the Seamore Place society surpassed 
those of the Gore House soirees. Lady Blessington, when resid- 

* The house in St. James s Square, which had been bequeathed to Lady Bless 
ington by her husband, it was expected, would have added .500 a year to her in 
come for the few years of the unexpired term of the lease. The head rent, how 
ever, was very high, 840 a year. It. had been let to the Windham club, furnish 
ed, for 1350 a year ; but the mode in which the property in the furniture had 
been left by Lord Blessington, and the conditions imposed by the will with re 
spect to its ultimate transfer to Ireland, and the fault, moreover, found with the 
bad state of it, had led to such difficulties, that eventually she relinquished her 
rijht and interest in the house to the executors, Messrs, Norrnan and Worthinrton. 



144 iSEAMORE PLACE. 

ing in the former street, had not then long commenced the ca 
reer of authorship as a pursuit and a speculation. 

In the twelfth letter of "the Pencilings," dated 1834, Mr. 
^Willis gives an account of his first visit to Lady Blessington in 
London, then residing in Seamore Place, certainly more graphic 
than any other description of her reunions that has been given : 

" A friend in Italy had kindly given rue a letter to Lady Bless 
ington, and with a strong curiosity to see this celebrated author 
ess, I called on the second day after my arrival in London. It 
was deep i the afternoon, but I had not yet learned the full 
meaning of town hours. Her ladyship had riot come down to 
breakfast. I gave the letter and my address to the powdered 
footman, and had scarce reached home, when a note arrived in 
viting me to call the same evening at ten. 

" In a long library, lined alternately with splendidly-bound 
books and mirrors, and with a deep window, of the breadth of 
the room, opening upon Hyde Park, I found Lady Blessington 
alone. The picture, to my eye, as the door opened, was a very 
lovely one a woman of remarkable beauty, half buried in a 
fauteuil of yellow satin, reading by a magnificent lamp suspend 
ed from the centre of the arched ceiling ; sofas, couches, otto 
mans, and busts arranged in rather a crowded sumptuousness 
through the room ; enamel tables, covered with expensive and el 
egant trifles in every corner, and a delicate white hand relieved 
on the back of a book, to which the eye was attracted by the 
blaze of its diamond rings. As the servant mentioned my name, 
she rose and gave me her hand very cordially ; and a gentleman 
entering immediately after, she presented me to Count D Orsay, 
the well-known Pelham of London, and certainly the most splen 
did specimen of a man, and a well-dressed one, that I had ever 
seen. Tea was brought in immediately, and conversation went 
swimmingly on. 

" Her ladyship s inquiries were principally about America, of 
which, from long absence, I knew very little. She was ex 
tremely curious to know the degrees of reputation the present 
popular authors of England enjoy among us, particularly Bul- 
wcr and D Isracli (the author of : Vivian Grey ). f If you will 



SEAMORE PLACE. 145 

come to-morrow night, she said, you will see Bulwer. I am 
delighted that he is popular in America. He is envied and 
abused for nothing, I believe, except for the superiority of his 
genius, and the brilliant literary success it commands ; and 
knowing this, he chooses to assume a pride which is only the 
armor of a sensitive mind afraid of a wound. He is to his 
friends the most frank and noble creature in the world, and open 
to boyishness with those who he thinks understand and value 
him. He has a brother Henry, who is also very clever in a 
different vein, and is just now publishing a book on the present 
state of France. 

" Do they like the D Israelis in America V 

" I assured her ladyship that the Curiosities of Literature, 
by the father, and * Vivian Grey and Contarini Fleming, by 
the son, were universally known. 

" * I am pleased at that, for I like them both. D Israeli the 
elder came here with his son the other night. It would have 
delighted you to see the old man s pride in him, and the son s 
respect and affection for his father. D Israeli the elder lives in 
the country, about twenty miles from town ; seldom comes up 
to London, and leads a life of learned leisure, each day hoarding 
up and dispensing forth treasures of literature. He is courtly, 
yet urbane, and impresses one at once with confidence in his 
goodness. In his manners, D Israeli the younger is quite his 
own character of " Vivian Grey ;" full of genius and eloquence, 
with extreme good nature, and a perfect frankness of character. 

" I asked if the account I had seen in some American paper 
of a literary celebration at Canandaigua, and the engraving of 
her ladyship s name with some others upon a rock, was not a 
quiz. 

" * Oh, by no means. I was much amused by the whole af 
fair. I have a great idea of taking a trip to America to see it. 
Then the letter, commencing, " Most charming Countess for 
charming you must be, since you have written the Conversa 
tions of Lord Byron " oh, it was quite delightful. I have 
shown it to every body. By-the-way, I receive a great many 
letters from America from people I never heard of, written in 
. G 



146 



SEAMORE PLACE. 



the most extraordinary style of compliment, apparently in per 
fect good faith. I hardly know what to make of them. 

" I accounted for it by the perfect seclusion in which great 
numbers of cultivated people live in our country, who, having 
neither intrigue, nor fashion, nor twenty other things to occupy 
their minds, as in England, depend entirely upon books, and 
consider an author who has given them pleasure as a friend. 
America, 1 said, has probably more literary enthusiasts than 
any country in the world ; and there are thousands of romantic 
minds in the interior of New England who know perfectly 
every writer on this side of the water, and hold them all in 
affectionate veneration, scarcely conceivable by a sophisticated 
European. If it were not for such readers, literature would be 
the most thankless of vocations ; I, for one, would never write 
another line. 

" And do you think these are the people which write to me? 
If I could think so, I should be exceedingly happy. A great 
proportion of the people of England are refined down to such 
heartlessness ; criticism, private and public, is so much influ 
enced by politics, that it is really delightful to know there is a 
more generous tribunal. Indeed, 1 think many of our authors 
now are beginning to write for America. We think already a 
great deal of your praise or censure. 

" I asked if her ladyship had known many Americans. 

; Not in London, but a great many abroad. I was with 
Lord Blcssington in his yacht at Naples when the American fleet 
was lying there ten or eleven years ago, and we were constantly 
on board your ships. I knew Commodore Creighton and Cap 
tain Deacon extremely well, and liked them particularly. They 
were with us frequently of an evening on board the yacht or 
the frigate, and I remember very well the bands playing always 
" God save the King" as we went up the side. Count D Orsay 
here, who spoke very little English at the time, had a great pas 
sion for " Yankee Doodle," and it was always played at his re 
quest. 

" The count, who still speaks the language with a very slight 
accent, but with a choice of words that shows him to be a man 



SEAMORE PLACE. 147 

of uncommon tact and elegance of mind, inquired after several 
of the officers, whom I have not the pleasure of knowing. He 
seems to remember his visits to the frigate with great pleasure. 
The conversation, after running upon a variety of topics, turned 
very naturally upon Byron. I had frequently seen the Countess 
Ghiiccioli on the Continent, and I asked Lady Blessington if she 
knew her. 

" Yes, very well. We were at Genoa when they were living 
there, but we never saw her. It was at Rome, in the year 1828, 
that I first knew her, having formed her acquaintance at Count 
Furichal s, the Portuguese embassador. 

" It would be impossible, of course, to make a full and fail- 
record of a conversation of some hours. I have only noted one 
or two topics which I thought most likely to interest an Amer 
ican reader. During all this long visit, however, my eyes were 
very busy in finishing for memory a portrait of the celebrated 
and beautiful woman before me. 

" The portrait of Lady Blessington in the Book of Beauty is 
not unlike her, but it is still an unfavorable likeness. A picture 
by Sir Thomas Lawrence hung opposite me, taken, perhaps, at 
the age of eighteen, which is more like her, and as captivating 
a representation of a just matured woman, full of loveliness and 
love, the kind of creature with whose divine sweetness the 
gazer s heart aches, as ever was drawn in the painter s most 
inspired hour. The original is no longer dans sa premiere jeu- 
nesse. Still she looks something on the sunny side of thirty. 
Her person is full, but preserves all the fineness of an admira 
ble shape ; her foot is not pressed in a satin slipper, for which 
a Cinderella might long be sought in vain ; and her complexion 
(an unusually fair skin, with very dark hair and eyebrows) is 
of even a girlish delicacy and freshness. Her dress, of blue 
satin (if I am describing her like a milliner, it is because I have 
here and there a reader in my eye who will be amused by it), 
was cut low, and folded across her bosom, in. a way to show to 
advantage the round and sculpture-like curve and whiteness of 
a pair of exquisite shoulders ; while her hair, dressed close to 
her head, and parted simply on her forehead with a xich feronicr 



148 



SEAMORE PLACE. 



of turquoise, enveloped in clear outline a head with which it 
would be difficult to find a fault. Her features are regular, and 
her mouth, the most expressive of them, has a ripe fullness and 
freedom of play peculiar to the Irish physiognomy, and express 
ive of the most unsuspicious good-hurnor. Add to all this a 
voice merry and sad hy turns, but always musical, and manners 
of the most unpretending elegance, yet even more remarkable 
for their winning kindness, and you have the prominent traits 
of one of the most lovely and fascinating women I have ever 
seen. Remembering her talents and her rank, and the unenvy- 
ing admiration she receives from the world of fashion and ge 
nius, it would be difficult to reconcile her lot to the doctrine 
of compensation. * 

" In the evening I kept my appointment with Lady Blessing- 
ton. She had deserted her exquisite library for the drawing- 
room, and sat, in full dress, with six or seven gentlemen about 
her. I was presented immediately to all ; and when the con 
versation was resumed, I took the opportunity to remark the dis 
tinguished coterie with which she was surrounded. 

" Nearest me sat Smith, the author of * Rejected Addresses 
a hale, handsome man, apparently fifty, with white hair, and a 
very nobly-formed head and physiognomy. His eye alone 
small, and with lids contracted into an habitual look of drollery, 
betrayed the bent of his genius. He held a cripple s crutch in 
his hand, and, though otherwise rather particularly well-dressed, 
wore a pair of large India-rubber shoes the penalty he was pay 
ing, doubtless, for the many good dinners he had eaten. He 
played rather an aside in the conversation, whipping in with a 
quiz or witticism whenever he could get an opportunity, but 
more a listener than a talker. 

" On the opposite side of Lady Blessington stood Henry Bul- 
wer, the brother of the novelist, very earnestly engaged in a 
discussion of some speech of O ConnelPs. He is said by many 
to be as talented as his brother, and has lately published a book 
on the present state of France. He is a small man; very slight 
and gentlemanlike ; a little pitted with the small-pox, and of 

* Pencilings by the Way, p. 355, 350, 



SEAMORE PLACE. 



149 



very winning and persuasive manners. I liked him at the first 
glance. 

" A German prince, with a star on his breast, trying with all 
his might but, from his embarrassed look, quite unsuccessful 
ly to comprehend the drift of the argument ; the Duke de Rich 
elieu ; a famous traveler just returned from Constantinople ; and 
the splendid person of Count D Orsay, in a careless attitude upon 
the ottoman, completed the cordon. 

" I fell into conversation after a while with Smith, who, sup 
posing I might not have heard the names of the others in the 
hurry of an introduction, kindly took the trouble to play the dic 
tionary, and added a graphic character of each as he named 
him. Among other things, he talked a great deal of America, 
and asked me if I knew our distinguished countryman, Wash 
ington Irving. I had never been so fortunate as to meet him. 
You have lost a great deal, he said, for never was so delight 
ful a fellow. I was once taken down with him into the country by 
a merchant to dinner. Our friend stopped his carriage at the gate 
of his park, and asked us if we would walk through his grounds 
to the house. Irving refused, and held me down by the coat, 
so that we drove on to the house together, leaving our host to 
follow on foot. I make it a principle, said Irving, never to 
walk with a man through his own grounds. I have no idea of 
praising a thing whether I like it or not. You and I will do 
them to-morrow morning by ourselves. The rest of the com 
pany had turned their attention to Smith as he began his story, 
and there was a universal inquiry after Mr. Irving. Indeed, 
the first question on the lips of every one to whom I am intro 
duced as an American is of him and Cooper. The latter seems 
to me to be admired as much here as abroad, in spite of a com 
mon impression that he dislikes the nation. No man s works 
could have higher praise in the general conversation that fol 
lowed, though several instances were mentioned of his having 
shown an unconquerable aversion to the English when in En 
gland. Lady Blessington mentioned Mr. Bryant, and I was 
pleased at the immediate tribute paid to his delightful poetry 
by the talented circle around her. 



150 SEAMORE PLACE. 

" Toward twelve o clock Mr. Lytton Bulwer was announced, 
and enter the author of Pelham. I had made up my mind 
how he should look, and, between prints and descriptions, thought 
I could scarcely be mistaken in my idea of his person. No two 
thino-s could be more unlike, however, than the ideal of Mr. 
Buhver in my mind and the real Mr. Bulwer who followed the 
announcement. I liked his manners extremely. He ran up to 
Lady Blessington with the joyous heartiness of a boy let out of 
school ; and the how d ye, Bulwer? went round, as he shook 
hands with every body, in the style of welcome usually given to 
the best fellow in the world. As I had brought a letter of in 
troduction to him from a friend in Italy, Lady Blessington intro 
duced me particularly, and we had a long conversation about 
Naples and its pleasant society. 

" Bulwer s head is phrenologically a fine one. His forehead 
retreats very much, but is very broad and well masked, and the 
whole air is that of decided mental superiority. His nose is 
aquiline. His complexion is fair, his hair profuse, curly, and of 
a light auburn. A more good-natured, habitually-smiling ex 
pression could hardly be imagined. Perhaps my impression is 
an imperfect one, as he was in the highest spirits, and was not 
serious the whole evening for a minute but it is strictly and 
faithfully my impression. 

" I can imagine no style of conversation calculated to be more 
agreeable than Bulwer s. Gay, quick, various, half-satirical, and 
always fresh and different from every body else, he seemed to 
talk because he could not help it, and infected every body with 
his spirits. I can not give even the substance of it in a letter, 
for it was in a great measure local or personal. 

" Bulwer s voice, like his brother s, is exceedingly lover-like 
and sweet. His playful tones are quite delicious, arid his clear 
laugh is the soul of sincere and careless merriment. 

" It is quite impossible to convey in a letter, scrawled literally 
between the end of a late visit and a tempting pillow, the e\a- 
nescent and pure spirit of a conversation of wits. I must con 
fine myself, of course, in such sketches, to the mere sentiment 
of things that concern general literature and ourselves. 



SEAMORE PLACE. 15 1 

" The Rejected Addresses got upon his crutches about three 
o clock in the morning, and I made my exit with the rest, thank 
ing Heaven that, though in a strange country, my mother tongue 
was the language of its men of genius. 

; Letter June 14, 1834. 1 was at Lady Blessington s at eight. 
Moore had not arrived, but the other persons of the party a 
Russian count, who spoke all the languages of Europe as well 
as his own ; a Roman banker, whose dynasty is more powerful 
than the Pope s ; a clever English nobleman, and the ; observed 
of all observers, Count D Orsay, stood in the window upon the 
park, killing, as they might, the melancholy twilight half hour 
preceding dinner. 

" Dinner was announced, the Russian handed down miladi, 
and I found myself seated opposite Moore, with a blaze of light 
on his Bacchus head, and the mirrors with which the superb 
octagonal room is paneled reflecting every motion .... The soup 
vanished in the busy silence that beseems it, and as the courses 
commenced their procession, Lady Blessington led the conversa 
tion with the brilliancy and ease for which she is remarkable 
over all the women I ever met .... 

"O Connell was mentioned. 

" He is a powerful creature, said Moore ; but his eloquence 
has done great harm both to England and Ireland. There is 
nothing so powerful as oratory. The faculty of " thinking on his 
legs" is a tremendous engine in the hands of any man. There 
is an undue admiration for this faculty, and a sway permitted 
to it which was always more dangerous to a country than any 

thing else. Lord A is a wonderful instance of what a man 

may do without talking. There is a general confidence in him 
a universal belief in his honesty, which serves him instead. 
Peel is a fine speaker, but, admirable as he had been as an Op 
positionist, he failed when he came to lead the House. O Con- 
nell would be irresistible, were it not for the two blots on his 
character the contributions in Ireland for his support, and his 
refusal to give satisfaction to the man he is still willing to at 
tack. They may say what they will of dueling : it is the great 
preserver of the decencies of society. The old school, which 



15 2 SEAMORE PLACE. 

made a man responsible for his words, was the better. I must 
confess I think so. Then, in O ConnelPs case, he had not made 
his vow against dueling when Peel challenged him. He ac 
cepted the challenge, and Peel went to Dover on his way to 
France, where they were to meet; and O Connell pleaded his 
wife s illness, and delayed till the law interfered.* Some other 
Irish patriot, about the same time, refused a challenge on ac 
count of the illness of his daughter, arid one of the Dublin wits 
made a good epigram on the two : 

" Some men, with a horror of slaughter, 
Improve on the Scripture command, 
And honor their wife and their daughter, 
That their days may be long in the land. " 

The great period of Ireland s glory, continued Moore, was be 
tween 82 and 98, and it was a time when a man almost lived 
with a pistol in his hand. Crrattan s dying advice to his son 
was, " Be always ready with the pistol ! ? He himself never hes 
itated a moment . . . . 

" Talking of Grattan, is it not wonderful, with all the agitation 
in Ireland, we have had no such man since his time ? You can 
scarcely reckon Shiel of the calibre of her spirits of old, and 
O Connell, with all his faults, stands alone in his glory. 

"The conversation I have given is a mere skeleton, of course . . . 

" This discussion may be supposed to have occupied the hour 
after Lady Blessington retired from the table ; for with her van 
ished Moore s excitement, and every body else seemed to feel 
that light had gone out of the room. Her excessive beauty is 
less an inspiration than the wondrous talent with which she 
draws from every person around her his peculiar excellence. 
Talking better than any body else, and narrating, particularly, 
with a graphic power that I never saw excelled, this distin 
guished woman seems striving only to make others unfold them 
selves ; and never had diffidence a more apprehensive and cn- 

* There are many statements made and opinions expressed by Mr. Willis in 
the extracts above given, with regard to which, silence, it is hoped, will not be 
taken for acquiescence in their justice. R. It, M. 



SEAMORE PLACE. 153 

couraging listener. But this is a subject with which I should 
never be done. 

"We went up to coffee, and Moore brightened again over his 
chasse-cafe, and went glittering on with criticisms on Grisi, the 
delicious songstress now ravishing the world, whom he placed 
above all but Pasta ; and whom he thought, with the exception 
that her legs were too short, an incomparable creature. This 
introduced music very naturally, and with a great deal of dif 
ficulty he was taken to the piano. My letter is getting long, 
and I have no time to describe his singing. It is well known, 
however, that its effect is only equaled by the beauty of his 
own words ; and, for one, I could have taken him into my heart 
with my delight. He makes no attempt at music. It is a kind 
of admirable recitative, in which every shade of thought is syl 
labled and dwelt upon, and the sentiment of the song goes 
through your blood, warming you to the very eyelids, and start 
ing your tears, if you have a soul or sense in you. I have heard 
of women s fainting at a song of Moore s ; and if the burden of 
it answered by chance to a secret in the bosom of the listener, 
I should think, from its comparative effect upon so old a stager 
as myself, that the heart would break with it. 

"We all sat around the piano, and after two or three songs 
of Lady Blessington s choice, he rambled over the keys a while, 
and sang When first I met thee with a pathos that beggars 
description. When the last word had faltered out, he rose and 
took Lady Blessington s hand, said good-night, and was gone 
before a word was uttered."* 

In a former edition of " the Pencilings," there are some refer 
ences to one of the literary men of distinction he met on the oc 
casion above referred to which do not exist in the later edition. 
In these references there are some remarks, intended to be smart 
sayings, exceedingly superficial and severe, as well as unjust ; 
but there are other observations which are no less true than 
happily expressed, especially with regard to the descriptive and 
conversational powers of one of the most highly gifted of all the 
celebrities of Gore House society. 

* Pencilings by the Way, p. 360 to 367. 

H2 



J54 SEAMORE PLACE. 

" D Israeli had arrived before me at Lady Blessington s, and 
sat in the deep window, looking out upon Hyde Park, with the 
last rays of daylight reflected from the gorgeous gold flowers 
of a splendidly embroidered waistcoat. Patent leather pumps, 
a white stick, with a black cord and tassel; and a quantity of 
chains about his neck and pockets, served to make him, even in 
the dim light, rather a conspicuous object. D Israeli has one 
of the most remarkable faces 1 ever saw. He is lividly pale, 
and, but for the energy of his action and the strength of his 
lungs, would seem a victim to consumption. His eye is black 
as Erebus, and has the most mocking and lying-in-wait sort of 
expression conceivable .... 

His hair is as extraordinary as his taste in waistcoats. A 
thick, heavy mass of jet black ringlets falls over his left cheek 
almost to his collarless stock, while on the right it is parted 
and put away with the smooth carefulness of a girl s, and shines 
most unctuously 

" With thy incomparable oil, Macassar. 

D Israeli was the only one at table who knew Beckford, and the 
style in which he gave a sketch of his habits and manners was 
worthy of himself. I might as well attempt to gather up the 
foam of the sea as to convey an idea of the extraordinary lan 
guage in which he clothed his description. There were at least 
five words in every sentence that must have been very much as 
tonished at the use they were put to, and yet no others appar 
ently could so well have conveyed his idea. He talked like a 
race-horse approaching the winning post, every muscle in ac 
tion, and the utmost energy of expression flung out in every 
burst. Victor Hugo and his extraordinary novels came next 
under discussion ; and D Israeli, who was fired with his own 
eloquence, started off, apropos dcs bottcs, with a long story of 
impalement he had seen in Upper Egypt. It was as good, and, 
perhaps, as authentic as the description of the chow-chow-tow 
in Vivian Grey. The circumstantiality of the account was 
equally horrible and amusing. Then followed the sufferer s 
history, with a score of murders and barbarities, heaped to- 



SEAMORE PLACE. 155 

gether, like Martin s feast of Belshazzar, with a mixture of hor 
ror and splendor that was unparalleled in my experience of im 
provisation. No mystic priest of the Corybantes could have 
worked himself up into a finer phrensy of language." 

My recollection of the scene to which I think Mr. Willis al 
ludes is of a very different kind, so far as relates to the impres 
sion made by the truly extraordinary powers of description of 
Mr. D Israeli. 

Haydon, in his diary, 27th of February, 1835, writes, "Went 
to Lady Blessington s in the evening ; every body goes to Lady 
Blessington. She has the first news of every thing, and every 
body seems delighted to tell her. No woman will be more 
missed. She is the centre of more talent and gayety than any 
other woman of fashion in London."* 

In the summer of 1833, Lady Blessington met with a severe 
loss. Her house in Seamore Place was broken into at night by 
thieves, and plate and jewelry to the value of about jGlOOO 
were carried off, and never afterward recovered. This was the 
first disaster in the way of loss of property that occurred to her. 
A few years later, she was destined to see every thing swept 
away she was accustomed to set a store on, every object of lux 
ury that had become a necessity to the splendid misery of her 
mode of life costly furniture, magnificent mirrors, adornments 
of salons, valuable pictures, portraits by the first masters, all the 
literary baubles of the boudoir and precious ornaments of the 
person, rarities from every land, books elegantly bound, and per 
haps more prized than all her other treasures. 

Lady Blessington removed from Seamore Place to the more 
spacious and elegant mansion of Gore House, Kensington Gore, 
the former abode of William Wilberforce, in the early part of 
1836. And here her ladyship remained till the 14th of April, 
1849. 

GORE HOUSE. 

Any person acquainted with Lady Blessington when residing 
at the villa Belvidere at Naples, the Palazzo Negrone at Rome, 

* Memoirs of B. R. Haydon, vol. iii., p. 12. 



156 GORE HOUSE. 

her delightful residence at Seamore Place in London, and her 
latest English place of abode in Gore House, must have ob 
served the remarkable changes that had come over her mind at 
the different epochs of her career in intellectual society and in 
fashionable life from 1823 to 1849. 

In Naples, the charm of Lady Blessington s conversation and 
society was indescribably effective. The genial air, the beau 
tiful scenery of the place, and all the "influences of the sweet 
South," seemed to have delighted, soothed, and spiritualized her 
feelings. A strong tendency to fastidiousness of taste, to weari 
ness of mind in the enjoyment of any long-continued entertain 
ment or amusement, to sudden impulses of hastiness of temper 
(as distinguished from habitual ill-humor), had been subdued 
and softened by those changes of scenery and " skiey influ 
ences ;" and, above all, there was observable in her animal spir 
its a flow of hilarity, a natural vivacity, such as those who knew 
her in early life were well aware had belonged to her childhood, 
and which, having been restrained and checked to some extent, 
had resumed, in the south of Italy, its original character of out- 
bursting gaite du ca>ur. The ringing laugh of joyous girlhood, 
which Mrs. Jordan used to act to such perfection, was a reality 
with Lady Blessington in those merry moods of hers in Naples, 
which were then, indeed, neither " few nor far between." 

In society Lady Blessington was then supremely attractive ; 
she was natural and sprightly, and spirituellc in proportion, to 
her naturalness, and utter absence of all appearance of an effort 
to be effective in conversation. 

At the distance of a period of three years from the time of 
my departure from Naples, when I next met Lady Blessington 
at Rome, that vivacity to which I have referred seemed to me 
to have been considerably impaired. She had become more of 
a learned lady, a queen regnant in literary circles, expected to 
speak with authority on subjects of art and literature, and less 
of the agreeable woman, eminently graceful, and full of gayety, 
whom I had parted with in Naples in 1824. But she was at 
all times attractive and triumphant in her efforts to reign in the 
society she moved in ; and she was, moreover, at all times kind 
ly dippoppcl and fnithfn] in her friendship*. 



GORE HOUSE. 157 

After an interval of nearly five years, I renewed my acquaint 
ance with Lady Blessington in Seamore Place. It was evident 
that another great " change had come over the spirit of her 
dream" of life since I had last seen her. Cares, and troubles, 
and trials of various kinds had befallen her, and left, if not vis 
ible external traces, at least perceptible internal evidence of 
their effects. 

After a lapse of two or three years, my acquaintance with 
Lady Blessington was renewed at Gore House. The new estab 
lishment was on a scale of magnificence exceeding even that of 
Seamore Place. 

The brilliant society by which she was surrounded did not 
seem to have contributed much to her felicity. There was no 
happiness in the circles of Gore House comparable to that of 
the Palazzo Belvidere in Naples. There was manifestly a great 
intellectual effort made to keep up the charm of that society, 
and no less manifest was it that a great pecuniary effort was 
making to meet the large expenditure of the establishment that 
was essential for it. That society was felt by her to be a ne 
cessity in England. It had been a luxury in Italy, and had been 
enjoyed there without anxiety for cost, or any experience of the 
wear and tear of life that is connected with arduous exertions 
to maintain a position in London haul ton society, acquired with 
difficulty, and often supported under continually increasing em 
barrassments. 

But, notwithstanding the symptoms of care and anxiety that 
were noticeable in Lady Blessington s appearance and conver 
sation at that period of her Gore House celebrity, her powers 
of attraction and of pleasing had lost none of their influences. 
There were a higher class of men of great intellect at her soirees 
than were formerly wont to congregate about her. Lady Bless 
ington no longer spoke of books and bookish men with diffi 
dence, or any marked deference for the opinions of other per 
sons : she laid down the law of her own sentiments in conver 
sation rather dogmatically ; she aimed more at saying smart 
things than heretofore, and seemed more desirous of congrega 
ting celebrities of distinction in her salons than of gathering 



158 GORE HOUSE. 

round her people solely for the agrcmcns of their society, or any 
peculiarities in their characters or acquirements. 

There was more of gravity and formality in her conversaziones 
than there had been wont to be, and the conversation generally 
was no longer of that gay, enlivening, cheerful character, abound 
ing in drollery and humor, which made the great charm of her 
reunions in the villa Belvidere. and in a minor degree in Sea- 
more Place. 

In Gore House society, Lady Blessington had given herself a 
mission, in which she labored certainly with great assiduity and 
wonderful success that of bringing together people of the same 
pursuits, who were rivals in them for professional distinction, 
and inclining competitors for fame in politics, art, and literature, 
to tolerant, just, and charitable opinions of one another. This, 
most assuredly, was a very good and noble object, and in her 
efforts to attain it she was well seconded by Count D Orsay. 

The count, indeed, not only devoted his talents to this object, 
but extended his aims to the accomplishment of a purpose cal 
culated to do a great deal of good ; to remove the groundless 
misapprehensions of unacquainted intellectual people of neigh 
boring countries, the fruitful cause of national jealousies and an 
tipathies ; to remove the prejudices which had raised barriers 
even in the best societies between English people and foreign 
ers, to level distinctions on account of difference of country, and 
to unite the high intelligences of various nations in bonds of 
social intercourse. 

The party warfare that is waged in art, literature, and politics, 
it seemed to be the main object of the mistress of Gore House, 
in the high sphere in which she moved, to assuage, to put an 
end to, and, when interrupted, to prevent the recurrence of. It 
was astonishing with what tact this object was pursued ; and 
those only who have seen much of the correspondence of Lady 
Blessington can form any idea of the labor she imposed on her 
self in removing unfavorable impressions, explaining away dif 
ferences, inducing estranged people to make approaches to an 
accommodation, to meet and to be reconciled. These labors 
were not confined to people of the studio or of literary pursuits ; 



GORE HOUSE. 159 

grave politicians and solemn statesmen, great legal functiona 
ries, and even divines, have been largely indebted to them. She 
threw herself into those labors with an earnestness which seem 
ed almost incredible to those who were accustomed to the re 
serve and absence of all demonstrativeriess of feeling that is sup 
posed to characterize the haut ton of English society. 

Mackintosh, in his beautiful " Life of Sir Thomas More," en 
forcing the virtue of moderation and tolerance of opinion, and 
reprobating the vulgar brutality of " hating men for their opin 
ions," said, " All men, in the fierce contests of contending fac 
tions, should, from such an example, learn the wisdom to fear, 
lest in their most hated antagonist they may strike down a Sir 
Thomas More ; for assuredly virtue is not so narrowed as to be 
confined to any party, and we have in the case of More a signal 
example, that the nearest approach to perfect excellence does 
not exempt men from mistakes which we may justly deem mis 
chievous. It is a pregnant proof that we should beware of hat 
ing men for their opinions, or of adopting their doctrines because 
we love and venerate their virtues." 

But the high purposes to which I have referred as actuating 
Lady Blessington and the Count D Orsay, namely, of bringing 
together eminent and estimable people of similar pursuits, who 
had been estranged from one another, at variance, or on bad 
terms, did not interfere occasionally with the exercise of the pe^ 
culiar talents and inclinations of both for drawing out absurd or 
eccentric people for the amusement of their visitors. 

One of the visitors who frequented Gore House about 1837 
and 1838 was a very remarkable old French gentleman, then 
upward of seventy years of age, whom I had known intimately 
both in France and England " Monsieur Julien le jeune de 
Paris," as he styled himself. 

He had figured in the great French Revolution had been 
patronised by Robespierre, and employed by him in Paris arid 
in the south of France in the Reign of Terror. It was generally 
asserted and believed that he had voted for the death of Louis 
the Sixteenth. That, however, was not the fact. It was Mon 
sieur Julien 1 aine who gave his voice for the execution of his 



IQQ GORE HOUSE. 

sovereign. I believe, moreover, that Monsieur Julien le jeune, 
though employed under Robespierre, and at one time even act 
ing as his secretary, was not a man of blood de son grc, though 
a very ardent Republican at the period of the regime of terror. 

If my poor friend, Monsieur Julien le jeune, was for some time 
a minister of that system, he certainly repented of it, and made 
all the atonement, as he thought, that could be made by him, by 
his connection with a number of philanthropical societies, and 
the advocacy of the abolition of the punishment of death, the 
slave-trade, and slavery, and also by the composition of various 
works of a half moral, part political and polemical kind, and a 
considerable quantity of lachrymose poetry, chiefly devoted to 
the illustration of the wrongs and persecutions he had suffered 
for his country and his opinions. His pieces on this subject, 
which were extremely lengthy and doleful, he called " Mes Cha 
grins Politiqucs" 

Julien had commenced ; patriotic declamation" at a very 
early period of his career, on the great stage of the Revolution 
of 1789. Touchard la Fosse, in his " Souvenirs d un demi siecle," 
makes mention of him at Bordeaux, at the time that Tallien, one 
of the leading Terrorists, was there on his mission of extermina 
tion, seeking out the last remains of the fugitive Girondists. 
The future Madame Tallien, an enchantress of the Corinne 
school, daughter of the Spanish banker Monsieur Cabarrus, then 
bearing the name of Madame Fontenay, was also at Bordeaux, 
at that time " in the dawn of her celebrity." 

" It was one day announced," says Touchard la Fosse, " that 
a beautiful citizeness had composed a wonderfully patriotic ora 
tion, which would be delivered at the club by a young patriot 
named Julien (who subsequently, during the Empire, held sev 
eral important posts in the military administration, and who, 
since the Restoration better known as Julien de Paris, was, in 
conjunction with the estimable Amaury Duval, the founder of 
the * Revue Encyclopedique ). 

" The following decade was the time fixed for the delivery of 
his discourse. The club was full. All eyes were bent upon a 
young woman dressed in a riding habit of dark blue kerseymere 



GORE HOUSE. 161 

faced and trimmed with red velvet. Upon her beautiful black 
hair, cropped a la Titus, then a perfectly new fashion, was light 
ly set, on one side, a scarlet cap trimmed with fur. Madame 
Fontenay is said to have been most beautiful in this attire. 

" The oration, admirably well read by Citizen Julien, excited 
wonderful admiration. Its commonplace patriotic declamation, 
lighted up by a reflection of the admiration felt for the author, 
gained it the utmost praise. Unanimous applause, flattering 
address of the president, honors of the sitting in short, all the 
remunerations of popular assemblies, were launched upon this 
beautiful patriot." 

" Le Cher Julien" thus, we find, had commenced his metier of 
patriotic recitations some forty-three or four years previously to 
his exhibitions in Seamore Place. The first performance was 
in the presence of a very celebrated French enchantress, who 
reigned in Revolutionary circles, and the latest was in the pres 
ence of an Irish enchantress, who reigned over literary fashion 
able society in London. 

At the period of his sojourn in London his head was filled 
with these " Chagrins." As regularly as he presented himself 
in the evenings at the salons of Lady Blessington, he brought 
with him, on each occasion, a roll of paper in his side pocket, 
consisting of some sheets of foolscap filled with his " Chagrins," 
which would be seen projecting from the breast of his coat, 
when, on entering the room, he would stoop to kiss the hand of 
Lady Blessington, after the manner of the polished courtiers of 
la Vielle Cour ; for Monsieur Julien le jeune, in his old age at 
least, was a perfect specimen of French courtesy, and preserved 
very little of the burly bearing, or the sturdy manners or opin 
ions of a Republican. 

Poor Julien le jeune, like D Alembert, had the gift of shed 
ding tears at pleasure, to which don de larmes of D Alembert, La 
Ilarpe was indebted for the success of one of his dramatic pieces. 

" C est a ce don de larmes que La Harpe dut le succes de sa 
Melanie. L etiquette voulait qu on cut pleure a ce drame. 
D Alembert ne manquait jamais d accompagner La Harpe. II 
prenait un air serieux et compose, qui fixait d abord 1 attention. 



16 2 GORE HOUSE. 

An premier acte il faisait remarquerles ape^ues philosophiques 
de 1 ouvrage ; en suite profitant du talent qu il avait pour la pan- 
tominc, il pleurait toujours aux memes endroits, ce qui imposait 
aux femmes la necessite, de s attendrir et comment auraient 
ellcs eu les ycux sees lorsqu un philosophe fondait en larmes ?" 
Tom. ii., 10.* 

It used to be a scene that it was most difficult to witness with 
due restraint, and certainly not without great efforts at external 
composure, when Monsieur Julien le jeime, all radiant with 
smiles and overflowing with urbanity, having paid his devoirs 
to her ladyship, would be approached by Count D Orsay, and 
with the eyes of the whole circle fixed on him (duly prepared 
to expect amusement), the poor old man would be entreated to 
favor Lady Blessington with the recital of another canto of his 
political afflictions. Then Julien would protest he had read all 
that was worth reading to her ladyship, but at length would 
yield to the persuasions of Lady Blessington with looks and ges 
tures which plainly said, " Infandmn Regina jubes renovare do- 
lorem." 

On the first occasion of my witnessing this scene, Julien had 
just gone through the usual formula of praying to be excused, 
and had made the protestation above referred to, when D Orsay, 
with a gravity that was truly admirable, and surprising how it 
could be maintained, overcame all the reluctance assumed by 
poor old Julien le jeune to produce the poem expressly brought 
for recital, by renewed supplications, and on a novel plea for the 
reading of it. 

There was one present, the count observed, who had never 
heard the " Chagrins, long and earnestly as he desired that 
gratification, " Is est pas Madden vous n avez jamais entendu les 
Chagrins Politiques de notre cher ami Monsieur Julien?" 

All the reply that could be given was in a single word, 
" Jamais." 

" Allons mon ami," continued D Orsay. " Ce pauvre Madden 
a bien besoin d eritendrc vos chagrins politiques il a les siens 
aussi (I had been recently reviewed and reviled in some pe 
riodicals) Tl a souffcrt oui il a des sympathies pour les 



GORE HOUSE. 163 

blesses, il faut le dormer cette triste plaisir N est ce pas Mad 
den?" 

Another dire effort to respond in the affirmative, " Oui, Mon 
sieur le Comte." 

Monsieur Julien, after playing off for some minutes all the dif 
fident airs of a bashful young lady dying to sing and protesting 
she can not, placed himself at the upper end of the room, near 
a table with wax lights, pulled the roll of paper from his breast 
pocket, and began to recite his " Chagrins Politiques" in a most 
lugubrious tone, like Mademoiselle Duchesnois avec les pleurs 
dans la voix. The saloon was crowded with distinguished 
guests. On the left hand of the tender-hearted poet and most 
doleful reciter of his own sorrows this quondam secretary of 
Robespierre was Lady Blessington, in her well-knowny#z^ez7, 
looking most intently, and with apparent anxious solicitude, full 
in the face of the dolorous reciter. But it would not do for one 
listening to the " Chagrins" to look too curiously into the eyes 
of that lady, lest he might perceive any twinkling there indica 
tive of internal hilarity of a communicative kind. On the other 
side of Monsieur Julien, but somewhat in front of him, sat Count 
D Orsay, with a handkerchief occasionally lifted to his eyes ; 
and ever and anon a plaudit or an exclamation of pain was ut 
tered by him at the recital of some particular " Chagrin." At 
the very instant when the accents of the reciter were becoming 
most exceedingly lugubrious and ludicrous, and the difficulty of 
refraining from laughter was at its height, D Orsay was heard 
to whisper in a sotto voce, as he leaned his head over the back 
of the chair I sat on, " Pleurez done!" 

Doctor Q,uin, who was present at this scene, one of the rich 
est, certainly, I ever witnessed, during the recital contributed 
largely to its effect. Whenever D Orsay would seize on some par 
ticular passage, and exclaim, " Ah que c est beau !" then would 
Q,uin s " magnifique !" " superbe !" " vraiement beau !" be in 
tonated with all due solemnity, and a call for that moving passage 
over again would be preferred and kindly complied with, so that 
there was not one of Monsieur Julien s " Chagrins Politiques" 
which was not received with the most marked attention and ap 
plause. 



!64 GORE HOUSE. 

At the conclusion of each " Chagrin," poor Julien s eyes were 
always sure to be bathed with tears, and as much so at the 
latest recital of his oft-repeated griefs as at the earliest delivery 
of them. 

It was always in this melting mood, at the conclusion of a re 
cital, he was again conducted by the hand to the fauteuil of Lady 
Blessington by D Orsay, and there bending low, as the noble 
lady of the mansion graciously smiled on him, he received com 
pliments and consolations, most liberally bestowed on his " Cha 
grins Politiques." 

Of one of those displays of D Orsay s peculiar power in draw 
ing out absurd, eccentric, or outre people of a similar kind, one 
of the most distinguished writers of his time thus writes in 
April, 1838: 

" Count D Orsay may well speak of an evening being a happy 
one to whose happiness he contributed so largely. It would be 
absurd, if one did not know it to be true, to hear Dickens tell, as 
he has done ever since, of Count D Orsay s power of drawing 
out always the best elements of the society around him, and of 
miraculously putting out the worst. Certainly I never saw it 
so rnarvelously exhibited as on the night in question. I shall 
think of him hereafter unceasingly, with the two guests that sat 
on either side of him that night. But it has been impossible 
for me to think of him at any time since I have known him but 
with the utmost admiration, affection, and respect, which genius 
and kindness can suggest to every one." 

The last time I met Monsieur Julien was at a breakfast given 
by Colonel Leicester Stanhope, on which occasion many remark 
able persons were assembled. Julien, at that period, had aban 
doned his " Chagrins Politiques," and adopted a new plan of 
attracting attention. He exhibited a small dial, on the circum 
ference of which, in opposite directions, moral and evil tenden 
cies were marked, and to these a movable index pointed, show 
ing the virtue to be cultivated when any particular defect in 
character was referred to. This instrument Monsieur Julien 
called his " Horlogc Moral." The old man was lapsing fast into 
second childhood, but with his senility a large dash of charla- 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 165 

tanerie was very obviously combined. On the occasion I allude 
to, a brother of Napoleon, one of the ex-kings of the Bonaparte 
family, was present for a short time, but on seeing Monsieur 
Julien he immediately departed. Poor L.E.L., who was one 
of the guests, was singled out by Julien for special instruction 
in the use of the " Horloge Moral," and she allowed herself to 
be victimized with most exemplary patience and good humor, 
while Monsieur Julien was showing off the latest product of 
his ethical and inventive faculties. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 

POOR Lady Blessington, when she launched into the enormous 
expenditure of her magnificent establishments, first in Seamore 
Place, next in Kensington Gore, had little idea of the difficulties 
of her position in the fashionable world, with a jointure of 
j2000 a year, to meet all the extensive and incessant claims on 
her resources, and those claims on them also of at least seven 
or eight persons, members of her family, who were mainly de 
pendent on her. Little was she aware of the nature of those 
literary pursuits, and the precariousness of their remuneration, 
from which she imagined she could derive secure and perma 
nent emolument, that would make such an addition to her ordi 
nary income as would enable her to make head against the vast 
expenditure of her mode of life an expenditure which the most 
constant anxiety to reduce within reasonable limits, by an econ 
omy of the most rigid kind in small household matters, was 
wholly inadequate to accomplish.* 

A lady of quality, who sits down in fashionable life to get a 
livelihood by literature, or a large portion of the means neces- 

* Lady Blessington s punctuality and strictness in examining accounts at reg 
ular periods, inquiring into expenditure by servants, orders given to tradesmen, 
and the use made of ordinary articles of consumption, were remarkable. She 
kept a book of dinners, in which the names of all persons at each entertainment 
were set down ; this register of guests served a double purpose, as a reference for 
dates, and a check on the accounts of her maftre d hotel. 



166 THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 

sary to sustain her in that position, at the hands of publishers, 
had better build any other description of castles in the air, or, if 
she must dream of " chateaus en Espagne," let it be of some 
order of architecture less visionary. 

Charles Lamb, the inimitable quaint teller of solemn truths, 
in amusing terms, in a letter to Bernard Barton, the (Quaker 
poet, in 1823, thus speaks of " literature as a calling to get a 
livelihood." 

" What ! throw yourself on the world without any rational plan 
of support beyond what the chance of employment of booksell 
ers would afford you ? Throw yourself rather, my dear sir, from 
the steep Tarpeian rock slap-dash, headlong down upon iron 
spikes. 

" I have known many authors want bread : some repining, 
others enjoying the sweet security of a spunging house ; all 
agreeing they had rather have been tailors, weavers, what not, 
rather than the things they were ! I have known some starved 
some go mad one dear friend literally dying in a work-house. 

" ! you know not, may you never know, the miseries of sub 
sisting by authorship ! Tis a pretty appendage to situations like 
yours or mine, but a slavery worse than all slavery to be a book 
seller s dependent ; to drudge your brains for pots of ale and 
breasts of mutton ; to change your free thoughts and voluntary 
numbers for ungracious task-work ! The booksellers hate us." 

If Lamb had been an Irishman, one might imagine that the 
" h" in the penultimate word was an interpolation of some sar 
castic copyist, who had been infelicitous in authorship, and that 
we should read ate, and not hate. Emolument from literature 
must have been looked to by Lady Blessington, not in the sense 
of Lamb s pretty appendage to his situation, but as a main re 
source, to meet an expenditure which her ordinary income could 
not half suffice for. 

The establishment of Gore House, and the incidental expendi 
ture of its noble mistress, could not have been less than jC40QO 
a year. Lady Blcssington s jointure was only .2000. But 
then it must be borne in mind, a very large portion of that ex 
penditure was incurred for aid and assistance given to members 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 167 

of her family, and that she frequently stated in her letters, par 
ticularly in those to Mr. Landor, that nothing would induce her 
to continue her literary labors hut to be enabled to provide for 
those who were dependent 011 her. 

There is a passage in a letter of Sir Walter Scott, in reference 
to the costly efforts made by a lady of literary tastes to maintain 
a position in literary society, or rather to be the centre of a lit 
erary circle, which well deserves attention. 

In his diary while in Italy, Sir Walter makes mention of "Lyd- 
ia White." " Went to poor Lydia White s, and found her ex 
tended on a couch, frightfully swelled, unable to stir, rouged, 
jesting, and dying. She has a good heart, and is really a clever 
creature ; but unhappily, or rather happily, she has set the 
whole staff of her life in keeping literary society about her. The 
world has not neglected her ; it is not always so bad as it is 
called. She can always make up her circle, and generally has 
some people of real talent and distinction. She is wealthy, to 
be sure, and gives petits diners, but not in a style to carry the 
point a force d argent. In her case the world is good-natured, 
and perhaps it is more frequently so than is generally sup 
posed."* 

Of the false position of distinguished women in society, it has 
been very justly observed, in a notice of the life of Madame de 
Stael : 

" The aspect of ill-will makes women tremble, however dis 
tinguished they may be. Courageous in misfortune, they are 
timid against enmity. Thought exalts them, yet their character 
remains feeble and timid. Most of the women in whom the 
possession of high faculties has awakened the desire of fame, 
are like Erminia in her warlike accoutrements. The warriors 
see the casque, the lance, the shining plume ; they expect to 
meet force, they attack with violence, and with the first stroke 
reach the heart." 

Troubles and afflictions of various kinds had fallen on Lady 
i Blessington, in quick succession, from the year 1843. The loss 
of fortune and the loss of friends, trials of different kinds, pe- 

* Lockhart s Life of Sir W, Scott. 



168 THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 

cuniary difficulties, and humiliations, had followed each other 
with little intermission of late years. In the latter part of 1845, 
the effects of the potato blight and the famine in Ireland made 
themselves felt in the magnificent salons in London and on the 
Continent, even in the place of sojourn of the Irish aristocracy. 
The sumptuous apartments of Gore House were made intimately 
acquainted with them. 

By the robbery of plate, jewelry, and other valuables, that 
was committed in Lady Blessington s house in Seamore Place, a 
loss of upward of jClOOO had been sustained. By the failure 
of Charles Heath, the engraver, she incurred a loss of 700. 

The difficulties of Count D Orsay had contributed also not in 
a small degree to the derangement of her affairs ; and those dif 
ficulties had commenced at a very early period of his career in 
London, while Lady Blessington was residing in Seamore Place, 
and the count in a small house in Curzon Street, nearly opposite 
Lord Chesterfield s. The count was arrested, soon after his ar 
rival in England, for a debt of 300 to his boot-maker in Paris, 
Mr. McHenry, and was only saved from imprisonment by the 
acceptance, on the part of his creditor, of bail on that occasion.* 

In October, 1846, when difficulties were pressing heavily on 
Lady Blessington, she received a letter (in the handwriting of 
a lady who signs herself M. A.), from which the following ex 
tract appears to have been taken : 

" Well may it be said, * Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, 
like the toad, ugly and venomous, bears yet a precious jewel in 
its head ! ! and its chief advantage is, that it enables us to 
judge our real friends from false ones. Rowland Hill on one 
occasion* (preaching to a large congregation on men s trust in 
the friendship of the world) observed, that his own acquaint- 

* I have been informed by Mr. McHenry that he had allowed that debt to re 
main unsettled for many years, and had consented to accept the security finally 
offered to him on account of the very large obligations he felt under to the count; 
for the mere fact of its being known in Paris that Count D Orsay s boots were 
made by McHenry, had procured for him the custom of all the tip-top exquisites 
of Paris. Similar obligations existed in London, with similar relations between 
the debtors and the indebted ; and similar results there between the count and his 
tradesmen, but sometimes not of a nature so agreeable, frequently took place. 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 169 

ances would probably fill the church ; and he was quite certain 
that his friends, at the most, would only fill the pulpit. Thus 
many may say, and those, too, who may have expended thou 
sands in entertaining selfish and cold-hearted men, who would 
not render them a real service if they wanted one, or give a 
sigh to their memory on hearing of their decease." 

Poor Lady Blessingtoii s mind was ill at ease when she set 
down the following observations in her commonplace book : 

" Great trials demand great courage, and all our energy is 
called up to enable us to bear them. But it is the minor cares 
of life that wear out the body, because, singly and in detail, they 
do not appear sufficiently important to engage us to rally our 

force and spirits to support them Many minds that have 

withstood the most severe trials have been broken down by a 
succession of ignoble cares." 

How much bitter experience must it have required to say so 
much in so few words ? " When the sun shines on you, you 
see your friends. It requires sunshine to be seen by them to 
advantage. While it lasts, we are visible to them ; when it is 
gone, and our horizon is overcast, they are invisible to us." 

And elsewhere, another " Night Thought" is to a similar ef 
fect : 

" Friends are the thermometers by which we may judge the 
temperature of our fortunes." 

" There is no knowledge for which so great a price is paid as 
a knowledge of the world ; and no one ever became an adept in 
it except at the expense of a hardened or a wounded heart. 

"M. B." 

Lady Blessington makes reference to " a friend of long stand 
ing, and deeply interested in her welfare," who had been con 
sulted by her at the period of her most serious embarrassments, 
and who had addressed the following letter to her ladyship, with 
out date or name, but probably written in 1848 : 

" MY DEAREST FRIEND, You do not do me more than justice in the belief 
that I most fully sympathize with all your troubles, and I shall be only too 
happy if my advice can in any way assist you. 
Vol.. I. H 



!7Q THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 

" First. As to your jointure, nothing in law is so indisputable as that a 
widow s jointure takes precedence of every other claim on an estate. The 
very first money the agent receives from the property should go to the dis- 
char<TC of this claim. No subsequent mortgages, annuities, encumbrances, 
law-suits, expenses of management, &c., can be permitted to interfere with 
Ihe payment of jointure ; and as, whatever the distress of the tenants or the 
embarrassments of the estate, it is clear that some rents must have come in 
half-yearly, so, on those rents, you have an indisputable right ; and I think, 
on consulting your lawyer, he will put you in a way, either by a memorial to 
Chancery or otherwise, to secure in future the regular payment of this life- 
charge. Indeed, on property charged with a jointure, although the rents are 
not paid for months after the proper dates, the jointure must be paid on the 
regular days ; and if not, the proprietor would become liable to immediate lit 
igation. I am here presuming that you but ask for the jointure, due quarterly 
or half-yearly, and not in advance, which, if the affairs are in Chancery, it 
would be illegal to grant. 

" Secondly. With respect to the diamonds, would it be possible or expedi 
ent to select a certain portion (say half), which you least value on their own 
account, and, if a jeweler himself falls too short in his offer, to get him to sell 
them on commission 1 You must remember that every year, by paying in 
terest on them, you are losing money on them, so that in a few years you 
may thus lose more than by taking at once less than their true value. There 
are diamond merchants, who, I believe, give more than jewelers ; and if you 
know Anthony Rothschild, and would not object to speak to him, he might 
help you. 

" Thirdly. With respect to an illustrated work, I like your plan much ; and 
I think any falling off is to be attributed to a relaxation in Heath himself, of 
proper attention to the interests of the illustrations. You have apparently 
some idea as to the plan and conception. I fancy that illustrations of our 
most popular writers might be a novelty. Illustrations from Shakspeare not 
the female characters only, but scenes from the plays themselves by good 
artists, and the letter-press bearing upon the subject, might make a very sale 
able and standard work. Again (and I think better), in this day, illustrations 
from English scenery, ruins, and buildings might be very popular ; in fact, 
if you could create a rational interest in the subject in the plates, your sale 
and profit would be both larger and more permanent on the first demand, and 
become a source of yearly income. 

" You do perfectly right not to diminish your income by loans ; 
will wait your time, and I am sure that, with proper legal advice, you c;ui in 
sure the regular payments of your jointure in future. 

" I think I have thus given you the best hints I can on the different points 
on which you have so kindly consulted me. I know well how, to those nr- 
customcd to punctual payments, and with a horror of debt, pecuniary embar 
rassments prey upon the mind. I3ut I think they may be borne, not only with 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 1 71 

ease, but with some degree of complacency, when connected with such gener 
ous devotions and affectionate services as those which must console you amid 
all your cares. In emptying your purse, you have at least filled your heart 
with consolations, which will long outlast what I trust will be but the troub 
les of a season." 

In April, 1849, the clamors and importunate demands of 
Lady Blessington s creditors harassed her, and made it evident 
that an inevitable crash was coming. She had given bills to 
her bankers, and her bond likewise, for various advances, in 
anticipation of her jointure, to an amount approaching to 1500. 
Immediately after the sale, the bankers acknowledged having 
received from Mr. Phillips, the auctioneer, by her order, the sum 
of 1500, leaving a balance only in their hands to her credit of 
1 1 . She had the necessity of renewing bills frequently as they 
became due, and on the 24th of April, 1849, she had to renew 

a bill of hers to a Mr. for a very large amount, which 

would fall due on the 30th of the following month of May, four 
days only before " the great debt of all debts" was to be paid 
by her. 

In the spring of 1849, the long-menaced break-up of the es 
tablishment of Gore House took place. Numerous creditors, 
bill-discounters, money-lenders, jewelers, lace-venders, tax-col 
lectors, gas-company agents, all persons having claims to urge, 
pressed them at this period simultaneously. An execution for 
a debt of .4000 was at length put in by a house largely en 
gaged in the silk, lace, India shawl, and fancy jewelry busi 
ness. Some arrangements were made, a life insurance was 
effected, but it became necessary to determine on a sale of the 
whole of the effects for the interest of all the creditors.* Sev- 

* For about two years previous to the break-up at Gore House, Lady Bless- 
ington lived in the constant apprehension of executions being put in, and unceas 
ing precautions in the admission of persons had to be taken both at the outer gate 
and hall-door entrance. For a considerable period, too, Count D Orsay had been 
in continual danger of arrest, and was obliged to confine himself to the house and 
grounds, except on Sundays, and in the dusk of the evening on other days. All 
those precautions were, however, at length baffled by the ingenuity of a sheriff s 
officer, who effected an entrance in a disguise, the ludicrousness of which had 
some of the characteristics of farce, which contrasted strangely and painfully with 
the denouement of a very serious drama. 

Lady Blessington was no sooner informed, by a confidential servant, of the fact 



17 2 THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE 

cral of the friends of Lady Blessington urged on her pecuniary 
assistance, which would have prevented the necessity of break 
ing up the establishment. But she declined all offers of this 
kind. The fact was, that Lady Blessington was sick at heart, 
worn down with cares and anxieties, wearied out with difficul 
ties and embarrassments daily augmenting, worried with inces 
sant claims, and tired to death with demands she could not 
meet. For years previously, if the truth was known, she was 
sick at the heart s core of the splendid misery of her position 
of the false appearances of enjoyment in it of the hollow 
smiles by which it was surrounded of the struggle for celeb 
rity in that vortex of fashionable life and luxury in which she 
had been plunged, whirling round and round in a species of 
continuous delirious excitement, sensible of the madness of re 
maining in the glare and turmoil of such an existence, and yet 
unable to stir hand or foot to extricate herself from its obvious 
dangers. 

The public sale of the^recious artices of a boudoir, the bijou 
terie and beautiful objects of art of the salons of a lady of fash 
ion, awakens many reminiscences identified with the vicissitudes 
in the fortunes of former owners, and the fate of those to whom 
these precious things belonged. Lady Blessington, in her " Idler 
in France," alludes to the influence of such lugubrious feelings, 
when *lie went the round of the curiosity shops on the Q,uai 
D Orsay, and made a purchase of an amber vase of rare beauty, 
said to have belonged to the Empress Josephine. 

" When I see the beautiful objects collected together in these 
shops, I often think of their probable histories, and of those to 
whom they belonged. Each seems to identify itself with the 
former owner, and conjures up in my rnind a little romance." 

of the entrance of a sheriff s officer, and an execution being laid on her property, 
than she immediately desired the messenger to proceed to the count s room, and 
tell him that he must immediately prepare to leave England, as there would be no 
safety for him, once the fact was known of the execution having been levied. The 
count was at first incredulous bah ! after bah ! followed each sentence of the ac 
count given him of the entrance of the sheriff s officer. At. length, after seeing 
Lady Blessington, the necessity for his immediate departure became apparent. 
The following morning, with a single portmanteau, attended by his valet, he set 
out for Paris, and thus ended the London life of Count D Orsay. 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 173 

" Vases of exquisite workmanship, chased gold etuis, enriched 
with Oriental agate and brilliants that had once probably be 
longed to some grandes dames of the court ; pendules of gilded 
bronze, one with a motto in diamonds on the back Vous me 
faites oublier les heures a nuptial gift ; a flacon of most del 
icate workmanship, and other articles of bijouterie, bright and 
beautiful as when they left the hands of the jeweler. The gages 
d amour are scattered all around ; but the givers and receivers, 
where are they ? Mouldering in the grave long years ago. 

" Through how many hands may these objects have passed 
since death snatched away the persons for whom they were 
originally designed ! And here they are, in the ignoble custody 
of some avaricious vendor, who, having obtained them at the 
sale of some departed amateur for less than their first cost, now 

expects to extort more than double the value of them ! 

4 And so will it be when I am gone, as Moore s beautiful song 
says ; the rare and beautiful bijouteries which I have collected 
with such pains, and looked on with such pleasure, will proba 
bly be scattered abroad, and find their resting-places, not in gild 
ed salons, but in the dingy coffers of the wily brocanteurs, whose 
exorbitant demands will preclude their finding purchasers."* 

The property of Lady Blessington offered for sale was thus 
eloquently described in the catalogue composed by that eminent 
author of auctioneering advertisements, Mr. Phillips : 

" Costly and elegant effects, comprising all the magnificent 
furniture, rare porcelain, sculptures in marble, bronzes, and an 
assemblage of objects of art and decoration, a casket of valuable 
jewelry and bijouterie, services of rich chased silver and sil 
ver-gilt plate, a superbly-fitted silver dressing-case, collection 
of ancient and modern pictures, including many portraits of dis 
tinguished persons ; valuable original drawings and fine engrav 
ings, framed and in the portfolio ; the extensive and interesting 
library of books, comprising upward of 5000 volumes ; expen 
sive table-services of china and rich cut glass, and an infinity 
of valuable and useful effects, the property of the Right Honor 
able the Countess of Blessington, retiring to the Continent." 
* The Idler in France, vol. ii., p. 53. 



174 THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 

On the 10th of May, 1849, I visited Gore House for the last 
time. The auction was going on. There was a large assem 
blage of people of fashion. Every room was thronged ; the well- 
known library-saloon, in which the conversaziones took place, 
was crowded, but not with guests. The arm-chair in which the 
lady of the mansion was wont to sit was occupied by a stout, 
coarse gentleman of the Jewish persuasion, busily engaged in 
examining a marble hand extended on a book, the fingers of 
which were modeled from a cast of those of the absent mistress 
of the establishment. 

People, as they passed through the room, poked the furniture, 
pulled about the precious objects of art and ornaments of vari 
ous kinds that lay on the table ; and some made jests and ribald 
jokes on the scene they witnessed. 

It was a relief to leave that room : I went into another, the 
dining-room, where I had frequently enjoyed, "in goodly com 
pany," the elegant hospitality of one who was indeed a " most 
kind hostess." I saw an individual among the crowd of gazers 
there who looked thoughtful and even sad. I remembered his 
features. I had dined with the gentleman more than once in 
that room. He was a humorist, a facetious man one of the 
editors of " Punch ;" but he had a heart, with all his customary 
drollery, and penchant for fun and raillery. I accosted him, and 
said, " "We have met here under different circumstances." Some 
observations were made by the gentleman, which showed he 
felt how very different indeed they were. I took my leave of 
Mr. Albert Smith, thinking better of the class of facetious per 
sons who are expected to amuse society on set occasions, as 
well as to make sport for the public at fixed periods, than ever 
I did before. 

In another apartment, where the pictures were being sold, 
portraits by Lawrence, sketches by Landseer and Maclise, in 
numerable likenesses of Lady Blessington by various artists ; 
several of the Count D Orsay, representing him driving, riding 
out on horseback, sporting, and at work in his studio ; his own 
collection of portraits of all the frequenters of note or mark in 
society of the villa Belvidere, the Palazzo Negroni, the Hotel 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 175 

Ney, Seamore Place, and Gore House, in quick succession, were 
brought to the hammer. One whom I had known in most of 
those mansions, my old friend Dr. Gluin, I met in this apart 
ment. 

This was the most signal ruin of an establishment of a person 
of high rank I ever witnessed. Nothing of value was saved 
from the wreck, with the exception of the portrait of Lady Bless- 
ington by Chalon, and one or two other pictures. Here was a 
total smash, a crash on a grand scale of ruin, a compulsory sale 
in the house of a noble lady, a sweeping clearance of all its 
treasures. To the honor of Lady Blessington be it mentioned, 
she saved nothing, with the few exceptions I have referred to, 
from the wreck. She might have preserved her pictures, ob 
jects of virtu, bijouterie, &c., of considerable value, but she said 
all she possessed should go to her creditors. 

There have been very exaggerated accounts of the produce 
of the sale of the effects and furniture of Lady Blessington at 
Gore House. 

I am able to state, on authority, that the gross amount of the 
sale was j13,385, and the net sum realized was 1 1,985 4s. 

When it is considered that the furniture of this splendid man 
sion was of the most costly description that the effects com 
prised a very valuable library, consisting of several thousand 
volumes, bijouterie, ormolu candelabras and chandeliers, porce 
lain and china ornaments, vases of exquisite workmanship, a 
number of pictures by first-rate modern artists, the amount pro 
duced by the sale will appear by no means large. 

The portrait of Lady Blessington, by Lawrence, which cost 
originally only 80, 1 saw sold for 336. It was purchased for 
the Marquis of Hertford. The portrait of Lord Blessington, by 
the same artist, was purchased by Mr. Fuller for 68 5s. 

The admirable portrait of the Duke of Wellington, by Count 
D Orsay, was purchased for .189, for the Marquis of Hertford.* 

* This picture was D Orsay s chef-d oeuvre. The duke, I was informed by the 
count, spoke of this portrait as the one he would wish to be remembered by in fu 
ture years. He used frequently, when it was in progress, to come of a morning, 
in full dress, to Gore House, to give the artist a sitting. If there was a crease or 
a fold in any part of the dress which he did not like, he would insist on its being 



176 THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 

Landseer s celebrated picture of a spaniel sold for .150 10^. 

Landseer s sketch of Miss Power was sold for 57 10s. 

Lawrence s pictures of Mrs. Iiichbald were sold for 48 6s. 

The following" letter, from the French valet of Lady Blessing- 
ton, giving an account of the sale at Gore House, contains some 
passages, for those who make a study of human nature, of some 
interest. 

" Gore House, Kensington, May 8th, 1849. 

" MY LADY, J ai recu votre lettrc hicr, et je me serais empresse d y repon- 
dre le meme jour, mais j ai ete si occupe etant le premier de la vente qu il m a 

ete impossible de la faire. J ai vu Mr. P dans 1 apres midi. II avait un 

commis ici pour prendre le prix des differents objcts vendu le 7 May, et que 
vous avez sans doute rc^u maintenant, au dire des gens qui ont assiste a la 
vente. Les choses se sont vendus avantageusement, et je dois aj outer que 
Mr. Phillips n a ricn neglige pour rendre la vente interessantc a toute la no 
blesse d ici. 

" Lord Hertford a achete plusieurs choses, et ce n est que dimanche dernier 
fort tard dans 1 apres midi, qu il est venu voir la maison, en un mot je pense 
sans exageration, que le nombre de personnes qui sorit venus a la maison pen 
dant les 5 jours quelle a ete en vue r que plus de 20,000 personnes y sont en 
trees une tres grande quantite de catalogue ont ete vendu, et nous en vendons 
encore tout les jours, car vous le savez, personnes n est admis sans cela. 
Plusieurs des personnes qui frequantent la maison sont venus les deux pre 
miers jours. 

" Je vous parle de cela my lady parceque j ai su que Mr. Dick avait dit a un 
de ses amis dans le salons qu il y avait dans la maison une quantite d articles 
envoye par Mr. Phillips, ct comme j ctais certain du contraire, je me suis ad- 
dresse a Mr. Guthric, qui etait en ce moment dans le salon, ct qui lui meme 
s en est plaint a Mr. Dick. II a nio le fait, mais depuis j ai acquit la certitude 
qu il avait avance cc que jc viens de vous dire. Je n ai pas hesite a parler tres 
haut dans le salon, persuade que je desabuserait la foule qui s y trouvait. 

" Le Dr. Quin est venu plusieurs fois et a paru prendre le plus grand in- 
teret a ce qui se passait ici. M. Thackeray est venu aussi, et avait les larmes 
aux yeux en partant. C est pcut ctrc la sculc pcrsonnc que j ai vu rcellement 
affcctc en votre depart. 

" J ai 1 honneur d etre, my lady, votre tres humble servitcur, 

" F. A VILLON." 

One of Lady Blessington s most intimate friends, in a note to 
her ladyship, dated the 19th of May, 1849 (after the break-up at 

altered. To use D Orsay s words, the duke \vus so hard to be pleased, it was 
most difficult to make a good portrait of him. When he consented to have any 
thing done for him, he would have it done in the best way possible. 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 177 

Gore House and departure from London), writes, " I have not 
been without an instinct or an impression for some time that 
you were disturbed by those preoccupying anxieties which make 
the presence of casual visitors irksome 

" But, now that the change is once made, may it yield you all 
that I hope it will. I trust now that what there is of pain will 
remain for those who lose you. You can not but be enlivened 
by those new objects and scenes of your new place of abode, 
turbulent as it is. When that charm is done, you will come 
back to us again. Meanwhile, what a time to be looking for 
ward to ! One becomes absolutely sick wondering what is to be 
the end of it all. I could fill books with tales which one new 
courier after another brings of dismay, and misery, and of break - 
ing-up abroad." 

On the same sad subject came two letters, worthy of the kind 
and noble-hearted person who wrote them. 

From Mrs. T : 

" Chesham Place, Friday, April, 1849. 



MY DEAREST 



"Is it true that you are going to Paris 1 If so, I hope I shall see you be 
fore you go, for it would grieve me very much not to bid you good-by by word 

of mouth, for who can tell when we may meet again ! Dearest , I 

hardly like to say it, because you may think it intrusive, but M told me 

some time ago that you were in difficulties, owing to the Irish estates not pay 
ing, and told me to-day that awumor had reached her to this effect. If it be 
true, I need not say how it grieves me. You have so often come forward in 
our poor dearest mother s difficulties, so often befriended her, and us through 
her, that it goes to my heart to think you are harassed as she was, and that I 
am so poor that I can not act the same generous part you did by her. But, 

dearest , I am at this moment in communication with Mr. P , 

through another lawyer, on the subject of the money left me by my mother. 
* * * * Dearest , do not be offended with me, but in case I re 
ceive my money (1600) down, do make use of me. Remember I am your 

own , and believe me I am not ungrateful, but love you dearly, and can 

not bear to think of your being in trouble. I am offering what, alas ! Mr. 

P may create a difficulty about, but I trust he will not, and that you will 

not be angry or mistrust me, and consider me intrusive. Possibly there is no 
truth in the rumor. If so, forget that I have ever seemed intrusive, and only 

rest assured of my affection. May God bless you, my dearest . 

" Ever your most affectionate , MARGUERITE ." 

H 2 



178 THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 
From Mrs. T : 

" 28th AprU, 1849. 

" I was very glad to receive your affectionate note, my dearest , and 

to know you are not offended with mine to you. I wrote to you from my 
heart, and one is seldom misinterpreted at those times. While I live, dearest 

, I shall have a heart to care for you, and feel a warm interest in your 

happiness ; you must never let any thing create a doubt of this. Will you 
promise me this 1 

" I doubt not you will be happier in Paris. It saddens me, however, to feel 
that, perhaps, we shall never meet again, and I am very, very sorry not to have 
seen you, and bid you at least good-by. 

" I can not say how much I have thought of you, and felt for you, dearest 

, breaking up your old house. I know how poor dearest mamma felt 

it, when such was her lot ; and you resemble each other in so many things ! 
Every one says you have acted most admirably in not any longer continuing 
to run the chance of not receiving your annuity duly, but selling off, so as to 
pay all you owe and injure no one. I think there is some little comfort in 
feeling that good acts are appreciated, so I tell you this. I am half ashamed 

of my little paltry offer. Dearest , I am so glad you were not affronted 

with me, for I know you would have done the same over and over again by 
me ; but then you always confer and never accept, and I have much to thank 
you for, as well as my sisters, for you have been a most unselfish friend to each 
and all of us. 

******** 

" I should so like to know what is become of poor old Comte S . I 

wrote to him at the beginning of the year, but have never had an answer. If 
you meet him, do be kind to him, poor old man, in spite of his deafness and 
blindness, which make him neglected by others, for he is a very old friend of 
ours, and I feel an interest in the poor old mart, knowing so many good and 
kind acts of his. 

"Ever, dearest, yours most affectionately, MARGUERITE." 

Lady Blessington and the two Misses Power left Gore House 
on the 14th of April, 1849, for Paris. Count D Orsay had set 
out for Paris a fortnight previously. 

For nineteen years Lady Blessington had maintained a posi 
tion almost queenlike in the world of intellectual distinction, in 
fashionable literary society, reigning over the best circles of 
London celebrities, and reckoning among her admiring friends 
and the frequenters of her salons the most eminent men of En 
gland, in every walk of literature, art, and science, in statesman 
ship, in the military profession, and every learned pursuit. For 



THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 179 

nineteen years she had maintained establishments in London 
seldom surpassed, and still more rarely equaled in all the appli 
ances to a state of society brilliant in the highest degree ; but, 
alas ! it must be acknowledged at the same time, a state of 
splendid misery, for a great portion of that time, to the mistress 
of those elegant and luxurious establishments. 

And now, at the expiration of those nineteen years, we find 
her forced to abandon that position, to relinquish all those ele 
gancies and luxuries by which she had been so long surrounded, 
to leave her magnificent abode, and all the cherished works of 
art and precious objects in it, to become the property of strangers, 
and, in fact, to make a departure from the scene of all her for 
mer triumphs, which it is in vain to deny was a flight effected 
with privacy, most painful and humiliating to this poor lady to 
be compelled to have recourse to. 

Lady Blessington began her literary career in London in 1822, 
with a small work in one vol. 8vo, entitled " Sketches of Scenes 
in the Metropolis." It commences with an account of the ruin 
of a large establishment in one of the fashionable squares of the 
metropolis, and of an auction in the house of the late proprietor, 
a person of quality, the sale of all the magnificent furniture and 
effects, costly ornaments, precious objects of art, and Valuable 
pictures. 

And, strange to say, as if there was in the mind of the writer 
a sort of prevision of future events of a similar nature occurring 
in her own home at some future period, she informs us the name 
of the ruined proprietor of the elegant mansion in the fashiona 
ble square, the effects of which were under sale, was B . 

The authoress says, sauntering through the gilded salons, crowd 
ed with fashionables, brokers, and dealers in bijouterie, exquis 
ites of insipid countenances and starched neckcloths, elderly 
ladies of sour aspects, and simpering damsels, all at intervals in 
the sale occupied with comments, jocose, censorious, sagacious, 
or bitterly sarcastic on the misfortunes and extravagance of the 

poor B s, she heard on every side flippant and unfeeling 

observations of this kind : " Poor Mrs. B will give no more 

balls ;" " I always thought how it would end ;" " The B s 



180 THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE. 

gave devilish good dinners, though ;" " Capital feeds, indeed ;" 
" You could rely on a perfect supreme dc volatile" (at their table) ; 
" "Where could you get such cotellcttes dcs pigeons a la Cham 
pagne?" " Have you any idea of what has become of B ?" 

" In the Bench, or gone to France, but (yawning) I really forget 
all about it ;" " I will buy his Vandyke picture ;" " It is a pity 
that people who give such good dinners should be ruined ;" "A 
short campaign and a brisk one for me ;" " Believe me, there is 
nothing like a fresh start, and no man, at least no dinner-giving 
man, should last more than two seasons, unless he would change 
his cook every month, to prevent repetition of the same dishes, 
and keep a regular roaster of his invitations, with a mark to each 
name, to prevent people meeting twice at his house the same 
season." The elderly ladies were all haranguing on " the fol 
lies, errors, and extravagances of Mrs. B ." " Mr. B , 

though foolish and extravagant in some things, had considera 
ble taste and judgment in some others ; for instance, his books 
were excellent, well chosen, and well bought ;" " His busts, too, 
arc very fine ;" " Give me B s pictures, for they are exquis 
ite ;" " That group, so exquisitely colored and so true to nature, 
could only be produced by the inimitable pencil of a Lawrence." 

"And this is an auction . 1 " says the authoress, at the end of 
the first sketch in her first work ; " a scene," she continues, 
"that has been so often the resort of the young, the grave, and 
the gay, is now one where those who have partaken of the hos 
pitality of the once opulent owner of the mansion now come to 
witness his downfall, regardless of his misfortune, or else to 
exult in their own contrasted prosperity."* 

This sketch would indeed have answered for the auction 
scene at Gore House in 1849, seven-and-twenty years after it 
had been penned by Lady Blessington. 

Her ladyship thus commenced her literary career in 1822 
with a description of the ruin of an extravagant person of qual 
ity in one of our fashionable squares in London, with an account 
of the break-up of his establishment and the auction of his ef 
fects, and a similar career terminates in the utter smash and the 
* Thf> " Magir Lantern," &e., p. 1, 2, 3. London : Longman, 1822. 



ARRIVAL OF LADY BLESSINGTON IN PARIS. 181 

sale at Gore in 1849. There are many stranger things twixt 
heaven and earth than are dreamed of in the philosophy of our 
Horatios of fashionable society. 



CHAPTER XI. 

ARRIVAL OF LADY BLESSINGTON IN PARIS THE MIDDLE OF APRIL, 

1849. HER LAST ILLNESS, AND DEATH ON THE 4TH OF JUNE 

FOLLOWING. NOTICE OF HER DECEASE. 

LADY BLESSINGTON and her nieces arrived in Paris in the 
middle of April, 1849. She had a suite of rooms taken for her 
in the Hotel de la Ville d Eveque, and there she remained till 
the 3d of June. The jointure of 2000 a year was now the 
sole dependence of her ladyship, and the small residue of the 
produce of the sale of her effects at Gore House, after paying 
the many large claims of her creditors and those of Count D Orsay. 

Soon after her arrival in Paris, she took a moderate-sized but 
handsome appartement in the Rue du Cerq, close to the Champs 
Elysees, which she commenced furnishing with much taste and 
elegance ; her preparations were at length completed, but they 
were destined to be in vain. In the brief interval between her 
arrival in Paris and her taking possession of her new apartment 
on the 3d of June, she received the visits of many of her former 
acquaintances, and seemed in better spirits than she had been 
for a long time previously to her departure from London. 

The kindness she met with in some quarters, and especially 
at the hands of several members of the Grammont family, was 
at once agreeable and encouraging. But the coolness of the 
accueil of other persons who had been deeply indebted to her 
hospitality in former times was somewhat more chilling than 
she had expected to find, and the warm feelings of her gener 
ous heart and noble nature revolted at it. 

Prince Louis Napoleon, on Lady Blessington s arrival in Paris, 
requested her to come to the palace of the Elysee, where he then 
resided ; she went, accompanied by Count D Orsay and the two 
Misses Power. He subsequently invited them to dinner. He 



182 ARRIVAL OF LADY BLESSINGTON IN PARIS. 

had been one of the most constant and intimate guests at Gore 
House, both before and after his imprisonment at Ham. He 
used to dine there whenever there were any distinguished per 
sons, whether English or foreign. He was on the most familiar 
and intimate terms with Lady Blessington and her circle, join 
ing them in parties to Greenwich, Richmond, &c. ; and all his 
friends, as well as himself, were made welcome, and on his es 
cape from Ham he came to Gore House straight on his arrival 
in London, giving Lady Blessington the first intimation of his 
escape. 

On that occasion, at Count D Orsay s advice, he wrote at once 
to Monsieur St. Aulaire, then embassador in London, stating that 
he had no intention of creating any ferment or disturbance, but 
meant to reside quietly as a private individual in London. Lady 
Blessington proffered some pecuniary assistance to the prince, 
and both Lady Blessington and Count D Orsay manifested their 
earnest desire and willingness to aid him in any way they could 
be made serviceable to him. While he needed their services, 
and influence, and hospitality, the prince expressed himself al 
ways most grateful for them. But with the need, the sense 
of the obligations ceased. 

There is no doubt on the minds of some of the friends even 
of Prince Louis Napoleon but that the active and unceasing 
exertions and influence of Count D Orsay and his friends and 
connections in Paris went far to aid his election as President. 
D Orsay rallied to his party Emile de Girardin, one of the ablest 
and boldest journalists of the day, but who subsequently became 
a formidable opponent. The chief cause of his ingratitude to 
Count D Orsay was believed to have been his apprehension of 
being supposed to be advised or influenced by any one who had 
been formerly intimate with him ; a fear which has induced 
him to surround his person with men of mean intellect and of 
servile dispositions, pliant, indigent, and unscrupulous follow 
ers, of no station in society, or character for independence or 
integrity of principle. 

Lady Blessington began to form plans for a new literary ca 
reer : she engaged her thoughts in projecting future works, in 



LAST ILLNESS AND DEATH. 183 

making new arrangements for the reception of the beau monde. 
She employed a great deal of her time daily in superintending 
the furnishing of her new apartment ; in the way of embellish 
ments, or luxuries, or comforts, some new wants had to be sup 
plied every day. The old story of unsatisfied desires ever seeking 
fulfillment, and never contented with the fruition of present en 
joyments, applies to every phase in life, even the most checkered : 

" Like our shadows, 
Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines." 

The sun of Lady Blessington s life was now declining fast ; 
and even when it had reached the verge of the horizon, its going 
down was unnoticed by those around her, and the suddenness 
of its disappearance occasioned no little surprise, and gave rise 
to many vague surmises and idle rumors. 

There were some striking coincidences in the circumstances 
attending the deaths of Lord and Lady Blessington. 

In May, 1829, Lord Blessington returned to Paris from En 
gland, purposing to fix his abode there for some months at least ; 
and on the 23d of the same month, a few weeks after his arrival, 
without previous warning or indisposition, " appearing to be in 
good health," he was suddenly attacked by apoplexy, while 
riding on the Champs d Elysee, and died the same day, in a 
state of insensibility. 

Twenty years from that date, Lady Blessington arrived in 
Paris from London, purposing to fix her abode there ; and on 
the 4th of June, having made all suitable preparations for a long 
residence in Paris, and after a sojourn there of about five weeks, 
without previous warning or indisposition, she was suddenly at 
tacked by an apoplectic malady, complicated with disease of the 
heart, and was carried off suddenly, at her abode adjoining the 
Champs d Elysee,being quite unconscious, during the brief period 
of the struggle, of the fatal issue that was about to take place. 

A few weeks before that event, a British peeress, whom I 
have had the pleasure of meeting at Gore House in former days, 
wrote to Lady Blessington at Paris, reminding her of a promise 
that had been extorted from her, and entreating of her to re 
member her religious duties, and to attend to them. 



184 



LAST ILLNESS AND DEATH. 



Poor Lady Blessington always received any communication 
made to her on this subject with respect, and even with a feel 
ing of gratitude for the advice given by her. She acted on it 
solely on one or two occasions, in Paris, when she accompanied 
the Duchess de Grammont to the Church of the Madeleine on 
the Sabbath. 

But no serious idea of abandoning the mode of life she led 
had been entertained by her. Yet she had a great fear of death, 
and sometimes spoke of a vague determination, whenever she 
should be released from the chief cares of her career the toils 
and anxieties of authorship, the turmoil of her life in salons and 
intellectual circles that she would turn to religion, and make 
amends for her long neglect of its duties by an old age of retire 
ment from society, and the withdrawal of her thoughts and af 
fections from the vanities of the world. But the proposed time 
for that change was a future which was not to come ; and the 
present time was ever to her a period in which all thoughts of 
death were to be precluded, and every amusing and exciting 
topic was to be entertained which was capable of absorbing at 
tention for the passing hour. 

An extract of a letter from Miss Power to the author, on the 
death of Lady Blessington, will give a very accurate and de 
tailed account of her last illness and death : 

" Rue de la Ville 1 Eveque, No. 38, February 18th, 1850. 

" On arriving in Paris, my aunt adopted a mode of life differing considera 
bly from the sedentary one she had for such a length of time pursued ; she 
rose earlier, took much exercise, and, in consequence, lived somewhat higher 
than was her wont, for she was habitually a small cater. This appeared to 
agree with her general health, for she looked well, and was cheerful ; but she 
began to suffer occasionally (especially in the morning) from oppression and 
difficulty of breathing. These symptoms, slight at first, she carefully concealed 
from Qur knowledge, having always a great objection to medical treatment ; but 
as they increased in force and frequency, she was obliged to reveal them, and 
medicaj aid was immediately called in. Dr. Leon Simon pronounced there was 
cnergie du coeur, but that the symptoms in question proceeded probably from 
bronchitis a disease then very prevalent in Paris; that they were nervous, 
and entailed no danger ; and as, after the remedies he prescribed, the attacks 
diminished perceptibly in violence, and that her general health seemed little 
affected by them, he entertained no serious alarm. 



LAST ILLNESS AND DEATH. 185 

" On the 3d of June she removed from the hotel we had occupied during the 
seven weeks we had passed in Paris, and entered the residence which my poor 
aunt had devoted so much pains and attention to the selecting and furnishing 
of, and that same day dined enfamille with the Due and Duchesse de Quiche 
(Count D Orsay s nephew). On that occasion, my aunt seemed particularly 
well in health and spirits, and it being a lovely night, and our residences lying 
contiguous, we walked home by moonlight. As usual, I aided my aunt to 
undress she never allowed her maid to sit up for her and left her a little 
after midnight. She passed, it seems, some most restless hours (she was ha 
bitually a bad sleeper), and early in the morning, feeling the commencement 
of one of the attacks, she called for assistance, and Dr. Simon was immediately 
sent for, the symptoms manifesting themselves with considerable violence; 
and, in the mean time, the remedies he had ordered sitting upright, rubbing 
the chest and upper stomach with ether, administering ether internally, &c. 
were all resorted to without effect. The difficulty of breathing became so ex 
cessive, that the whole of the chest heaved upward at each/inspiration, which 
was inhaled with a loud whooping noise, the face was swolten and purple, the 
eyeballs distended, and utterance almost wholly denied, while the extremities 
gradually became cold and livid, in spite of every attempt to restore the vital 
heat. By degrees, the violence of the symptoms abated ; she uttered a few 
words : the first, The violence is over, I can breathe freer ; and soon after, 
Qu elle heure est-ill Thus encouraged, we deemed the danger past ; but, 
alas ! how bitterly were we deceived ; she gradually sunk from that moment ; 
and when Dr. Simon, who had been delayed by another patient, arrived, he 
saw that hope was gone ; and, indeed, she expired so easily, so tranquilly, 
that it was impossible to perceive the moment when her spirit passed away. 

" The day but one following, the autopsy took place, when it was discov 
ered that enlargement of the heart to nearly double the natural size, which en 
largement must have been progressing for a period of at least twenty-five 
years, was the cause of dissolution, though incipient disease of the stomach 
and liver had complicated the symptoms. The body was then embalmed by 
Dr. Ganal, and deposited in the vaults of the Madeleine, while the monument 
was being constructed, a task to which Count D Orsay devoted the whole of 
his time and attention. He bids me to say that he is about to have a da 
guerreotype taken of the place, a drawing of which we shall have forwarded 
to you.* 

" The mausoleum is a pyramid of granite, standing on a square platform, on 
a level with the surrounding ground, but divided from it by a deep fosse, whose 
sloping sides are covered with green turf and Irish ivy, transplanted from the 
garden of the house where she was born. It stands on a hill-side, just above 
the village cemetery, and overlooks a view of exquisite beauty and immense 
extent, taking in the Seine, winding through the fertile valley and the forest 

* From that daguerreotype, the sketch given in this work has been exactly 
copied by an artist very highly gifted. 



186 MONUMENT TO HER MEMORY. 

of St. Germain ; plains, villages, and far-distant hills ; and at the back and 
side it is sheltered by chestnut-trees of large size and great age : a more pic 
turesque spot it is difficult to imagine. M. A. POWER." 

From Mrs. Homer s account of this monument the following 
passages are taken : 

" Solid, simple, and severe, it combines every requisite in har 
mony with its solemn destination ; no meretricious ornaments, 
no false sentiment, mar the purity of its design. The genius 
which devised it has succeeded in cheating the tomb of its hor 
rors, without depriving it of its imposing gravity. The simple 
portal is surmounted by a plain massive cross of stone, and a 
door, secured by an open-work of bronze, leads into a sepulchral 
chamber, the key of which has been confided to me. All within 
breathes the holy calm of eternal repose ; no gloom, no mould 
ering damp, nothing to recall the dreadful images of decay. An 
atmosphere of peace appears to pervade the place, and I could 
almost fancy that a voice from the tomb whispered, in the words 
of Dante s Beatrice, 

" Io sono in pace ! 

" The light of the sun, streaming through a glazed aperture 
above the door, fell like a ray of heavenly hope upon the sym 
bol of man s redemption a beautiful copy, in bronze, of Michael 
Angelo s crucified Savior which is affixed to the wall facing 
the entrance. A simple stone sarcophagus is placed on either 
side of the chamber, each one surmounted by two white marble 
tablets, incrusted in the sloping walls." 

The monument was visited by me a few weeks before the 
death of Count D Orsay. It stands on a platform or mound, 
carefully trenched, adjoining the church-yard, and approached 
from it. The sepulchral chamber is on a level with the plat 
form from which you enter. Within are two stone sarcophagi 
(side by side), and in one of these is deposited the coffin con 
taining the remains of Lady Blessington, covered with a large 
block of granite. On the wall above (on the left hand side of 
the vault) are the two inscriptions ; one by Barry Cornwall, the 
other that which has led to a correspondence. 

The first inscription above referred to is in the following terms : 



INSCRIPTIONS TO HER MEMORY. 187 

" IN MEMORY OP 

MARGUERITE, COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON, 

WHO DIED ON THE 4rTH OF JUNE, 1849. 



In her lifetime 

She was loved and admired 

For her many graceful writings, 

Her gentle manners, her kind and generous heart. 

Men, famous for art and science 

In distant lands, 

Sought her friendship : 

And the historians and scholars, the poets, and wits, and painters, 

Of her own country, 

Found an unfailing welcome 

In her ever hospitable home. 

She gave cheerfully to all who were in need, 

Help, and sympathy, and useful counsel ; 

And she died 
Lamented by her friends. 

They who loved her best in life, and now lament her most, 

Have raised this tributary marble 

Over the place of her rest." 

BARRY CORNWALL. 

The other inscription, altered from one written by Walter 
Savage Landor, is as follows : 

" Hie est dcpositum 
Quod superest mulieris 
Quondam pulcherrimse 
Benefacta celare potuit 
Ingenium suum non potuit 
Peregrinos quoslibet 
Grata hospitalitate convocabat 
Lutetiae Parisiorum 
Ad meliorem vitam abiit 
Die iv mensis Junii 

MDCCCXLIX." 

The original inscription, by W. S. Landor, is certainly, in all 
respects but one, preferable to the substituted ; and that one is 
the absence of all reference to a future state : 

" Infra sepvltvm est id omne qvod sepeliri potest 

mvlieris qvondam pvlcherrimse. 
Ingenivm swm svmmo stvdio colavit, 



lg g INSCRIPTIONS TO HER MEMORY. 

aliorvm pari adjvvit. 

Benefacta sva cclare novit ; ingenivm non ita. 

Erga omnis erat larga bonitate 

peregrinis eleganter hospitalis. 

Venit Lvtetiam Parisiorvm April! mense : 

qvarto Jvnii die svpremvm svvm obiit." 

The following English version of the above inscription has 
been given by Mr. Landor : 

TO THE MEMORY OF MARGUERITE, COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON. 

" Underneath is buried all that could be buried of a woman 
once most beautiful. She cultivated her genius with the great 
est zeal, and fostered it in others with equal assiduity. The 
benefits she conferred she could conceal her talents not. Ele 
gant in her hospitality to strangers, charitable to all, she retired 
to Paris in April, and there she breathed her last, on the 4th of 
June, 1849."* 

There is an epitaph 011 the tomb of a daughter-in-law of Dry- 
den, who died in 1712, and was buried in Kiel Church, in Staf 
fordshire (see " Monurnenta Anglic.," p. 154) where some ex 
pressions occur somewhat similar to those which Mr. Landor has 
taken exception to in the substituted inscription. It runs thus : 

" Hacc quo erat, forma et genere illustrior, 
eo se humiliorem prsebuit maritum honorando 

familiam praecipue Liberos fovendo 
pauperes sublevando, peregrines omnes decore 

* On the subject of this inscription, Mr. Landor addressed a long letter to the 
"Athenaeum," complaining of the alterations which had been made in the Latin 
lines he had written, from which I will only extract the concluding paragraphs. 

" It may be thought superfluous to remark that epitaphs have certain qualities 
in common ; for instance, all arc encomiastic. The main difference and the main 
difficulty lie in the expression, since nearly all people are placed on the same level 
in the epitaph as in the grave. Hence, out of eleven or twelve thousand Latin 
ones, ancient and modern, I find scarcely threescore in which there is originality 
or elegance. Pure latinity is not uncommon, and is perhaps as little uncommon 
in the modern as in the ancient, where certain forms exclude it, to make room for 
what appeared more venerable. Nothing is now left to be done but to bring for 
ward in due order and just proportions the better peculiarities of character com 
posing the features of the dead, and modulating the tones of grief. 

"WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR." 



HER AGE. 189 

proximosque ct vecinos humaniter excipiendo, 
ut neminem reperisses decidentum : 
non prius devinctum, mira hujus 
et honesta raorum suavitate." 

The age of Lady Blessingtoii has been a subject of some con 
troversy. She was bom, we are informed by her niece (on the 
authority, I have reason to believe, of her aunt) the 1st of Sep 
tember, 1790. She died the 4th of June, 1849 ; hence it would 
appear her age was fifty-eight years and nine months. From 
inquiries that were made by me in Clonmel, and examination 
of the marriage registry, it was ascertained that Lady Blessing- 
ton had been married the 7th of March, 1804. She must then 
have been about fifteen years of age ; but, according to the first 
account, she would have been only fourteen years of age the 
1st of September, 1804.* 

Lady Blessington stated to me that she was married in 1804, 
and was then under fifteen years of age. Had she been born 
the 1st of September, 1789, she would have been fifteen years 
of age on the 1st of September, 1804. 

The probability then is that she was born in 1789, and not in 
1790, and was therefore sixty years of age, less by two months, 
when she died. 

Ellen, Lady Canterbury (her youngest sister), in the account 
of her death in " the Annual Register," is stated to have died 
in her fifty-fourth year, the 16th November, 1845. From this 
it would appear that she was born in the latter part of 1791. 

Mary Anne, Countess St, Marsault, the youngest of all the 
children of B&mund Power, I am informed was fifteen years 
younger than Lady Blessington. If this be the case, and Lady 
Blessington was born in 1789, the Countess of Marsault must 
have been born in 1804, and would be now fifty years of age. 

But if I might hazard an opinion on so delicate a subject as 

* A person intimately acquainted with Lady Blessington s family is the editor 
of a Clonmel paper, in which the following paragraph appeared : 

" THE LATE LADY BLESSINGTON. A Dublin solicitor has just been in Clon 
mel, for the purpose of exactly ascertaining the age of the late Countess of Bless 
ington, in reference to an insurance claim. She was not so old at her death as 
the newspapers said, having been married in 1804, at the early age of fifteen years, 
so that she was only sixty years old at her decease." 



IQQ COUNT D ORSAY S GRIEF. 

a lady s age, I would venture to set down the date of that event 
as 1801, and not 1804. 

In a letter from Miss Power, dated 12th of July, 1849, then 
residing at Charnbourcy Pres de St. Germain-cn-Laye (the seat 
of the Duchcsse de Grammont, the sister of Count D Orsay), the 
loss of Lady Blessirigton is thus referred to : 

" Count D Orsay would himself have answered your letter, but 
had not the nerve or the heart to do so ; although the subject 
occupies his mind night and day, he can not speak of it but to 
those who have been his fellow-sufferers ; it is like an image 
ever floating before his eyes, which he has got, as it were, used 
to look upon, but which he can not yet bear to grasp and feel 
that it is real : much as she was to us, we can not but feel that 
to him she was all ; the centre of his existence, round which 
his recollections, thoughts, hopes, and plans turned ; and just at 
the moment she was about to commence a new mode of life, one 
that promised a rest from the occupation and anxieties that had 
for some years fallen to her share, death deprived us of her." 

On D Orsay s first visit to the tomb where the remains of 
Lady Blessington had been deposited, his anguish is said to have 
been most poignant and heart-rending. He seemed almost phren- 
sied at times, bewildered and stupefied ; and then, as if awaken 
ed suddenly to a full consciousness of the great calamity that 
had taken place, he would lament the loss he had sustained as 
if it had occurred only the day before. His state of mind might 
be described in the words of an Arabic poem, translated by Sir 
William Jones : 

" Torn from loved friends, in Death s cold caverns laid, 
I sought their haunts with shrieks that pierced the air ; 
Where are they hid 1 oh ! where V I wildly said ; 
And Fate, with sullen echo, mocked, where? "* 

A notice of the death of Lady Blessington appeared in " the 
Athenaeum" of June 9th, 1849, written by one who appears to 
have known Lady Blessington well, and to have appreciated 
fully her many excellent qualities. 

" Only a fortnight since, the journals of London were laying 

* Translation from ;m Aniliir j>oct, by the late Sir William Jones. 



NOTICE OF HER DEATH. 191 

open to public gaze the Belies of a house which for some dozen 
years past has been an object of curiosity, and a centre of pleas 
urable recollection to many persons distinguished in literature 
and art, abroad and at home. 

" The Countess of Blessington, it appears, lived just long 
enough to see her gates closed and her treasures dispersed ; for 
on Tuesday arrived from Paris tidings that, within a few hours 
after establishing herself in her new mansion there, she died 
suddenly of apoplexy on Monday last. 

" Few departures have been attended with more regrets than 
will be that of this brilliant and beautiful woman in the circle 
to which her influences have been restricted. It is unnecessary 
to sum up the writings published by Lady Blessington within 
the last eighteen years, commencing by her Conversations with 
Lord Byron, and including her lively and natural French and 
Italian journals, half a score of novels, the most powerful among 
which is The Victims of Society, detached thoughts and fugi 
tive verses, since these are too recent to call for enumeration. 

" As all who knew the writer will bear us out in saying, they 
faintly represent her gifts and graces, her command over anec 
dote, her vivacity of fancy, her cordiality of manner, and her 
kindness of heart. They were hastily and slightly thrown off 
by one with whom authorship was a pursuit assumed rather 
than instinctive in the intervals snatched from a life of unself 
ish good offices and lively social intercourse. 

" From each one of the vast variety of men of all classes, all 
creeds, all manner of acquirements, and all color of political 
opinions, whom Lady Blessington delighted to draw around her, 
she had skill to gather the characteristic trait, the favorite ob 
ject of interest, with a fineness of appreciation to be exceeded 
only by the retentiveness of her memory. 

" Thus, until a long series of family bereavements and the 
pressure of uncertain health had somewhat dimmed the gayety 
of her spirits, her conversation had a variety of reminiscence, a 
felicity of a propos, and a fascination, of which her writings of 
fer faint traces. In one respect, moreover, her talk did not re 
semble the talk of other beaux csprits. With the eagerness of a 



192 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

/ child, she could amuse and persuade J^erself as entirely as she 
amused and persuaded others. Among all the brilliant wom 
en we have known, she was one of the most earnest earnest 
in defense of the absent, in protection of the unpopular, in ad 
vocacy of the unknown ; and many are those who can tell how 
generously and actively Lady Blessington availed herself of her 
widely-extended connections throughout the world to further 
their success or to promote their pleasures. In her own family 
she was warmly beloved as an indefatigable friend, and eagerly 
resorted to as an unwearied counselor. How largely she was 
trusted by some of the most distinguished men of her time, her 
extensive and varied correspondence will show, should it ever 
be given to the world. Into the causes which limited her gifts 
and graces within a narrower sphere than they might otherwise 
have commanded, we have no commission to enter."* 



CHAPTER X. 

NOTICE OF THE CAREER, LITERARY TASTES, AND TALENTS OF 
LADY BLESSINGTOX. 

WITH respect to the influence exercised in society over per 
sons of exalted intellect by fascinating manners, personal at 
tractions, liveliness of fancy, quickness of apprehension, close 
ness of observation, and smartness of repartee, among the liter 
ary ladies of England of the present or past century, it would 
be difficult to find one with whom Lady Blessington can be fit 
ly compared. The power of pleasing, of engaging attention, of 
winning, not only admiration, but regard and friendship, which 
the latter lady possessed, and long and successfully exerted over 
men of genius and talents of the highest order, and of every pro 
fession and pursuit, has been seldom surpassed in any country. 

It would not be difficult to point out ladies of celebrity as bay 
bints of far superior abilities as authoresses, of imaginations 
with richer stores of wit and poetry, of more erudition, and bet 
ter cultivated talents ; but we shall find none who, for an equal 
length of time, maintained an influence of fascination in litera- 

* The Athenaeum, June Oth, 1849. 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 193 

ry and fashionable society over the highest intellects, and exer 
cised dominion over the feelings as well as over the faculties 
of those who frequented her abode. 

Grimm, in his " Memoires Litteraires et Anecdotaires," makes 
mention of a Madam Geoffrin, the friend of D Alembcrt, Mar- 
montel, Condorcet, Morellet, and many other illustrious littc- 
raires, whose character and mental qualities, agrements, esprit, 
finesse de I art, bonte de c&ur, et habitudes dc bienfaisancc, would 
appear, from his account of them, very remarkably en rapport 
with the qualities of mind arid natural dispositions of Lady Bless- 
ington. Those of Lady Mary Wortley, Lady Craven, Lady 
Holland, and Lady Morgan, present no such traits of resem 
blance fitly to be compared with the peculiar graces, attrac 
tions, and kindly feelings of Lady Blessington. 

D Alembert has consecrated some lines of homage to his 
friend and benefactress, in a letter published in the " Memoires 
Litteraires et Historiques." "We learn from it that Madam 
GeofTrin s salons were open nightly to the artists, literati, minis 
ters of state, grandees, and courtiers. Authors were not assured 
of the success of their new works till they had been to Madam 
Geoffrin s soirees, and a smile and an encouraging expression of 
the sovereign of the salons set their hearts at ease on the sub 
ject of their productions. 

Helvetius, when he published his book "Dc 1 Esprit," felt no 
confidence in its reception by the public till he had consulted 
Madam : ce thermometre de 1 opinion. 

" Madam Geoffrin n avoit guerre des eimemis que parmi les 
femmes." She had all the tastes, we are told, of a sensitive, 
gentle creature, of a noble and a loving nature. " La passion 
de donner qui fut le bcsoin de sa vie, etoit nee avec elle et la 
tourmenta pour ainsi dire dc ses premieres annees." She had 
aptly taken for her device the words " Donner et pardonner." 

There was nothing brilliant in her talents, but she was an ex 
cellent sayer of good things in short sentences. She gave din 
ners, and there was a great eclat in her entertainments : "Mais 
il faut autre choscs quc dcs diners pour occupcr dans le monde la 
place gne crtte femmc estimable s y etait faitc." 

VOL. I. I 



194 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

Monsieur Malesherbes was happily characterized by her, 
; rhommc du mondc le plus simplement simple." She said, among 
the weaknesses of people, their vanity must be endured, and 
their talk, even when there was nothing in. it. " I accommodate 
myself," she said, " tolerably well to eternal talkers, provided 
they are chatterers, and that only, who have no idea of any 
thing but talking, and do not expect to be replied to. My friend 
Fontenellc, who bears with them as 1 do, says they give his 
lungs repose. I derive another advantage from them ; their in 
significant gabble is to me like the tolling of bells, which does 
not hinder one from thinking, but often rather invites thought." 

"When her friends spoke of the enmity to her of some persons, 
and made some allusion to her many generous acts, she turned 
to D Alembert and said, " "When you find people have feelings 
of hatred to rnc, take good care not to say any thing to them of 
the little good you know of me. They will hate me for it all 
the more. It will be a torment to them, and I have no wish to 
pain them." When this amiable and lovely woman died, D Alem 
bert uttered words very similar to those which D Orsay ad 
dressed to rue on the lirst occasion of my meeting him after the 
recent loss of that friend, who had so many qualities of a kin 
dred nature to those of Madame Geoifrin. " Her friendship," 
said D Alembert, " was my consolation in all troubles. The 
treasure which was so necessary and precious to me has been 
taken away, and in the midst of people in society, and the fill 
ing up of the void of life in its circles, I can speak to none who 
will understand rue. I spent my evenings with the dear friend 
I have lost, and my mornings also. I no longer have that friend ; 
for me there is no longer evening or morning."* 

It has been truly said of Lady Blessington s uniform kindness 
and generosity under all circumstances, 

" In the midst of her triumphs, the goodness of her heart, and 
the fine qualities that had ever distinguished her, remained 
wholly unimpaired. Generous to lavishness, charitable, com 
passionate, delicately considerate of the feelings of others, sin 
cere, forgiving, devoted to those she loved, and with a warmth 

* Memoires Lit. et Anecdotes, vol. ii., p. 64. 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 195 

of heart rarely equaled, her change of fortune was immediately 
felt by every member of her family. The parents whose cruel 
obstinacy had involved her in so much misery, but whose ruined 
circumstances now placed them in need of her aid, were com 
fortably supported by her up to the period of their deaths. Her 
brothers and sisters (the youngest of whom, Marianne, she 
adopted and educated), and even the more distant of her rela 
tives, all profited by her benefits, assistance, and interest." 

A lady of very distinguished literary talents, and highly es 
teemed by Lady Blessington, well acquainted, too, with many 
of her benevolent acts, Mrs. A. M. Hall,thus wrote of her very 
recently, in answer to some inquiries of the author : 

" Firfield, Addlestone, Surrey, June 7, 1854. 

" I never had occasion to appeal to Lady Blessington for aid for any kind 
or charitable purpose that she did not at once, with a grace peculiarly her 
own, come forward cheerfully, and help to the extent of her power. 

" I remember one particular instance of a poor man who desired a particu 
lar situation which I thought Lady Blessington could obtain. All the cir 
cumstances I have forgotten ; but the chief point was, that he entreated em 
ployment, and had some right to it in one department. Lady Blessington 
made the request I entreated, and was refused. Her ladyship sent me the re 
fusal to read, and, of course, I gave up all idea of the matter, and only felt sor 
ry that I had troubled her ; but she remembered it, and in a month accom 
plished the poor man s object ; her letter was indeed a sunbeam in his poor 
home, and he, in time, became prosperous and happy." 

In a subsequent communication of the 3d of August, Mrs. 
Hall adds : 

" When Lady Blessington left London, she did not forget the necessities 
of several of her poor dependents, who received regular aid from her after her 
arrival, and while she resided in Paris. She found time, despite her literary 
labors, her anxieties, and the claims which she permitted society to make upon 
her time, not only to do acts of kindness now and then for those in whom she 
felt an interest, but to give what seemed perpetual thought to their well-do 
ing ; and she never missed an opportunity of doing a gracious act or saying 
a gracious word. My acquaintance with Lady Blessington was merely a lit 
erary one, commencing when, at my husband s suggestion, she published much 
about Lord Byron in the pages of the New Monthly Magazine, which at 
that time he edited. That acquaintance continuing till her death, I wrote 
regularly for her Annuals, and she contributed to those under our care. 

" I have no means of knowing whether what the world said of this beautiful 
woman was true or false, but 1 am sure God intended her to be good, and 



19 6 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

there was a deep-seated good intent in whatever she did that came under my 
observation. 

" Her sympathies were quick and cordial, and independent of worldliness ; 
her taste in art and literature womanly and refined I say womanly, because 
she had a perfectly feminine appreciation of whatever was delicate and beau 
tiful. There was great satisfaction in writing for her whatever she required ; 
labors became pleasures, from the importance she attached to every little at 
tention paid to requests which, as an editor, she had a right to command. 
Her manners were singularly simple and graceful ; it was to me an intense 
delight to look at beauty, which, though I never saw it in its full bloom, was 
charming in its autumn time ; and the Irish accent, and soft, sweet Irish 
laugh, used to make my heart beat with the pleasures of memory. I always 
left her with an intense sense of enjoyment, and a perfect disbelief in every 
thing I ever heard to her discredit. Her conversation was not witty nor wise, 
but it was in good tune and good taste, mingled with a great deal of humor, 
which escaped every thing bordering on vulgarity. It was surprising how a 
tale of distress or a touching anecdote would at once suffuse her clear, intel 
ligent eyes with tears, and her beautiful mouth would break into smiles and 
dimples at even the echo of wit or jest. 

" The influence she exercised over her circle was unbounded, and it became 
a pleasure of the most exquisite kind to give her pleasure. 

" I think it ought to be remembered to her honor that, with all her foreign 
associations and habits, she never wrote a line that might not be placed on 
the book-shelves of any English lady. 

"Yours sincerely, A. M. HALL." 

From Mr. Hall I have received the following account of an 
act of kindness and beneficence of Lady Blessington which fell 
under his own observation : 

" I once chanced to encounter a young man of good education and some 
literary taste, who, with his wife and two children, was in a state of absolute 
want. After some thought as to what had best be done for him, I suggested 
a situation in the Post-office as a letter carrier. He seized at the idea, but, 
being better aware than I was of the difficulty of obtaining it, expressed him 
self to that eflect. 

" I wrote to Lady BlcssLngton, telling her the young man s story, and ask 
ing if she could get him the appointment. Next day I received a letter from 
her, inclosing one from the secretary, regretting his utter inability to meet her 
wishes ; such appointments, although so comparatively insignificant, resting 
with the Postmaster General. I handed this communication to the young 
man, who was by no means disappointed, for he had not hoped for success. 
What was my surprise and his delight, however, when, the very next day, 
Ihrre came to me another letter from Lady Blessington, inclosing one from 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 197 

the Postmaster General, conferring the appointment on the young man. This 
appointment I believe he still holds at least, he did so a year or two ago. 

" S. C. HALL." 

Lady Blessington was quick to discover talent or worth of any 
kind in others, sure to appreciate merit, and generous in her 
sentiments, and ardent in the expression of approbation in re 
gard to it. 

She was by no means indiscriminate in her praise ; one of 
the class whose judgment is to be distrusted on account of the 
lavish bestowal of encomium : " Defiez vous de ces gens qui 
sont a tout le monde et ne sont a personne." Nor, on the other 
hand, did she belong to that most despicable of all cliques, the 
sneering, depreciatory, would-be aristocratic clique of small in 
tellectual celebrities in literature arid art, whose members are 
niggards in acknowledgment of all worth and merit which do 
not emanate from their own little circle of pretentious cleverness. 

There is a sentiment of envy discoverable in the recognition 
of intellectual advantages in such circles not confined to low or 
vulgar people, a sense of something burdensome in the claims 
to commendation of other people, which seems to oppress the 
organs pulmonary, sanguineous, and cerebral of that class of 
small celebrities, be they artists, authors, savans, doctors, or di 
vines, or patronesses in literary society, when merit that has any 
affinity with the worth supposed or self-estimated of the parties 
present is brought to the notice of that clique. There is a "je 
ne sais quoi" of an indisposition to let it be perceived that they 
admit the existence of any ability superior to their own. The 
most vulgar-minded, the least highly-gifted, are sure to be most 
on their guard not to be betrayed into any terms of commenda 
tion of an enthusiastic kind that might lead people to suppose 
they acknowledged any excellence in others they were incapa 
ble of manifesting in their own works, words, or writings. 

A member of this clique, of a waspish mind and an aspish 
tongue, is never more entertaining in it than when he is most 
sneering in his remarks, and churlish of praise in dealing with 
the intellectual advantages of other people. He is unaccustom 
ed to think favorably or to speak well of his absent literary 



198 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

neighbors. He is afraid of affording them a good word ; he 
would be ashamed to be thought easily pleased with his fellow- 
men having any bookish tastes ; he can not hear them eulogized 
without feeling that his own merits are overlooked. Or, if he 
does chime in with any current praise, the curt commendation 
and scanty applause are coupled with a sneer, a scoff, some ribald 
jest, or ridiculing look or gesture, intended to depreciate or to 
give a ludicrous aspect to a subject that might turn to the ad 
vantage of another if it had been gravely treated. In fine, it is 
not in his nature to be just or generous to any man behind his 
back who has any kindred tastes or talents with his own. 

The subject of this memoir was not of the clique in question, 
or of their way of dealing with literary competitors in the ac 
knowledgment of worth or merit in other people of literary pur 
suits. 

Lady Blessington was naturally lively, good-humored, mirth 
ful, full of drollery, and easily amused. Her perception of the 
ridiculous was quick and keen. If there was any thing absurd 
in a subject or object presented to her, she was sure to seize on 
it, and to represent the idea to others in the most ridiculous as 
pect possible. This turn of mind was not exhibited in society 
alone ; in private it was equally manifested. One of the class 
proverbially given to judge severely of those they come most 
closely into contact with, after a service of fifteen years, thus 
speaks of the temper and disposition of her former mistress, 
Lady Blessington ; 

" Every one knew the cleverness of this literary lady ; but few, 
very few knew all the kindness of heart of the generous, affec 
tionate woman, but those who were indebted to her goodness, 
and those who were constantly about her as I was who saw 
her acts, and knew her thoughts and feelings. 

" My lady s spirits were naturally good ; before she was over 
powered with difficulties and troubles on account of them, she 
was very cheerful, droll, and particularly amusing. This was 
natural to her. Her general health was usually good ; she often 
told rne she had never been confined to her bed one whole day 
in her life ; and her spirits would have continued good, but that 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 199 

she got so overwhelmed with care and expenses of all kinds. 
The calls on her for assistance were from all quarters. Some 
depended wholly on her (and had a regular pension quarterly 
paid) her father and mother for many years before they died ; 
the education of children of friends fell upon her. Now one 
had to be fitted out for India now another to be provided for. 
Constant assistance had to be given to others (to the family, in 
particular, of one poor lady, now dead some years, whom she 
loved very dearly). She did a great many charities ; for in 
stance, she gave very largely to poor literary people poor art 
ists ; something yearly to old servants ; she contributed thus 
also to Miss Lander s mother in fact, to several, too many to 
mention ; and from some whom she served, to add to all her 
other miseries, she met with shameful ingratitude. 

" Laboring night and day at literary work, all her anxiety was 
to be clear of debt. She was latterly constantly trying to cur 
tail all her expenses in her own establishment, and constantly 
toiling to get money. Worried and harassed at not being able 
to pay bills when they were sent in at seeing large expenses 
still going on, and knowing the want of means to meet them, 
she got no sleep at night. She long wished to give up Gore 
House, to have a sale of her furniture, and to pay oft her debts. 
She wished this for two years before she left England ; but 
when the famine in Ireland rendered the payment of her joint 
ure irregular, and every succeeding year more and more so, her 
difficulties increased, and at last H and J put an ex 
ecution in the house, which proved the immediate cause of her 
departure from England in 1849. 

" Poor soul ! her heart was too large for her means. Oh ! the 
generosity of that woman was unbounded ! I could never tell 
you the number of persons she used her influence with her 
friends to procure situations for great people as well as small. 
I can not withhold my knowledge of these things from you, one 
of Lady Blessirigton s particular friends ; nor would I. say so 
much, but knowing that her ladyship esteemed you so highly, 
she would not have scrupled to have told you all that I have 
done, and a great deal more." 



^00 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

Q,ueen Catherine s language to " honest Griffith" might have 
been applied by Lady Blessington to the person from whom I 
have received the preceding communication : 

" After my death I wish no other herald, 
No other speaker of my living actions, 
To keep mine honor from corruption, 
But such an honest chronicler as Griffith."* 

It would occupy a considerable portion of this volume were 
all the charitable acts, the untiring efforts of this truly generous- 
minded woman recorded, to bring her influence to bear on friends- 
in exalted station in behalf of people in unfortunate circum 
stances, and of persons more happily situated, yet needing her 
services, seeking employment or appointments of some kind or 
another for them. 

There was this peculiarity, too, in the active benevolence of 
Lady Blessington : whether the person for whom she interested 
herself was rich or poor, of the upper or the humble class of 
society, her exertions were equally strenuous and unremitting 
till they were successful. I have on many occasions seen her, 
after receiving a letter from some important personage in Par 
liament, or perhaps some friend of hers in power, intimating the 
inability of the party to render the service required by her for 
a protege of hers, when, for a few moments, she would seem 
greatly disappointed and discouraged. Then there would be a 
little explosion of anger on account of the refusal or non-com 
pliance with her application. 

But this was invariably followed by a brightening up of her 
looks, a little additional vehemence of tone and gesture, but ac 
companied with some gleams of returning good-humor and gay- 
ety of manner, mingled at the same time with an air of resolu 
tion ; and then throwing herself back in her fautcuil, and plant 
ing her foot rather firmly on the footstool, still holding the letter 
that annoyed her rolled up tightly, and apparently grasped some 
what energetically, she would declare her firm determination, in 
spite of the refusal she had met with, that her application should 
be successful in some other quarter. The poor person s friends 
* Henry the Eighth, Act iv., Sc. 2. 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 2 01 

or family were counting on her efforts, and they should not be 
disappointed. 

The subject from that time would be uppermost in her mind, 
whoever the people were who were about her. But when any 
influential person entered the salon, many minutes would not 
elapse before he would be put in possession of all the worth of 
the individual to be served, and all the wants of the poor family 
dependent on him ; and this would be done with such genuine 
eloquence of feelings strongly excited, finding expression in glow 
ing words, spoken with such pathos, and in accents of such sweet 
ness, that an impression was generally sure to be made, and the 
subject in view was either directly or indirectly; .promoted or at 
tained. 

The embarrassments of Lady Blessington for some years be 
fore her departure from England had made her life a continual 
struggle with pecuniary difficulties, which, for the maintenance 
of her position, it was necessary to conceal, and to make a per 
petual study of concealing. The cares, anxiety, and secret sor 
rows of such a situation it is easier to conceive than to describe. 
Suffice it to say, they served to embitter her career, and, latterly, 
to give a turn to her thoughts in relation to society, and a taste 
for the writings of those who have dealt with its follies, as phi 
losophers, without faith in God or man, which tended by no 
means to her peace of mind, though she attached great import 
ance to that sort of worldly wisdom which teaches us how to lay 
bare the heart of man, but leaves us in utter ignorance of all 
things appertaining to his immortal spirit. 

It is in vain to seek, in the worldly wisdom of Rochefoucault, 
for remedies for the wear and tear of literary life ; the weari 
ness of mind, the depression of physical energies, occasioned by 
long-continued literary labors, and the anxieties, cares, and con 
tentions of authorship. The depression of spirits consequent on 
disappointments in the struggle for distinction, the sinking of 
the heart at the failure of arduous efforts to obtain success, the 
blankness of life s aim after the cooling down of early enthu- 
siam for these ills, the remedies that will soothe the sick at 
heart are not to be found in the philosophy of moralists who 

12 



202 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

are materialists professing Christianity. There is a small book 
ascribed to a religious-minded man, named Thomas a Kempis, 
which, in all probability, Lady Blessington never saw, in which 
there are germs of greater thoughts, and fraught with more con 
soling influences, than are to be discovered in the writings of 
Rochefoucault or Montaigne, and from which better comfort and 
more abundant consolation are to be derived than from any of 
their most successful efforts in laying bare the surface and sound 
ing the depths of the selfishness of the human heart. 

Rochefoucault deems selfishness the primum mobile of all hu 
mane and generous actions. Humanity, in the opinion of this 
philosopher, is like physic in the practice of empirics. They ad 
mit of no idiosyncrasies ; no controlling influence in nature ; no 
varieties of character determined by temperament, fortuitous cir 
cumstances, external impressions, alteration or diversity of or 
ganization. Yet the knowledge of human nature is a science 
to which no general rules can be applied. There is no certainty 
in regard to the law that is laid down for its government, no 
uniformity of action arising from its operation, no equality of 
intellect, passion, disposition, in individuals, to make its general 
application just or possible. 

But, granting that all men feel only for the distresses of others 
from selfish motives from a sense of the pain they would feel 
if they suffered like those with whom they spmpathize still 
their sympathy with misfortune or misery is beneficial to others 
and themselves.* 

* In a discussion on the subject of "the selfishness of the motives of benevo 
lent actions," the following anecdote was related, in opposition to the advocates 
of the theory of Rochefoucault : 

" A poor woman, with three children, dressed in black, was observed in Regent 
Street, standing at the edge of the flags, not asking, but silently standing there, 
for alms. A lady in deep mourning (widow s weeds), of the middle class, a 
coarse, hard-featured, and even unfeminine-looking person, passed on ; but after 
she had gone nearly to the end of the street, she turned back, took out her purse, 
and, with some evident appearances of feeling, gave money to the poor woman. 
There can be little doubt but that the black gown of the pauper had reminded the 
passenger in widow s weeds of her bereavement, and made her feel for one, in all 
probability, deprived like herself of a husband. But, however much of feelings 
of self, and for self, might enter into her emotions, there was sympathy shown 
with the sorrows of another that were like her own. And what mattered it to the 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 203 

It is exceedingly painful to observe the undue importance that 
Lady Blessington attached to the writings of Rochefoucault, and 
the grievous error she fell into of regarding them as fountains 
of truth and wisdom of deep philosophy, which were to be re 
sorted to with advantage on all occasions necessitating reflection 
and inquiry. Satiated with luxuries, weary with the eternal 
round of visits and receptions, and entertainments of intellectual 
celebrities, fatigued and worn out with the frivolous pursuits of 
fashionable literary life, and fully sensible of the worthlessness 
of the blandishments of society and the splendor of its salons, 
she stood in need of some higher philosophy than ever emanated 
from mere worldly wisdom. 

Literature and art have their victims as well as their votaries, 
and those who cater for the enjoyments of their society, and 
aspire to the honor (ever dearly purchased by women) of reign 
ing over it, must count on many sacrifices, and expect to have 
to deal with a world of importunate pretensions, of small ambi 
tions, of large exigencies, of unbounded vanity, of unceasing flat 
teries, of many attachments, and of few friendships. 

The sick at heart and stricken in spirit, the weary and the 
palled in this society, have need of other philosophy than that 
which the works of Rochefoucault can supply. The dreariness 
of mind of those jaded intellectual celebrities is manifest enough 
to the observant ; in their works and in their conversation, even 
when they appear in the midst of the highest enjoyments, with 
bright thoughts flashing from their eyes, with laughter on their 
lips, and with sallies of wit, sarcasm, or drollery coming from 
their tongues. 

It has been observed of Rochefoucault by a French writer, 
Monsieur de Sacy, in a review of that author s works : 

" His moral has every thing in it that can humble and depress 
the heart of man, that is to be found in the rigorous doctrine of 
the Gospel, with the exception of that which exalts man s ria- 

poor woman, who was relieved by her, how that sympathy was associated ? and 
to herself, was it of no advantage to be reminded of being subject to the same sor 
rows as the beggar in her tattered weeds, with her fatherless children beside her 
in the street ?" 



204 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

ture and uplifts his spirit. It is the destruction of all the illu 
sions, without the hopes which should replace them. Roche- 
foucault, in a word, has only taken from Christianity the fall of 
man ; he left there the dogma of the Redemption . 
Rochefoucault believes no more in piety than he does in wis 
dom ; no more in God than he does in man. A penitent is not 
more absurd in his eyes than a philosopher. Every where pride 
every where self, under the hair shirt of the monk of La 
Trappe, as well as under the mantle of the cynic philosopher. 
Rochefoucault permits himself to be a Christian only in order 
to pursue the emotions of the heart into their last intrenchments. 
He condescends to seem to be a Christian only to poison our 
joys, and cast a deadly shade on the most cherished illusions of 
life s dreams. What remains for man then? For those reso 
lute minds, there remains nothing but a cold and daring con 
tempt of all things human and divine an arid and stoical con 
tentment in confronting annihilation: for others differently 
constituted, there remains despair or abandonment to the enjoy 
ment of brutalizing pleasures as the only aim and ultimate ob 
ject of life." 

There remains for women of cultivated minds and of eleva 
ted notions of a literary kind women who are the disciples of 
Rochefoucault a middle course to pursue, which Monsieur de 
Sacy has not noticed ; and that course is to shine in the society 
of intellectual people. The pursuit, indeed, is a soul-wearying 
one, but there is a kind of glory in it that dazzles people, and 
makes them exceedingly eager for it. 

Those to whom amusement becomes a business, the art of 
pleasing a drudgery that is daily to be performed, pass from the 
excitement of society, its labors and its toils, into the retire 
ment and privacy of domestic life, in exhaustion, languor, irk- 
somcncss, and crinui ; and from this state they are roused to 
new efforts in the salons by a craving appetite for notice and for 
praise. 

" Their breath is admiration, and their life 
A storm whereon they ride." 

Lady Blessington had that fatal jjift of pre-eminent attractive- 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 205 

ness in society which has rendered so many clever women dis 
tinguished and unhappy. The power of pleasing people indis 
criminately, in large circles, is never long exercised by women 
with advantage to the feminine character of their fascinations. 

The facility of making one s self so universally agreeable in 
literary salons as to be there "the observed of all observers/ 
"the admired of all admirers," "the pink and rose" of the fair 
state of literature, a la mode, " the glass of fashion and the 
mould of form," becomes in time fatal to naturalness of charac 
ter, singleness and sincerity of mind. Friendship that becomes 
so diffusive as to admit of as many ties as there are claims of 
literary talents to notice in society, and to be considered avail 
able for all intimacies with remarkable persons and relations 
with intellectual celebrities, must be kept up by constant admin 
istrations of cordial professions of kindness and affection, epis 
tolary and conversational, and frequent interchange of compli 
ments and encomiums, that tend to invigorate sentiments of re 
gard that would fade away without such restoratives. " On ne 
loue d ordinaire que pour etre loue." The praiser and the praised 
have a nervous apprehension of depreciation ; and those who 
live before the public in literature or society get not unfre- 
quently into the habit of lavishing eulogies, less with reference 
to the deserts of those who are commended than with a view to 
the object to be gained by flattery, namely, the payment in its 
own coin, and with good interest, of the adulation that has been 
bestowed on others. 

Lady Blessington exercised the double influence of beauty 
and intellectuality in society, in attracting attention, to win ad 
miration, and to gain dominion over admirers. 

In effecting this object, it was the triumph of her heart to ren 
der all around not only pleased with her, but pleased with 
themselves. She lived, in fact, for distinction on the stage of 
literary society before the foot-lights, and always en scene. Lady 
Blessington was very conscious of possessing the hearts of her 
audience. She had become accustomed to an atmosphere of 
adulation, and the plaudits of those friends, which were never 
out of her ears, at last became a necessity to her. Her abode 



206 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

was a temple, and she the Minerva of the shrine, whom all the 
votaries of literature and art worshiped. 

The swinging of the censer before her fair face never ceased 
in those salons, and soft accents of homage to her beauty and 
her talents seldom failed to be whispered in her ear, while she 
sat enthroned in that well-known fauteuil of hers, holding high 
court in queen-like state " the most gorgeous Lady Blessing- 
ton."* The desire for this sort of distinction of a beautiful wom 
an bookishly given in other words, " the coqucttcrie d un dame 
des salons litteraircs" in many respects is similar to that com 
mon sort of female ambition, of gaining the admiration of many 
without any design of forming an attachment for one, which 
Madam de Genlis characterizes, "Ce quo Ics hommes mepriscnt et 
qul les attire." 

But, in one respect, the intellectual species of coquetry is of 
a higher order than the other ; it makes the power of beauty, 
of fascination, of pleasing manners, auxiliary only to the influ 
ence of intellect, and seeks for conquests over the mind, even 
while it aims at gaining an ascendency over the feelings of the 
heart. The chief aim of it, however, is to achieve triumphs 
over all within its circle, and for this end, the lady ambitious 
of reigning in literary society must live to be courted, admired, 
homaged by its celebrities. The queen-regnant in its salons 
must at length cease to confide in the natural gifts and graces 
which belong to her the original simplicity of her character or 
sweetness of her disposition. She must become an actress 
there, she must adapt her manners, fashion her ideas, accommo 
date her conversation to the taste, tone of thought, and turn of 
mind of every individual around her. 

She must be perpetually demonstrating her own attractions 
or attainments, or calling forth any peculiarities in others calcu 
lated to draw momentary attention to them. She must become 
a slave to the caprices, envious feelings, contentions, rivalries, 
selfish aims, ignoble sacrifices, and exigcants pretensions of lite- 

* Dr. Parr was introduced to Lady Blessington by Mr. Pettigrew, and shortly 
after that introduction, the doctor, writing to Mr. Pettigrew, spoke of her ladyship 
rgeous Lady Blessington." 



111*11. jiuruuucuon, me uocior, willing i< 
the most gorgeous Lady Blessington." 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 207 

rati, artists, and all the notabilities of fashionable circles, les 
amis des hommes des lettres, ou les amants imaginaires des dames 
d esprit. 

In a word, she must part with all that is calculated to make 
a woman in this world happy peace of mind, the society of 
true friends, and pursuits which tend to make women loved and 
cherished ; the language of sincerity, the simplicity and endear 
ing satisfaction of home enjoyments. And what does she gain 
when she has parted with all these advantages, and has attain 
ed the summit of her ambition ? a name in the world of fash 
ion, some distinction in literary circles, homage and admiration 
so long as prosperity endures, and while means are to be found 
for keeping up the splendor of a vast establishment and its 
brilliant circles. 

And when the end of all the illusion of this state of splendid 
misery comes at last, the poor lady who has lived in it so long 
awakens from it as from a dream, and the long delirium of it 
becomes manifest to her. She has thrown away fortune, time, 
and talents in obtaining distinction, in surrounding herself with 
clever people, in patronising and entertaining artists and lite 
rati. She has sacrificed health and spirits in this pursuit. Her 
establishment is broken up nothing remains to her of all its 
treasures ; she has to fly to another country, and, after a few 
weeks, she is suddenly carried off, leaving some persons that 
knew her well and long to lament that one so generous, kindly 
disposed, naturally amiable and noble-minded, so highly gifted, 
clever, and talented, should have been so unhappily circum 
stanced in early life and in more advanced years, as well as at 
the close of her existence, and that she should have been placed 
so long in a false position ; in a few words, that the whole 
course of her life should have been infelicitous. 

The wear and tear of literary life leave very unmistakable 
evidence of their operation on the traits, thoughts, and energies 
of bookish people. Like the eternal rolling of the stone of Sis 
yphus, the fruitless toiling up the hill, and the conscious failure 
of each attempt on coming down, are the ceaseless struggles 
for eminence of authors, artists, and those who would be sur- 



208 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

rounded by them in society as their patrons or influential ad 
mirers, and would obtain their homage for so being. 

Like those unceasing tantalizing efforts on which the ener 
gies of Sisyphus were expended in vain, are the tiring pursuits 
of the literati, treading on the heels of one another day after 
day, tugging with unremitting toil at one uniform task to ob 
tain notoriety, to overcome competition, to supplant others in 
public favor, and, having met with some success, to maintain a 
position at any cost, with the eminence of which perhaps some 
freak of fortune may have had more to do than any intrinsic 
worth or superior merit of their own. And then they must 
end the labors which have consumed their health and strength 
without any solid advantage in the way of an addition to their 
happiness, a security to their peace of mind, or a conviction that 
those labors have tended materially to the real good of mankind, 
and thereby to the glory of God, and of His cause on earth, 
namely, the promotion of the interests of truth, justice, and hu 
manity. 

In no spirit of unkindness toward the memory of Lady Bless- 
ington, in no cynical mood, or momentary forgetfulness even, 
of the many estimable qualities and excellent talents which she 
possessed, let us ask, did her literary career, and position in lit 
erary society, secure for her any of those advantages which have 
been just referred to, or was that position attended with any sol 
id benefits to those high interests which transcend all others in 
this world in importance ? 

Or, apart from her literary career, if the question be asked, 
"Was her life happy ? assuredly the answer must be, It was not 
happy. 

In the height of her success, in the most brilliant period of her 
London life, in St. James s Square, in Seamorc Place, in Gore 
House, in the midst of the luxuries by which she was surround 
ed, even at the period of her fewest cares in Italy and France 
the present enjoyments were never unaccompanied with reminis 
cences of the past that were painful. 

But who could imagine that such was the case who knew 
her only in crowded salons, so apparently joyous, animated, and 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 209 

exhilarated by the smiling looks and soft accents of those who 
paid such flattering homage to her beauty and her talent, fully 
conscious as she was of the admiration she excited, and so ac 
customed to it that it seemed to have become essential to her 
being ? 

Ample evidence is to be found in the detached thoughts of 
Lady Blessington, scattered through her papers or among those 
records of reflection to which she gave the appropriate name of 
"Night Thought Books." The following extracts from them 
may serve to show the truth of the preceding observation. 

WRONGS AND WOES OF WOMEN. 

" Men can pity the wrongs inflicted by other men on the gen 
tler sex, but never those which they themselves inflict (on wom 
en)." 

" duelle destinee que cette de la femme ! A 1 etre le plus foi 
ble le plus entoure des seductions, le plus mal eleve, pour les 
resister, les juges les plus severes, les peines les plus dures la 
vengeance la plus inflexible, duand le ciel chasse de son Pa- 
radis notre pere et notre mere coupables, la glaive de 1 ange les 
frappa tous deux : pour tous deux son feu impitoyable brula de- 
vant la porte du lien des delices, sans que la femme fut plus 
puni, plus malheureux que 1 homme. Si elle eut les douleurs 
de la maternite, son compagnon d infortune eut les sueurs du 
travail et les horribles angoisses qui accompagnent le spectacle 
des souflrances de celle qu on aime. II n y eut point entre eux 
un inegal partage de punition, et Adam ne put pas a 1 exclusion 
d Eve rentrer dans ce jardin qui lui fermait la colere du ciel! 
Hommes vous vous etes faits pour nous plus inflexible que Dieu, 
et quand nous sommes tombees par vous, a cause de vous, pour 
nous seules brille 1 epee qui met hors du monde, hors de 1 hon- 
neur, hors de 1 estime, et qui nous empeche a jamais d y ren 
trer." ! ! ! Brissct. 

" The whole system of female education is to teach women to 
allure and not to repel, yet how much more essential is the lat 
ter r 

" England is the only country in Europe where the loss of 



210 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

one s virtue superinduces the loss of all. I refer to chastity. 
A woman known to have violated this virtue, though she pos 
sess all the other virtues, is driven with ignominy from society 
into a solitude rendered insupportable by a sense of the injus 
tice by which she is made a victim to solitude, which often be 
comes the grave of the virtues she brought to it." 

" Passion ! Possession ! Indifference ! What a history is com 
prised in these three words ! What hopes and fears succeeded 
by a felicity as brief as intoxicating followed in its turn by the 
old consequence of possession indifference ! What burning 
tears, what bitter pangs, rending the very heart-strings what 
sleepless nights and watchful days form part of this cvery-day 
story of life, whose termination leaves the actors to search again 
for new illusions to finish like the last !" 

" A woman who exposes, even to a friend, her domestic un- 
happiness, has violated the sanctity of home and the delicacy of 
affection, and placed an enduring obstacle to the restoration of 
interrupted domestic peace and happiness." 

" The youth of women is entitled to the affectionate interest 
of the aged of their own sex." 

" Women who have reached old age should look with affec 
tionate interest on those of their own sex who are still travel 
ing the road scattered with flowers and thorns over which they 
have already passed themselves, as wanderers who have jour 
neyed on through many dangers should regard those who are 
still toiling over the same route." 

BEAUTY WITHOUT THE SECURITY OF FIXED PRINCIPLE. 

"A beautiful woman without fixed principles may be likened 
to those fair but rootless flowers which float in streams, driven 
by every breeze." 

" Whenever we make a false step in life, we take more pains 
to justify it than would have saved us from its commission, and 
yet we never succeed in convincing others nay, more, ourselves 
that we have acted rightly." 

"The happiness of a woman is lost forever when her hus 
band ceases to be its faithful guardian. To whom else can she 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSJNGTON. 211 

confide the treasure of her peace who will not betray the trust ? 
and it is so precious, that, unless carefully guarded, it is soon 
lost." 

" Love-matches are made by people who are content, for a 
month of honey, to condemn themselves to a life of vinegar." 

" There are some chagrins of the heart which a friend ought 
to try to console without betraying a knowledge of their exist 
ence, as there are physical maladies which a physician ought 
to seek to heal without letting the sufferer know that he has 
discovered their extent." 

" In some women modesty has been known to survive chas 
tity, and in others chastity to survive modesty. The last exam 
ple is the most injurious to the interests of society, because they 
who believe, while they preserve chastity inviolate, that they 
may throw aside the feminine reserve and delicacy which ought 
to be its outward sign and token, give cause for suspicions, and 
offend the purity of others of their sex with whom they are 
brought in contact much more than those who, failing in chas 
tity, preserve its decency and decorum." 

" The want of chastity is a crime against one s self, but the 
want of modesty is a crime against society." 

" A chaste woman may yield to the passion of her lover, but 
an unchaste woman gives way to her own."* 

Lines on various subjects, from the " Night Thought Book" 
of Lady Blessington : 

NIGHT. 

1. 

" Yes, night ! I love thy silence and thy calm, 
That o er my spirits shed a soothing balm, 
Lifting my soul to brighter, purer spheres, 
Far, far removed from this dark vale of tears. 

2. 

" There is a holiness, a blessed peace 
In thy repose, that bids our sorrow cease ; 
That stills the passions in the hallowed breast, 
And lulls the tortured feelings into rest." 

* Some of the sentiments expressed in these observations I do not think true 
or just, in a moral or religious point of view. R. R. M. 



212 LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

FLOWERS. 

" Flowers are the bright remembrances of youth ; 
They waft back, with their bland and odorous breath, 
The joyous hours that only young life knows, 
Ere we have learned that this fair earth hides graves. 
They bring the check that s mouldering in the dust 
Again before us, tinged with health s own rose ; 
They bring the voices we shall hear no more, 
Whose tones were sweetest music to our ears ; 
They bring the hopes that faded one by one, 
Till naught was left to light our path but faith, 
That we, too, like the flowers, should spring to life, 
But not, like them, again e er fade or die." 

Lines of Lady Blessington, unfinished, written on the back of 
a letter of Lord Durham, very much injured and defaced, dated 
July 28,1837: 

" At midnight s silent hour, when hushed in sleep, 

They who have labored or have sorrowed lie, 

Learning from slumber how tis sweet to die, 

I love my vigils of the heart to keep ; 

For then fond memory unlocks her store, 

"Which in the garish noisy 

Then comes reflection, musing on the lore 

And precepts of pure, mild philosophy. 

Sweet voices silent now, 

Bless my charmed car ; sweet smiles are seen, 

Though they who wore them long now dwell on high, 

Where I shall meet them, but with chastened mien, 

To tell how dull was life where they were not, 

And that they never, never were forgot." 

Unfinished lines in pencil, with numerous corrections and al 
terations, in the hand-writing of Lady Blessington, apparently of 
a recent date : 

" And years, long, weary years have rolled away, 
Since youth with all its sunny smiles has fled, 
And hope within this saddened breast is dead, 
To gloomy doubts and dark despair a prey, 
Turning from pleasure s flow ry path astray, 
To haunts where melancholy thoughts are bred, 
And meditation broods with inward dread 
Amid the shades of pensive twilight gray. 



LITERARY CAREER OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 213 

Yet has this heart not ceased to thrill with pain, 
Though joy can make its pulses beat no more ; 
Its wish to reach indifference is vain, 
And will be, till life s fitful fever s o er, 
And it has reached the dim and silent shore, 
Where sorrow it shall never know again. 
Like to a stream whose current s frozen o er, 
Yet still flows on beneath its icy " 

* * -X- * * 

On the same sheet of paper as that on which the preceding 
lines are written, there are the following fragments of verse, 
evidently composed in the same thoughtful rnood as the previous 
lines of a retrospective character : 

" But though the lily-root in earth 

Lies an unsightly thing, 
Yet thence the flow ret had its birth, 

And into light will spring. 
So when this form is in the dust,* 

Of mortals all, the lot, 
Oh, may my soul its prison burst, 

Its errors all forgot !" 

Other lines unfinished, in a MS. book of Lady Blessington, in 
her ladyship s hand-writing : 

" The smile that plays around the lips 

When sorrow preys upon our hearts, 
Is like the flowers with which we deck 

The youthful corpse ere it departs 
Forever to the silent grave, 
From those who would have died to save." 

A fragment in penciling, in another commonplace book of 
kady Blessington, in her ladyship s hand-writing, but no date or 
signature : 

" Pardon, Lord ! if this too sinful heart, 

Ingrate to thee, did for a mortal feel 
Love all too pure for earth to have a part. 

Pardon for lowly at thy feet I kneel : 
Bowed to the dust, my heart, like a crushed flower, 

Yields all remaining sweetness at thy shrine. 

* A liiif has here been erased 



214 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

Thou only, Lord of mercy, now hath power 

To bid repose and hope again be mine. 
Chase from this fond and too long tortured breast 

Thoughts that intrude to steal my soul from thee ; 
Aid me within a cloister to find rest, 

When I from sin and passion shall be free." 

No one who ever knew Lady Blessington, and perhaps few 
persons who may chance to read these pages, would refuse to 
say " Amen" to that sweet prayer. 



CHAPTER XI. 

NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON, ETC. 

IT would be absurd to lay claim for Lady Blessington to the 
great attributes of first-rate intellectual powers, creative and in 
ventive, namely, concentrativeness, originality, vigor, and ele 
vation of mind, genius of the highest order, combining intensity 
of thought, strength of imagination, depth of feeling, combina 
tive talents, and mastery of intellect in delineation and descrip 
tion ; excellence, in short, in literature, that serves to give a vivid 
look and life-like appearance to every thing it paints in words. 

It would be a folly to seek in the mental gifts and graces of 
Lady Blessington for evidences of the divine inspirations of ex 
alted genius, endowed with all its instincts and ideality, favored 
with bright visions of the upper regions of poetry and fiction, 
with glimpses of ethereal realms, peopled with shadowy forms 
and spiritualized beings, with glorious attributes and perfec 
tions, or to imagine we are to discover in her keen perception 
of the ridiculous the excellent in art, literature, or conversation, 
or in her ideas of the marvelous or admirable in striking effects, 
sublime conceptions of the grand, the beautiful, the chivalrous, 
or supernatural. The power of realization of great ideas, with 
out encumbering the representation of ideal objects with mate 
rial images and earthly associations, belongs only to genius of 
the first order, and between it and graceful talent, fine taste, 
shrewdness of mind, and quickness of apprehension, there are 
many degrees of intellectual excellence. 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 215 

It is very questionable if any of the works of Lady Blessing- 
ton, with the exception of the " Conversations with Lord By 
ron," and perhaps the " Idler in Italy," will maintain a perma 
nent position in English miscellaneous literature. The interest 
taken in the writer was the main source of the temporary inter 
est that was felt in her literary performances. 

The master-thinker of the last century has truly observed : 
" An author bustling in the world, showing himself in public, 
and emerging occasionally, from time to time, into notice, might 
keep his works alive by his personal influence ; but that which 
conveys little information, and gives no great pleasure, must soon 
give way, as the succession of things produces new topics of 
conversation, and other modes of amusement."* 

Lady Blessington commenced her career of authorship in 1822. 
Her first work, entitled " The Magic Lantern ; or, Sketches of 
Scenes in the Metropolis," was published by Longman in that 
year, in one volume 8vo. 

The work was written evidently by one wholly inexperienced 
in the ways of authorship. There were obvious marks in it, 
however, of cleverness, quickness of perception, shrewdness of 
observation, and of kindly feelings, though occasionally sarcastic 
tendencies prevailed over them. There were evidences in that 
production, moreover, of a natural turn for humor and drollery, 
strong sensibility also, and some graphic powers of description 
in her accounts of affecting incidents. 

The sketches in the " Magic Lantern" arc the Auction, the 
Park, the Tomb, the Italian Opera. 

A second edition of the " Magic Lantern" was published soon 
after the first. There is a draught of a preface, in her lady 
ship s hand-writing, intended for this edition, among her papers, 
with the following lines : 

" If some my Magic Lantern should offend, 
The fault s not mine, for scandal s not my end ; 
Tis vice and folly that I hold in view : 
Your friends, not I, find likenesses to you." 

It is very questionable if more indications of talent are not to 
* Dr. Johnson. Life of Mallet. 



216 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

be found in the first work written by Lady Blessington, " The 
Magic Lantern," than in the next production, or, indeed, in any 
succeeding performance of hers, though she looked so unfavor 
ably on " The Magic Lantern" in her later years as seldom or 
never to make any reference to it. 

" Sketches and Fragments," the second work by Lady Bless 
ington, was also published by Longman in 1822, in one small 
12mo volume. The preface to it is dated June 12, 1822. The 
contents of this volume are the following : 

Blighted Hopes, Marriage, the Ring, Journal of a Week of a 
Lady of Fashion, an Allegory, Fastidiousness of Taste, Coquet 
ry, Egotism, Reflections, Sensibility, Friendship, "Wentworth 
Fragments. 

In the " Sketches and Fragments," Lady Blessington began to 
be somewhat affected and conventional, to assume a character 
of strait-laced propriety and purism, that made it incumbent on 
her to restrain her natural thoughts and feelings, and to adopt 
certain formulas expressive of very exalted sentiments, and of a 
high sense of the duties she had imposed on herself as a censor 
of society its manners, morals, and all .externals affecting the 
decorum of its character. The fact is, Lady Blessington was 
never less effective in her writings than when she ceased to be 
natural. And with respect to her second production, though in 
point of style and skill in composition it was an improvement 
on her former work, in other respects it was hardly equal to it. 

Lady Blessington received no remuneration from cither of the 
works just mentioned. From the produce of the sale of the sec 
ond production, after defraying all the expenses of publication, 
there was a small sum of 20 or JC30 available, which was ap 
plied, by her ladyship s directions, to a charitable purpose. 

The necessity of augmenting her income by turning her lit 
erary talents to a profitable account brought Lady Blessington 
before the public as a writer of fashionable novels. The pecul 
iar talent she exhibited in this style of composition was in lively 
descriptions of persons in high life, in some respect or other 
rmtre or ridiculous, in a vein of quiet humor, which ran through 
out her writings a common-sense, and generally an amiable 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 217 

way of viewing most subjects ; a pleasant mode of effecting an 
entente cordiale with her readers, an air of good-nature in her 
observations, and an apparent absence of malice or malignity in 
the smart sayings, sharp and satirical, which she delighted in 
giving utterance to. 

The great defect of her novels was want of creative power, 
and constructive skill in devising a plot, arid carrying on any 
regularly planned action from the beginning of a work to its 
close, and making the denouement the result that ought to be ex 
pected from the incidents of the story throughout its progress. 

The characters of her mere men of fashion are generally well 
drawn. Many of her sketches of scenes (in one of the French 
acceptations of the word) in society, not of scenes in nature, are 
admirably drawn. 

Lady Blessington, in novel-writing, discarded the services of 
" gorgons, hydras, and chimsBras dire." She had no taste for 
horrors of that kind ; and if she had ventured into the delinea 
tion of them, the materiel of her imagination would riot have en 
abled her to deal with them successfully. 

The characters of her women are generally naturally deline 
ated, except when in waging war with the follies or vices of 
fashionable society. She portrayed its female members in col 
ors rather too dark to be true to nature, or even just to her own 
sex. But she always professed to have a great dislike to works 
of fiction in which humanity was depicted in a revolting aspect, 
and individuals were represented without any redeeming trait 
in their characters. We firrd in several of her novels, in the 
character of the personages, a mixture of good and evil, and 
seldom, except in " the Victims of Society," evidence of unmit 
igated, unredeemable baseness and villainy in the character of 
any person she writes of. Books that give pain, and are disa 
greeable to think of after they had been read, she had a strong 
objection to. One of her literary correspondents in 1845, writ 
ing to her, referring to a recent work which gave a painful and 
disagreeable portraiture of several characters, said, " It is a sin 
against art, which is designed to please even in the terrors which 
it evokes. But the highest artists -Sophocles, Shakspeare, and 

VOL. T. K 



218 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

Goethe have departed from that rule on certain occasions and 
for certain ends. I should have compromised with the guilt 
depicted if I had abated the pain the contemplation of such 
guilt should occasion. It is in showing by what process the 
three orders of mind, which, rightly trained and regulated, pro 
duce the fairest results of humanity, may be depraved to its 
scourge and pestilence, that I have sought the analysis of 
truths which, sooner or later, will vindicate their own moral 

utilities. The calculating intellect of I) , which should 

have explored science; the sensual luxuriance and versatility 

of Y , which should have enriched art ; the conjunction of 

earnest passion with masculine understanding in L , which 

should have triumphed for good and high ends in active prac 
tical life, are all hurled down into the same abyss of irretriev 
able guilt, from want of the one supporting principle broth 
erhood and sympathy with others. They are incarnations of 
egotism pushed to the extreme. And I suspect those most 
indignant at the exposition are those who have been startled 
with the likeness of their own hearts. They may not have the 
guilt of the hateful three, but they wince from the lesson that 
guilt inculcates. The earnestness of the author s own views 
can alone console him in the indiscriminate and lavish abuse, 
with all its foul misrepresentations, which greets his return to 
literature, and, unless he is greatly mistaken, the true moral of 
his book will be yet recognized, though the vindication may 
be deferred till it can only be rendered to dust a stone and 
a name." 

In 1832, in " Colburn s New Monthly Magazine," Lady Bless- 
ington s " Journal of Conversations with Lord Byron" made its 
first appearance. The Journal contains matter certainly of the 
highest and most varied interest, and would convey as just an 
account of Byron s character, and as unexaggerated a sketch as 
any that has been ever published, if some secret feeling of 
pique arid sense of annoyance were not felt by her, and had not 
stolen into her " Conversations." 

The "Journal" was published in one vol. 8vo, a little later, 
and had a very extensive sale. 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 219 

"Grace Cassidy, or the Repealers," a novel in 3 vols., was 
published by Bentley in 1833. 

From all Irish political novels, including " The Repealers," 
the English public may pray most earnestly to be delivered.* 

" Meredyth," a novel in 3 vols., was published by Longman, 
1833. 

In October, 1833, Mr. "William Longman wrote to Lady Bless- 
ington, stating that " Meredyth" had not hitherto had the suc 
cess that had been anticipated. 45 had been spent in ad 
vertising, and only 380 copies sold, 300 of which had been sub 
scribed. 

* KEY TO THE REPEALERS. 

(WRITTEN IN 1833.) 

Duchess of Heaviland Duchess of Northumberland. 

Marchioness of Bowood Marchioness of Lansdowne 

Countess of Grandison Countess of Grantham. 

Lord Albany Lord Alvanley. 

Lord Elsinore Lady Tullamore. 

Lady Rodney Lady Sidney. 

Duke of Lismore Duke of Devonshire. 

Mrs. Grantley Mrs. Norton. 

Countess of Guernsey Countess of Jersey. 

Lord Rey Earl Grey. 

Marchioness of Stewartville Marchioness of Londonderry. 

Lord Montague Lord Rokeby. 

Duchess of Lennox Duchess of Richmond. 

Marchioness of Burton Marchioness of Conyngham. 

Marquess of Mona Marquess of Anglesey. 

Lady Augusta Jaring Lady Augusta Baring. 

Marchioness of Glanricarde Marchioness of Clanricarde. 

Lady E. Hart Burtley Lady E. S. Wortley. 

Lady Yesterfield Lady Chesterfield. 

Mrs. Pranson Hon. Mrs. Anson. 

Lady Lacre Lady Dacre. 

Lady Noreley Lady Moreley. 

Mr. Manly Mr. Stanley. 

Sir Robert Neil Sir Robert Peel. 

Mr. Hutter Serguson Mr. Cutlar Ferguson. 

Mr. Enice Mr. Edward Ellice. 

Mr. Theil Mr. R. L. Sheil. 

Lord Refton Lord Sefton. 

Lady Castlemont Lady Charlemont. 

Lord Loath Lord Meath. 

Duke and Duchess of Cartdun Duko and Duchess cf Leinster, 



220 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 



" The Follies of Fashion, or the Beau Monde of London in 
1835" a sketch by Lady Blessington, appeared in one of the 
periodicals of the time. 

" The Belle of the Season," a much later production, was a 
lively sketch of an episode in fashionable society. 

" The Two Friends," a novel in 3 vols., was published by 
Saunders and Ottley in 1835. 

" The Victims of Society," a novel in 3 vols., Saunders and 
Ottley, published in 1837. If the delineation of high life given 
in this work be correct, the experience which qualified the au 
thor to produce such a performance was very terrible. If it be 
not true, the wholesale pulling-down process, the utter demoli 
tion of the reputation of people in fashionable society, of wom 
en as well as men, in this work, is much to be regretted. 

" The Confessions of an Elderly Lady," in one vol., Longman, 
1838. 

"The Governess," a novel in 3 vols., Longman, 1839. 

" Desultory Thoughts and Reflections," in one thin 16mo vol., 
appeared in 1839, published by Longman. 

" The Idler in Italy" was published in 2 vols. 8vo, Colburn, in 
1839 ; the most successful and interesting of all the works of 
Lady Blessington. 

" The Idler in France" appeared in 2 vols. 8vo, Longman, in 
1841. 

" The Lottery of Life, and other Tales," in 3 vols., appeared 
in 1842. 

" Strathcrn, or Life at Home and Abroad," a story of the pres 
ent day. This novel appeared first in " The Sunday Times ; ; 
afterward it was published by Colburn, in 1845, in 4 vols. Be 
tween the two publications, Lady Blessington is said to have 
realized nearly 600. It Avas the most read of all her novels, 
as she imagined ; yet the publisher, in a letter to Lady Bless 
ington, several months after publishing, complained that he only 
sold 400 copies, and had lost X 40 by the publication, and that 
he must decline a new work proposed by her. In this work, 
the writer drew, as in her other novels, her illustrations of so 
ciety frum her own times ; and her opportunities of studying 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 221 

human nature in a great variety of its phases, but particularly 
in what is called "the fashionable world," afforded her ample 
means of giving faithful portraitures of its society. These por 
traitures in Strathern" are graphic, vivid, and not without a 
dash of humor and sarcastic drollery in her delineation of fash 
ionable life at home and abroad. But the representation is cer 
tainly not only exceedingly unfavorable to the class she puts en 
scene in Rome, Naples, Paris, and London, but very unpleasing 
on the whole, though often amusing, and sometimes instructive. 

In " The Memoirs of a Femme de Chambre," a novel in 3 vols., 
published by Colburn and Bentley in 1846, Lady Blessington 
availed herself of the privileges of an imaginary servant-maid to 
penetrate the inner chambers of temples of fashion, to discover 
and disclose the arena of aristocratic life. The follies and foibles 
of persons in high life, the trials and heart-sicknesses of unfor 
tunate governesses, and the vicissitudes in the career of ladies - 
rnaids, and, in particular, in that of one famine de chambre, who 
became the lady of a bilious nabob, are the subjects of this nov 
el, written w r ith great animation, and the usual piquancy and 
liveliness of style of the writer. 

"Lionel Deerhurst, or Fashionable Life under the Regency," 
was published by Bentley, 1846. 

" Marrnaduke Herbert," a novel, was published in 1847. Of 
this work, a very eminent litterateur wrote in the following terms 
to Lady Blessington, May 22d, 1847 : 

" It seems to rne, in many respects, the best book you have 
written. I object to some of the details connected with the 
fatal error, but the management of its effects is marked by a 
very high degree of power ; and the analytical subtlety and skill 
displayed throughout the book struck me very much. 

" I sincerely and warmly congratulate you on what must cer 
tainly extend your reputation as a writer." 

" Country Quarters," a novel, first appeared in the columns 
of a London Sunday paper in 1848, and was published separ 
ately, and edited by Lady Blessington s niece, Miss Power, aft 
er her ladyship s death, in 3 vols. 8vo, Shoberl, 1850. 

" Country Quarters," the last production of Lady Blessington, 



222 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

is illustrative of a state of society and of scenes in real life in 
provincial towns, in which young English military Lotharios and 
tender-hearted Irish heroines, speculative and sentimental, are 
the chief performers, for the delineation of which Lady Bless- 
ington was far more indebted to her recollection than to her im 
agination. There is no evidence of exhausted intellect in this 
last work of Lady Blessington s. But the drollery is not the fun 
that oozed out from exuberant vivacity in the early days of Lady 
Blessington s authorship ; it is forced, strained, " written up" tor 
occasion ; and yet there is an air of cheerfulness about it, which, 
to one knowing the state of mind in which that work was writ 
ten, would be very strange, almost incredible, if we did not call 
to mind the frame of mind in which the poem of John Gilpin 
was written by Cowper. 

The literary friends of Lady Blessington were in the habit of 
expressing to her ladyship their opinions on her performances 
as they appeared, and sometimes of making very useful sugges 
tions to her. 

The general tone of opinions addressed to authors by their 
friends, must, of course, be expected to be laudatory ; and those, 
it must be admitted, of many of Lady Blessington s friends were 
no exception to the rule. 

Of " The Repealers," a very distinguished writer thus wrote 
to the authoress : 

" My dear Lady Blessington, I have read your Repealers ; 
you must be prepared for some censure of its politics. I have 
been too warm a friend to the Coercive Bill to sufler so formi 
dable a combatant as you to possess the field without a chal 
lenge. I like many parts of your book much ; but will you for 
give me? you have not done yourself justice. Your haste is 
not evident in style, which is pure, fluent, and remarkably 
elegant, but in the slightness of the story. You have praised 
great ladies and small authors too much ; but that is the fault 
of good nature. Let your next book, I implore you, be more of 
passion, of sentiment, and of high character. You are capable 
of great things, of beating many of the female writers of the day 
in prose, and you ought to task your powers to the utmost ; your 
genius is worthy of application. 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 223 

" Forgive all this frankness ; it is from one who admires you 
too much not to be sincere, and esteems you too highly to fear 
that you will be offended at it." 

Another eminent literary writer writes to her on the subject 
of another recent production of hers : 

"You have only to write passions instead of thoughts in order 
to excel in novel writing. But you fear too much ; you have the 
prudes before you ; you do not like to paint the passions of love, 
you prefer painting its sentiment. The awe of the world chills 
you. But perhaps I am wrong, and in The Two Friends I 
shall find you giving us another Corinne or a better Admi 
ral s Daughter, both being works that depend solely on passion 
for their charm. You have all the tact, truth, and grace of De 
Stael, and have only to recollect that while she wrote for the 
world, the world vanished from her closet. In writing, we 
should see nothing before us but our own wild hearts, our own 
experience, and not till we correct proofs should we remember 
that we are to have readers." 

One fully authorized to speak on the subject of authorship 
thus writes to her ladyship on the appearance of a recent novel 
of hers : 

" People often say to me, I shall write a novel ; if I question 
them on what rule ? they state they know of no rules. They 
write history, epic, the drama, criticism, by rules ; and for the 
novel, which comprises all four, they have no rules ; no wonder 
that there is so much of talent manque in half the books we read. 
In fact, we ought to do as the sculptors do, gaze upon all the 
great master-pieces till they sink into us, till their secrets pene 
trate us, and then we write according to rules without being 
quite aware of it. 

" I have been trying to read some fashionable French books. 
Sue and Balzac seem most in vogue, but the task is too heavy. 
Rant run mad, and called, God wot, philosophy ! I feel as if 
these writers had taken an unfair advantage of us, and their 
glittering trash makes common sense too plain and simple to be 
true." 

Of " The Victims of Society," a friendly critic writes : 



224 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTOX. 

" I have finished the whole of The Victims of Society. The 
characters are drawn with admirable tact arid precision, and a 
knowledge of human nature that is only too fine for the obtuse. 
You are, indeed, very severe in the second volume, more so 
than I had anticipated ; but it is severe truth, finely conceived, 
boldly attempted, and consummately executed. \ou have 
greatly retrieved and fined down Miss Montresor s character by 
her touches of penitence and remorse. Lord C is perfect. 

\V , an English dandy throughout. I can not conceive that 

you have any thing to dread. You have attacked only persons 
whom the general world like to hear attacked ; the few who 
wince will pretend not to understand the application." 

Of" The Idler in Italy," one of her most distinguished friends 
says : 

" I have already nearly finished the two volumes of The 
Idler in Italy, and am delighted with the sparkling and grace 
ful ease. You interest us in every thing, even in the bed rest 
ing on pillar swans, and the terrace that is to be turned into a 
garden : your observations on men and things are, as usual, ex 
cellent. All the account of the Revolution is highly animated 
and original ; I am sure the work will be UNIVERSALLY liked/ 

On the appearance of " The Two Friends," Lady Blessington 
received the following notice of it from one of her literary ac 
quaintance : 

" I have just finished your work, The Two Friends, and I 
may congratulate you on a most charming publication, which 
can not fail to please universally, and to increase your reputa 
tion. It is true that there is nothing exaggerated in it, but it is 
written in a thoroughly good tone and spirit, very elegant, and 
sustained with great knowledge of character, many dramatic 
situations, abounding with profound observations and much 
playful wit. The happiest and newest character of the kind I 
know is the Count de Bethune. He is admirable. His bearing 
his griefs like a man and a Frenchman, his seeing to his din 
ner, arid reproving his daughter 1 or her want of feeling in dis 
turbing his digestion, are exquisite traits of character, and re 
mind us of the delicate touches of Manzoni in I Promessi Sposi, 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 225 

Lord Scamper is very humorous, and I laughed heartily at some 
of the scenes in which he appears, though in one part his verisi 
militude is a little injured by your making him talk sense about 
the Revolution. Your politics there, by-the-by, are shockingly 
Tory, and will please Lord Abinger. There are some beauti 
ful discriminative reflections, not dragged in per force, nor te 
dious and extraneous, but natural and well timed. In your 
story you have improved prodigiously since The Repealers ; it 
is more systematic and artful. Altogether, you have exceeded 
my hopes, and may reckon here on complete success. Lady 
W aimer is very harsh, but a very true portrait. Cecile is charm 
ing, and pleases me more than Lady Emily, I scarcely know 
why. The only fault I see in your book is, that it is a little too 
prudent. But perhaps you are quite right, and a man does not 
allow for the fears of a woman ; at all events, such prudence 
will make you more popular. There is no doubt of your having 
greatly excelled The Repealers. 

Another novel of her ladyship s called forth the following ob 
servations from another quarter : 

" I have received your book ( Marmaduke Herbert ), and I 
must candidly tell you that I think you have outdone yourself in 
this most interesting and effective work. It has a grave, sus 
tained solemnity of power about it, of which I can not speak too 
highly. 

" It reminds me greatly of Godwin s earlier writings. The 
same minute and faithful analysis of feeling, the same patience 
in building up the interest, and the same exhibition of strength 
and weakness in one motley volume. 

" I did not think, when you spoke to me of the story long ago, 
that you could have made so fine a thing of it. The first vol 
ume and a half are extremely thrilling, and without effort." 

" The Belle of a Season" brought several letters to Lady 
Blessington. The following one is most deserving of being 
cited : 

" I read your Belle of the Season with sincere admiration ; 
the very lightness of the subject makes the treatment so difficult, 
and it is surprising how much actual interest you have given to 

K <> 



926 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

the story, while the verification is so skillful, so graceful and 
easy, as to be a model in its way. 

" I was charmed from the first few lines, and indeed the open 
ing of the story is one of the happiest parts. 

" The whole partakes of the character of the subject, and is a 
true picture of what a London season is to a young lady open- 
in " those views that are new to her of life and society. A Lon 
don season wears different faces to different classes ; the politi 
cian, the author, the actor, the artist, the tradesman, the pick 
pocket, the boy who wants to " old your oss , each has his own 
London season. But no doubt the happiest of all, for a year or 
two, is the young lady s, beginning with court, and ending 
with a fancy ball, to say nothing of the declaration, for that is 
the drop scene. 

" Your style is peculiarly fluent and appropriate, and very orig 
inal. I do not remember any specimen of the Rambler like it. 

" I then went from poetry to prose, arid read your Govern 
ess. The story is very interesting, and the character of the poor 
child so exquisite a sketch, that I regret much that it was not 
more elaborate ; it alone would have furnished matter for three 
volumes. The Williamsons are extremely well hit off , and so 
are the Manwarings ; the poets, and characters I like best, are 
those which belong to what is now the popular class of litera 
ture, very caricature. To this class I think the Mondens, and 
some of the scenes at Mr. V. Robinson s, belong. But they are 
amusing, and will, no doubt, please generally. 

" I am delighted to see that you improve and mature in your 
charming talent with every new work. I never saw a more 
striking improvement in any writer since the date, not a long 
one, of the Repealers. I ought, as I am on the subject, to add 
how much I was struck with the little tale of the Dreamer ; if 
a very few lines, a little too English arid refined, were toned 
down into the Irish coloring of the rest, it would be a perfect 
gern in composition, as it is now in sentiment and conception." 

THE ANNUALS. 
The late Frederick Shoberl, Esq., who died in March, 1853. 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 227 

originated in 1823, in conjunction with the late Mr. Ackermann, 
the first of the English annuals, " The Forget-me-not." For sev 
eral years he was the editor of it. The last of these annuals 
was the volume for 1834. This periodical paved the way for 
the numerous illustrated works that have since issued from the 
press. 

These luxuries of literature were got up especially for the en 
tertainment of ladies and gentlemen of fashionable circles, but 
not exclusively for the elite of English society. The tastes of 
belles and beaux of the boudoir of all grades aspiring to distinc 
tion were to be catered for, and the contributors, in general, were 
sought for among the aristocracy, not in the republic of letters. 

It was necessary, however, to enliven a. little dullness of no 
ble amateur authorship with the sparkling gems of genius, with 
more regard to brilliancy of talent than to advantages of ances 
try, and these adventitious aids of professional literati were very 
largely paid for. 

In 1828, Moore makes mention of the editor of " The Keep 
sake" offering him 600 for 120 lines of either prose or poetry, 
which he declined. 

Persons known as popular writers had likewise to be employ 
ed as editors of those periodicals, and were largely paid in gen 
eral ; some for their name alone, and others for their services. 

In those palmy days of annual periodicals, when the name of a 
literary notability as editor was so important to success, we find 
"The Scenic Annual" for 1838 edited by Thomas Campbell. 

" The Keepsake" for 1833 was edited by F. Mansel Reynolds. 
The contributors were the Countess of Blessington, Lord Dover, 
Leitch Ritchie, Esq., John Carne, Esq., J. H. Louther, Esq., M.P., 
Hon. Grantley Berkley, Hon. W. Liddell, Ralph Bernal, Esq., 
M.P., Lord Morpeth, James Boaden, Esq., Lord Mahon, Mrs. C. 
Gore, Colley Grattan, Esq., Mrs. Shelley, Hon. H. Craddock, au 
thor of " Hajji Baba ;" Archdeacon Spencer, Miss L. E. Landon, 
&c., &c. 

"The Court Journal" for 1833 was edited by the Hon. Mrs. 
Norton. 

" Heath s Book of Beauty" for the same year was edited by 
L. E. L. 



228 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

" Portraits of the Children of the Nobility" was edited by Mrs. 
Fairlee in 1838, and in the same year, "The Picturesque An 
nual" by Lcitch Ritchie. 

Fisher s "Drawing-Room Scrap-Book" for 1838 was edited 
by L. E. L. 

" Flowers of Loveliness," with poetical illustrations by L. E. L., 
also appeared the same year. 

Finden s " Tableaux ; or, Picturesque Scenes of National Char 
acter, Beauty, and Costume," edited by Mary Russell Mitford, 
was published in 1838. The poetical contributions were by Mr. 
Kenyon, Mr. Chorley, and Barry Cornwall. 

The greatest and first promoter, in his day, of illustrated an^ 
nuals, was Mr. (Jharles Heath. 

This eminent engraver was the son of Mr. James Heath, q, 
distinguished artist also, whose engravings have been the stud 
ies on which the two Findens are said to have employed days 
and nights. 

The success of the Findens in working for the booksellers in 
the illustration of periodicals and popular publications did not 
satisfy themselves. They became the publishers of their own 
works, and the works of those whose productions were illustrated 
by them. Their Byron Illustrations turned out advantageous, 
but in their other speculations they were less fortunate. Mr. 
William Finden s " Gallery of British Art" proved a ruinous un 
dertaking ; he died in very poor circumstances, September 20, 
1852, in his sixty-fifth year. 

Mr. Charles Heath had, like the Findens, entered on the pub 
lication of periodicals illustrated by him, and with the same un 
fortunate result. He excelled in small plates, and in his hands 
that sort of artistic talent exhibited in the embellishment of an 
nuals reached its greatest perfection. 

Heath s " Book of Beauty" for 1834, edited by the Countess 
of Blessirigton, contained nine pieces by her ladyship. The fol 
lowing are the contents of this volume, and the names or signa 
tures of the authors : 

1. The Choice of Phylias, a tale. Sir E. L. B. 

2. Francesca, a poem. Dr. William Beattie. 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 229 

3. Margaret Carnegie, a tale. Viscount Castlereagh. 

4. The Phantom Guest, a poem. Anonymous. 

5. Mary Lester, a tale. Countess of Blessington. 

6. To a Jasmine Tree, lines. Viscount Morpeth. 

7. Amy, lines. Countess of Blessington. 

8. The Friends, a tale. Henry Lytton Bulwer, Esq., M.P. 

9. On the Portrait of Lady C. A. W, Villiers, lines. Lady E. 

S.Wortley. 

10. An Irish Fairy Fable, a tale. Mrs. S. C. Hall. 

11. Pho3be, or my Grandmamma West, lines. James Smith. 

12. Imaginary Conversations, Rhadamistus and Zeiiobia. 

W. S. Landor. 

13. To Memory, stanzas. The Countess of Blessington. 

14. The Desert, lines. John Gait, Esq. 

15. Bianca Vanezzi, lines. Dudley West, Esq. 

16. Rosalie, lines. Countess of Blessington. 

17. Epochs, lines. H. L. Bulwer, Esq. 

18. Imaginary Conversations, Philip II. and Donna Juana 

Coelho. W. 8. Landor. 

19. The Coquette, a tale. The Countess of Blessington. 

20. The Deserted Wife, lines. R. Bernal, Esq., M.P. 

21. Farewell forever, lines. J. H. Lowther, Esq. 

22. The Bay of Naples in the summer of 1824, a sketch. 

The Countess of Blessington. 

23. To Matilda sketching, lines. The Countess of Bless 

ington. 

24. Rebecca, a tale. Anonymous. 

25. To Lucy reading, lines. The Countess of Blessington. 

26. What art thou, life ? stanzas. Idem. 

As one of the most favorable specimens of those illustrated 
works, the following notice of " the Book of Beauty" for 1835, 
under the editorship of Lady Blessington, may not be out of 
place. The principal beautiful celebrities of whom engraved 
portraits are given in this volume are " The Marchioness of 
Abercorri," by E. Landseer ; " Lucilla," by Parris ; " jNTourma- 
hal," by Meadows ; " Habiba," by Chalon. The gem of the vol 
ume is " Juliet," by Bostock. 



230 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

Among the contributors we find the distinguished literary 
names of Viscount Strangford, Sir William Gell, E. L. Bulwer, 
31. P., Lord Nugent, the Hon. K. R. Craven, Lady Emmeline S. 
Wortley, Lord Albert Conyngham, R. Bernal, M.P., Lady Char 
lotte Bury, Lord William Lennox, Miss Louisa H. Sheridan, H. 
L. Bulwer, M.P., Sir Aubrey de Yere, Bart., Hon. G. Berkely, 
Hon. J. Lester, Sir William Somerville, Bart., Hon. K. Talbot, 
Mr. Sergeant Talfourd, M.P., &c., &c. 

The fair editress contributed a lively and graceful illustration 
of an excellent plate, named " Felicite," by M Clise, represent 
ing a pretty pert lady s maid trying on a fine dress before the 
glass, and looking perfectly satisfied with the result. 

FELICITE. 

BY THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON. 

" Oh ! would I were a lady, 
In costly silks to shine ; 
Who then could stand beside me ! 
What figure match with mine I 

" Who d rave about my mistress, 

With her pale and languid face, 
If they could see my pink cheeks, 
Edged round with Brussels lace ! 

" How well her cap becomes me ! 

With what a jaunty air 
I ve placed it oft my forehead, 
To show my shining hair ! 

" And I declare, these ribands 

Just suit me to a shade ; 
If Mr. John could see me, 
My fortune would be made. 

" Nay, look ! her bracelets fit me, 

Though just the least too tight ; 
To wear what costs so much, must 
Afford one great delight. 

" And then this pretty apron, 

So bowed, and frill d and laced 
I hate it on my mistress, 

Though well it shows my waist. 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 231 

" I must run down one minute, 

That Mr. John may see 
How silks, and lace, and ribands 
Set off a girl like me. 

" Yet all of these together, 

Ay, pearls and diamonds too, 
Would fail to make most ladies look 
As well as I know who." 

Another of these periodicals, edited by her ladyship from 1835 
to 1840, was entitled " Gems of Beauty, designs by E. T. Parris, 
Esq., with fanciful illustrations in verse by the Countess of 
Blessington." 

Her ladyship was gifted with a great facility for versification ; 
poetry of a high order hers certainly was not. But she could 
throw great vivacity, much humor, and some pathos into her 
v ers de societe, and many of her small published pieces in verse 
were quite equal to the ordinary run of " bouts rhymees" in the 
literature of annuals, and some far superior to them. But it 
must be observed, Lady Blessington s poetry derived consider 
able advantage from the critical care, supervision, and correc 
tion of very eminent literary men, some certainly the most emi 
nent of their day. Of this fact there are many evidences, and 
some proofs of extensive services of this sort. 

" The Book of Beauty for 1843," edited by the Countess of 
Blessington, contained only two pieces by her ladyship. 

1. On a Picture of Her Majesty and Children, lines. Dr. W. 

Beattie. 

2. An Episode in Life, a tale. Sir E. L. Bulwer, Bart. 

3. On Portrait of Princess Esterhazy, lines. Countess of 

Blessington. 

4. Love, lines. Mrs. Edward Thomas. 

5. To , lines. A. Baillie Cochrane, Esq., M.P. 

6. Inez de Castro, a sketch. Lord William Lennox. 

7. Mens Divinior, lines. Barry Cornwall. 

8. On Portrait of Mrs. Craven, lines. Anonymous. 

9. Medora, a fragment. C. G. H. 

10. On Portrait of Mrs. Kynaston, lines. Anonymous. 



232 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESS1NGTON. 

11. Ministering Angels, lines. Adelaide. 

12. Poets die in Autumn, lines. Mrs. C. B. Wilson. 

13. A sketch in the Tuilleries. Hon. George Smythe, Esq. 

14. On the 25th of January, 1842., lines. Lord John Manners. 

15. The Venetian Glass, a tale. Baroness de Calabrella. 

16. On Portrait of Miss Dormer, lines. Miss Power. 

17. In Midland Ocean, a sketch. B. D Israeli, Esq., M.P. 

18. William of Ripperda, lines. Anonymous. 

19. Third Imaginary Letter, Earl of Chesterfield to his daugh 

ter. Viscount Powerscourt. 

20. The Fairy Ring, lines. Miss A. Savage. 

21. On Portrait of Miss Meyer, lines. Miss Power. 

22. The Two Flowers, lines. Miss M. H. Acton. 

23. Rail-roads and Steam-boats, a sketch. Lady Blessington. 

24. On the Civic Statue of the Duke of Wellington, Latin lines. 

Marquis Wellesley. 

25. On Portrait of the Hon. Mrs. Spalding. A. H. Plunkett. 

26. Ye Gentlemen of England. Sir J. Hanmer, Bart., M.P. 

27. Her I dearly love, lines. R. Bernal, Esq., M.P. 

28. The Teacher, a sketch. Mrs. S. C. Hall. 

29. Ellen, a tale. Major Mundy. 

30. The Great Oak, lines. Lord Leigh. 

31. Night breezes, lines. Miss Ellen Power. 

32. Death, song. Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley. 

33. Edward Clinton, a tale. Sir Hesketh Fletwood, Bart. 

34. On Portrait of Mrs. C. Coape. Anonymous. 

35. A Children s Fancy Ball, lines. Lady Stepney. 

36. Imaginary Conversation, Vittoria Colonna and M. A. Bu- 

onarotti, by W. S. Landor. 

37. On Portrait of Mrs. Burr, lines. Camilla Toulmin. 

38. To Leonora, lines. Mrs. Torre Holme. 

39. Can I e er cease to love thec ? lines. J . D Oyley, Esq. 

40. Gratitude, a sketch. Captain Marry att. 

41. On the launching of a Yacht, lines. Richard Johns, Esq. 

42. Morna, Adieu, lines. Hon. Grantley F. Berkeley, M.P. 

43. Claudia, a tale. Virginia Murray. 

44. On Portrait of Miss Bcllew, lines. A. Hume Plunkett. 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 233 

45. Yes, peace should be there, lines. A. H. T. 

46. The Stone-cutter Boy, a sketch. Miss Grace Aguilar. 

47. The Closed Gate, lines. Marchioness of Hastings. 

48. I love the Oak, lines. Sir W. Somerville, Bart., M.P. 

49. Lines on Portrait of Mrs. G. "Wingfield. Miss Power. 

50. The two Soldiers, a sketch. Barry Cornwall. 

51. The Song of a Bird, lines to Miss E. Power. Anonymous. 

52. Sleeping and waking Dreams, lines. Mrs. Abdy. 

53. An agreeable Tete-a-tete, sketch. Isabella F. Homer. 

54. Field Flowers, lines. Miss E. Scaife. 

For several years Lady Blessington continued to edit both pe 
riodicals, " the Keepsake" and " the Book of Beauty." This oc 
cupation brought her into contact with almost every literary 
man of eminence in the kingdom, or of any foreign country, who 
visited England. It involved her in enormous expense, far be 
yond any amount of remuneration derived from the labor of ed 
iting those works. It made a necessity for entertaining contin 
ually persons to whom she looked for contributions, or from whom 
she had received assistance of that kind. It involved her, more 
over, in all the drudgery of authorship, in all the turmoil of con 
tentions with publishers, communications with artists, and never- 
ending correspondence with contributors. In a word, it made 
her life miserable. 

In 1848, Heath died in insolvent circumstances, heavily in 
debt to Lady Blessington, to the extent nearly of 700. His 
failure had taken place six or seven years previously. From 
that time the prosperity of the annuals was on the wane, and 
Lady Blessington s receipts from them became greatly reduced. 
The prices she received for her novels had likewise been much 
diminished. In fact, of late years it was with the utmost diffi 
culty she could get a publisher to undertake, at his own risk, the 
publication of a work of hers. 

The public were surfeited with illustrated annuals. The taste 
for that species of literature had died out. The perpetual glori 
fication even of beauty had become a bore. The periodical pas- 
ans sung in honor of the children of the nobility ceased to be 
amusing. Lords, and ladies, and right honorables, ready to write 



034 NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

on any subject at the command of fashionable editors and ed 
itresses, there was no dearth of, but readers were not to be had 
at length for love or money. 

When Lady Blessing-ton s income from the annuals and her 
novels began to fall off largely, she hoped to be able to derive 
.some emolument from other sources. 

In 1845, a newspaper project on a grand scale was entered 
into by the eminent printers, Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, with 
the co-operation of some of the most distinguished literary men 
of England. The " Daily News" was established, and the lit 
erary services of Lady Blessington were solicited for it in Jan 
uary, 1846. Her ladyship was to contribute, in confidence, " any 
sort of intelligence she might like to communicate, of the say 
ings, doings, memoirs, or movements in the fashionable world." 
Her contributions were supposed to consist of what is called 
" Exclusive Intelligence." 

Lady Blessington estimated the value of the services required 
of her at 800 per annum ; the managers, however, considered 
the amount more than could be well devoted to that branch of 
intelligence. They proposed an arrangement at the rate of 
.500 a year for the term of half a year, but at the rate of .400 
a year for a year certain ; and the arrangement was carried 
into effect. 

In May, 1846, Lady Blessington wrote to the managers, stat 
ing " it was not her intention to renew her engagement with 
the Daily News. " 

The sum of jC250 for six months services was duly paid by 
the proprietors. 

Mr. Dickens retired from the management of the paper in 
July, 1846, and was replaced by Mr. Forster, who gave up the 
management in November following.* 

* There are some observations that have reference to the writings of Forster 
and Dickens, in a letter of Lady Blessington on literary subjects, addressed to a 
very dear friend and a very distinguished writer, which are deserving of notice. 

" I have read with delight the article of F on the Life of Churchill. It 

is the most masterly review I ever read, and places Churchill in a so much better 
point of view as to excite a sympathy for him. Every one is speaking of this re 
view. All the papers have taken it up. It is generally attributed to Macaulay, 



NOTICES OF THE WRITINGS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 235 

Mr. Jerdan, formerly editor of the " Literary Gazette," who 
was intimately acquainted with the publishing affairs of Lady 
Blessington, thus speaks in his " Autobiography" of the income 
she derived from her literary labors : 

" As an author and editor of Heath s Annual for some years, 
Lady Blessington received considerable sums. I have known 
her to enjoy from her pen an amount somewhere midway be 
tween 2000 and 3000 per annum, and her title, as well as 
talents, had considerable influence in ruling high prices, as 
they say in Mark Lane and other markets. To this, also, her 
well-arranged parties with a publisher now and then, to meet 
folks of a style unusual to men in business, contributed their at 
tractions ; arid the same society was in reality of solid value to 
ward the production of such publications as the annuals, the con 
tents of which were provided by the editor almost entirely from 
the pens of private friends, instead of being dearly bought from 
the Balaam refuse of celebrated writers." 

On this subject Miss Power says : 

" I never heard her say the exact amount of her literary prof 
its any particular year. I believe that for some years she made, 
on an average, somewhat about a thousand a year; some years 
a good deal above that sum." 

WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS ; OR, ODDS AND 
ENDS OF IMPRESSIONS AND REFLECTIONS, FROM LADY BLESSING- 
TON S UNPUBLISHED PAPERS, VERSES, AND MEMORANDA, IN COMMON 
PLACE BOOKS. 

Lady Blessington was in the habit for some time of writing 

and is said to be the best of his articles. F has crushed Tooke by the dex 
trous exposure of his mistakes, ignorance, and want of comprehension. I assure 
you that Count D Orsay and I are as proud of the praises we hear of this article 

on every side, as if we had ti share in it. F s notice of The Chimes is 

perfect. It takes the high tone it ought for that book, and ought to make those 
ashamed who cavil because its great author had a nobler task in view than writ 
ing to amuse Sybarites, who do not like to have their selfish pleasures disturbed 
by hearing of the miseries of the poor. You will smile to see me defending our 
friend Mr. Dickens from charges of wishing to degrade the aristocracy. I really 
have no patience with such stupidity. I now clearly perceive that the reading 
world of a certain class imagine that an author ought to have no higher aim than 
their amusement, and they account as a personal insult any attempt to instruct 
them." 



236 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

down her thoughts and observations at the close of every day, 
after she retired from her drawing-room, and the book in which 
this record was made of her reflections on the passing events of 
the day, the conversations of the evening, the subjects of her 
reading or research, she called her " Night Book." The earliest 
of these books commences with an entry of the 21st of March, 
1834 ; the second of them with the year alone, 1835. 

The following extracts from these books, in which the pensees 
are given as they were written (word for word, and signed with 
the initials M. B.), will clearly show that her ladyship s exten 
sive acquaintance with society, her quickness of perception, acu 
men, and felicitous mode of compressing her ideas, and giving 
expression to them in laconic, piquant, and precise terms, ena 
bled her to give an epigrammatic turn to sentiments, which 
could only be similarly done by one thoroughly conversant with 
the writings of Rochefoucault and Montaigne. 

The reader will hardly fail to notice in these pensees evident 
relationship between the ideas of many cynics of celebrity of 
France, the images too of several of our own most popular poet 
ical writers, and the smart short sayings of her ladyship, with 
all the air of originality, neatness of attire, and graceful liveli 
ness of language which she has given them. 

But the " Night Book" gives only a very poor and inadequate 
idea of the thoughts which were productive of such effect, when 
given expression to by her ladyship with all that peculiar charm 
of naivete, natural turn for irony, admirable facility of expression, 
clearness of intonation and distinctness of enunciation, joyous- 
ness of spirits, beaming in those beautiful features of hers (when 
lit up by animated conversation, the consciousness of the pres 
ence of genius, and contact with exalted intellect), that sponta 
neous outpouring of felicitous thoughts and racy observations, 
ever accompanied with an exuberant good humor, often supply 
ing the place of wit, but never degenerating into coarseness or 
vulgarity, which characterized her conversational powers, and, 
in fact, constituted the chief fascination of her society 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 237 



GENIUS AND TALENT. 

" Genius is the gold in the mine, talent is the miner who 
works and brings it out." 

" Genius may be said to reside in an illuminated palace of 
crystal, unapproachable to other men, which, while it displays 
the brightness of its inhabitant, renders also any blemishes in 
her form more visible by the surrounding light, while men of 
ordinary minds dwell in opaque residences, in which no ray of 
brightness displays the faults of ignoble mediocrity." 

TALENT. 

" Talent, like beauty, to be pardoned, must be obscure and 
unostentatious." 

GREAT INTELLECTUAL POWERS. 

" In many minds, great powers of thinking slumber on through 
life, because they never have been startled by any incident cal 
culated to take them out of the common routine of every-day 
occurrence." 

CLEVER WOMEN ENVIED. 

" It is less difficult, we are told by Brissot, for a woman to 
obtain celebrity by her genius than to be pardoned for it." 

EFFECTS OF CONTACT WITH GENIUS. 

" It is doubtful whether we derive much advantage from a 
constant intercourse with superior minds. If our own be of 
equal calibre, the contact is likely to excite the mind into ac 
tion, and original thoughts are often struck out ; but if any in 
feriority exists, the inferior mind is quelled by the superior, or 
loses whatever originality it might have possessed by uncon 
sciously adopting the opinions and thoughts of the superior in 
telligence." 

LITERATURE AND LITERATI. 

" On reading a work, of how many faults do we accuse the 



238 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

author when they are only to be found in ourselves. If the 
story is melancholy, and yet we feel not the sadness of it, we 
lay the blame of our insensibility on the author s want of pathos. 
If it be gay, and yet it fails to amuse us, we call in question the 
writer s want of power." 

JUDGMENT OF BOOKS. 

" The frame of mind in which we read a work often influ 
ences our judgment upon it. That which for the moment pre 
dominates in our minds colors all that we read : and we are aft 
erward surprised, on a reperusal of works of this kind, under 
other circumstances and with different feelings, to find no lon 
ger the merit we formerly attributed to them." 

SUPPOSED CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE WRITINGS OF AU 
THORS AND THEIR LIVES. 

" The world is given to indulge in the very erroneous supposi 
tion that there exists an identity between the writings of au 
thors and their actual lives and characters. 

" Men are the slaves of circumstances in the mass ; but men 
of genius, from the excitability of their temperament, are pecu 
liarly acted on by surrounding influences. How many of them, 
panting after solitude, are compelled to drag on existence in 
crowded cities, and how many of them, sighing for the excite 
ment of busy life, and the friction of exalted intelligence with 
kindred intellect, pass their lives in retirement, because circum 
stances, which they were too indolent or too feeble to control, 
had thrown them into it. Such men in their writings will have 
the natural bias of their feelings and tastes frequently mistaken 
by those around them. The world judges falsely when it forms 
an estimate of an author from the life of the man, and the life 
and conduct of the man from the writings of the author, and 
finding discrepancies between them, may often bring forward 
accusations of insincerity, making comparisons between their 
works and lives." 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 339 
POETS AND POETRY. 

" Poets make a book of nature, wherein they read lessons un 
known to other minds, even as astronomers make a book of the 
heavens, and read therein the movements of the planets. 

" The poetry in our souls is like our religion, kept apart from 
our every-day thoughts, and, alas ! neither influence us as they 
ought. We should be wiser and happier (for wisdom is happi 
ness) if their harmonizing effects were permitted more to per 
vade our being." 

WIT AND CENSORIOUSNESS. 

" Half the reputations for wit that pass current in fashionable 
life are based on ill-natured sayings of persons who would have 
found it difficult to have obtained any notice in society, except 
by censorious observations ; they are of the class of whom 
mention is made in the French verse : 

" S il n eut mal parle do personne 
On n eut jamais parle de lui. " 

PLAIN-SPEAKING GENTLEMEN. 

" Your plain speakers are usually either of obtuse intellect or 
ill-natured dispositions, wounding the feelings of others from 
want of delicacy of mind and sensibility, or from intentional 
malice. They deserve to be expelled from the society of en 
lightened people, because they are likely to give annoyance to 
all who are not of their own level in it." 

MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS. 

; Borrowed thoughts, like borrowed money, only show the 
poverty of the borrower." 

" A poor man defended himself when charged with stealing 
food to appease the cravings of hunger, saying, the cries of the 
stomach silenced those of the conscience." 

" A woman should not paint sentiment till she has ceased to 
inspire it. 5 



240 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

" A woman s head is always influenced by her heart, but a 
man s heart is always influenced by his head. 

" Catherine the First of Russia was called the mother of her 
people ; Catherine the Second, with equal justice, might be de 
nominated the wife." 

" Memory seldom fails when its office is to show us the 
tombs of our buried hopes."* 

" It would be well if virtue was never seen unaccompanied 
by charity, nor vice divested of that grossness which displays it 
in its most disgusting form, for the examples of both would then 
be more beneficial." 

" Some good qualities are not unfrequently created by the be 
lief of their existence, for men are generally anxious to justify 
the good opinion entertained of them." 

THE WORST OF SEPARATIONS. 

" The separation of friends by death is less terrible than the 
divorce of two hearts that have loved, but have ceased to sym 
pathize, while memory is still recalling what they once were 
to each other." 

ENGLISH RESERVE. 

" Distrust is the most remarkable characteristic of the English 
of the present day. None but the acknowledged wealthy are 
exempted from the suspicions of our society. The good, the 
wise, the talented, are subject to the scrutinizing glances of this 
policy of suspicion ; and those by whom it is carried out sel 
dom fail to discover cause of distrust and avoidance in all that 
they will not or can not comprehend. But on the poor their 
suspicions fall, if not with all their malice, at least with all 
their uncharitableness. Hence they are shunned, and regarded 

* Young s ideas sometimes furnish the mail or of Lady Blcssington s "Night 
Thoughts." 

" Thought busy thought too busy for my peace, 
Through the dark postern of Time long elapsed, 
Led softly by the stillness of the night- 
Led like a murderer 

Meets the ghosts ^ 

Of my departed joys." 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 241 

as dangerous or doubtful neighbors by the sons and daughters 
of prosperity." 

WORLDLY WISDOM, SOCIETY, ETC. 

" Society seldom forgives those who have discovered the emp 
tiness of its pleasures, and who can live independent of it and 
them." 

" Great men direct the events of their times ; wise men take 
advantage of them ; weak men are borne down by them." 

" In the society of persons of mediocrity of intellect, a clever 
man will appear to have less esprit than those around him who 
possess least, because he is displaced in their company." 

" Those who are formed to win general admiration are seldom 
calculated to bestow individual happiness." 

" Half the ill-natured things that are said in society are spo 
ken, not so much from malice as from a desire to display the 
quickness of our perception, the smartness of our wit, and the 
sharpness of our observation." 

" A man with common sense may pass smoothly through life 
without great talents ; but all the talents in the world will not 
enable a man without common sense to do so." 

" expends so much eulogy on himself, that he has 

nothing but censure and contempt to bestow on others." 

" The poor, in their isolation in the midst of civilization, are 
like lepers in the outskirts of cities, who have been repulsed 
from society with disgust." 

" There is a difference between the emotions of a lover and 
those of a husband : the lover sighs, and the husband groans." 

" There are some persons who hesitate not to inflict pain and 
suffering, though they shrink from witnessing its effects. In the 
first case it is another who suffers ; in the second, the suffering 
being presented to the sight, is thus brought home to the feel 
ings of those who inflict it." 

SYMPATHIES AND ANTIPATHIES. 

" On sympathies and antipathies, how much might be written 
without defining either any better than by the pithy lines 
VOL. I. L. 



242 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

" The reason why I can not tell, 
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell. 

And yet all feel, in a greater or less degree, what none can ad 
equately describe or define. A dog knows by instinct that cer 
tain herbs in a field will relieve him in a sickness, and he de 
vours them. We know that certain physiognomies repel or 
attract us, and we avoid or seek them ; and this is all we know 
of the matter." 

ALL THE WORLD S A STAGE, ETC. 

" The great majority of men are actors, who prefer an as 
sumed part to that which Nature had assigned them. They 
seek to be something, or to appear something which they are 
not, and even stoop to the affectation of defects rather than dis 
play real estimable qualities which belong to them." 

" A German writer observes : The noblest characters only 
show themselves in their real light. All others act comedy 
with their fellow-men even unto the grave. " 

" Men s faults will always be better known than their vir 
tues, because their defects will find more persons capable of 
forming a judgment of them than their noble qualities persons 
fit to comprehend and to appreciate them." 

COLDNESS OF MANNER. 

" There are some persons in the world who never permit us 
to love them except when they are absent ; as, when present, 
they chill our affection by showing a want of appreciation of it." 

" Coldness of manner does not always proceed from coldness 
of heart, but it frequently produces that effect in others." 

CONSCIENCE. 

" Conscience is seldom heard in youth, for the tumultuous 
throbbing of the heart and the strong suggestions of the pas 
sions prevent its still small voice from being audible ; but in 
the decline of life, when the heart beats languidly and the pas 
sions slumber, it makes itself heard, and on its whispers depend 
our happiness or misery." 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 243 
BEAUTY AND FEMININE PERFECTIONS. 

" Even as a fountain, in whose clear waters are seen the re 
flections of the bright stars of heaven, so in s face was re 
flected the divine spirit that animated it and shone through its 
pure lineaments." 

" A young woman ought, like an angel, to pardon the faults 
she can not comprehend, and an elderly woman like a saint, 
because she has endured trials." 

" One of the old painters always painted the object of his 
love as a goddess." 

" People are seldom tired of the world till the world are tired 
of them." 

" If over-caution preserves us from many dangers, of how 
much happiness may it not deprive us, by closing our hearts 
against the sympathy which sweetens life. The heart, says 
Pascal, has its arguments as well as the understanding. " 

STRONG PASSIONS. 

" Strong passions belong only to strong minds, and terrible is 
the struggle that Reason has to make to subdue them. The vic 
tory is never a bloodless one, and many are the scars that attest 
the severity of the conflict before her opponents are driven from 
the field."* 

" In the Memoirs of Mackintosh, page 115, we find a passage 
from the MS. Lectures on the Law of Nature and Nations : * It 
was his course to make wonders plain, not plain things wonder 
ful. " 

" It is not sufficient for legislators to close the avenues to 
crime, unless they open those which lead to virtue." 

A POET TRULY CRACKED. 

" Jeremy Taylor finds a moral in the fable that ^Eschylus sat 

* Once for all, I may observe, in many of the writings of Lady Blessington 
there are but too many evidences of the undue importance attached to Reason, as 
a power all-sufficient for the repression of vice, the support of virtue, and conso 
lation of affliction ; and proofs of an absence of all reliance on religion for the ob 
jects in question. 



244 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

beneath the walls of his abode with his bald head uncovered, 
when an eagle, hovering over the house, unfortunately mistook 
the shining cranium for a large round stone, and let fall a tor 
toise he had just seized to break the shell, but cracked the 
skull of the poor poet instead of the shell of the tortoise." 

THE DISLIKED MISUNDERSTOOD. 

" The moment we are not liked, we discover that we are not 
understood ; when probably the dislike we have excited pro 
ceeds altogetEer from our being perfectly understood." 

THE IDOLS OF THE HEART. 

" We make temples of our hearts, in which we worship an 
idol, until we discover the object of our love was a false god, 
and then, when it falls, it is not the idol only that is destroyed 
the shrine is ruined." 

LOVE AND JEALOUSY. 

" Love often reillumes his extinguished flame at the torch of 
jealousy." 

A FALSE POSITION. 

" A false position is sustained at a price enormously expens 
ive. Sicard truly said, line fausse position coute enormement 
car le socicte fait payer fort cher aux gens, le tort, qu ils out, de 
ne pas etre d accord avec eux. " 

JESTERS FUNNY PEOPLE . 

" We never respect persons who condescend to amuse us. There 
is a vast difference between those we call arnusino- men and 

& 

others we denominate entertaining. We laugh with the former, 
we reflect with the others." 

COURAGE, PHYSICAL AND MORAL. 

" We find in all countries multitudes of people physically 
brave, but, few persons in any land morally courageous." 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 245 



SELF-DEPENDENCE. 

" We acquire mental strength by being left to our own re 
sources ; but when we depend on others, like a cripple who ac 
customs himself to a crutch, we lose our own strength, and are 
rendered dependent on an artificial prop." 

GENEROSITY AND SELFISHNESS. 

" A generous mind identifies itself with all around it, but a 
selfish one identifies all things with self. The generous man, 
forgetting self, seeks happiness in promoting that of others. 
The selfish man reduces all things to one his own interest." 

" The good and generous, who look most closely into their 
own hearts and scrutinize their own defects, will feel most pity 
for the frailties of others." 

" Advice, like physic, is administered with more pleasure than 
it is taken." 

ESTIMATION OF MEN OF THE WORLD. 

" Those who give abundant dinners, 
Are never deemed by guests great sinners." 

" Your bon vivants, who are such good livers, make very bad 
diers." 

" Shiel describes one of our statesmen as a man who united 
the maximum of coldness with the minimum of light ; he was 
an iceberg with a farthing rushlight on the summit. " 

" Those who judge of men of the world from a distance are 
apt to attach an undue importance to them, while those who 
are in daily contact with them are prone to underrate them." 

C" We are never so severe in dealing with the sins of others as 
when we are no longer capable of committing them ourselves." 
" Extremes of civilization and of barbarism approach very 
nearly both beget feelings of intense selfishness." 

" Inferior minds have as natural an antipathy to superior 
ones, as insects have to animals of a higher organization, whose 
power is dreaded by them." 

" The chief requisites for a courtier are a flexible conscience 
and an inflexible politeness." 



246 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

" The genius and talents of a man may generally be judged 
of by the large number of his enemies, and his mediocrity by 
that of his friends." 

THE YOUNG TO BE KINDLY TREATED. 

" Childhood should not be a season of care and constant at 
tention, incessant teaching and painful acquisition : Puisque le 
jour pent lui rnanquer bientot, laissons le un peu jouir de 1 au- 
rore." 

SPARTAN MORALISTS. 

" Society, in its Spartan morality, punishes its members se 
verely for the detection of their vices, but crime itself has noth 
ing but detection to apprehend at its hands." 

" Some people seem to consider the severity of their censures 
on the failings of others as an atonement for their own." 

THE VICTIMS OF SOCIETY. 

" Society is like the sea monster to which Andromeda was 
devoted by the oracle. It requires for its worship many vic 
tims, and the fairest must be occasionally given to its devouring 
jaws. But we now find no Perseus in its circles for the rescue 
of the doomed ones ; and the monster is not converted into a 
rock, though we might show him many gorgons hideous enough 
to accomplish the transformation." 

" In society we learn to know others, but in solitude we ac 
quire a knowledge of ourselves." 

SHORT NOTICES OF NOTABILITIES. 

" s conversation resembles a November fog dense, op 
pressive, bewildering, through which you can never see your 
way." 

" The poetry of is like a field with wild flowers, many 

of them beautiful and fragrant." 

" The poetry of - - resembles a bouquet of artificial flow 
ers, destitute of odor, and possessing none of the freshness of 
nature." 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 247 

" It was said of that his conversation was a tissue of 

bon mots, and was overlaid by them : a few spangles may orna 
ment a garment, but if the texture of it is wholly covered by 
them, the dress is spoiled." 

" formed few friendships in life, but he cultivated many 

enmities." 

" in his old age might be said to resemble a spent thun 
derbolt." 

" The difference between the minds of : and is this : 

the one is introspective, and looks into the vast recesses of its 
intelligence for the treasures of deep thought ; the other looks 
behind the shelves of others thoughts, and appropriates all he 
finds there. The intellect of one is profound and solid, that of 
the second sparkling and versatile." 

" The works of do not exhibit the overflowings of a full 

mind, but rather the dregs of an exhausted one." 

" When I see Lady s wrinkles daubed with rouge, and 

her borrowed ringlets wreathed with flowers, I am reminded of 
the effigies of the dead, which in ancient times were introduced 
at festivals, to recall the brevity of life, and give a keener zest 
to the pleasures of existence." 

BIGOTRY AND FANATICISM. 

" Men who would persecute others for religious opinions, 
prove the errors of their own." 

" In fighting for the Church, religion seems generally to be 
quite lost sight of." 

SUPERSTITION. 

" Superstition is but the fear of belief ; religion is the confi 
dence." 

SKEPTICS. 

" Skeptics, like dolphins, change when dying." 
" We render ourselves the ministers of the fatality which our 
weakness imagines." 

" It is difficult to decide whether it is most disagreeable to 



248 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

live with fanatics, who insist on our believing all they believe, 
or with philosophers, who would have us doubt every thing of 
which they are not convinced themselves." 

INJURIES AND FORGIVENESS. 

" Forgiveness of injuries in general draws on the forgiver a 
repetition of wrongs as people reason thus : as he has forgiven 
so much, he can forgive more." 

" If we thought only of others, we might be tempted never 
to pardon injuries ; but when we wish to preserve our own 
peace, it is a most essential step toward insuring it." 

" It is easier to pardon the faults than the virtues of our 
friends, because the first excite feelings of self-complacency in 
us, the second a sense of humiliation." 

" Great injuries pardoned preclude the enjoyment of friend 
ship on the same happy terms of equality of benefits received 
and conferred, and of kindly feelings that subsisted previously 
to the interruption of amity between the parties who had been 
linked together in the bonds of mutual love. The friend who 
pardons a great wrong acquires a superiority that wounds the 
self-love of the pardoned man ; and however the latter may ad 
mire the generosity of the forgiver, he can love as he had pre 
viously done no more." 

AMBITION. CHANGE. 

" Those who arc content to follow are not formed to lead ; for 
the ambition which excites a man to put himself forward is, in 
general, the attribute of the strong mind, however beset by dif 
ficulties, resolved to effect an object much desired." 

" Time and change, what are they but the same ? 
For change is but for time another name." 

" Nos liens s clongcnt quelquefois, mais 
Us ne se rompent jamais." 

" How like Goldsmith s line : 

" And drags at each remove a lengthening chain. " 
" The tide of life is continually ebbing and flowing, and myr- 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 249 

iads of human beings pass away to the ocean of eternity, suc 
ceeded by others, as do the ripples of a stream that flows on to 
the sea, continually disappearing and renewed." 

Unfinished lines of Lady Blessington in a memorandum-book: 

" The snow-drop looks as if it were a tear of winter, 
Shed before it parts, touched by its icy breath, 
Which doth become a flower, 
Springing from snow as souls emerge from death." 

THE FLOWER TO THE STARS. 
" Despise us not ; we are the stars of earth, 
And though we homage pay to you on high, 
Lifting our fragile heads to view your brightness, 
Are ye not forced to let your shining eyes 
Dwell on us denizens of the favored earth 7 
Formed by the same Almighty cause of all, 
Ye look down on us from your azure fields, 
And we from ours of green look up to you." 



" And thou art gone from earth, like some fair dream 

Beheld in slumber, leaving naught behind 
But memory, to tell that thou hast been, 
And there for evermore to be enshrined. 

" As ships that sail upon the boundless deep, 

Yet leave no trace ; or onward in their flight, 

As birds which cleave the blue and ambient air, 

Leave no impress, and soon are lost to sight, 

" So those who to eternity do pass, 

Like shadows disappear, and naught remains 
To tell us they have been, but aching hearts 
And pallid traits which memory retains." 

UNEQUAL MARRIAGES. 
" Oh wise was he, the first who taught 
This lesson of observant thought, 
That equal fates alone may dress 
The bowers of nuptial happiness : 
That never where ancestral pride 
Inflames, or affluence rolls its tide, 
Should love s ill-omened bond entwine 
The offspring of an humble line." 
L2 



250 WAIFS AND STRAYS OF THOUGHTS, ETC., 

To Sir William Massy Stanley, Baronet, on receiving a pres 
ent of woodcocks : 

" At a season when dunning the mind with dread fills, 
You send me the only acceptable bills, 
And their length, unlike others, no gloom can inspire, 
Though, like many long bills, they re consigned to the fire ; 
And we never discuss them unless with a toast, 
Washed down by a bumper to Hoolen s good host." 

Lines in penciling in a commonplace book of Lady Blessing- 
ton : 

"Ye gods, what is it that I see ! 
Oh, who a grandfather would be ! 
Behold the treasure-store of years, 
Sole objects of my hopes and fears, 
Collected from far distant lands, 
Become a prey to vandal hands ; 
Rare manuscripts that none could read, 
Symbols of each religious creed ; 
Missals with reddest colors bright, 
Black-lettered tomes long shut from light; 
Medals defaced, with scarce a trace 
Of aught resembling human face ; 
All in chaotic ruin hurled, 
The fragments of a by-gone world. 
And you, unpitying girl, who knew 
The mischief of this urchin crew, 
How could you let them thus destroy 
What to collect did years employ 1 
Away, ye wicked elves ! Ah me ! 
Who e er a grandfather would bel" 

TRIALS AND AFFLICTIONS. 

" My heart is like a frozen fountain, over which the ice is too 
hard to allow of the stream beneath flowing with vigor, though 
enough of vitality remains to make the chilling rampart that di 
vides its waters from light and air insupportable."* 

" A knowledge of the nothingness of life is seldom attained 
except by those of superior minds." 

* This entry is in the early part of the Night Thought Book, dated 21st of Oc- 
toher, 1834. 



FROM UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 251 

" The first heavy affliction that falls on us rends the veil of 
life, and lets us see all its darkness." 

" Desperate is the grief of him whom prosperity has harden 
ed, and who feels the first arrow of affliction strike at his heart 
through the life of an object dearest to him on earth." 

" The separation of death is less terrible than the moral di 
vorce of two hearts which have loved, but have ceased to sym 
pathize, with memory recalling what they once were to each 
other." 

" Religion converts despair, which destroys, into resignation, 
which submits." 

" Sorrow in its exaltation seems to have an instinctive sym 
pathy with the sufferings of others. Brisset observes : L ame 
exaltee par la douleur se moritc au diapason d une autre ame 
blessee, aussi facilement que le violon qui, sans etre touche se 
met a 1 accord de 1 instrument qu on fait vibrer loin de lui. " 

" How many errors do we confess to our Creator which we 
dare not discover to the most fallible of our fellow-creatures !" 

" Fatality is another name for misconduct." 



CHAPTER XII. 

LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 

LINES written by Walter Savage Landor to Lady Blessington : 

" What language, let me think, is meet 
For you, well called the Marguerite. 
The Tuscan has too weak a tone, 
Too rough and rigid is our own ; 
The Latin no, it will not do, 
The Attic is alone for you." 

" February 28th, 1848. 

" DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, The earthquake that has shaken all Italy and 
Sicily has alone been able to shake a few cindery verses out of me. Yester 
day there was glorious intelligence from France, and you will find, on the 
other side, the effect is produced on me within the hour. No ! there will not 
be room for it. Here are some lines that I wrote when I was rather a young 
er man date them fifty years back. 

" Ever yours most truly, W. S. LANDOR." 



252 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

" The fault is not mine if I love you too much 

I loved you too little too long ; 
Such ever your graces, your tenderness such, 

The music so sweet of your tongue. 
" The time is now coming when love must be gone, 

Though he never abandoned me yet ; 
Acknowledge our friendship, our passion disown, 
Not even our follies forget." 

Lines of Walter Savage Landor on a postscript of a letter from 
Florence, dated April 25th, 1835 : 

" Out of thy books, Beauty ! I had been 

For many a year, 

Till she who reigns on earth thy lawful queen 
Replaced me there." 

In one of the letters addressed to Lady Blessington are the 
following beautiful lines, written by W. Savage Landor after 
perusing a passage in a letter : 

"7 have not forgotten your favorite old tune : will you hear it ?" 
" Come sprinkle me that music on the breast, 

Bring me the varied colors into light, 
That now obscurely on its marble rest ; 

Show me its flowers and figures fresh and bright. 

" Waked at thy voice and touch, again the chords 
Restore what envious years had moved away ; 
Restore the glowing cheeks, the tender words, 

Youth s vernal noon, and pleasure s summer day." 

TO THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON. 
" Since in the terrace-bower we sate, 

While Arno gleamed below, 
And over sylvan Massa late 
Hung Cynthia s slender bow, 

" Years after years have passed away, 

Less light and gladsome ! W T hy 
Do those we most implore to stay, 

Run ever swiftly by?" 
Not signed, but in the handwriting of W. S. Landor. 

The reply of an octogenarian (the elder D Israeli) to a beauti 
ful lady who wrote him some verses on his birth-day, May 11, 

1 845 : 



BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 253 

" A wreath from a muse, a flower from a grace, 
Are visions of fancy which memory can trace. 
Though sightless, and braving my dungeon around me, 
How is it vain phantoms of glory surround me ? 
The enchantress with flattery s thrice potent rhyme 
Reopens the hours which I lovod in my prime ; 
From my eightieth dull year to my fortieth I rise, 
And cherish the shadows her genius supplies." 

Addressed to Lady Blessington at Genoa by Lord Byron : 
" You have asked for a verse : the request 

In a rhymer twere strange to deny ; 
But my Hippocrene was but my breast, 
And my feelings (its fountain) are dry. 

" Were I now as I was, I had sung 

What Lawrence has penciled so well ; 

But the strain would expire on my tongue, 

And the theme is too soft for my shell. 

" I am ashes where once I was fire, 

And the bard in my bosom is dead ; 
What I loved I now merely admire, 
And my heart is as gray as my head. 

" My life is not dated by years 

There are moments which act as a plow ; 
And there is not a furrow appears 
But is deep in my heart as my brow. 

" Let the young and the brilliant aspire 

To sing, while I gaze on in vain ; 
For sorrow has torn from my lyre 
The string which was worthy the strain." 

Answer by Lady Blessington : 

" When I asked for averse, pray believe 

Twas not vanity urged the desire ; 
For no more can my mirror deceive, 
No more can I poets inspire. 

" Time has touched with rude fingers my brow, 

And the roses have fled from my cheek, 
And it surely were folly if now 

I the praise due to beauty should seek. 

" And as pilgrims who visit the shrine 
Of some saint bear a relic away, 



254 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

I sought a memorial of thine, 

As a treasure when distant I stray. 

" Oh ! say not that lyre is unstrung, 

Whose chords can such rapture bestow, 
Or that mute is that magical tongue 
From which music and poetry flow. 

" And though sorrow, ere youth yet has fled, 

May have altered thy locks jetty hue, 
The rays that encircle thy head 

Hide the ravaging marks from our vieiv." 

Lines of Lord Ersldne for an inscription for a collar of a lap- 
dog of the Countess of Blessington : 

" Whoever finds and don t forsake me, 
Shall have naught in way of gains ; 
But let him to my mistress take me, 
And he shall see her for his pains." 

Note accompanying lines to Lady Blessington, by Thomas 
Moore : 

" Sloperton, February 19th, 1834. 

" MY DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, When persons like you condescend so to 
ask, how are poor poets to refuse 1 At the same time, I confess I have a hor 
ror of albumizing, annualizing, periodic alizing, which my one inglorious sur 
render (and for base money too) to that Triton of literature, Marryatt, has but 
the more confirmed me in. At present, what with the weather and my his 
tory, I am chilled into a man of mere prose. But as July approaches, who 
knows but I may thaw into songl and though as O Connell has a vow 
registered in heaven against pistols, so /have against periodicals, yet there 
are few, I must say, who could be more likely to make a man break this (or 
any other) vow than yourself, if you thought it worth your while. 

" And so, with this gallant speech, which, from a friend of a quarter of a 
century s date, is not, I flatter myself, to be despised, I am, my dear Lady 
Blessington, most truly yours, THOMAS MOORE." 

" What shall I sing thec 1 Shall I tell 
Of that bright hour, remember d well 
As though it shone but yesterday, 
When, as I loitered in the ray 
Of the warm sun, I heard o erhead 
My name, as by some spirit, said, 
And looking up, saw two bright eyes 
Above me from a casement shine, 



BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 255 

" Dazzling the heart with such surprise 
As they who sail beyond the Line 
Feel, when new stars above them rise 1 
And it was thine the voice that spoke, 
Like Ariel s, in the blue air then ; 
And thine the eyes, whose lustre broke, 
Never to be forgot again ! 

" What shall I sing thee 1 Shall I weave 
A song of that sweet summer eve 
(Summer, of which the sunniest part 
Was that which each had in the heart), 
When thou, and I, and one like thee 
In life and beauty, to the sound 
Of our own breathless minstrelsy,* 
Danced till the sunlight faded round, 
Ourselves the whole ideal ball 
Lights, music, company, and alii" 

Verses for an album, written at the request of the Countess 
of Blessington, by George Colman. 

1. 

" How have I sworn and sworn so deep, 
No more to put my friends to sleep 

By writing crambo for em ! 
Rhymes my amusement once I made, 
When Youth and Folly gave me aid, 
But since they have become my trade, 
I must, of course, abhor em. 

2. 

" Entirely generous Mr. Thrale, 
Who sold brown stout, and haply ale, 

Was always fond of giving, 
Of whom Sam Johnson said one day, 
Thrale would give any thing away, 
Rather than porter, I dare say, 
By which he makes his living. 

3. 

" Yet the allusion holds not here 
Mine is but Poetry s small beer, 

And every line will show it : 
Thrale brewed more potent stuff, I ween, 

* " I believe it was to a piper ; but it sounds more poetical to say, to our own 
singing." 



256 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

From Thames, than I from Hippocrene, 
So there s no parallel between 
The brewer and the poet. 

4. 

" Still, why again be scribbling ! List ! 
There is a pair I can t resist, 

Tis now no drudging duty, 
The Blessingtons demand my strain, 
And who records against the grain, 
His sparkling converse and champagne, 
And her more sparkling beauty 1 

5. 

" But hold ! I fear my prudence sleeps, 
Her ladyship an Album keeps, 

Whose leaves, though I ne er spied em, 
Are graced with verse from wits profess d, 
Bards by Apollo highly bless d ; 
No doubt they ve done their very best, 
How shall I look beside em 1 

6. 

" Dare I, in lame and silly pride, 
Hobble where Rogers loves to glide 1 

Whose sweetly simple measure 
Make enviers of Genius mad, 
Delight the moral, soothe the sad, 
Give human life a zest, and add 
To Memory s greatest pleasures. 

7. 

" Or if I venture, cheek by jowl, 
With the Anacreontic soul, 

That master, to a tittle, 
Of elegant erotic lore, 
Then they, who my weak page explore, 
Will reckon me much less than More, 
Not half so Great as Little. 

8. 

" Well, well, no matter ; still, I feel 
My talent s dearth supplied by zeal ; 

Away, then, base dejection ! 
This scrawl, whate er its want of wit, 
If Lady Blessington think fit, 
So very much to honor it, 

May rest in her collection." 1st August, 1819. 



BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 257 

Note accompanying lines to Lady Blessington, by F. Mills, 

Esq.: 

" 57 Audley Street. 

" MY DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, I send you my verses ; they were written 
for you, but I was unwilling to present them, in the fear that you would not 
pass the threshold of the title. That you may not do now ; but still, as they 
are registered in my book as having been composed at your request, I think 
it right that you should see them. I have no better excuse for myself. If 
you will not read them, nobody else will. 

" Ever yours sincerely, F. MILLS." 

CHARACTERISTIC THE ROSE OR THE VIOLET. 
A cause pleaded in Italy. 

" I saw a violet droop its head ; 

"Tis strange, and yet it seem d in grief, 
And there, from nature s book, I read 
A tale of sorrow in the leaf. 

" A tear as in the eye would stand, 

The cheek was of a livid hue ; 
The form was bow d by some rude hand, 
And for its fragrance bruised too. 

" There was a canker in that cell, 

The secret source of many a woe, 

Of deep remorse those lips would tell, 

Or never had they quiver d so. 

" She loved, twas in the soil or clime, 

In every flower, in every field 
Her earliest lesson, only crime ; 

And one so soft was form d to yield. 

" But near her, late transplanted there, 
A rose was glittering in the light ; 
It grew not in its native air, 

And yet it seemed to bloom as bright. 

" And though it played with every wind 

As willing as the blushing morn, 

Who thought to gather it would find 

Twas always guarded by a thorn. 

" Twas Anglia s boast, and well I trow, 

A badge for which her sons had bled, 
Had many a life s spring caused to flow, 
And widow d many a bridal bed. 



258 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

" And though its bloom may pass away, 

Or fade beneath the coming hour, 
Twill still be fragrant in decay, 

Not rankle, like that bruised flower." 

A note, rather idolatrously complimentary, addressed to Lady 
Blessington. No signature, no date, with lines written on leav 
ing Naples, and said to be " translated into French :" 

TRADUCTION. 

"Si ce n etait pas un culte uniquement reserve au Dieu que nous adorons, 
de bruler de 1 encens sur ses autels ; 1 univers s empresserait de t offrir ces 
honneurs. Alors nuit et jour j entretiendrais ce feu de mes mains, et un 
nuage epais de parfum s eleverait jusqu aux cieux. Mais puisque cela m est 
interdit, que je puisse, au moins t offrir cet encens sacre, que je brulerais pour 
toi, si j etais payen. 

TRADUCTION. 
" Adieu terre classique, adieu ciel sans nuages, 

Adieu dignes amis, vous dont le souvenir 

Vient s unir dans mon coeur aux charmes de ses rivages, 

Je songe avec douleur ! helas ! qu il faut partir 

Doux amis ! doux climat que j aime et que j admirc. 

Quel enivrant tableau vous formiez reunis 

L un et 1 autre a 1 envi sembliez me sourire ; 

Mais le sort me 1 ordonne . . il le faut . . je vous fuis 

La Syrenc, disais-je, un moment abregee 

Vit Naples et mourut, et j envirais son sort 

Mais plaignons la plutot, jamais apres sa mort 

A-t-elle peut trouver un plus doux Elisee ] 

Vous enchantez encore les sens du voyageur, 

Parthenope en ce jour a plus d une Syrene, 

Que de fois les accens de Lisette et d Irene, 

Ont charme mes instants, ont cnivre mon coeur. 

Adieu tendres amis ! dans ma froide patrie 

L image du bonheur qu en ces terns j ai goute 

Viendra toujours s ofirir a mon ame attendrie 

Avec le pur eclat de ce cicl enchante/ 

Lines by James Smith, in a letter addressed to Lady Bless 
ington, dated November 10, 1836 : 

GORE HOUSE AN IMPROMPTU. 
" Mild Wilberforce, by all beloved, 
Once own d this hallow d spot, 



BY VARIOUS % PERSONS. 359 

Whose zealous eloquence improved 

The fetter d Negro s lot ; 
Yet here still slavery attacks 

When Blessingtoii invites ; 
The chains from which he freed the Blacks, 

She rivets on the Whites. 

"27 Craven Street, Tuesday." 

Note accompanying lines to Lady Blessington, by Jas. Smith : 

"27 Craven Street, Friday, December 9, 1836. 

" DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, Gore House has awakened another (anony 
mous) muse ; I wonder who it can be. 

" Your ladyship s faithful and devoted servant, JAMES SMITH." 

A more deliberate reply to the Impromptu : 
" No, not the chains which erst he broke 

Does Blessington impose, 
Light is her burden, soft her yoke, 
No pain her captive knows. 

" The slave by galling fetters bruised, 

By force his will subdued ; 
Obedience of the mind refused, 
With haste his tyrant viewed. 

" On willing hearts her bonds are thrown, 

Her charms her empire prove ; 
Pleased with their fate, the captives own 
No power but that of love." 

Lines to the Countess of Blessington, by James Smith : 

"July 11, 1832. 
" The Bird of Paradise, that flies 

O er blest Arabia s plains, 
Devoid of feet, forbears to rise, 
And where she rests, remains. 

" Like her of footing reft, I fain 

Would seek your bless d dominions, 
And there content, till death, remain, 
But ah ! I lack the pinions." 

" Admiralty, May 6, 1820. 

" DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, I have received from Lord Blessington your 
commands for the third time. I beg pardon for having been so tardy ; but 
the inclosed will show that I have, at last, implicitly and literally obeyed you. 

" I have the honor to be, dear Lady Blessington, your very faithful serv 
ant. J. W. CROKER." 



260 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

" You ve asked me three times 
For four lines with two rhymes ; 
Too long I ve delayed, 
But at last you re obeyed !" 

Letter of T. Stewart, Esq., inclosing lines written in Naples, 
addressed to Lady Blessington : 

" Palais Belvidere, Naples, Monday. 

" MY DEAR MADAM, Although these lines can only prove the good wishes 
and intentions of their author, I hope you will not be displeased at receiving 
them. 

" My uncle* refused your kind invitation with great regret yesterday, but 
he is so lame at present that he can scarcely walk. He is likewise, in some 
degree, alarmed about himself. 

" With my best wishes to Miss Power and to D Orsay, I remain your lady 
ship s, most sincerely, T. STEWART." 

Lines addressed to Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, on 
her leaving Naples, spring, 1826, in consequence of the climate 
injuring her health : 

1. 
" Tis vain that the rose and the myrtle are twining 

In wreaths that the Graces intended for thee ; 

For thou wilt be far when their blossom is pining, 

Unseen in the grove, and unculled on the tree. 

2. 
" The light step of spring o er the mountains is bounding, 

The nymphs are returned to the fountains again ; 
The woods with the nightingale s notes are resounding, 
Yet sadness through all thy lone precincts shall reign. 

3. 

" Though forests of citron the mountains are shading, 
Though hues like the rainbow s enamel the vale, 
The flower that is fairest is secretly fading, 
For sickness is wafted to thee on the gale. 

4. 

" Alas ! that in climes where all nature is gladdest, 

Her charms, like the visions of youth, should deceive ; 
Of the tears at thy parting, those tears will be saddest, 
That, grieving for thee, we for nature must grieve." 

* Sir William Gell. 



BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 261 

Lines inclosed in a letter of Mr. N. P. "Willis to Lady Bless- 
ington, April 2, 1840 : 

" The music of the waken d lyre 

Dies not within the quivering strings, 
Nor burn d alone the minstrel s fire 

Upon the lip that trembling sings ; 
Nor shines the moon in heaven unseen, 

Nor shuts the flower its fragrant cells, 
Nor sleeps the fountain s wealth, I ween ; 

Forever in its sparry wells 
The charms of the enchanter lie, 
Not in his own lone heart, his own rapt ear and eye. 
" I gaze upon a face as fair 

As ever made a lip of heaven 
Falter amid its music prayer ; 

The first lit star of summer even 
Springs scarce so softly on the eye, 

Nor grows with watching half so bright, 
Nor mid its sisters of the sky 

So seems of heaven the dearest light. 
Men murmur where that shape is seen, 
My youth s angelic dream was of that form and mien. 
" Yet, though we deem the stars are bless d, 

And envy in our grief the flower 
That bears but sweetness in its breast, 

And praise the enchanter for his power, 
And love the minstrel for the spell 

He winds from out his lyre so well ; 
The starlight doth the wanderer bless, 
The lyre the listener s tears beguile, 
And, lady, in the loveliness 

Doth light to-day that radiant smile, 
A lamp is lit in beauty s eye, 
That souls, else lost on earth, remember angels by !" 

Copy of verses, signed Fitzgerald. Addressed to Lady Bless- 
ington, on Literary Taste. u ^ ^ m& 

" Through wide creation s ample round, 
Where er her varying forms are found, 
The landscape deck d with nature s dyes, 
The boundless sea, o er-arching skies, 
The waving wood, the winding shore, 
The tranquil lake or torrent s roar, 



262 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

The modest valley, far withdrawn, 

Or the proud cliff or laughing lawn ; 

These all can please, yet none to me 

Such soothing charm conveys as minds refined and free. 

" Let goblets shine on festal board, 
And lavish art exhaust her hoard 
To raise the soul or warm the heart, 
And a new zest to life impart ; 
How vain the pomp, the wealth how poor, 
Worthless as gold on Indian floor, 
Unless the grace of mind preside, 
To soften down the glare of pride ; 
With magic touch the feast refine, 
Wreathe bays round pleasure s cup, to nectar turn his wine. 

" Mid darker scenes, in sorrow s hour, 
Taste comes with softly soothing pow r ; 
Sheds a mild radiance through the gloom, 
And shades with silver wings the tomb ! 
Strews roses o er the waste of time, 
And lulls the anguish of his crime 
Gainst love and hope, whose precious buds 
He cuts, and casts them on the floods ! 
So drops an anodyne t endure 
Those deep and trenchant wounds which it can never cure ! 

" Oh ! thus amid the dream of joy, 
Or trance of grief, can taste employ 
Those hours that else to riot run, 
Or waste in sadness with each sun ! 
Should Beauty lend her smile to Wit, 
And Learning by her star be lit, 
As gems beneath the solar ray 
Are ripened and enriched with day ; 
How bless d the happy pow r we prove ! 
Then bright Minerva shines in Blcssington with love." 

Verses inclosed in a letter of John Kenyon, Esq., to Lady 
Blessington, Paris, 15th June, 1810 : 

ITALY. 

" Fair blows the breeze : depart ! depart ! 
And tread with me the Italian shore, 
And feed thy soul with glorious art, 
And drink again of classic lore 



BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 263 

" Nor haply wilt thou deem it wrong, 

When not in mood too gravely wise, 
At idle length to lie along, 

And quatf a bliss from bluest skies. 

" Or pleased more pensive joy to woo, 

At falling eve, by ruin gray, 
Move o er the generations who 

Have passed, as we must pass, away. 

" Or mark, o er olive-tree and vine, 

Steep towns uphung, to win from them 
Some thought of Southern Palestine, 

Some dream of old Jerusalem. J. K." 

Lines written by R. Bernal, Esq. : 

TO LADY BLESSINGTON. 
" When wintry winds in wild career 
Howl requiems for the by-gone year, 
And thought, responding to the blast, 
With sighs reviews the gloomy past ; 
Where every sorrow leaves its trace, 
And joy obtains no resting-place ; 
When, sickening from the dull survey, 
Hope, warmth, and energy decay, 
What mortal charm can then impart 
A ray of sunshine to the heart, 
And by its healing balm dispense 
New vigor to each failing sense 1 
On one bright charm alone depend, 
The feeling of a genuine friend, 
Whose ready sympathy sincere, 
The graces of her mind endear 
To those who are allowed to share 
Her kindly thoughts, her gen rous care 
Dear lady ! cruel time, I feel, 
May from my pen refinement steal : 
Should language fail me to express 
The grateful thanks I would confess, 
Believe me that the words of truth 
Bear in themselves perpetual youth." 

R. BERNAL, January 2d, 1849. 

From J. H. Jesse, Esq., 20th March, 1840 : 



264 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

" In your gay favored leaves I am ordered to write, 

Where wit on poetical verdure reposes ; 
But I fear I shall prove, in those pages so bright, 

To use the count s phrase, like a pig among roses. 
" Should this lay, in your book, with the verses entwine 
Of painters, bards, sculptors, blue-ribbons, and earls, 
Instead of the pearls being thrown among swine, 

I fear that the swine will be thrown among pearls. 
" But should you find room in your splendid parterre 

Of fancy and wit for a slave so devout, 
Though a pig among flow rs is a sight rather rare, 

At least he s an excellent hand at a rout. 
" In pity accept this nonsensical lay 

Instead of my promised historical lore ; 
I but wish to escape from the grave to the gay, 

Lest the pig, to your sorrow, should turn out a boar. 
" But your wonderful pig must give over his feats, 

And endeavor to quench his poetical fire, 
Lest, striving to enter a garden of sweets, 

In the end he should find himself sunk in the mire. 

"J. H. JESSE." 

THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON S SOIREE. 
" By genius enlivened, here splendidly bright 
Are the rays which adorn and embellish her night ! 
While the nine shed their influence down from above, 
To unite taste and wit with the charms of the grove. 

"OCTOGENAKIUS.* 
" Mount Radford, Exeter." 

IMPROMPTU. ON A SMALL VOLUME OF POEMS BEING PLACED IN THE 
LIBRARY OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 

" What earthly was before, is now divine ; 
Minerva s priestess placed it in her shrine. 

" OCTOGENARIUS. 

"Exeter, September 10th, 1842." 

Lines addressed to Lady Blessington (no name or date) : 
" .Some dear friend a present has made me 

Of an instrument armed like a dart ; 
But the warning of witches forbade me 
To use it secundum the art. 

* The writer occasionally signed his letters to Lady Blessington, and his nu 
merous poetical effusions, " Pilgrim." Mount Radford, I think, near Exeter, was 
the name of a property of one of the Barings some thirty years ago. 



BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 265 

" It may be by some fairy designed, 

A blow aimed through my lips at my heart ; 
Ah ! my heart has already resigned, 

And my lips claimed their share of the smart !" 

Inclosed in a letter of Dr. "VV. Beattie : 

THE CLOSING YEAR. 
" Cosi trapassa a l trapassar d un giorno." 
" Could time contract the heart 

As time contracts our years, 
I d weep, to see my days depart, 
In undissembled tears. 

" But no ! the mind expands 

As time pursues its flight, 
And sheds upon our ebbing sands 
A sweeter, holier light. 

"If time could steel the breast 

To human weal or woe, 
Then would I long to be at rest, 
And deem it time to go. 

" But no ! while I can cheer 

One sad or stricken heart, 
Unreckoned let my days appear, 
Unmourned let them depart. 

"Time, reckoned by our deeds, 
And not by length of days, 
Is often blessed where it speeds 
Unbless d where it delays. 

" But oh ! when deaf to human sighs, 

When dead to human woes, 
Then drop the curtain ! close my eyes, 

And leave me to repose ! 
4 December 30, 1840." 

P.S. 
" Such, lady, is the creed 

Thy gifted pen has taught, 
And well the daily-practiced deed 
Gives body to the thought. 

" Thy mind s an intellectual fount 

Where genius plumes her wing, 
And fancy s flowers, like Eden s bowers, 

Enjoy perennial spring !" 
VOL. T. M 



-266 LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON 

Lines of Dr. Win. Beattie to the Countess of Blessington, on 
perusing " The Book of Beauty" for 1839 : 
" As Dian, mid yon isles of light, 
"With starry train illumes the region, 
So, lady, here, with eyes as bright, 
Thou lead st abroad thy starry legion. 
All marshaled in thy brilliant book, 
"What fascinations fix the reader ! 
Ah ! when had stars so bright a look, 
Or when had beauty such a leader ! 

" And gazing on that starry train, 
In each methinks I see the token 
Of conquests won, of suitors slain, 
Of heads they ve turned, and hearts they ve broken. 
Lady, thy task is nobly done ; 
Who else could have performed the duty 
Where find, unless in Blessington, 
The synonym for wit and beauty ! 
" Xov. 7th, 1838." 

Lines " S A 1 Arabe," to Lady Blessington, by an Eastern trav 
eler : 

If e er the price of tinder rise, 

To smoking as I m given, 
I ll light my pipe at your bright eye^, 
And steal my fire from heaven. 

" In Paynim climes, when forced to sip 

Cold water through devotion, 
I d think the cup had touched your lip, 
To nectarize my potion. 

" If dread simoom swept o er my tent, 

I d call hack scenes enchanting : 
On blissful hours in Naples spent. 
And your abode descanting. 

" In that eclipse which lately threw 

Half Naples into terror, 
When it was very clear Unit you 
Had breathed upon your mirror ; 

" Tn antres vast and desert wild, 

With jackals screaming round me, 
I d dream of you when toil and fright 
Tn slumber s chain hud bound me. 



BY VARIOUS PERSONS. 267 

" I d fancy beauty s queen, arrayed 

In smiles, was watching o er me ; 
And, waking, find the picture laid 

Of Lady B before me. R R M 

"Rome, Feb., 1828." 



From Mrs. P s to Lady Blcssington, St. James s Square : 

In this frigid season of stupefied spleen, 
October, when nothing goes down but the queen" 
(Though lately her majesty seems to get up), 
So oft is the slip twixt the lip and the cup, 
Methinks it were proper, of one of my trips 
By sea, in the steam vessel call d the Eclipse, 
I with pen, ink, and paper, and table and chair, 
Indite to my who lives in the square. 

* : Oh say what philosopher found out in steam, 
That wonderful property stemming a stream : 
It could not be Locke, for a lock dams the splasher ; 
It could not be Bacon, that makes sailors rasher. 
It is not SVr Isaac the vessel that urges, 
Though certainly eyes acJic when looking on surges : 
Descartes sounds more like it ; for Gallican art 
Moves over the waves by assistance dcs cartes : 
No ! now I remember : the man who by toil 
Of noddle, and midnight consumption of oil, 
First hit upon steam, was Philosopher Boyle. 

" This learned discussion has made me forget: 
Proceed we to sing of our voyage from Margate. 
As the clock sounded eight, I myself and my maiden 
(Having coiFee d at Broadstairs), with bandboxes laden, 
Both spurning the pier, and the coast out of reach of 
(If spurning a Peer should be privilege breach of, 
Keep this to yourself, and if sworn on the Bible, 
Lest the Lords, in a rage, should commit for the libel), 
Embark d on the main, which, erst tranquil and steady, 
.Soon heaved, like the tragical chest of Macready. 
One Mr. Mac-Donald on board also came 
(Related, I m told, to the lord of that name), 
And Smith, christened James : of the whole of the crew, 
These twain were the only two people I knew. 

* The Queen Caroline. This poetical epistle is not dated ; but, as Lady Bless- 
ington was not living in St. James s Square after 1822, nor previous to 1816, the 
epistle must have been written in the interval. 



LINES ADDRESSED TO LADY BLESSINGTON. 

I straight introduced both these voyagers witli 
Mr. Smith, Mr. Mac Mr. Mac, Mr. Smith ; 
We then talk d a trio, harmonious together, 
Of Naples, and Spain, and the queen, and the weather, 
Of Margate, its windmills, its balls, and of raffles, 
Of misses in curls, and of donkeys in snaffles : 
In gay sprightly pace, though I sing it in dull verso, 
Then pass d the two steeples they call the Reculvers, 
When, finding Dan Phoebus preparing to unshine. 
We entered the cabin and ordered a luncheon. 
But ere we went down, I forgot to inform 
Your ladyship, Jupiter pour d down a storm. 
Smith raised his umbrella, my kid leather shoes, 
Unused to such scenes, were beginning to ooze. 
When a German, who look d at me, all in a float, 
Most civilly lent me his wrapping great-coat. 
Thus muffled, while Iris poured rain from her window, 
I looked like a sylph keeping watch on Belinda. 
I laugh d at the tempest this tunic of drab in, 
But laid it aside when we enter d the cabin. 
There hanging my straw bonnet up on a peg, 
Sitting down on a stool with a rickety leg, 
And doffing my shawl to sit down to my meal, 
I flatter myself I look d rather genteel. 
Smith sat with each leg on the side of a column. 
Which check d him in eating, and made him look solemn. 
So, hastily quitting our scats when we all had 
Sufficient cold lamb, beef, potatoes, and salad, 
I went upon deck, and when seated upon it, 
I put on again my drab wrapper and bonnet. 
A woman and daughter had borrowed the streamer 
That floats, red and white, from the stern of the stoainor 
This form d a deck-tent, and from Jupiter s thunder it 
Guarded us safely ; twas nothing to wonder at, 
For non mi ricordo that any slept under it ! 
When qualms (not of conscience) seized one of the crew, 
To a berth near the chimney I quickly withdrew, 
And beat with my right foot the devil s tattoo. 
Of one of our minstrels, an Irish Pan d re an, 
I asked if that ocean was call d the ./Egean ; 
If it was not, old (Juthrie was born to confound mo, 
For / // swear that the cyc-ladcs* circled around me. 
We pass d on our left the four hanging Lascars, 
Who peep at the moon and keep watch at the stars ; 
* Two sir-k ladies. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 359 

Just opposite South-end we plump d on a porpoise, 
Uncommonly like Stephen Kemble in corpus ; 
In temper like Gerard, whose surname is Noel, 
In swimming like Twiss, and in color like Powell. 
And when we were properly soak d, at the hour 
Of five, anchored safely athwart of the Tower. 

" The scene that ensued when we swung by a cable, 
The mixture of voices out-babeling Babel 
What scrambling for bandboxes, handkerchiefs, caskets, 
Trunks, carpet bags, brown paper parcels, and baskets, 
While the captain stood quietly wetting his whistle, 
Must all be reserved for another epistle, 
For my paper scrawled o er is of no further service. 

" Adieu, your affectionate ever, E. P s." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D oRSAY . HIS ORIGIN. SOME AC 
COUNT OF HIS EARLY LIFE, THE CLOSE OF HIS CAREER, AND OB 
SERVATIONS ON HIS TALENTS AND THE APPLICATION OF THEM.* 

ALFRED GUILLAUME GABRIEL COMTE D ORSAY was born the 
4th of September, 1801. His father, Albert Comtc D Orsay, 
who was considered one of the finest-looking men of his time, 
early entered the army, and served with great distinction under 
Napoleon, who was wont to say of him that he was " aussi brave 
qut beau. " His mother, a woman no less remarkable for her 
wit, and noble and generous disposition, than for her beauty, was 
a daughter of the King of Wurtemberg by a marriage which was 
good in religion, though not in law. The family of D Orsay was 
a very ancient one, and formerly held large possessions both in 
Paris and in the provinces. The grandfather of the late Comte 
D Orsay was one of the most liberal patrons of art of his day. 
His collection of pictures and statues was singularly fine and 
valuable. Several of the latter, which were seized in the first 
revolution, that disastrous period when he lost nearly the whole 
of his fortune, now form a part of the statuary which decorates 
* For a large portion of the details of this memoir, extending to the period of 
D Orsay s last sojourn in Paris, I am indebted to a lady very intimately acquainted 
with the count in his brighter days, as well as in his latest moments. 



27 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

the Place Louis Q,uinze and the gardens of the Tuilleries. The 
fact of their belonging to the house of D Orsay was admitted by 
subsequent governments. Louis Philippe, only a short time be 
fore his expulsion from France, was in treaty with Comte D Or 
say to pay an annual sum to retain the statues in their present 
places, having refused to restore them. After the abdication of 
Napoleon, General D Orsay entered the service of the Bourbons. 

The eldest son of the general having died in infancy, the fam- 
ily consisted of two children Alfred and a daughter, Ida, the 
present Duchcsse de Grammont, a year younger than her brother. 
From his earliest infancy, Alfred D Orsay gave token of the re 
markable physical and mental superiority which distinguished 
his manhood. As a child and boy, his remarkable comeliness, 
strength, and adroitness in all exercises, ready wit and intelli 
gence, facility of acquiring knowledge, high spirit, the frankness 
of his nature, the chivalrous generosity of his disposition, made 
him a general favorite with young and old. 

At a very early age he entered the army, and somewhat later, 
very unwilling]} , the garde da corps of the restored Bourbon 
sovereign. All his sympathies during the whole of his life 
were with the Bonaparte family. The ardent enthusiasm in 
spired in his boyish mind by Napoleon (whose page he was to 
have been) kept possession of his mind in after years. So far 
was the feeling carried, that at the entrance of the Bourbons 
into Paris, though but a mere boy, he betook himself to a retired 
part of the house, that he might not see or hear the rejoicings 
that were made for the downfall of Napoleon and his empire, 
and gave vent to his feelings in tears and strong expressions of 
repugnance to the new regime. \Vhen in the army, he was 
greatly beloved by the men. whose comfort!? and interests he 
looked to with the utmost care. Their nlleclion for his person 
was equaled only by the admiration excited by his feats of 
strength and superiority over his comrades in all manly exer 
cises. 

Some of the traits of his garrison life, though trifling ill them 
selves, are too characteristic to be left unnoticed. At the pro 
vincial balls, where his repute as a man of fashion, of family, 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 



271 



and of various accomplishments had made itself known, and ren 
dered him a leading object of attention ; he used to be jeered 
by his brother officers for his apparent predilection for persons 
not remarkable for their personal attractions, as he made it a 
practice to single out the plainest girls present to dance with, 
and to pay the greatest attention to those who seemed most neg 
lected or unnoticed. There was no affectation of any kind about 
him ; whatever he did that appeared considerate or amiable was 
done simply from natural kindness of disposition. 

On one occasion, living out of barracks, he lodged at the house 
of a widow with a son and two daughters ; the son, a young, ro 
bust man of a violent temper and of considerable bodily strength, 
was in the habit of treating his mother and sisters with brutal 
ity. Comte D Orsay, one day while in his room, hearing a loud 
noise and tumult in the apartments of his hostess and her daugh 
ters on the ground floor, descended to ascertain the cause, and 
finding the young man offering acts of violence to his mother, 
fell upon him, and notwithstanding the powerful resistance of 
his formidable opponent, w r hose rage had been turned against 
him, inflicted such severe chastisement on him that quarter was 
soon called for. The count then, with his characteristic quie 
tude of manner in the midst of any excitement or turmoil, ended 
the scene by assuring the subdued bully that any repetition of 
his violence on his family would meet with punishment far ex 
ceeding in severity that which he had the trouble of bestowing 
on that occasion. 

Comte D Orsay s first visit to England was in the year 1821 
or 1822. He came in company with his sister and her husband, 
then Due de Guiche, who, in the previous emigration, had been 
educated and brought up in England, had served in an English 
regiment (of dragoons), and who had a sister married to the 
Viscount Ossulston, now Earl of Tankerville ; consequently, the 
Duke de Guiche already held a position in English society cal 
culated to insure the best reception for his brother-in-law in the 
first circles of London society. 

In that visit, which was but brief, the young count, accustom 
ed to manners and customs of a world of fashion differing very 



272 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

materially from that of London, formed that hasty judgment of 
English society, erroneous in the main, hut in its application to 
a portion of it not without a certain "basis of truth. Byron s eu 
logistic expressions on the perusal of the journal could not fail 
to be very gratifying to the writer of it. Bufr the riper judg 
ment and later experience of the count led to the formation of 
other opinions, and induced him to destroy the diary, and the 
reason given for its destruction was ; lest at any time the ideas 
there expressed should be put forth as his matured opinions." 
Byron, in a letter to Moore, dated April 2, 1823, thus refers to 
the arrival at Genoa of the Blcssingtons and the Count D Orsay, 
a French count, " who has all the air of a cupidon dcchaine, and 
is one of the few specimens I have ever seen of our ideal of a 
Frenchman before the Revolution." 

To Lord Blessington his lordship writes : 

" April 5th, 1823. 

"Mv DEAR LORD, How is your gout] or, rather, how are you] I return 
the Count D Orsay s journal, which is a very extraordinary production, and of 
a most melancholy truth in all that regards high life in England. I know, or 
knew personally, most of the personages and societies which he describes ; 
and after reading his remarks, have the sensation fresh upon me as if I had 
.seen them yesterday. I would, however, plead in behalf of some few excep 
tions, which I will mention by-and-by. The most singular thing is, how he 
should have penetrated, not the facts, but the mystery of the English ennui, at 
two-and-twenty. I was about the same age when I made the same discov 
ery, in almost precisely the same circles for there is scarcely a person whom 
I did not see nightly or daily, and was acquainted more or less intimately with 
most of them but I never could have discovered it so well, II faut ctre Fran- 
fais to effect this. But he ought alwo to have been in the country during the 
hunting season, with a select party of distinguished guests, as the papers 
term it. He ought to have seen the gentlemen after dinner (on the hunting 
days), and the soiree ensuing thereupon, and the women looking as if they 
had hunted, or rather been hunted ; and I could have wished that he had been 
at a dinner in town, which I recollect at Lord Cowper s small, but select, 

and composed of the most amusing people Altogether, your friend s 

journal is a very formidable production. Alas ! our dearly beloved country 
men have only discovered that they are tired, and not that they are tiresome ; 
and I suspect that the communication of the latter unpleasant verity will not 
be better received than truths usually arc. I have read the whole with great 
attention and instruction I am too good a patriot to say pleasure at least T 
won t say so, whatever I may think. I showed it (I hope no breach of conn- 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 273 

dence) to a young Italian lady of rank, trcs instruite also ; and who passes, 
or passed, for being one of the most celebrated belles in the district of Italy 
where her family and connections resided in less troublesome times as to pol 
itics (which is not Genoa, by-the-way), and she was delighted with it, and 
says that she has derived a better notion of English society from it than from 
all Madame de StaeTs metaphysical disputations on the same subject in her 
work on the Revolution. I beg that you will thank the young philosopher, 

and make my compliments to Lady 13 and her sister. 

" Believe me, your very obliged and faithful, BYRON." 

Ill subsequent letters to Lord Blcssington, Byron repeatedly 
returns to the subject of the count s English journal. One writ 
ten on the 6th of April (the very day after that before quoted), 
to condole with the Earl of Blessington on the death of his only 
son, thus concludes : " I beg my compliments to Lady Blessing- 
ton, Miss Power, and to your Alfred. I think, since his majesty 
of the same name, there has not been such a learned surveyor 
of our Saxon, society." Again, on the 9th, "I salute the illus 
trious Chevalier Count D Orsay, who, I hope, will continue his 
History of His Own Times. There are some strange coinci 
dences between a part of his remarks and a certain work of 
mine now in MS. in England (I do not mean the hermetically- 
sealed memoirs, but a continuation of certain cantos of a certain 
poem), especially in what a man may do in London with impu 
nity while he is a la mode." And in a letter which Mr. Moore 
did not print at length, Byron said of D Orsay, " He seems to 
have all the qualities requisite to have figured in his brother-in- 
law s ancestor s Memoirs" alluding to the famous Memoirs of 
Grammont. 

Byron s approbation of D Orsay s diary was given in the fol 
lowing characteristic terms : 

"April 22, 1823. My dear Count D Orsay (if you will per 
mit me to address you so familiarly), you should be content with 
writing in your own language, like Grammont, and succeeding in 
London as nobody has succeeded since the days of Charles the 
Second, and the records of Antonio Hamilton, without deviating 
into our barbarous language, which you understand and write, 
however, much better than it deserves. My approbation, as 
you are pleased to term it. was very sincere, but perhaps not 

M :/ 



274 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

very impartial ; for, though I love my country, I do not love my 
countrymen at least, such as they now are. And besides the 
seduction of talent arid wit in your work, I fear that to me there 
was the attraction of vengeance. I have seen and felt much of 
what you have described so well. I have known the persons 
and the reunions described (many of them, that is to say), and 
the portraits arc so like, that I can not but admire the painter 
no less than his performance. But I am sorry for you ; for if 
you are so well acquainted with life at your age, what will be 
come of you when the illusion is still more dissipated ?" 

The illusion was wholly dissipated, but only a few months 
before D Orsay s death. 

On the 6th of May following, his lordship writes to Lady 
Blessington : 

" I have a request to make my friend Alfred (since he has not 
disdained the title), viz., that he would condescend to add a cap 
to the gentleman in the jacket it would complete his costume, 
and smooth his brow, which is somewhat too inveterate a like 
ness of the original, God help me !" 

The diary of Count D Orsay, illustrative of London fashion 
able life, which was pronounced by such competent authority to 
be equal to any thing Count de Grammont has left us about con 
temporary frivolity, is said by others to have surpassed the me 
moirs of the latter in genuine wit and humor. 

The Duchesse de Grammont has the papers of Count D Or 
say, and a portion of the effects ; most of the latter were sold to 
pay debts. His journal was burned by himself some years back. 

It was on the occasion of D Orsay s first visit to London that 
he made the acquaintance of Lord and Lady Blessington, not in 
garrison in France, as has generally but erroneously been stated ; 
neither is the assertion true that it was to accompany them to 
Italy that he abandoned the intention of joining the expedition 
to ypain, there being no question of his doing so at the period 
of that visit. 

> _At the earnest desire of Lord and Lady Blessington, the young 
Frenchman became one of the party in their tour through France 
mid Ttaly. During thoir jouruoy nnrl prolonged sojourn in the 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D QRSAY. 275 

latter country, the companionable qualities, and that peculiar 
power of making himself agreeable, which he possessed to a 
degree almost unequaled, so endeared him to his English friends, 
that a union was at length proposed by Lord Blessing-ton be 
tween the count and one of his daughters, both of whom were 
then in Ireland with Lady Harriet Gardiner, the sister of Lord 
Blessington. 

This proposition meeting the approval of the count s family, 
it was finally decided that Lady Harriette, the younger daugh 
ter, should become his wife, and she was accordingly sent for to 
Italy, where the marriage was celebrated.* 

After a long Continental tour, and a sojourn of some years in 
Italy, Lord and Lady Blessington, with the Count and Countess 
D Orsay, came to reside in Paris, where, in 1829, Lord Blessing- 
ton died of apoplexy. 

During the Revolution of 1830, the events of which are related 
by Lady Blessington in the ; Idler in France," Count D Orsay, 
during the most dangerous moments, was constantly abroad in 
the streets ; and on more than one occasion, when recognized, 
though known to be the brother-in-law of the Due de Guiche, 
one of the staunchest of the Legitimists, he was greeted by 
the people with shouts of" Vive le Comte D Orsay /" Such was 
the influence which his mere presence produced. One of the 
proofs of the effect on others of his insinuating manners and pre 
possessing appearance was the extreme affection and confidence 
he inspired in children, of whom he was very fond, but who 
usually seemed as if they were irresistibly drawn toward him, 
even before he attempted to win them. The shyest and most 
reserved were no more proof against this influence than the 



* We find in the " Annual Register" for 183f an account of the marriage cere 
mony having been performed at Naples by the chaplain of the British cmbassa- 
dor. "At Naples, in December 1827, Count Alfred D Orsay, only son of General 
Count D Orsay, to the Lady Harriette Anne Frances Gardiner, daughter of the 
Right Hon. the Earl of Blessington." Of this unhappy marriage an account has 
been given in the preceding memoir, and the sentiments of the author in regard 
to it have been expressed there. Of the greatness of the calamity of that union, 
and the grievous wrong done by it to one almost a child in years, experience, and 
understanding, the author has nothing more to say than has been already said by 
him on that painful subject. R. R. M 



070 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

most confiding. Children who in general would hardly venture 
to look at a stranger, would steal to his side, take his hand, and 
seem to be quite happy and at ease when they were near him. 
The same power of setting others perfectly at their ease in his 
presence extended to his influence over grown-up persons. 

In society he was agreeable, attentive, kind, and considerate 
to all ; no one was too humble, too retiring, too little au fait in 
the modes of living, acting, and thinking of those among whom 
he might be accidentally thrown, to be beneath his notice, or 
beyond the reach of his extraordinary power of finding out mer 
it, devising means of drawing out any peculiar talent the per 
son might possess, or of discovering some topic of interest to the 
party on which he could get into conversation with him. Men 
of all opinions, classes, and positions, found themselves at home 
with him on some particular question or other ; and this not 
from any effort or any unworthy concession on his part, but 
from a natural facility of adapting himself to the peculiarities of 
those around him. His active mind sought and found abundant 
occupation in such conversational exercise. He often said that 
" he had never known the meaning of the word cmiui" 

No matter where or with whom he might be, he found means 
to employ his mind and his time more or less usefully or agree 
ably. The dullest country -town had for him as many resources 
as Paris or London. Wherever he went, he Avas disposed to 
find every thing interesting and good in its way, and every body 
capable of being made amusing and agreeable. To the last, 
when time, grief, and disappointment, the loss of fortune, friends, 
and nearly all he loved best on earth, might well be supposed to 
have soured his disposition, this happy turn of mind yet remain 
ed unimpaired as in his eaj.iy youth. 

Arrogance, and affectation, and purse-proud insolence alone 
found him severe and satirical : on these his keen wit and re 
markable powers of raillery were not unfrequently set, and per 
haps his only enemies were those who had fallen under his lash, 
or who were jealous of the superiority ot his talents. 

Some months after the death of Lord Blessington, Lady Bless- 
ington and the Count and Countess D Orsay returned to England. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 377 

Shortly before the death of Count D Orsay s mother, who en 
tertained feelings of strong attachment for Lady Blessino-ton, the 
former had spoken with great earnestness of her apprehensions 
for her son, on account of his tendency to extravagance, and of 
lier desire that Lady Blessington would advise and counsel him, 
and do her utmost to counteract those propensities which had 
already been attended with embarrassments, and had occasioned 
her great fears for his welfare. The promise that was given on 
that occasion was often alluded to by Lady Blessington, and, 
after her death, by Count D Orsay. 

A variety of painful circumstances, which have no place in 
the present memoir, led to a break-up of the establishment of 
Lady Blessington in Paris, after the death of Lord Blessington. 
On her return to London, Lady Blessington took a house in Sea- 
more Place, and Count D Orsay one in Curzon Street; from 
thence they removed to Kensington Gore Lady Blessington to 
Gore House, Count D Orsay to a small dwelling adjoining it; 
but finally they both occupied the former place of abode till the 
break-up of that establishment in April, 1849. 

The count returned to his native country after a residence 
of nineteen years in London. In Paris he was joined by Lady 
Blessington and her nieces, the Misses Power, shortly after his 
arrival ; and in the following month of June he met, in her loss, 
an affliction, from the effects of which he never thoroughly re 
covered. 

The ensuing year he realized a plan he had formed and often 
spoken of in happier days. He hired an immense studio, with 
some smaller rooms connected with it, attached to the house of 
M.Gerdin, the celebrated marine painter. Here he transported 
all his possessions (consisting chiefly of his own works of art, 
easels, brushes, paints, &c.), and with the extraordinary taste and 
talent for arrangement that constituted one of his gifts, a large 
waste room, with naked loft, became transformed into one of 
the most elegantly fitted up and admirably disposed studios of 
Paris, and, at the same time, a habitable salon of great beauty, 
combining requisites for a museum en miniature, arid objects of 
virtu and art sufficient to furnish a small gallery. In this salon 



278 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

he might be said to be domiciled. Here he lived, here he daily 
received the visits of some of the greatest celebrities of Europe ; 
statesmen, politicians, diplomatists, men of letters, and artists, 
were his constant visitors and frequent guests. 

The ex-roi Jerome continued to be one of the most faithful 
and attached of his friends. The paternal affection of the good 
old man, with the warm regard of his son, the Prince Napoleon, 
formed a remarkable contrast to the conduct of others, which 
fully bore out the observation, " There are some benefits so 
great that they can only be paid by the blackest ingratitude." 
The ex-king Jerome never swerved in his affection for Count 
D Orsay, and his earnest desire was to see him elevated to a post 
worthy of his position and talents. This hope, however, was 
destined to be defeated. The President of the Republic had 
nothing in common with the exile and prisoner of Ham ; he who 
had long and largely served, counseled, and aided in various 
ways the latter, through good report and evil report had been a 
faithful friend to him, was looked on with coldness and aver 
sion when he proved too independent and high-spirited to be 
a mere servile, opinioiiless partisan of the most astute as well 
as successful conspirator of modern times ; and as his presence 
recalled obligations in private life, he became an object of jeal 
ousy, his services a disagreeable souvenir. The poor count 
pined away, long expecting an appointment, but expecting it in 
vain. His health broke down, and when it was completely 
broken down, Louis Napoleon conferred on his friend of former 
days, already struck by the hand of death, the nominal post of 
Director of Fine Arts, the duties of which office he was no longer 
able to perform. The prince imagined, by the tardy act of grat 
itude, he had screened himself from the just reproaches of all 
who knew their former connection. 

Count D Orsay was struck to the heart by ^ic ingratitude of 
Louis Napoleon, but his generous nature was incapable of bit 
terness, and no sentiment of animosity was engendered by it ; 
he suffered deeply and long in silence, but the wound festered, 
and at times it was evident enough how much it galled him. 

From thr period of Lady Bles si niton s death, the count had 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 279 

given up general society, and during the last two years of his 
life he confined himself almost altogether to the house, receiving 
in his studio-salon morning visits of his family and a very small 
circle of intimate friends. Lady Blessington s nieces, the com 
panions of his happy and prosperous days, his attendants in 
those of sickness and sorrow, some members of his familv, his 
beloved sister, the ex-roi Jerome and his son, Emile de Girardin, 
Dr. Cabarrus, his school-fellow, the son of the celebrated Mad 
am Tallien, and the well-known Monsieur Ouvrard, Madam de 

U , the Comtesse of D , were among the last in whose 

constant society he found repose and pleasure when that of 
others had lost its charm. 

In the spring of 1852, the spinal malady which finally proved 
fatal declared itself, and then commenced a long series of suf 
ferings, which ended but with his life sufferings endured with 
fortitude, patience, uncomplaining gentleness, a manifest ab 
sence of all selfishness, and consideration for those attending on 
him, which none but those whose painful task it was to watch 
by his couch could form any idea of. 

In the month of July he was ordered to Dieppe as a last re 
source, and thither he was accompanied by Lady Blessington s 
nieces. From the time of his arrival in Dieppe he sunk rap 
idly ; at the end of the month he returned to Paris dying, and 
on the 4th of August, 1852, breathed his last, surrounded by 
those whose unremitting care had been the last consolation of 
his declining days. 

During his illness he had more than once been visited by the 
excellent Archbishop of Paris, though a comparatively late ac 
quaintance, who entertained for him a warm regard. 

Two days previous to his decease, the archbishop had a long 
conversation with him, arid at parting embraced him, assuring 
him of his friendship and affectionate regard.* The following 
day, the last of his existence, he received the consolations of 
religion from the cure of Chambourcy. For the church of this 
good priest he had done a great deal : he had restored many 

* " J ai pour vous plus quo de I arnilie, j ai do 1 affection," wore- the archhish- 
op s words. 



280 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

of the pictures, and bestowed the original picture of the Mater 
Dolorosa, which had been painted by himself expressly for the 
church, the lithograph of which is well known, and is sold un 
der the title of the Magdalen, though why thus called it would 
be difficult to say. 

Thus terminated, at the age of fifty-one years, the existence 
of this highly-gifted man, when hardly beyond the prime of life. 

An innate love of all that was beautiful in nature and excel 
lent in art, a generous, chivalrous nature, strong sympathies with 
suffering, ardent feelings, a kindly disposition, elegant tastes, 
and fine talents, capable of being turned in almost any pursuit 
to an excellent account, these were the distinguishing charac 
teristics of Count Alfred D Orsay. 

Many gifts and advantages, natural and intellectual, were 
united in him. To remarkable personal comeliness were added 
great strength and courage, which nothing could daunt, and an 
adroitness which enabled him to excel in every thing he at 
tempted. He was one of the best horsemen, the best shots, the 
best fencers, and the best boxers of his day. His talents as a 
painter and sculptor, though wanting cultivation and study, were 
of the first order ; he had an excellent ear, and some taste for 
music, with a tolerable tenor voice, which, however, he very 
rarely exercised. His wit was keen and brilliant, his taste in 
all matters of dress, furniture, and equipage, as well as in art, 
excellent. In his mind and his manners there was a singular 
mixture of refinement, simplicity, warmth, and frankness, very 
productive of strongly pleasing impressions. Generous to lav- 
ishness, frank to indiscretion, unsuspicious to credulity, disinter 
ested to imprudence, his defects were, in the eyes of his ardent 
friends, the excesses of his noble qualities. He has been often 
heard to say that he would prefer being deceived a hundred 
times rather than suspect another unjustly. He had a great 
horror of scandal, and possessed chivalrous feelings, which led 
him always to take the part of those who were violently assail 
ed, absent or present, known to him or utter strangers. 

During his residence at Gore House he was a generous bene 
factor to those of his nation who required alms, encouragement. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 281 

assistance, introductions, hospitality. From Louis Napoleon to 
the poorest exile, his services were rendered with a frank, earn 
est good-will, and a considerate delicacy and sympathy for mis 
fortune, that increased the value of his assistance. He founded 
the Socicte dc Bienfaisance, still existing in London, for the bene 
fit of his distressed countrymen, nor was his aid ever withheld 
from the poor or suffering of his adopted country, for his admi 
ration for England ended only with his life. 

In his temper, either in sickness or in health, he was never 
irritable nor morose. Those who were about him and in attend 
ance on him said, " They never knew any one so easy to live 
with, so little given to find fault." 

But there was one thing in his demeanor and carriage of a 
very marked and distinguished character ; the high bearing, 
proud spirit, and strong energy of a nobly constituted man were 
mingled with the gentleness, the sensibility, self-devotion, and 
tenderness of a woman s nature. Frank and open in all his deal 
ings, the idea of deceiving or condescending to stoop to any 
sophistry in conversation never entered his mind. This in 
genuousness of mind and natural excellence of disposition were 
admirably associated with external advantages, and set off by 
an appearance of no ordinary comeliness, which in its perfec 
tions united excellence of form, coloring, and expression. \Yit, 
genius, and generosity, thus gracefully presented, and graciously 
recommended in his person to observation, it may not be much 
wondered at, were admired ; nor need we doubt that Alfred 
D Orsay was regarded by many with sentiments of regard and 
esteem, and by some with stronger feelings of affection than 
may be easily reconcilable with the prevailing opinion of his 
faults and his defects. 

Many of the preceding observations have been written by one 
most intimately acquainted with Count D Orsay, and devoted in 
her attentions to him in his last illness, and up to his last mo 
ments ; one who had known him long and well in the full force 
and vigor of life and health in happier times, in the brilliant 
circle in which he moved, " the glass of fashion and the mould 
of form;" who had seen him in gay salons, the delight, of all 



282 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

around him, and in splendid equipages, witching also the world 
of fashion in Hyde Park "with noble horsemanship," "the ob 
served of all observers," there and every where he came. They 
were written by one who had seen him in a few months re 
duced from a high position, surrounded with all the luxuries of 
life, from health and happiness to comparative obscurity and in 
digence, to wretchedness and weariness of life, utterly broken 
down in health and spirits. They were written with the warm 
feelings of elevated kindness and of unfailing friendship of a 
woman s heart, ever most true and faithful when the object of 
its solicitude stands most in need of pity and of care. 

In this notice we must not look for a close and scrutinizing 
search for frailties and errors ; and we may fairly presume, 
however truthful the account may be which is given to us of 
the many excellent qualities of this gifted man, that he had his 
faults and imperfections ; and happy may it be for him and 
most men if the amount of evil is counterbalanced to some ex 
tent by that of good. 

The nearest and dearest living relation of Count D Orsay, who 
cherishes his memory as one of the objects in this world most 
precious to her, makes no concealment of her conviction that 
Count D Orsay s ignorance of the value of money the profuse 
expenditure into which he was led by that ignorance, the temp 
tation to play arising from it, the reckless extravagance into 
which he entered, not so much to minister to his own pleasures 
as to gratify the feelings of an inordinate generosity of disposi 
tion, that prompted him to give whenever he was called on, and 
to forget the obligations he contracted for the sake of others, and 
the heavy penalties imposed on his friends by his frequent ap 
peals for pecuniary assistance, were very grievous faults, and 
great defects in his character. In other respects, it can not be 
denied that great wrongs were inflicted on one entitled to pro 
tection from him ; that public opinion was outraged by that ca 
reer in London which furnished slander with so many plausible 
themes; and, however groundless may be the innumerable ru 
mors prejudicial to character that had been industriously prop 
agated in relation to them, that great imprudence had been com- 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 283 

mitted, and grave suspicions had "been incurred by that impru 
dence. 

Those who deal rigorously with the defects of other people 
may be very conscious of being exempt from the failings they 
discover in eminent persons filling a large space in the public 
view like the late Count D Orsay ; but before they exult over 
much in the fullness of their sense of superiority over others less 
perfect than themselves, and in the abundance of their self-com 
placency give thanks to God they are not like those other frail 
and erring people, let them be well satisfied they have no frail 
ties themselves of a different description, and that they are in 
possession of all the good qualities that may belong even to their 
erring brothers ; let them be well assured that, had their own 
position in early life, and at the commencement of their career 
in society, been surrounded by unfavorable circumstances and 
evil influences, as those of the persons who are condemned by 
them may have been, their own virtue was of such exalted ex 
cellence that it would have triumphed over all those unfortu 
nate circumstances and influences which had militated against 
the happiness and good repute of others. 

The following facts need no comments, and render any further 
statements unnecessary on the subject I have referred to, of lav 
ish extravagance. 

Soon after the count separated from his wife, an agreement 
was executed, in 1838, whereby he relinquished all his interest 
in the Blessington estates, in consideration of certain annuities 
amounting to .2467 being redeemed, or allowed to remain 
charged upon the estates (the sum then necessary to redeem 
them was calculated at 23,500), and also in consideration of 
a sum of 55,000 to be paid to him ; 1 3,000, part thereof, as 
soon as it could be raised, and the remaining .42,000 within 
ten years. These latter sums were not paid until the estates 
had been sold, namely, in 1851, when with interest they amount 
ed to about 80,000, and that entire amount was paid to parties 
to whom the count had given securities on the estates ; so that 
with the annuities, the actual amount paid to his creditors out 
of the estates was upward of 103,500. During his residence 



984 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

in England lie had an allowance from the Court of Chancery in 
Ireland of 550, and Lady Harriet .400 a year. 
** D Orsay s embarrassments, from the years 1837 and 1838 to 
the close of his career, were continuous. In 1841, some efforts 
.were made by his friends to extricate him from them. It was 
the honorable motive of turning his talents to a profitable ac 
count which subsequently led him to devote himself to art with 
the idea of ultimately increasing his income by his pursuits as 
a sculptor and a painter, and to cultivate the friendship of art 
ists, with the view of deriving advantage from their several 
excellences in their pursuits. 

Most of his works of art are well known. His portrait of 
"Wellington, who had so great a regard for him that it was suf 
ficient to mention Count D Orsay s name to insure his attention 
and interest even when otherwise occupied, was, he believes, 
the last for which the duke ever sat. At its completion his 
grace warmly shook hands with the noble artist, exclaiming, 
" At last I have been painted like a gentleman ! I ll never sit 
to any one else." In Paris he executed a splendid bust of Lam- 
artine, on which the poet wrote some fine verses ; one ofErnile 
de Ciirardin, the boldest, the ablest, and the last open supporter 
of liberty against oppression ; one of Napoleon Bonaparte, the 
son of Jerome ; a picture of >Sir Ilobert Peel ; various other 
sketches and medallions ; and, shortly before his death, he had 
completed the small model of a full-sized statue of the ex-king 
Jerome, ordered by government for the Salle des Marechaux de 
France, and had commenced a colossal statue of Napoleon. 

The following article respecting the merits of Count D Orsay 
as an artist appeared in the "Presse" newspaper of the 10th of 
November, 1850 (written by Monsieur dc la Guerronniere), on 
the occasion of the exhibition of a bust of Lamartine executed 
by the count. The lines which follow the article, composed by 
Lamartine, are not the least admirable of the celebrated poet. 

LK BL STE DE M. DE LAMARTIXE, VERS A. M. LE COMTE D ORSAY. 

" M. le Comtc D Orsay est un amateur de Part plutot qu un 
artiste. Mais qu est-ce qu un amateur? C est un volontaire 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 285 

parmi les artistes ; ce sont souvent les volontaires qui font les 
coups d eclat dans 1 atelier comme sur les champs de bataille. 
Glu est ce qu un amateur? C est un artiste dont le genie seul 
fait la vocation. II est vrai qu il ne recoit pas dans son enfance 
ct pendant les premieres annees de sa vie cette education du 
metier d ou sort Michel Ange, d ou sort Raphael. II suit moins 
les procede s, les traditions, les secrets pratiques de son art ; 
mais s il doit moins au maitre, il doit plus a la nature. II est 
son oouvre. C est elle qui a mis le ciseau et le maillet du sculp- 
teur entre les mains elegantes et aristocratiques de Mme. do 
Lamartine, de Scrnesie, de M. de Nerewerkerke et de M. le 
Comte D Orsay. 

" M. D Orsay est d une famille ou Ton doit avoir, plus quo 
dans toute autre, le culte du beau dans Part. II est le ills d un 
general de nos annees heroiques, aussi ce lebre par sa beaute quo 
par ses faits d armees. II est le frere de cctte belle Duchesse 
de Grammont, dont le nom rappelle toutes les graces et toutes 
les delicatesses d esprit de la cour de Louis XIY. Lui-mc A> me, 
avant d avoir la ce lebrite d artiste et d homnie lettre, cut 1 illus- 
tration de la nature : il fut uii type de noblesse et de dignite 
dans les traits. II exer^a dans les salons de Paris et de Londres 
la dictature Athenieime du gout et de 1 elegance. C est un de 
ces liommcs qu on aurait cru prcoccupe dc succes futiles parce 
quo la nature semble les avoir crees uniquement pour son plaisir 
mais qui trompent la nature, et qui, apres avoir recueilli les 
legeres admirations des jeunes gens et des femmes de leur age, 
echappent a cette atmosphere de legerete avant le temps ou ils 
laissent ses idoles dans le vide, et se transformer^ par 1 etude et 
par le travail en hommes nouveaux, en hommes de me ritc ac- 
quis et serieux. M. D Orsay ahabite longtemps 1 Angleterre ou 
il donnait 1 exemple et le ton a cette societe aristocratique, un 
peu raide et deforme, qui admire surtout ce qui lui manque, la 
Grace et 1 abandon des maniercs. Mais il s y etait rendu re- 
commandable aussi et surtout par le patronage intelligent et in- 
fatigable qu il exer^ait envers les Francais de toutes les classes 
denues de ressources dans ce desert de Londres. Une des plus 
admirables institutions de secours pour les Francais ses compa- 
triotes, lui doit son nom et sa prosperite. 



286 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

" DC cet tc epoque, il eommenca a jouer avec 1 argile, le 
marbre, le ciscau. Lie par un attachement dcvenu une parente 
d esprit, avec une des plus belles et des pins splendides femmes 
dc son t poquc, il lit son buste pendant qu elle vivait ; il le fit 
ideal ct plus totichant apres sa rnort. II moulc en formes apres, 
rudes, sauvages, de grandeur fruste, les traits paysancsques 
d O Connell. II sculpta la vicllessc toujours verte et calme de 
Lord "\Vcllinjrton. Cos bustes furent a 1 instant vulgarises en 
millieres d exemplaires en Angleterre et a Paris. C etaint des 
creations iieuves. Rien de facticc ; rien do convenu ; rien de 
I art, exceptc le souverain art, celui qu on nc sent pas et qui ne 
laisse sentir quc 1 homme. 

" Cos premiers succes lui en presageaient de plus complets. 
!l clicrchait un visage. II en trouva un. Lord Byron, dont il 
I nt 1 ami et avec Icquel il voyagea pendant deux ans en Italie, 
n etait plus qu uii souvenir aime dans son cceur. II retrouva ail- 
leurs le genie de la poesie uni a la grandeur du caractere et a la 
noblesse du courage. II fit le buste de Lamartine. II le fit de 
memoirc, sans quc le inodele lui-meme en fut instruit. C est 
devant ce buste, bicntut expose au salon, que nous ecrivons ces 
lignes. en demandant pardon a M. Theophile Gautier, notre spir- 
ituel collaboratcur, d anticiper sur sa critique, et de venir dans 
son irracieux domaine, nous profanes, qui sormnes des pionniers 
de la politique dans un champ si rude a labourer 

" Le buste de Lamartine eta it tres difficile a sculpter, selon 
nous dira t-on. Ses traits sont simples, regulieres, calme.s, 
vastes ; ccla est vrai. Mais c est que, dans leur simplicite, dans 
leur regularite, dans leur calme, ils out des expressions fugi 
tives et tres diverses. Or, comment etrc a la Jbis itn et dircr.t, 
pour un artiste qui se donne la tuc.lic de reproduire ce t\ pe . 
.La (Halt le probleme. Le Cointc J.) Orsay 1 a n .solu. 

" La nature 1 , qui ne se plie pas a nos dissections, fait quelquc- 
fois des hommes f[ue nous pourrions appeler des hommes mul- 
ti]>]es. JClle en faisait bicn davantage dans 1 antiquite, qui 
n avait ]>as nos sottes jalousies, nos ridicules prejuges a cct 
egard, ct qui permettait a un homrne d etre a la fois si Dieu 
1 avait fait teJ un poetc, un oratcur, un soldat, un homme 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 287 

d etat, un historien, mi philosophe, tin homme de lettres. 
Athenes et Rome sont remplies de ces hommes-la, depuis So 
lon, jusqu a Pericles et Alcibiade, depuis Ciceron jusqu a Cesar. 
II n y avait point alors ce systeme de caste dans 1 intelligence et 
dans le caractere, qui defend aujourd hui en France, comme cela 
est defendu dans 1 Inde, d exorcer plusieurs metiers, ou plusieurs 
genics, ou plusieurs caracteres a la fois. Cette castration morale 
de 1 homme n etait pas inventee. Voila pourquoi les homrnes 
de ces temps nous paraissent si grands. C est qu ils sont en- 
tiers ? Aujourd hui ce n est plus cela. Hi vous avcz touclie 
une lyre dans votre jeunesse, il vous sera defendu de toucher a 
une epee plus tard. Vous screz range, bon gre mal gre, dans la 
caste ties poetcs. Si vous avez rcvetu un uniforme, il vous 
sera interdit d etre un ecrivairi. ISi vous avez etc un orateur, il 
vous sera impossible de revetir un uniforme et de commander 
une armee. Si vous avez ecrit 1 histoire, il vous sera reproche 
de toucher aux choscs qui seront 1 histoire a ecrire par d autres 
un jour. C est notrc loi. C est ce quo nous appelons la division 
du travail. C est ce j appellerai plus justement la mutilation 
des facultes humaines. Mais enfin, il n y a rien a dire a cela 
chez nous. C est un fait; c cst convenu. 

" Or, il arrive quelquefois quo la nature sc revolte centre ces 
distinctions arbitraires de notrc societe et de notre temps, et 
qu elle donne a un meme homme des facultes tres diverses quoi- 
quc tres completes. 

" Voici Lamartine posant devant M. D Orsay ! Evidemment 
il y a la plusieurs Lamartine. Lequel choisira le sculpteur ? 
Est-cc le Lamartine des Meditations poetiques, des Harmonies re- 
ligieuscs et de Jocclyn ? Est-ce Lamartine de la tribune ? Est- 
ce le Lamartine de 1 Hotel de Ville haranguant les multitudes 
pour desarmer la Revolution du drapeau de la Tcrreur, la poi- 
trine decouvertc, haletant, les habits dechires ? Est-ce le Lam 
artine ecrivant I Histoire des Girondms ? Est-ce le Larhartine 
a chcval et au feu des journees de mai et de juin, marchant a la 
lete ties colonnes tic la garde mobile et dc la garde nationalc, 
centre la Place de Greve ou contre les barricades des faubourgs 
insurges ? E^t-ce Lamartine vaincu, desarme de son pouvoir et 



288 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

do sa popularite, se refugiant dc la politique dans les lettres, et 
demandant a son travail solitaire et a la lampe de scs iiuits des 
travaux qui epuisent la jeunesse d un ecrivain ? Eh bien ! non, 
cc n est ni celui-ci, ni celui-la que M. le Comte D Orsay a vonlu 
clioisir. II n a pas choisi ; il a mieux fait : il a fait le Lamar- 
tine de la nature, le Lamartine tout cntier. Celui des poesies, 
celui de la tribune, celui de 1 histoirc, celui de 1 Hotel de Ville 
et celui de la rue, celui de la retraite et du travail. 

" Voila. pour nous et pour 1 avcnir 1 incomparable superiorite 
de cette couvre. Ce n est pas tel ou tcl homme, telle on telle 
partie de la vie de cet homme, c est 1 homme, 1 homme divers, 
1 homme multiple, 1 horame comme la nature ct le hasard des 
circonstances 1 ont fait. 

" On jugera de cettc ceuvre dc vie au salon. On pourra cri- 
tiquer tel ou tcl coup de ciseau, tel ou tel muscle, telle ou telle 
ligne du bronze ou du marbre. Mais on verra vivre un liommc. 
On dira ce qu un de nos amis a dit en voyant pour la premiere 
fois cette epreuve : C cst le buste de feu sacrc. Beranger, si 
grand juge, cst sorti plein d admiration de cet atelier. Ami du 
modele il lui appartenait plus qu a personne de prononcer sur 
le talent du sculptcur. 

" Au reste, il parait que le modele lui-meme a ete pressionne 
par son image, car cette impression lui a rendu sa voix de poete 
qui s cst tue dupuis si longtemps au tumulte d autres pcnsees 
et d autres actcs. En rcccvant a Mficon, il y a quelqucs jours 
ce buste qui hii etait envoye par le statuairc, il a adrcsse, et 
comme improvise dans 1 instant memo a M. le Comte D Orsay, 
les strophes suivantes que nous dcvons a 1 obligcance dc celui 
qui les a revues. JN os lectures y retrouveront la voix qui nous 
remuait dans notre jeunesse, et quo le temps, au lieu de la bri- 
ser, a rendu plus virile, plus grave et plus penetrante que ja- 
mais : 

"A MONSIEUR LE COMTE D ORSAY. 

I. 

" Quantl le bronzo ceumant dans ton moulc d argilc, 
I>( -<ruoTa par ta main mem imago fragile 
A 1 oeil indifferent des homines qui naitront, 
Et que, passant, leurs doigts sur ces tcmpes ridees, 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 289 

Comme un lit devaste du torrent des idees, 

Pleins de doute, ils diront entre cux : De qui ce front 1 

ii. 
" Est-ce un soldat debout frappe pour la patrie "? 

Un poete qui chante, un pontife qui prie 1 

Un orateur qui parle aux flots seditieux I 

Est-ce un tribun de paix souleve par la houlle, 

Offrant, le coeur gonfle, sa poitrine a la foule, 

Pour que sa liberte remontat pure aux cieux 1 

m. 
" Car dans ce pied qui lutte, et dans ce front qui vibre, 

Dans ces lueurs de feu qu entr ouvre un souffle libre, 

Dans ce coeur qui bondit, dans ce geste serein, 

Dans cette arche du flanc que 1 extase souleve, 

Dans ce bras qui commando et dans cet 031! qui reve, 

Phidias a petri sept ames dans 1 airain. 

IV. 

" Sept ames, Phidias ! et je n en ai plus une ! 

De tout ce qui vecut je subis la fortune. 

Arme cent fois brisee entre les mains du temps, 

Je seme des trames dans ma route vers la tombeaux 

Et le siecle hebete dit : Voyez comme tombe 

A moitie du combat chacun des combattans ! 

v. 
" Celui-la chanta Dieu, les idoles le tuent ! 

Au mepris des petits, les grands le prostituent : 

Notre sang, disent-ils pourquoi l epargnas-tu I 

Nous en aurions tach& la griffe populaire ! 

Et le lion couche lui dit avec colere : 

Pourquoi m as-tu calme 1 Ma force est ma vertu. 

VI. 

" Va, brise, o Phidias, ta dangereuse epreuve ; 
Jettes-en les debris, dans le feu, dans le fleuve, 
De peur qu un foible coeur, de doute confondu, 
Ne disc en contemplant ces affronts sur ma joue, 
* Laissons aller le monde a son courant de boue, 
Et que faut d un coeur un siecle soit perdu ! 

VII. 

Oui, brise, 6 Phidias ! derobe ce visage 
A la posterite, qui ballotte une image 
De I Olympe a 1 egout, de la gloirc a. 1 oubli. 
Au pilori du temps n expose pas mon ombre ! 
Je suis las des soleils, laisse mon urne a I ombre. 
Le bonheur de la mort, c est d etre enseveli ! 
VOL. l.N 



J90 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

VIII. 

" Quc la fcuille d hiver au vent des nuits semee, 
Quo, du coteau natal 1 argile encore aimee 
Couvrent vite mon front moule sous son linceul ! 
Je ne veux de vos bruits qu un souffle dans la brise, 
Un nom inacheve dans un cceur qui se brise ; 
J ai vecu pour la foule, et je veux dormir seul. 

"A. DK LAMARTINE." 

" II y a encore line strophe plus toucliante et aussi grave que 
les autres. Mais nous ne nous croyons pas permis de la copier. 
L auteur nc les ecrivait pas pour le public, mais pour uri cceur. 
Nous obe issons a la discretion qu il nous aurait sans doute de- 
mandee. 

" On est heureux de pouvoir inspircr de pareils vers ! Plus 
heureux sans doutc d avoir pu les ecrire en quelques minutes, au 
milieu des preoccupations des affaires et des difficultes du temps. 
Nous en felicitous M. D Orsay ct M. de Lamartinc. L uii a line 
belle page en vers ; 1 autre a une belle page en marbre. Us 
sont quittes I une envers 1 autre. Mais nous ne le sommes pas 
envers eux, car nous leur devons une double emotion, et nos 
lecteurs la partageront avec nous. 

"A. DE LA GUERONNIERE." 

There are some excellent remarks on D Orsay s talents as an 
artist, though a little too eulogistic perhaps, in an article in 
"The Now Monthly Magazine" for August, 1845. 

" Whatever Count D Orsay undertakes seems invariably to be 
well done. As the arbiter clegantiarum, he has reigned supreme 
in matters of taste and fashion, confirming the attempts of oth 
ers by his approbation, or gratifying them by his example. To 
dress or drive, to shine in the gay world like Count D Orsay, 
was once the ambition of the youth of England, who then dis 
covered in this model no higher attributes. But if time, who 
steals our years away, steals also our pleasures, he replaces 
them with others, or substitutes a better thing ; and thus it has 
befallen with Count D Orsay. 

" If the gay equipage or the well-appareled man be less fre 
quently seen than formerly, that which causes more lasting sat- 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 2 91 

isfaction, and leaves an impression of a far more exalted nature, 
comes day by day into higher relief, awakening only the regret 
that it should have been concealed so long. When we see what 
Count D Orsay s productions are, we are tempted to ask, with 
Malvolio s feigned correspondent, * Why were these things hid ? 

" But AVC are glad to see that they are hidden no more, and 
the accomplished count seems disposed to show the world of 
how much he is really capable. His croquis de societe had long 
charmed his friends, and his great skill in modeling was bruited 
abroad, when the world began to ask, Is it true that in the man 
of fashion exists the genius of the sculptor and the painter ? 
Evidence was soon given that such surmises were true. 

"Count D Orsay s statuettes of Napoleon and the Duke of 
Wellington, and his portraits of Dwarkanauth Tagore and Lord 
Lyndhurst, exhibited capabilities of the first order, and satisfied 
every inquiry. Additional proof of his powers has been afford 
ed by the publication of the engraving of his portrait of Lord 
Byron. 

" It is certainly a highly interesting work of art, and, in point 
of resemblance, we are assured that one who knew him, per 
haps best of all, has declared that, until now, there never exist 
ed a likeness which completely satisfied the mind. Certain 
traits of that thoughtful and intelligent countenance were want 
ing in other portraits, but in this they are all happily united. 

" Count D Orsay has represented the noble bard where most 
he loved to be, on the deck of his own vessel. He is sitting in 
sailor s costume, leaning on the rudder, with his right hand un 
der his chin, and his head elevated. In his fine large eyes is 
an expression of deep thought, and a pensive character marks 
his firm, but femininely-cut mouth. His noble expanse of fore 
head and fine contour of head are drawn with a free and vigor 
ous pencil. If we did not know whose likeness was intended, 
we should still call this portrait an exceedingly fine study ; but 
our interest in it is increased by the fidelity of the resemblance. 
The portrait is well engraved by Lewis. 

" We understand that his grace the Duke of Wellington is so 
well pleased with the statuettes to which we have alluded, cop- 



092 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

ies of which he has given an order to be executed in silver, that 
he is now sitting to the count for his portrait also. We there 
fore look forward with a very pleasant anticipation to another 
likeness of the hero of a hundred fights and pictures too." 

Haydon, in his Diary, 31st of June, 1838, makes mention of 
D Orsay : " About seven D Orsay called, whom I had not seen 
for long. Pie was much improved, and looking the glass of 
fashion and the mould of form ; really a complete Adonis, not 
made up at all. He made some capital remarks, all of which 
must be attended to. They were sound impressions and grand. 
He bounded into his cab, and drove off like a young Apollo with 
a fiery Pegasus. I looked after him. I like to see such speci 
mens."* 

Again, in his Diary, 10th of July, 1839, Haydon observes: 
" D Orsay called and pointed out several things to correct in the 
horse (the Duke of Wellington s charger), verifiying Lord Fitz- 
roy s criticism of Sunday last. I did them, and he took my 
brush in his dandy gloves, which made my heart ache, and low 
ered the hind-quarters by bringing over a bit of the sky. Such 
a dress white greatcoat, blue satin cravat, hair oiled and curl 
ing, hat of the primest curve and purest water, gloves scented 
with eau de Cologne or eau de jasmine, primrose in tint, skin 
in tightness. In this prime of dandyism he took up a nasty, 
oily, dirty hog-tool, and immortalized Copenhagen (the charger) 
by touching the sky."f 

A friend of D Orsay s, in a notice of the count s death in the 
" Globe" newspaper, has truly observed : 

" Unquestionably one of the celebrities of our day, the de 
ceased man of fashion, claims more than the usual curt obituary. 
It were unjust to class him with the mere Brunirnels, Mildmays, 
Alvanleys, or Pierreponts of the Regency, with whom, in his 
early life, he associated, much less the modern men about town 
who have succeeded him ; equally idle were the attempt to 
rank him with a Prince do Ligne, an Admirable Crichton, or an 
Alcibiades ; yet was he a singularly gifted and brilliantly ac 
complished personage." 

* Memoirs of B. R. Haydon, vol. iii., p. 86. f Ibid., vol. iii., p. 105. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 293 

A writer in the " Annual Register," in another notice of the 
count s death, thus speaks of his talents and acquirements : 

" Few men in his position have shown greater accomplish 
ments. His literary compositions were lively and imaginative. 
His profile portraits of his friends (of which many have been 
published in lithography) are felicitous and characteristic, and 
his statuettes are not only graceful, but possess greater original 
ity of conception than is evinced by the majority of professional 
artists. In his general intercourse with society, Count D Orsay 
was distinguished not merely by true politeness, but by great 
amiability. He was kind and charitable to his distressed coun 
trymen, and one of the most assiduous supporters of the Societe 
de Bienfaisance. 

" In England the count became acquainted with Prince Louis 
Napoleon, and soon after the arrival of the prince in France, he 
fixed his own. residence in Paris. His name was designated 
several times for diplomatic office, but it was rumored, and gen 
erally believed, that the prince was too dependent upon his per 
sonal advice and assistance to spare his society. We are now 
told (by M. Girardin, in La Pressc ) that, before the 2d of De 
cember, nobody made greater or more reiterated efforts for a 
policy of a different course and of the highest aspirations ; after 
the 2d of December, no man exerted himself more to assuage 
the stroke of proscription. The President of the Republic had 
not a more devoted and sincere friend than the Count D Orsay, 
and it is at a moment when the prince had attached him to his 
person by the title and functions of Superintendent of the Beaux 
Arts that he has lost him forever."* 

Count D Orsay s connections with English families of distinc 
tion, and relations with eminent persons of his country residing 
in England, had made him well acquainted with London and its 
society before his intimacy with the Blessingtons. 

In 1828, Lady Blessington speaks of the General and Count 
ess D Orsay as having taken up their abode in Paris, and their 
recent arrival from their chateau in Francke Comic. 

No mention, however, is made in that portion of her journal, 
* This appointment was announced only a few days before his death. 



294 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

nor, indeed, in any previous part of the " Idler in France," of 
their son Count Alfred D Orsay. " The Countess D Orsay," Lady 
Blessington observes, " had been a celebrated beauty, and though 
a grandmother, still retains considerable traces of it. Her coun 
tenance is so spirituclle and piquant that it gives additional point 
to the clever things she perpetually utters ; and what greatly 
enhances her attractions is the perfect freedom from any of the 
airs of a belle esprit, and the total exemption from affectation that 
distinguishes her. 

"General D Orsay, known from his youth as Le Beau D Or 
say, still justifies the appellation, for he is the handsomest man 
of his age that I ever beheld. It is said that when the emperor 
first saw him, he observed that he would make an admirable 
model for a Jupiter, so noble and commanding 1 was the charac 
ter of his beauty. There is a calm and dignified simplicity in 
the manner of General D Orsay that harmonizes with his lofty 
bearing."* 

Elsewhere Lady Blessington observes, " I know no such 
brilliant talker as she (the Countess D Orsay) is. No matter 
what may be the subject of conversation, her wit flashes bright 
ly on all, and without the slightest appearance of effort or pre 
tension. She speaks from a mind overflowing with general in 
formation, made available by a retentive memory, a ready wit, 
and inexhaustible good spirits."! 

The customary transmission of intellectual power in the ma 
ternal line, and of striking traits of physical conformation from 
sire to children, were not deviated from in the case of the chil 
dren of the brilliant countess and the beau D Orsay. 

The mother of the Countess D Orsay, Madame Crawford, was 
a person of singular endowments. The King of AYurtemberg 
had been privately married to this lady ; but on the legal mar 
riage of the king with a royal personage, which his former wife 
considered as an act of injustice to herself and her children (a 
son who died young, though grown up, and a daughter, after 
ward Madame D Orsay), she went to France, and fixed her abode 
there. She subsequently married a Mr. O Sullivan, an Irishman 

* The Idler in France, vol. i ., p. 238. f Ibid., vol. ii., p. 33. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 2 95 

of large fortune in India, and after his death, Mr. Crawford, a 
member of an ancient Scotch family, and also possessed of large 
property. She survived him, and died at the age of eighty-four. 
In India, the personal attractions of this lady obtained for her 
the title of "La Belle Sullivan." On her return, one of her 
countrymen addressed the following jeu d* esprit : 

ON SENDING A SMALL BOTTLE OF OTTO OF ROSES TO MRS. SULLIVAN. 
" Quand la belle Sulivan, quitta 1 Asie, 
La Rose, amoureuse de ses charraes, 
Pleura le depart de sa belle amie, 
Et ce flacon contient ses larmes." 

Madame Crawford, in 1828, was residing in Paris. " Her ho 
tel," says Lady Blessington in her diary, "is a charming one, 
entrc Cour et Jardin ; and she is the most extraordinary person 
of her age I have ever seen. In her eightieth year, she does 
not look to be more than fifty-five, arid possesses all the vivacity 
and good humor peculiar only to youth. Scrupulously exact in 
her person, and dressed with the utmost care as well as good 
taste, she gives me a notion of the appearance which the cele 
brated Ninon de 1 Enclos must have presented at the same age, 
and has much of the charm of manner said to have belonged to 
that remarkable woman. It was an interesting sight to see her 
surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all 
remarkable for their good looks, and affectionately attached to 
her, while she appears not a little proud of them." 

Lady Blessington, in referring to the fascinating powers of 
this elderly gentlewoman, and comparing them with those of 
Ninon de 1 Enclos some seven-and-twenty years later, might 
have found an elderly gentlewoman verging on sixty, nearer 
home, possessing the extraordinary attractions she alluded to 
in the case of the old French lady, who had a violent attack of 
youth every spring for upward of half a century. 

Ninon de 1 Enclos, at the age of fifty-six, inspired the Marquis 
of Sevigne with the tender passion. 

Bordering on her seventieth year, she inspired a Swedish no 
bleman, a bold baron, with feelings of admiration and affection. 



296 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

Her last conquest was at the age of eighty : " Monsieur 1 Abbe 
Gedouin fut la derniere passion." 

But the last-named abbe, it would appear, was not the first 
abbe who had felt the power of her attractions, even in her ma 
ture years. The Abbe Chaulieu, descanting on the loveliness 
of this remarkable old woman, said, " L amour s est retire 
jusque dans les rides de son front." 

Ninon preserved not only her beauty, but her sprightliness 
of fancy in her advanced years. She had the art of saying good 
things promptly and appropriately on proper occasions in a nat 
ural manner, and the good sense never to violate the decencies 
of life in conversation. She made no affectation of prudery, 
however, and even declaimed much against prudes. " Elles 
ctoient les Jansenistcs de 1 amour."* 

The late Duke de Grammont, father of the present duke 
(brother-in-law of Count Alfred D Orsay), is described by Lady 
Blessington as " a fine old man, who has seen much of the world, 
without having been soured by its trials. Faithful to his sov 
ereign during adversity, he is affectionately cherished by the 
whole of the present royal family, who respect and love him, 
and his old age is cheered by the unceasing devotion of his 
children, the Duke and Duchesse de Guiche, who are fondly at 
tached to hiin."t 

* Lettres de Ninon do 1 Enclos, &c., avcc sa Vic, IGmo, London, 1782, tome 

t The celebrated Duchesse dc Grammont, who perished on the scaffold in tho 
French Revolution, was the sister of the famous minister, the Duke de Choiseul. 
In 1751 we find the Duchesse de Grammont thus described by one of her cotem- 
poraries : " She never dissembles her contempt or dislike of any man, in what, 
over degree of elevation. It is said she might have supplied the place of Madame 
de Pompadour if she had pleased. She treats the ceremonies and pageants of 
courts as things beneath her. She possesses a most uncommon share of under 
standing, and has very high notions of honor and reputation." This celebrated 
lady possessed a very uncommon share of courage and magnanimity, which she 
was called on some thirty years later to exhibit not in gilded salons or brilliant 
rircles of wit and fashion, but before the Revolutionary tribunal and on the scaf 
fold. The duchosso, when brought before the judges of that murderous tribunal, 
with an energy and eloquence that even struck the judicial assassins of that ini 
quitous court with surprise, pleaded for the life of her dear friend, the Duchesse 
de Chatek-t, but plead for it in vain. They died on the same scaffold. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 297 

The parents of the present Duke of Grammont accompanied 
the royal family in their exile to Scotland. The mother of the 
duke died in Holy rood House in 1803. 

In October, 1825, "the remains of the Duchess of Grammont, 
which had lain in the royal vault of the chapel of Holyrood since 
the year 1803, were transported in a hearse from the palace to 
Newhaven, to be embarked on board a French corvette at an 
chor in the roads. The lord provost and magistrates, the lord 
advocate, the lord chief baron, Sir Patrick Walker, Sir Henry 
Jardine, &c., attended, and followed the hearse in mourning 
coaches to the place of embarkation, as a testimony of respect 
for the memory of the illustrious lady, who died while sharing 
the exile of the royal family of France. The original shell had 
previously been inclosed in a coffin of a very superb description, 
covered with crimson velvet, and gorgeously ornamented. The 
plate bore the following inscription : 

" Louise Franchise Gabrielle Aglae 

De Polignac, 

Duchesse de Grammont, 

nee a Paris le 7 Mai, 

1763; 

morte le 30 Mars, 
1803."* 

Lady Tankerville, sister of the present Duke of Grammont, is 
a native of Paris. Pier position in early life, belonging to one 
of the first families in France, and one of those the most devoted 
to the Bourbons, added to her great beauty, rendered her in the 
old regime an object of general attention and attraction at court. 
The Duke de Berri, before his alliance with a Neapolitan prin 
cess, wished much to marry Mademoiselle de Grammont. On 
the downfall of the elder branch of the Bourbons, her family 
having suffered severely in the Revolution, she came to England, 
and during her residence in this country in quasi exile, married 
the Earl of Tankerville. This lady possesses all the vivacity of 
her nation, and graceful, sprightly manners. 

Charles Augustus, Lord Ossulston, the present Earl of Tank- 

* Annual Register, 1825, p. 148. 
N2 



298 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

erville, the 28th of July, 1826, married Corisande de Grammont, 
daughter of Antoine, Due de Grammont, and Aglae de Polignac. 

Another sister of the present Duke de Grammont married 
General, afterward Marshal, Sebastiani, who, though an habit 
ual invalid, was sagaciously chosen by the King of the Barri 
cades to represent the armed majesty of France at the court of 
St. James, immediately after the " three glorious days" of 1830.* 

He was a man of profound reflection, though of no pretensions 
to talent of any kind. He had the art of exerting influence with 
out exciting envy or raising opposition. At an interval of thirty 
years he married two ladies of the highest rank in France a 
Coigny and a Grammont. 

In a letter of the Due de Grammont, then Due de Guiche 
(without date), to Lady Blessington, he says, " My sister is gone 
to London as embassadrice de Ls. Pe. Is it not strange? But 
what will appear to you still more so is, that this extraordinary 
change at their time of life is the operation of love, by which 
influence no couple of sixteen have been ever more subdued. 
I, who feel daily old age creeping on, I hope that some like oc 
currence will in twenty years time set me up again. I, how 
ever, trust that, through our numerous acquaintances and con 
nections with English society, she will be lien rcpuc, and that 
people will remember the Comtcsse Sebastiani cst nee Grammont. 
Believe me, my dear Lady Blessington, ever faithfully your at 
tached friend, (Signed), GUICHE." 

Count D Orsay was a year younger than his sister, the present 
Duchess of Grammont. Shortly after the death of the count, 
by the desire of that lady I visited her at her seat at Charnbour- 
cy, near St. Germain en Laye. Her resemblance to her brother 
is striking. A more dignified and commanding, but, withal, ami 
able-looking lady I have seldom met. Though her face and 
noble form had been touched but recently by the hand of sorrow 
and of sickness, the remains were still there of surpassing love 
liness and beauty, and in her conversation there were ample evi- 

* Byron speaks of meeting General Count Sebastiani, " a cousin of Napoleon," 
in London, in 1810. " Sebastiani," he observes, is "a fine, foreign, villainous- 
looking, intelligent, and very agreeable man." 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 299 

dences of a high order of intellect, and of exalted sentiments of 
a religious kind. Five-and-twenty years previously she was 
described by Lady Blessington as the most striking-looking wom 
an she ever beheld. Tall and graceful, her commanding figure, 
at once dignified and perfectly symmetrical, was in harmony 
with her noble features, their lofty expression of superior intel 
ligence, and the imposing character of her conversational powers. 

With respect to Count D Orsay s sentiments on the subject of 
religion in the latter part of his life, I have a few words to add. 

I visited my poor friend a few weeks before his death, and 
found him evidently sinking, in the last stage of disease of the 
kidneys, complicated with spinal complaint. The wreck only 
of the beau D Orsay was there. 

He was able to sit up and to walk, though with difficulty and 
evidently with pain, about his room, which was at once his stu 
dio, reception room, and sleeping apartment. He burst out cry 
ing when I entered the room, and continued for a length of time 
so much affected that he could hardly speak to me. Gradually 
he became composed, and talked about Lady Blessington s death, 
but all the time with tears pouring down his pale, wan face, for 
even then his features were death-stricken. 

He said with marked emphasis, " In losing her I lost every 
thing in this world she was to me a mother ! a dear, dear mother ! 
a true, loving mother to me /" While he uttered these words, he 
sobbed and cried like a child. And referring to them, he again 
said, " You understand me, Madden" I understood him to be 
speaking what he felt, and there was nothing in his accents, in 
his position, or his expressions (for his words sounded in my 
ears like those of a dying man) which led me to believe he 
was seeking to deceive himself or me. 

I turned his attention to the subject I thought most important 
to him. I said, among the many objects which caught my at 
tention in the room, I was very glad to see a crucifix placed over 
the head of his bed ; men living in the world, as he had done, 
were so much in the habit of forgetting all early religious feel 
ings. D Orsay seemed hurt at the observation. I then plainly 
said to him, " The fact is, T imagined, or rather T supposed, you 



300 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

had followed Lady Blessington s example, if not in giving up 
your own religion, in seeming to conform to another more in 
voirue in England." D Orsay rose up with considerable energy, 
and stood erect and firm with obvious exertion for a few seconds, 
looking like himself again, and pointing to the head of the bed, 
he said, " Do you see those two swords ?" pointing to two small 
swords (which were hung over the crucifix crosswise) ; " do you 
see that sword to the right ? With that sword I fought in de 
fense of my religion. I had only joined my regiment a few 
days, when an officer at the mess-table used disgusting and im 
pious language in speaking of the Blessed Virgin. I called on 
him to desist ; he repeated the foul language he had used ; I 
threw a plate of spinach across the table in his face ; a chal 
lenge ensued ; we fought that evening on the rampart of the 
town, and I have kept that sword ever since." 

Whatever we may think of the false notions of honor, or the 
erroneous ones of religion which may have prompted the en 
counter, I think there is evidence in it of early impressions of a 
religious nature having been made on the mind of this singular 
man, and of some remains of them still existing at the period 
above named, however strangely presented. 

On this occasion, Count D Orsay informed me that Lady Bless- 
ington never ceased " in her heart" to be a Catholic, although 
she occasionally attended the church of another persuasion ; and 
that while she was in Paris, she went every Sunday to the Mad 
eleine, in company with some member of his family. 

And here I may observe, that on one occasion, when I visited 
Lady Blcssington on a {Sunday, after her return from church, I 
found her with several visitors, discussing the merits of the ser 
mon she had just heard preached. Her ladyship inveighed 
strongly against the sermon, and the style of preaching in En 
gland. 

A young man observed, he should hardly have expected such 
severe censures on their pulpit from a person of such high 
church principles as her ladyship. 

Lady Blessington said, very calmly, and more deliberately than 
usual. : The doctrines of the Protestant Church never appeared 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 301 

to me better than those of the Catholic Church. I was educated 
in the doctrines of that church. When I married I got into the 
habit of accompanying my husband to his church, and I contin 
ued to go there from the force of habit and for convenience, but 
never from conviction of its doctrines being better than those of 
the Catholic Church." 

I think there were seven or eight persons present when this 
startling avowal was made. 

But perhaps I ought to have observed, fully two or three years 
before that period, I had taken the liberty of an old and privi 
leged friend to write a letter to her ladyship, venturing to re 
mind her of the faith she had been born in, to point out the hol- 
lowness of the pleasures of that society in which she moved, of 
the insufficiency of them for her true happiness, of the day that 
must come, when it would be found that religion was of more 
importance than all the fame, or glory, or delight that ever was 
obtained by intellectual powers, or enjoyed in brilliant circles. 
And though that letter has no place among her papers, I have 
reason to know it did not pass altogether out of her memory. 

The death of D Orsay was thus noticed by " La Presse," ed 
ited by Emile Girardin, of the 5th of August, 1852 : 

" Le Cornte Alfred D Orsay cst rnort ce matin a trois heures. 

" La douleur et le vide de cette inort seront vivement res- 

sentis par tous les amis qu il comptait en si grand nombre en 

France et en Angleterre, dans tous les rangs de la societe, et 

sous tous les drapeaux de la politique. 

" A Londres, les salons de Gore House furent toujours ouverts 
a tous les proscrits politiques, qu ils s appelassent Louis Bona 
parte ou Louis Blanc, a tous les naufrages de la fortune et it 
toutes les illustrations de 1 art et de la science. 

" A Paris, il n avait qu un vaste atelier, mais ou quiconque 
allait frapper au nom d uii malheur a secourir ou d un progres 
a encourager, etait toujours assure du plus affable accueil et du 
plus cordial concours. 

" Avant le 2 Decembre, nul ne fit d efforts plus reiteres pour 
que la politique suivit un autre cours et s elevat aux plus haute s 
aspirations 



302 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

" Apres le 2 Decembre, nul ne s ernploya plus activement 
pour amortir les coups de la proscription : Pierre Dupont le sait 
et peut le certifier. 

" Le President de la Republique n avait pas d, ami a la fois 
plus devoue et plus sincere que le Comte D Orsay ; et c est 
quand il venait de la rapprocher de lui par le titre et les fonc- 
tions de surintendant des beaux-arts qu il le perd pour toujours. 

"C est une perte irreparable pour 1 art et pour les artistes, 
mais c est une perte plus irreparable encore pour la verite et 
pour le President de la Republique, car les palais n ont que deux 
portes ouvertes a la verite : la porte de Pamitie et la porte de 
1 adversitc, de 1 amitie qui est a 1 adversite ce que 1 eclair est & 
la foudre. 

"La justice indivisible, la justice egale pour tous, la justice 
dont la mort tient les balances compte les jours quand elle ne 
mesure pas les dons. Alfred D Orsay avait ete comble de trop 
de dons grand coeur, esprit, un gout pur, beaute antique, force 
athletique, adresse incomparable a tous les exercices du corps, 
aptitude incontestable a tous les arts auxquels il s etait adonne : 
dcssin, peinture, sculpture Alfred D Orsay avait ete comble de 
trop de dons pour que ses jours ne fussent pas parcimonieuse- 
ment comptes. La mort ete a inexorable, mais elle a ete juste. 
Elle ne Fa pas traite en. hornme vulgaire. Elle ne 1 a pas pris, 
elle 1 a choisi." 

Among those wbo attended the funeral of Count D Orsay 
were Prince Napoleon Bonaparte, Count de Montaubon, Count 
de Latour du Pin, the Marquis du Pradt, M. Emile de Girardin, 
M. Clesiriger, the sculptor ; M. Charles Lafitte, M. Bixio, M. Al- 
exandre Dumas, Jun., M. Hughes Ball, and several other En 
glish gentlemen. The Duke de Grammont, brother-in-law of 
Count D Orsay, being confined to his bed by illness, Count Al 
fred de Grammont and the Duke de Lespare, nephews of the 
deceased, were the chief mourners. No funeral oration was 
pronounced over the body, but the emotion of the persons pres 
ent was great, and the sadness of the scene was increased by 
the appearance of the Duchess de Grammont, sister of the de 
ceased, who, with her husband, had assiduously attended him 
during his illness. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 393 

" The Bulletin de Paris says, When the news of the death 
of Count D Orsay was communicated to the Prince President, he 
exclaimed that he had lost " his best friend." The same jour 
nal states that the large model of the statue of Napoleon, which 
Count D Orsay was making from a small one, executed by Mor 
timer, which was seen at the London Exhibition, was nearly 
terminated at the time of his death, and that M. Clesinger was 
formally charged by him to finish his marble statue of the ex- 
king Jerome."* 

The Prince President, we are told, exclaimed, when he heard 
of the death of Count D Orsay, that he had lost " his best friend." 
The Prince President may have said these words, and the day 
may come when he will feel that Count D Orsay was one of his 
very best and truest friends, when he raised his voice, not once 
or twice, but frequently, it is asserted, against the meditated act 
of treason to the government he, the Prince President, had sworn 
to maintain. 

The relations that existed at Gore House between Count 
D Orsay something more than a mere leader of fashion in Lon 
don the intimate friend of statesmen of all parties, of political 
people of great eminence in Parliament, of editors of newspa 
pers, mighty men of influence of" the fifth estate of the realm ;" 
of the foreign ministers at the court of St. James s, and the sec 
retaries of the several legations ; and though last, not least in 
importance, the intimate and confidential friend of the lady at 
whose reunions in Gore House of the celebrities of all political 
parties and of all intellectual pursuits in London and the pro 
scribed Prince Louis Napoleon, the twice discomfited conspira 
tor, and still conspiring refugee in England, were such as might 
have been expected ; they were most intimate, cordial, and con 
fiding. To those relations, it may be truly said, without exag 
geration or fear of contradiction, the proscribed conspirator was 
indebted for the position in society, the opportunities of acquir 
ing influence, of obtaining an early and timely knowledge of 
passing events in foreign courts, and especially in the court of 
France, and in the diplomatic circles in London ; and also of 
* Gentleman s Magazine, September, 1852, p. 308. 



304 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

promoting his views in France "by the co-operation of Count 
D Orsay s immediate friends and influential connections, which 
ultimately secured for him the presidency of the French Re 
public.* 

But the coup d etat, which was accomplished at the expense 
of personal honor, and the cost of perjury and blood, put an end 
to the relations of amity that had subsisted hitherto between 
Count D Orsay and Prince Louis Napoleon. D Orsay, with all 
his faults, was a man of chivalrous notions as to the obligations 
of solemn promises and sacred oaths ; he believed the President 
of the Republic had violated those obligations, and D Orsay was 
not a man, for any consideration on earth, to refrain from ex 
pressing his opinion of the dishonor of such a violation. Yery 

shortly after the coup d etat, a friend of mine, Monsieur du P , 

dined in Paris at the house of a French nobleman of the high 
est rank, where Count D Orsay was present. There were about 
twenty or two-and-twenty persons present, persons of distinction 
and of various political sentiments. The all-important topic of 
the coup d etat was discussed for some time with all due pru 
dence and reserve. D Orsay at length coming out with one of 

* On the 9th of April, 1849, the Duke of Wellington wrote a letter to the Count 
D Orsay, in which the following passage occurs : " Je me rejouis do la prosperite 
de la France et du succes dc M. le President de la Republique. Tout tend vers 
la permanence de la paix de 1 Europe qui est necessaire pour le bonheur de chacun. 
Votre ami tres devoue. WELLINGTON." 

This singular letter of one of the most clear-sighted, far-seeing men of modern 
times, was written after the election of Louis Napoleon to the presidency of the 
republic. Not after the coup d etat of December, 1851. A few dates of remarkable 
occurrences in the latter part of the career of Louis Napoleon will enable us to 
form a better idea of the views expressed in the communication above referred to. 

Louis Napoleon was elected President of the Republic the 10th of December, 
1848. His coup d etat, the arrest of the leading members of the Chamber of Dep 
uties, and the downfall of the republic, took place the 2d of December, 1851. His 
presidential powers were prolonged for ten years the 20th of December, 1851. IIo 
was proclaimed emperor the 2d of December, 1852, then in his forty-third year, 
being born the 20th of April, 1808. 

From the time of the Chartist demonstration in London in 1848, when the 
Prince Louis Napoleon (then in exile) was sworn in as a special constable for the 
preservation of the peace in the metropolis of England, to the period when he was 
proclaimed Emperor of the French in December, 1852, there was an interval of 
about four years and a half. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 395 

his customary notes of preparation, "a bas . " made short work 
of the reserve and prudence of the discussion. He expressed 
his opinion in English in a deliberate manner, speaking in a loud 
tone, but emphatically and distinctly, these words : " It is the 
greatest political swindle that has ever been practiced in the world!" 

My friend, who was deeply interested in the welfare of D Or- 
say, was dismayed at " the indiscretion of this explosion of opin 
ion." It was like a bomb-shell in the circle. There were per 
sons present who might be supposed to have to advance their 
fortunes by the prince s favor ; there were several servants in the 
room at the time, moreover, and it might be reasonably feared at 
that period the police were not remiss in making themselves 
acquainted with the servants of all persons of political influence 
and importance in Paris. 

It must be borne in mind that D Orsay at that time was wholly 
dependent on the favor of the prince for his future position in 
his own country. He had left England utterly ruined in his cir 
cumstances, and came to France counting on the friendship and 
gratitude of his former friend at the head of the French repub 
lic, to whose elevation he had certainly very largely contributed. 
He was well received by the prince, and proffers of public em 
ployment adequate to his expectations and his talents were made 
to him. But after the period of the coup d etat and the dinner 
above referred to post or propter that entertainment the 
friendship of the prince for the count cooled down from blood 
heat to the freezing point, and eventually to zero. The man 
with the heavy eyelids, and the leaden hand of care and calcu 
lation pressing them down, when he imposed on himself the 
weight of empire, could not see his former friends without look 
ing down on them, and D Orsay was not a man to be looked 
down on, or coldly at, even by an emperor. For eighteen months 
before his death his relations with Louis Napoleon had wholly 
ceased. 

The prince at last, when D Orsay was laboring under the ill 
ness which soon after consigned him to an early grave, allowed 
himself to be persuaded, by urgent arid pressing friends of the 
poor count, that his former friend had some claim on him. The 



306 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

emperor deigned to recognize the claim. His imperial majesty 
appointed Count Alfred D Orsay " Director of Fine Arts." Of 
all things it can not be said truly " better late than never." 
This thing, that was meant to look like an act of kindness and 
of gratitude, was too late to be of any use. No one was bet 
tered or deceived by it. 

I spoke with some surprise of similar acts of the same exalt 
ed personage to Lamennais, not long before his death; the abbe, 
with the quiet look, the cold, unimpassioned expression of the 
bright, clear gray eyes of his, observed, " Voyez vous mon chcr 
Monsieur Madden, cctte homme la, n a pas le sentiment ni du 
bien, ni du mal il n a pas de sentiment quo de soi merne." 
English history, as well as French, will yet have to ratify the 
opinion of the Abbe Lamennais. 

Among the papers of Lady Blessington I find some very re 
markable lines by a very remarkable man, one of the master 
spirits of original mind of his age lines which might be read 
with advantage by all " swimmers in the stream of politics." 

" SOME ADDITIONAL LINES FOR A POEM, ONE OF THE THEMES OF WHICH 

IS THE QUEST OF HONOR. 
" The swimmers in the stream of politics, 
That keep each other down where none float high 
But who are rotten, shouted in my ear, 
Come hither ! here is honor, on this side ; 
He hates the other. 

I passed on, nor look d, 
Knowing the voices well : they troubled me 
Vociferating : I searched for willow wand 
To scourge and silence the importunates, 
And turned me round : lo ! they were all upon 
The farther bank,, and, basking in the sun, 
Mowed at me, and defied me to cross o er, 
And broke their cakes, and gave their curs the crumbs, 
Weary with wanderings." 

In. bringing this sketch of the career of Count Alfred D Orsay 
to a close, a summary notice of his most remarkable qualities, 
his talents, and the application of them, is given, that the reader 
may be able to form a just estimate of his character and abilities. 

One was reminded not unfrequently, by the wit combats at 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 307 

Gore House, of the days of the Chevalier de Grammont, when 
Dorset, Sedley, Ethelridge, Denham, Killigrew, " and all the 
whole band of wits"* diverted the beau monde with bon mots, 
sarcastic repartees, quaint observations, humorous sallies, and 
sharply-pointed epigrams, brought to bear on striking peculiar 
ities of absent acquaintances, or well-known persons of quality 
within the category of " precieuses ridicules." 

"The wits" of the age of Horace Walpole were pretty much 
the same as those of the times of Holland House and Kensing 
ton Gore intellectual gladiatorship. The wit combatants of both 
in the arena of fashionable literary circles are composed of va 
rious grades of competitors for celebrity and pretenders to dis 
tinction, and success in sprightly conversation, in lively corre 
spondence, and occasional written drolleries in prose and verse; 
the efforts of all are to amuse and to be distinguished, and for 
these ends they must exhibit a keen perception of the ridicu 
lous, a facility for catching salient points in conversation, and 
combining apparent similitudes of things ludicrous in them 
selves with ideas of subjects naturally grave or serious ; they 
must evince a strong sense of the obligations imposed on vivacity 
of mind and liveliness of imagination by the patronage of people 
a la mode or a favored position in society ; they must submit to 
the necessity, in short, of amusing its magnates by a felicitous 
expression of quaint, jocund, and striking thoughts opportunely 
brought forth and without apparent effort. In this strife of high 
ly-excited intellectuality, mere pleasant conversationalists jostle 
against story-tellers and retailers of anecdotes of more or less 
celebrity, humorists at table after the cloth is taken away, and 
only then at home in broad and farcical jests, and in impromptu 
double entendres come in contact with the pet poets of the salons, 
who figure in albums, and compose vcrs de societc on the spur 
of the occasion, previously expected or anticipated, furnish par 
odies and burlesques to order, conveyed in an invitation to din 
ner, and sit down deliberately to load their memories in private, 
and with malice in their wit aforethought, and come charged 
into company with sarcastic epigrams, to be fired oft in public 

* Memoirs of Grammont, p. 189. 



308 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

at the peculiarities of absent friends, or the failings or absurd 
ities of the celebrities of other circles. In this sharp encounter 
of keen wits, the mere punster, endowed with great natural 
powers of impudence, and a large stock of animal spirits, whose 
whole laborious leisure is devoted to the amusement of playing 
upon words, is to be met cheek by jowl at the same tournament 
with one like Curran, not always, however, to be found in the 
most brilliant circles of fashion, or salons of ladies of literature 
a la jnodc, whose wit is " as keen as his sword, but as polished 
as the scabbard," which relies 011 its success neither on flippant 
sarcasms, or vulgar scoffing in society at high principles or he 
roic actions, or sneering humorous observations on sacred or on 
serious subjects, but on its own bright light of intellectuality, 
condensed and capable, when called into action, of irradiating 
every subject on which it glances even for a moment. 

"When the mind of genius is charged with intellectual elec 
tricity, we have sparkles of intelligence flashing from the as 
similation of dissimilar ideas, which have been suddenly, and 
apparently accidentally, brought into collision ; and these fitful 
gleams of bright thoughts, felicitously expressed, constitute what 
is called wit. 

But we have as many kinds of these bright emanations of in 
tellectuality as we have of atmospheric meteors in all the va 
ried forms of electrical phenomena. 

Perhaps the highest order of wit exhibited in our times (the 
keenest wit combined with the greatest powers of eloquence ) 
was that which was displayed by Curran in public and in pri 
vate. 

Of Curran s conversational powers, Byron, in his mernor.in- 

durn-book, has spoken in terms of no stinted praise : " Curran 

Curran ! the man who struck me most. Such imagination ! 

There never was any thing like it that I ever saw or heard of. 

His published life his published speeches, give you no idea of 

the man none at all. He was a machine of imagination ; as 

some one said of Piron, that he was an epigrammatic machine."* 

Elsewhere in his memoranda he said, "The riches of his 

* Moore s Life of Byron, p. 304, 8vo ed., 1838. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 399 

(Curran s) Irish imagination were exhaustless. I have heard 
that man speak more poetry than I have ever seen written, 
though I saw him seldom, and but occasionally. I saw him 
presented to Madam de Stael. It was the great confluence be 
tween the Rhone and the Saone." 

The wits of Horace Walpole s day, Sir George Selwyn, Sir 
Hanbury Williams, Bubb Doddington, Charles Townsend, and 
their associates, it is difficult to judge of at the distance of a 
century from their times. But it would appear their wit was 
of the social, unpremeditated, conversational character, in which 
Sydney Smith, Talleyrand, Hook, and Barham particularly ex 
celled in our times. 

For conversational humor and drollery in the composition of 
quizzical verses, Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, the protege of 
Sir Robert Walpolc (if his contemporaries speak truly of him), 
can hardly have been excelled by any modern humorist. The 
social character of the clubs, taverns, or coffee-houses of those 
days was favorable to the development of conversational talent.* 

Selwyn, the man renowned for social wit, was utterly defi 
cient in the gift of oratory. He sat forty years in Parliament 
for Gloucester, and never spoke on any question. He was al 
ways torpid as well as silent in the House. 

Sir Hanbury Williams, the celebrated sayer also of bo?i mots, 
and composer of pointed epigrams, a man of astounding audac 
ity in turning sacred subjects into ridicule, and treating the 
most solemn subjects with flippant jocularity and revolting lev 
ity, sat in the House of Commons a silent member, rapt in 
gloom, which terminated in insanity and suicide. 

" Sayers of good things," in general, are not men of great 
powers of eloquence. Wits who can set the table in a roar, and 
give utterance to bon mots of remarkable drollery, may be inca 
pable of delivering twenty consecutive sentences on any serious 
subject before a number of people prepared to listen to them. 

* Count D Orsay was a member of Crockford s as long as it lasted, and after 
ward of the Coventry. An attempt was made to get him into " White s," but it 
was discovered there were some parties who were determined to exclude him, 
and consequently his friends withdrew his name before the ballot took place. 



310 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

D Orsay was no exception to the rule. He abounded in rich 
humor, and excelled in repartee. There was an air of aristo 
cratic nonchalance in the grave irony of his conversational sal 
lies. He gave vent to his wit in the quietest tone, and with 
the most immovable features possible. He was an adept in the 
art of quizzing people who were at all ridiculous with singular 
composure of mien and manner. His performances in this line 
were gone through with ease and elegance, but the gift of elo 
quence was not bestowed on him. 

Of D Orsay s rich humor arid repartee, it might be said, like 
Selwyii s : 

"His social wit, which, never kindling strife, 

Blazed in the small, sweet courtesies of life ; 

Those little sapphires round the diamond shone, 

Lending soft radiance to the richer stone/ 

It would be difficult to convey in words any precise idea of 
D Orsay s Avit and powers of facetiousness in conversation. A 
mere report would be in vain of the ban mots he uttered, with 
out a faithful representation of his quiet, imperturbable manner, 
his arch look, the command of varied emphasis in his utterance, 
the anticipatory indications of coming drollery in the expression 
of his countenance, the power of making his entourage enter into 
his thoughts, and his success in. prefacing his jcu d esprit by sig 
nificant glances and gestures, suggestive of ridiculous ideas. 

The literary artist who could describe these peculiarities must 
be no ordinary word-painter. 

L) 0rsay had made a study of the wit of Talleyrand, and he 
became a proficient in that species of refined conversational 
esprit, combining terseness of language, and neatness of expres 
sion, and certitude of aim, with the polish of the shaft and the 
sharpness of the point of an intellectual weapon of rare excel 
lence. 

The macaronis of a century ago, the bucks, bloods, and bcaus 
of a later period, represented by the fops, exquisites, or dandies 
the inane cxclusives the ephemeral petits mat ires of our 
times, are not the tribe which furnish men of fashion of D Or 
say s stamp. D Orsay was a fop in attire and appearance, but 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 31 1 

his foppery was only a spice of vanity, superadded to superior 
intellectual powers, which condescended at times to assume a 
dandyish character. 

D Orsay s fine taste was particularly exhibited in the con 
struction and turn-out of those well-known, elegant vehicles of 
his and Lady Blessington, which used to attract so much atten 
tion in Hyde Park a few years ago. D Orsay, like Grammont, 
has left reminiscences of promenade achievements " a cheval 
ct en voiture" in that favored locality, but of a very different 
character. 

In the time of Grammont, " Hyde Park, as every one knows, 
was the promenade of London." In 1659 it was thus described 
to a nobleman of France : 

" I did frequently, in the spring, accompany my Lord N 

into a field near the town, which they call Hide Park ; the place 
not unpleasant, and which they use as our course, but with 
nothing of that order, equipage, arid splendor ; being such an 
assembly of wretched jades and hackney-coaches, as, next a 
regiment of carr men, there is nothing approaching the resem 
blance. The Park was, it seems, used by the late king and no 
bility for the freshness of the air and the goodly prospect,"* 
&c 

In these latter days Hyde Park makes a different figure in the 
pages of Mr. Patmore. The scene he describes is the ring, and 
the writer of the sketch is supposed to be lounging there, gaz 
ing at the brilliant equipages as they pass, and the celebrities 
of fashion who figure there. 

" Observe that green chariot, just making the turn of the un 
broken line of equipages. Though it is now advancing toward 
us, with at least a dozen carriages between, it is to be distin 
guished from the throng by the elevation of its driver and foot 
man above the ordinary level of the line. As it comes nearer, 
we can observe the particular points which give it that perfectly 
distingue appearance which it bears above all others in the 
throng. They consist of the white wheels, lightly picked out 

* A Character of England, as it was lately presented to a Nobleman of France, 
12mo, 1659, p. 51. Ap. Grammont s Mem. 



312 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 



with green and crimson ; the high-stepping action, blood-like 
shape, and brilliant manege of its dark bay horses ; the perfect 
style of its driver ; the height (six feet two) of its slim, spider- 
limbed, powdered footman, perked up at least three feet above 
the roof of the carriage, and occupying his eminence with that 
peculiar air of accidental superiority, half petit maitrc, half 
plow-boy, which we take to be the ideal of footman perfection ; 
and, finally, the exceedingly light, airy, and (if we may so speak) 
the intellectual character of the whole set-out. The arms and 
supporters blazoned on the centre panels, and the small coronet 
beneath the window, indicate the nobility of station ; and if 
ever the nobility of nature was blazoned on the complement 
extern of humanity, it is on the lovely face within lovely as 
ever, though it has been loveliest among the lovely for a longer 
time than we dare call to our own recollection, much less to 
that of the fair being before us. 

" But, see ! what is this vision of the age of chivalry, that 
comes careering toward us, on horseback, in the form of a stately 
cavalier, than whom nothing has been witnessed in modern 
times more noble in air and bearing, more splendid in person, 
more distingue in. dress, more consummate in equestrian skill, 
more radiant in intellectual expression, and altogether more 
worthy and fitting to represent one of those knights of the olden 
time, who warred for truth and beauty beneath the banner of 
Cceur de Lion. It is Count D Orsay, son-in-law of the late Lord 
Blessington, and brother to the beautiful Duchesse tie Quiche. 
Those who have the pleasure of being personally intimate with 
this accomplished foreigner will confirm our testimony that no 
man has ever been more popular in the upper circles, or has 
better deserved to be so. His inexhaustible good spirits and 
good nature, his lively wit, his generous disposition, and his varied 
acquirements, make him the favorite companion of his own sex ; 
while his unrivaled personal pretensions render him, to say the 
least, the observed of all observers of the other sex. Indeed, 
since the loss of poor William Locke, there has been nobody to 
even dispute the palrn of female admiration with Count D Or 



say."* 



* My Friends and Acquaintances, &c., vol. i., p. 194. 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 313 

D Orsay s position in English fashionable society was not due 
to rank, wealth, or connections, or to his generally admitted ex 
cellence of taste in all matters appertaining to attire, equipage, 
the adornment of saloons, " the getting up" of liveries, the train 
ing of his tigers, or the turning out of cabs, tilburies, chariots, 
and other vehicles remarkable for elegance of form or lightness 
of construction. 

It is very evident that the individual was something more 
than a mere fop and man of fashion, or " a compound even of 
Hercules and Adonis," who could count among his friends the 
Duke of Wellington, Marquis Wellesley, the Lords Brougham, 
Lyndhurst, and Byron ; and such men as Landor, Forster, D Is 
raeli, the Bulwers, <fee. 

The foreigner could be no ordinary person who figured in the 
society of the most eminent men of England for nearly twenty 
years, and who, in circles where genius, as well as haut ton, had 
its shrines, " claimed kindred there, and had his claim allowed." 

D Orsay s celebrity was undisputed as a man of fashion 
a noble-looking, classically-moulded, English-mannered young 
Frenchman "of the vicllc cour" a beau monde gentleman, at 
once graceful, dignified, frank, and dcbonnaire, full of life, wit, 
humor, and originality an " exquisite" of the first water in brill 
iant circles an admirable rider, fit " to witch the world" of the 
Parks of London "with noble horsemanship;" a keen sports 
man, a capital boxer for an amateur, a good swimmer, an excel 
lent swordsman, a famous shot, a celebrated cricket-player ; at 
one time a great collector of classical rarities, " far gone (like 
Horace Walpole in his youth) in medals, lamps, idols, prints, 
and all the small commodities of antiquity ;" at another time a 
zealous partisan of a great conspirator, and great promoter of 
his plans to effect a revolution. 

Alfred D Orsay figured, in his day, in all these characters ; 
but, alas ! of what avail to his memory is the celebrity he ob 
tained in any of them ? 

All the celebrity which his true friends may desire to be 
coupled with his name is that which he derived from the ex 
ercise of his fine talents as an artist, and of his kindly feelings 

VOL. !. 



314 NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

as a man naturally disposed to be benevolent, generous, and 
open-hearted. 

In Dickens s "Household Words" (No. 176, p. 536) there are 
a few kind words spoken of poor D Orsay, in some allusions 
made to the former occupants of " the little stuccoed houses" of 
Kensington Gore, contiguous to Lady Blessington s : " At number 
5 lived Count D Orsay, whose name is publicly synonymous 
with elegant and graceful accomplishments ; and who, by those 
who knew him well, is affectionately remembered and regretted 
as a man whose great abilities might have raised him to any 
distinction, and whose gentle heart even a world of fashion left 
unspoiled." 

Mr. Patrnore, in his recent work, " My Friends and Acquaint 
ances" (vol. i., p. 230), alluding to one of the chief difficulties 
of Count D Orsay s social position in England, and the anomalies 
in the constitution of fashionable society there, says : " And yet 
it was in England that Count D Orsay, while a mere boy, made 
the fatal mistake of marrying one beautiful woman, while he 
was, without daring to confess it even to himself, madly in love 
with another still more beautiful, whom he could not marry 
because, I say, under these circumstances, and discovering his 
fatal error when too late, he separated himself from his wife al 
most at the church door, he was, during the greatest part of his 
social career in England, cut off from the advantages of the more 
fastidious portion of high female society by the indignant fiat 
of its heads and leaders." 

A man in his twenty-seventh year can hardly be designated 
as a mere boy, nor can the circumstance of his separation from 
his wife " almost at the church door" be accounted for in any 
manner that will appear excusable to the friends of the young 
deserted wife, or the fastidious portion of high female society in 
England or elsewhere. This marriage was not only a great 
misfortune for those who were married, but a great crime on the 
part of those who promoted that marriage, and were consenting 
to it. 

If any comment must be made on this unfortunate union and 
its results, might it not be better to summon courage, and, taking 



NOTICE OF COUNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 315 

counsel of Montesquieu, to speak out a solemn truth on an oc 
casion that can be best served by its enumeration ? 

" Religion, good or bad, is the only test we have for the probity 
of men" 

There is no dependence to be placed in probity or purity of 
life without the protection of religion. Human honor is inade 
quate to the security of either. There is an amount of indi 
gence at which honor, long resisting, will stagger in the end ; 
there is a degree of temptation at which honor will suffer vice 
to approach her in the mask of innocent freedom, and will dally 
with it till infamy itself becomes familiar to her bosom. But 
respectable folks, who figure in good society, solemn-faced sa 
ges and literary celebrities, will say it is false : honor is alone 
sufficient to regulate the minds of educated men, and to prevent 
all disorders in society. It is to libel honor to say that it is suf 
ficiently strong to bind respectable members without religion, 
and that the latter is only needful for the happiness of people 
in another world. Nevertheless, there is not one of those peo 
ple who does not know in his own breast that such is not the 
case that in his own character and conduct the assertion does 
not hold good, and in very few of those of the individuals with 
whom he is best acquainted. There is no dependence on any 
man s probity or any woman s virtue whose reliance is not 
placed in religion. 

Nothing more can be said with profit or advantage on this 
subject, except that it is deeply to be lamented this marriage 
was forced on Count D Orsay, and that he consented to contract 
a marriage with a young lady for whom he entertained no sen 
timents of love or kindness. 

It would be very unjust to D Orsay, with all his errors, to 
place him in the same category with his profligate countryman 
De Grammont, and still more unjust to set him down on the 
same list with the Dukes of Buckingham, Wharton, and (Queens- 
berry, and the more modern antiquated libertine of exalted rank 
and vast possessions, the Marquis of Hertford. 

In one very essential matter he differed from most of them. 
Though practically not living in the world of fashion under the 



316 iNOTiCE OF COUiNT ALFRED D ORSAY. 

restraints of religion, all the influences of an early recollection 
of its sacred character were not lost, and these, which, in the 
midst of a wild and thoughtless career, sufficed at least to show 
that all respect for that character had not been wholly aban 
doned, and that they were still faintly perceptible in some of the 
noble qualities possessed by him, at the close of life were strong 
ly manifested, and made the mode of his departure from it the 
best, the only consolation taken that could be given to a sister 
eminently good and spiritually minded. 

The close of that career, and the ministrations on it, form a 
strong contrast with the termination of a life of an English duke, 
and the attendance on a death-bed, of which Sir N. Wraxall, 
in his Memoirs, has left a remarkable description. 

"When Q/ueensberry lay dying, in December, 1810, his bed 
was covered with billets and letters to the number of at least 
seventy, mostly, indeed, addressed to him by females of every 
description and of every rank, from duchesses down to ladies 
of easiest virtue. Unable, from his attenuated state, to open or 
peruse them, he ordered them, as they arrived, to be laid on his 
bed, where they remained, the seals unbroken, till he expired." 

If the sordid homage paid to the wealth of the expiring deb 
auchee had been offered only by the ladies of easiest virtue, 
there might be little to be surprised at ; but what is to be said 
or thought of the ladies of reputed virtue, of exalted rank, who 
manifested so much sympathy for the old libertine of enormous 
wealth, and still more enormous wickedness ? 

Society suffers little from charity toward its erring members, 
but morality suffers a great deal when habitual vice and dis 
soluteness of life of persons in high places or regal station, which 
never has been abandoned or repented of, find sycophants and 
slaves to pander to them, and people, forgetful of the dignity of 
their position or their pursuits, to lend their services to palliate 
them. 

Count Alfred D Orsay died in Paris, the Hh of August, 1852, 
in his fifty-second year, having survived the Countess of Blcss- 
ington three years and two months. His remains were laid in 
the same sepulchral chamber in which hers were deposited. 



PRELIMINARY NOTICE, ETC. 317 

The monument erected to her memory at Chambourcy had been 
hardly finished, when it became the resting-place of all that is 
left of the accomplished, highly-gifted, generous-hearted Alfred 
D Orsay ; 

" Pulvis et umbra, nomen, nihil." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

PRELIMINARY NOTICE OF THE CORRESPONDENCE OF LADY 
BLESSIXGTON. 

THERE is one thing well worthy of observation, and that must 
strike every person who looks over the extensive correspondence 
of Lady Blessington, namely, the implicit trust that was put in 
her judgment and integrity by the most eminent men of her 
time in politics, literature, and art. Statesmen of great renown 
for wisdom, judges and grave lawyers, men of letters and sci 
ence devoted to philosophical pursuits, seem to have had entire 
confidence in her honor, discretion, and common sense and kind 
ness of heart. They communicated with her with the utmost 
freedom, and evidently with a firm conviction that their con 
fidence would never be abused. In their letters it is plainly to 
be seen how fully sensible they were the only account that con 
fidence would be ever turned to by Lady Blessington would be 
to promote peace where strife had sprung up ; to make people 
who had been estranged think less unkindly of one another ; and 
those who were at variance* disposed to consider that the state 
of nature in their several pursuits was not a state of war. 

Lady Blessingtoii s correspondents were not of one class, or 
country, or profession, or pursuit ; they were of all orders of 
high intelligence, of all lands, of all positions ennobled by gen 
ius, of every science, art, or walk in literature, or in public life 
distinguished for talent, or deserving in her opinion to attain any 
distinction in it , and there were to be found among them like 
wise persons who had no pretensions to intellectual gifts, or re 
markable abilities of any kind, but who possessed amiable qual- 
iticT, honorable principles and kindly feelings, bookish people 



318 PRELIMINARY NOTICE OF 

not pedantic, amateurs of art without the airs of dilettanti, trav 
elers more at home in a desert than a drawing-room, who had 
seen outlandish places, and could be drawn out a little on the 
subject of their peregrinations on rare occasions. 

Among the correspondents of her ladyship we find princes 
and princesses, authors and authoresses of all lands, rich and 
poor, generals and critics, poets and politicians, publishers and 
diplomatists, play-actors, novelists, and ministers of state, lord 
chancellors and literary ladies, peers of the realm, nabobs of In 
dia, natives of Hindostan, hidalgos of Spain of " thirteen grand 
fathers," descendants of ancient Irish kings, and gentlemen, in 
fine, of no ancestors at all, renowned in literature, art, or science. 

The lady who was engaged in this extensive correspondence 
could be no ordinary person. It was carried on for a long series 
of years with many of the master-spirits, not only of England, 
but of the world. 

The qualities of rnind and of disposition of this gifted lady, 
the influence of that goodness of heart that was diffused over 
every act and word of hers, the fascination of her manners, and 
all the collateral allurements of her external beauty, could sure 
ly be of no common order, that could procure for her not only 
the admiration and esteem of passing observation, but such long- 
enduring friendship and affectionate regard as we see, by this 
correspondence, she enjoyed to the close of life at the hands of 
many of the most eminent persons of our age. 

There arc many difficulties of an editorial kind to be dealt 
with in the present undertaking ; and one of the most serious 
that presented itself was that of the arrangement of the corre 
spondence. 

The natural and usual course would be to introduce the let 
ters generally in the order of their dates, and not those of each 
correspondent consecutively There was, however, a disadvant 
age in such a course as this to be considered, and a very great 
difficulty to be surmounted. 

Lady Blessington s intercourse with eminent persons distin 
guished in literature, art, .science, and politics, and her literary 
career, had three phases : one of these was included in the pe- 



THE CORRESPONDENCE OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 319 

riod between her marriage and her departure for the Continent 
her early London life from 1818 to 1822 ; another was the 
period of her Continental tour and sojourn chiefly in Naples 
her Italian life from 1823 to 1829 ; and, lastly, that which in 
cludes the period between her return to England, her residence 
in Seamore Place, and the break-up of her establishment at 
Gore House, from the end of 1831 to the spring of 1849, a few 
weeks before her decease in Paris the period of her second Lon 
don career of nearly nineteen years. 

Each of these phases in the life of Lady Blessington was dis 
tinct from the other, in the composition of the society in which 
she moved, in the development of literary tastes, the progress 
of intellectual culture, the nature of her literary pursuits, at one 
time engaged in solely on account of the delight taken in them, 
at another for sake of distinction, and finally with a view to 
gain. 

Her correspondence partook of the nature of those differences 
and distinctions, and the value of it seemed to consist, to a great 
extent, in that distinct individualism which belonged to the let 
ters, and the style and subjects of them in such numerous in 
stances, that to separate and scatter the several letters of each 
writer over different portions of the work would have been to 
break up the interest taken in the several subjects, and the con 
nection between matters frequently referred to in the letters of 
the same writers. 

The difficulty above referred to, in the way of arrangement 
according to dates, was, in fact, insuperable. Literary men and 
artists are singularly prone to forgetfulness in regard to dates 
and addresses in their correspondence. A vast number of the 
letters addressed to Lady Blessington are without date or place 
of residence ; a great many have the date of the week specified 
but not of the month, and where both are to be found the year 
is seldom mentioned. In many cases the dates are determined 
by the post-marks, but in many more, where the letters have 
been written prior to the general use of envelopes, there is no 
clew whatever to the date, and the period can only be approx 
imately arrived at by knowledge, of the place where Lady Bless- 



320 PRELIMINARY NOTICE OF 

ington was residing at the time such letters were received by 
her, or derived from matters referred to in them. 

For the above-mentioned reasons, and some others which may 
readily suggest themselves to the reader, I have, as a general 
rule, inserted the letters of the different correspondents consec 
utively, as they appear to have been addressed by Lady Bless- 
in gton. 

In the notices prefixed to the letters, I have endeavored to 
brino- before the readers of these volumes the correspondents 
and friends of Lady Blessington, and the acquaintances espe 
cially of her ladyship during her sojourn in Naples and K^ome, 
in a way to make them recognizable, and to recall the particular 
traits of character which belonged to them.* 

In the letters of Lady Blessington, it will be in vain to seek 
for those excellencies in the art of epistolary correspondence, 
graces of style and composition, vivacity, esprit, and epigram 
matic power of expression which arc to be found in the corre 
spondence of Madame de Sevigne, and more or less in that of the 
Marquise du Deffand, Madame Geoffrin, our own Lady Mary 
"Wortley Montague, or Madame D Arblay. 

But, in one respect, the letters of Lady Blessington were not 
inferior to those of any of the above-mentioned letter-writing 
celebrities, namely, the manifestation in her letters of kindly 
feelings, as ardently expressed, as generously and unselfishly 
entertained. The best actions of mankind arc the worst recorded 
facts of history and biography. Of the many generous acts of 
Lady Blessington, we find few records in her correspondence, 
but we shall iind in her letters evidences enough (undesignedly 
furnished by her) of that natural and unaffected goodness of 
heart, which manifested itself in an affectionate interest in Lhe 
welfare of her friends, an enduring, unselfish regard, that was 
never influenced by any change in their position or accident of 

* The want of a slight thread of descriptive illustration of the position, charac 
ter, or peculiarities of persons whose correspondence is introduced into the biog 
raphies of well-known persons has been often felt and complained of. A brief 
notice of tVic principal productions or characteristics, traits of originality or re 
markable qualities of many of those whose letters form a part of this correspond 
ence, will be found prefixed to the letters of several of the writers. 



THE CORRESPONDENCE OF LADY BLESSINGTON. 32] 

fortune. It mattered not to her an iota, in her estimation of 
their worth and merits, however altered for the worse might be 
the condition of friends she had known long and well, however 
depressed by adverse circumstances, and fallen on that account 
in the opinion of the world, they were never forsaken by her 
the feelings of Lady Blessington toward them were unaffected 
by any change in their fortunes. There was no " feigning of 
generosity" in the uniform kindness of this steadfast friendship 
the same in adversity as in prosperity no affectation of benev 
olence in this manifestation of genial feelings these were part 
and parcel of a noble disposition naturally turned to goodness. 

It has been truly observed that, " in addressing even a com 
mon acquaintance (in a letter), there is a kindlier feeling, a cour 
tesy, which tends to endear and to familiarize ; but in address 
ing a friend, there is evidence that one never loves one s friends 
half so well as when writing to them ! Every act of kindness, 
every amiable quality, rushes on the memory and the imagina 
tion, softened by the real absence, and heightened by an ideal 
presence. 

" This constant sense of the presence of her correspondent is the 
greatest charm of that queen of letter-writers, Madame de Sevigne. 
AYe feel throughout that every thought, every word, is addressed 
to one individual, and to one only the daughter, the idolized 
daughter, who filled that warm heart."* 

Lady Blessington did not write to her friends for effect she 
reserved that object for her conversation. She sat down in her 
dressing-room to talk on paper naturally and familiarly with 
good-natured familiar friends, as if it was a relief to her to give 
expression unreservedly to thoughts en deshabille, and to feelings 
for which no domino of affectation was required. She wrote to 
those friends carelessly and affectionately, as if she felt that 
every trine would interest, every slight allusion would be under 
stood, every sprightly fancy would amuse, every word of kind 
ness would be appreciated, and every expression of pain or 
sorrow, or reference to her own cares or anxieties, would meet 
with sympathy. 

* New Monthly Magazine, vol. ii., 1821, p. 143. 
2 



322 * SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

No attempt at fine writing is to be met with in the letters of 
Lady Blessington. There was too much heart in her epistolary 
correspondence, and too little disposition to enter into discussions 
in letters to her friends on any topics but those which related 
to her own immediate affairs, and which concerned the interests 
or happiness of others, to give a literary character to her corre 
spondence in general that would interest the public in it. 

For this reason, out of a vast number of the letters, or rather 
notes of Lady Blessington, none have been selected for publica 
tion except those which came within the limits of the last-named 
category. The number of her ladyship s letters is not large, but 
the few that are presented to the public will be found to give a 
favorable opinion of the writer s sound common sense, clear con 
ception, kindly feelings, and amiable disposition. 

I have rejected a vast number of letters of mere compliment 
on ordinary subjects of correspondence between friends, inquiries 
after health, references to private matters, intimations of intend 
ed visits, and apologies for long silence, non-appearance at par 
ties, &c. 

Sir William Jones, in one of his lectures, said, " For what I 
have produced I claim only your indulgence : it is for what T 
have suppressed that I am entitled to your thanks." 



CHAPTEIl XV. 

SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

THE name of Gell will recall to many minds very pleasing 
reminiscences of Rome and Naples his small classic house at 
Rome, fitted for a scholar s home, that might have served for 
the abode of Petrarch, with its adornments far from costly, but 
its arrangements elaborately tasteful, with its pleasant gardens 
and trellised walks ; his place of residence, too, at Naples in the 
latter years of his life its picturesque locality, his drawing- 
room, library, studio, museum, all combined in one very rnod- 
erately-sized apartment, with such a store of rarities, old folios 
in vellurn, modern topography, and illustrated travels richly 



SIR WILLIAM GELL. 323 

bound, caricatures, charts, maps, and drawings ; the light guitar, 
which he had recourse to so often, in moments of torture, and 
for whose sweet remedial influences he had "thrown physic to 
the dogs" not, however, to the well-bred animals of the canine 
species who had the entree of his salon, and the privilege of his 
best chairs and sofas so many models, too, of ancient structures, 
so many curious things in so small a space, 

" that still folks wondered Gell 
Had one small room could hold so much so well." 

In 1814, when her royal highness, the Princess of Wales, left 
England, and proceeded to Milan, via Brunswick, her establish 
ment consisted of Lady Charlotte Lindsay and Lady Elizabeth 
Forbes, maids of honor ; Mr. St. Leger, Sir William Gell, and 
the Honorable Keppel Craven, chamberlains ; Captain Hesse, 
equerry, and Dr. Holland, physician. Mr. St. Leger remained 
at Brunswick. Shortly after her royal higness s arrival in Mi 
lan, Bartholomew Bergami was taken into her service as cou 
rier and valet. The princess and her suite set out for Rome and 
Naples the latter end of October, and arrived in the latter city 
on the 8th of November, 1814. King Joachim Murat was then 
sovereign of Naples. Her royal highness gave a fancy ball to 
his Neapolitan majesty, in which she appeared in three charac 
ters ; first as a Neapolitan peasant, secondly as " The Genius 
of History," and thirdly as a Turkish peasant, in costumes by 
no means cumbersome, though not quite in accordance with the 
notions of some persons of her English suite. The princess re 
mained in Naples till March, 1815. She then took her depart 
ure for Rome, Genoa, and Milan, leaving four of her suite, Lady 
E. Forbes, Sir W. Gell, Mr. Craven, and Captain Hesse, in Naples. 
Lady Charlotte Lindsay had previously left her royal highness 
at Leghorn. At Genoa she was joined by Lady Charlotte Camp 
bell, who remained with her only two or three months. After 
her return from Palestine, Sir William Gell accompanied her 
from Naples to Rome, and continued with her there in attend 
ance upon her as chamberlain while she remained in Rome. 

The following year he was again about three months in at 
tendance on hor at Fvaseati and RufinelM ; and again, on the 



324 SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

occasion of her last visit to Rome, he attended her for some 
days. 

In his evidence on the trial before the House of Lords, Sir 
"William swore that it was on account of an attack of gout he 
had quitted her royal highness s service; and, "notwithstand 
ing the opportunities he had of observing the conduct of the 
queen and Bergami toward each other, never saw any impro 
priety pass between them upon any occasion." 

Nevertheless, the opinion of Sir William of his royal mis 
tress s habits, modes, and manners was not more favorable than 
those of Lord Malmesbury, of which he has left a curious rec 
ord in his diary. 

In 1815 and 1816, we find Gell, in his letters, under various 
signatures "Blue Beard," "Adonis," " Anacharsis," "Gellius 
(Aulus)," and while still retaining the title, and occasionally fill 
ing the office, of chamberlain to the Princess of Wales, indulg 
ing in his sarcastic propensities playing the part of a male gos 
sip, conveying little bits of scandal in humorous passages, and 
making fun of his royal mistress for the sport of the fair Philis 
tines who had once been maids of honor and friends of her roy 
al highness. 

But even at that time Sir William was a martyr to gout and 
rheumatism. In December, 1816, he wrote from Bologna that 
he was then reduced to the necessity of confining himself to his 
fireside ; but, in giving the account of his ailments, he could not 
help having a fling at his royal lady s orthography : 

" To a person of my romantic disposition, rcduit by di dizctte 
of legs and now of arms to the fireside, it is a great comfort to 
have escaped from the land of wine, houses, and carts, and 
wooden shoes, arid neckless children (France), and to find one s 
self once more in Italy, and to be able io leave rny painful leg 
or arm for a moment out of bed without finding it frostbitten."* 

Sir W. (Jell and the Honorable Keppel Craven are mentioned 
in Moore s diary of August, 1820, as being "on the way from 
Naples to England as witnesses for the queen." "Gell still a 
coxcomb, but rather amusing said the Constitution of Naples 

* Diarv and Times of George the Fourth, vol. iv., p. 12!). 



SIR WILLIAM GELL. 335 

came in a gig (corricolo) told some ludicrous things about the 
Duchess of Devonshire s sway at Rome : her passion for Gon- 
salvo, her admiration for the purity of the Roman government." 
(Memoirs, vol. iii., p. 137.) Moore s compendious opinion of Gell 
as " a coxcomb, rather amusing" if relied on, would give not only 
a very unfavorable, but a very incorrect notion of his character 
and his acquirements. He was a man of much erudition and 
artistic talents, and of great humor. Sir William Gell s literary 
tastes were chiefly devoted to antiquarian researches. 

For the last twenty years, Naples was his head-quarters. 
There he was universally known and respected, and terminated 
his earthly career. 

Sir William Gell was a man of very amiable character, ex 
tremely amusing and lively, fond of the society of young people, 
with much singularity of mind, and originality of character, 
manners, and ideas. 

His indolent easiness of temper had something in it of a phil 
osophical calmness of an Epicurean character. The common 
objects of men s ambition to him were not worth the trouble 
of the pursuit. He was at once indifferent, apathetic, and un- 
impassioned in the society of men struggling for wealth, glory, 
or exalted dignities. He smiled serenely at the inordinate 
trouble they gave themselves, at all their great cares for little 
ends, at all the great weaknesses of little men of large desires. 
And yet this pococurante gentleman had many difficulties to en 
counter to secure for himself " les douceurs d une vie privee 
et oisive," and many little harmless vanities and weaknesses 
of his own to make him singular and eccentric, of which, how 
ever, he was entirely unconscious. 

All his tastes were of a literary and artistic turn, and all were 
of a refined, scholar-like, and some of them rather of a Sybaritic 
kind. Like Sir William Temple, "he loved painting, and mu 
sic, and statuary, and gardening," and embellishing buildings. 
Health, and ease, and fine weather were the constituents of his 
happiness: Temple wrote, "Le seul homme que j envie dans 
le monde c est Milord Falconbridge, que son embassade va con- 
duire dans un si beau climat, ou il va goutcr tous les charmes 



326 SIR WILLIAM CELL. 

attaches aux delicates et spirituelles conversations d ltalie. II 
trouvera les jours et les esprits egalemens purs et brillants." 

Though a martyr to gout, Sir "William Gell s natural gayety 
and good humor were little affected by his natural sufferings ; 
and with the most profound knowledge and information he com 
bined the utmost simplicity and playfulness. 

Some of his topographical books were illustrated by himself, 
as, for instance, his Pompeii, Greece, and other descriptive pro 
ductions of an antiquarian kind works acknowledged to be the 
best of their several sorts and classes. 

In June, 1834, referring to a conversation at Lady Blessing- 
ton s, Willis, in his "Pencilings by the Way," 3d edition, Lon 
don, 1849, refers to some valuable notices of Sir William Gcll, 
illustrative of an interesting portion of the latter part of Sir 
Walter Scott s career : 

"She (Lady B.) had received from Sir William Of ell, at Na 
ples, the manuscript of a volume upon the last days of Sir Wal 
ter Scott. It was a melancholy chronicle of weakened intellect 
and ruined health, and the book was suppressed ; but there were 
two or three circumstances narrated in its pages which were 
interesting. Soon after his arrival at Naples, Sir AY alter went 
with his physician and one or two friends to the great museum. 
It happened that on the same day a large collection of students 
and Italian literati were assembled in one of the rooms to dis 
cuss some newly-discovered manuscripts. It was soon known 
that the Wizard of the North was there, and a deputation was 
sent immediately to request him to honor them by presiding at 
their session. At this time Scott was a wreck, with a memory 
that retained nothing for a moment, and limbs almost as help 
less as an infant s. He was dragging about among the relics 
of Pompeii, taking no interest in any thing lie saw, when their 
request was made known to him through his physician. No, 
no, said he, I know nothing of their lingo. Tell them I am 
not well enough to come. He loitered on, and in about half an 
hour after he turned to Dr. II. arid said, Who was that you said 
wanted to see me ? The doctor explained. I ll go, said he ; 
they shall see mo, if they wish it; and, against the advice of 



SIR WILLIAM GELL. 327 

his friends, who feared it would be too much for his strength, he 
mounted the staircase, and made his appearance at the door. 
A burst of enthusiastic cheers welcomed him on the threshold ; 
and forming in two lines, many of them on their knees, they 
seized his hands as he passed, kissed them, thanked him in 
their passionate language for the delight with which he had fill 
ed the world, and placed him in the chair with the most fervent 
expressions of gratitude for his condescension. The discussion 
went on , but, not understanding a syllable of their language, 
Scott was soon wearied, and his friends, observing it, pleaded 
the state of his health as an apology, and he rose to take his 
leave. These enthusiastic children of the South crowded once 
more around him, and, with exclamations of affection and even 
tears, kissed his hands once more, assisted his tottering steps, 
and sent after him a confused murmur of blessings as the door 
closed on his retiring form." 

The scene is described by Sir W. Gell as one of the most 
affecting he had ever witnessed 

His career of authorship commenced so early as 1804, when 
he published " The Topography of Troy," folio. Subsequently 
appeared "The Geography and Antiquities of Ithaca," 4to, 1808, 
"The Itinerary of Greece" "Travels in the Morea" "The 
Topography of Rome" and, finally, his "Pompeiana," the most 
interesting and extensively known of all his works. 

Sir William resided in Italy since 1820 ; occasionally at Rome, 
but chiefly at his beautifully situated and elegantly arranged 
villa in Naples, in the society of his erudite friend, Sir William 
Drummond, and that of his old friend and amiable companion, 
the Hon. Keppel Craven. After the death of Sir William Drum 
mond at Ilome in 1828, his friendship with Craven appeared 
to have become more closely cemented than ever, and it went 
on increasing in strength to the period of his death. 

Gell s notions of authorship were of a very aristocratic nature. 
All his works were brought out on so large and extensive a scale 
as to be out of the reach of that class of readers for whom his 
topographical and antiquarian researches would have been espe 
cially useful for travelers in those countries whose remains 



328 SIR WILLIAM CELL. 

were described by him. But it was the misfortune of this en 
lightened and accomplished man to be an aristocrat in all things, 
and to mar his attainments by hankering after great people 
"patricians born to greatness," or parvenus having "greatness 
thrust upon them" thrust on " good society," and admitted 
there par droit de richesses ou lieu do naissance. 

Sir William Gell, it must be admitted, frittered away his time 
and talents for upward of twenty years on the fashionable frib 
bles of the little coteries of English traveling aristocracy that 
customarily wintered in Rome, and passed the spring or autumn 
in Naples or its vicinity 

Every one delighted in his society ; in his conversation and 
correspondence he was equally amusing and agreeable. 

"When. Sir William Gell died, Lady Blessington might have 
truly said, " J ai perdu en lui mon rneilleur causeur." 

There is an admirable sketch of Gell in a letter of James 
Ramsay, Esq., a resident merchant of Naples, an old and valued 
friend of mine, addressed to the Hon. Richard Kcppel Craven in 
the spring of 1836, soon after the death of Sir William Gell, urg 
ing 011 Mr. Craven the task of composing a biographical sketch 
of his deceased friend, and eventually signifying his intention 
of writing such a memoir : 

" I frequently urged," says Mr. Ramsay, " our inestimable 
friend to compose his biographical memoirs ; to bequeath to 
posterity the personal narrative of a career in which the pur 
suits of science were so happily blended with the lighter occu 
pations and brilliant attractions [distractions] of society. 1 said 
it would be a great pity if the rich fund of observation and anec 
dote which he had accumulated should be lost with him, and 
that it might be screened from public view until the writer 
should be removed beyond the reach of criticism or of ridicule. 
He sometimes appeared to be half inclined to adopt my sugges 
tion, and owned that he possessed materials sufficiently piquant, 
if he should determine to employ them. Will you forgive me 
for insinuating that the task which he failed, or rather neglected 
to accomplish, seems naturally and gracefully, when time shall 
have in some degree moderated the more poignant emotions of 



SIR WILLIAM GELL 329 

regret, to devolve upon you ? upon you, his juvenile companion, 
the friend and fellow-traveler of raaturer years, the depositary 
of his inmost sentiments, and probably of many of a series of 
letters in which events and opinions have been faithfully re 
corded. 

" Though enjoying Sir William s acquaintance and intimacy 
during a considerable period, I can not presume to hope that I 
could furnish any important contributions toward such an under 
taking, otherwise I should be most ready to co-operate with those 
who are so much better qualified. His correspondents would, 
I dare say, willingly communicate his letters, or extracts from 
them, and the names of these correspondents are doubtless known 
to you. 

" There is a peculiar charm in the unguarded effusions of emi 
nent persons, when, casting off the artificial garb with which 
rank or other adventitious circumstances may have invested 
them, they paint their natural character and feelings without 
any other reserve or restraint than those which discretion pre 
scribes. 

Hume and Gibbon have left us interesting, though very dif 
ferent memorials of this description, and the familiar letters of 
Munro, of Collingwood, of Mackintosh, and of such as resemble 
them, will be fondly cherished when their public achievements 
are perused with historical indifference. But I beg pardon for 
detaining you with remarks so obvious. 

" If, on the one hand, it is to be regretted that Sir William 
did not finish his novel of Julia di Gonzaga, it may, on the 
other, be permitted to doubt whether or how far such a work 
would have added to his literary fame. Of his powers of imagi 
nation and invention I had 110 adequate opportunity of judging; 
but, though the novel might have contained some lively scenes, 
some striking descriptions, some sparkling dialogue, I should be 
inclined to question yet by no means conclusively whether a 
profound knowledge of the human heart, of the intricate mazes 
arid complicated workings of passion, and feeling, and sentiment, 
were among his distinguishing attributes. 

"He had not made a study of composition, and, in the confu- 



330 SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

sion of foreign languages, the purity of his own had still become 
considerably impaired. These observations, dictated by an af 
fectionate and jealous attachment to his memory, are hazarded 
with diffidence, as they are with deference submitted to your 
taste and judgment. 

" I am aware that the scope of the memoir would be chiefly 
limited to private circulation ; and at a time when the novel 
and the romance usurp, if not the honors, at least the emoluments 
of literature, the noble-minded author would seek and find his 
reward in another disinterested offering on the altar of friend 
ship. I am, &c. J. R." 

A SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER OF SIR WILLIAM GELL, F,Y 
JAMES RAMSAY, ESQ. 

"The merits of Sir William Gell as an author, chiefly 011 sub 
jects of anti cjuity and topography, are already sufficiently known 
and appreciated by the public. The fruits of much patient 
research, of ingenious conjecture, of great personal activity and 
industry, with admirable graphic illustrations, his works are 
valuable helps to the student, and an accurate guide for the 
traveler. In attempting the more difficult task of delineating 
his general and private character, as deduced from an inter 
course of many years, if I am conscious of any bias, it must be 
in favor of one w r ith whom I have spent so many delightful 
hours, unalloyed by the recollection of even a passing cloud ; 
for to me he was uniformly kind and attentive. Yet I will 
endeavor to be impartial, though at the hazard of incurring the 
reproach of being rather severe. 

" Sir William started in life with the advantages of a hand 
some person of a fine, open, placid countenance of a prepos 
sessing manner of a remote ancestry, and of an extensive con 
nection with the best society, lie traveled at a period when 
travelers were rare, and thus early acquired a distinction which 
he continued to maintain. Possessing general, though superfi 
cial information, both literary and scientific, including some ac 
quaintance with the Oriental languages and hieroglyphics, he 
sketched beautifully, had a taste for and some knowledge of mu- 



SIR WILLIAM GELL. 33^ 

sic, and excelled as an easy, off-hand, unaffected correspondent ; 
indifferent, indeed insensible, to the graces of composition, yet 
universally courted for a style of naivete beyond the reach of art. 
Although, however, led by the course of his studies into classical 
inquiry and reference, the character of a profound scholar will not 
be assigned to him, notwithstanding his general reading ; he had 
little taste for literature, and never seemed to feel the beauties of 
poetry. I should say, indeed, that, in other respects, his taste 
meaning by this term a delicate and just perception of the beau 
tiful was far from being refined, and that that defect was ap 
parent in all, even his personal decorations, by a preference for 
gay, gaudy colors, striking contrasts, and meretricious ornament. 

" To depth of thought Sir William would have no just pre 
tensions. He rarely made a general reflection or observation; 
all his conclusions were particular. On many of the important 
questions by which the world is now agitated, he had no steady, 
fixed opinions ; he had neither the boldness to form, nor the 
courage to avow his sentiments, which were very liable to be 
temporarily influenced by the last speaker, the last writer. 

" In his political principles he was decidedly aristocratical, 
with a strong predilection for rank, fortune, and fashion, our 
besetting sin ! 

" But it is in a companionable, sociable point of view that the 
memory of Sir "William Gell will be most fondly cherished, his 
loss most deeply lamented by his surviving friends and acquaint 
ances ; for there he shone without a rival, with a charm pecul 
iarly his own. To a considerable share of wit and humor to 
a natural tact and penetration, improved by a long intercourse 
with the great world, to the habits and bearing of a high-bred 
gentleman, Sir William added an unceasing flow of lively, play 
ful language, sparkling dialogue, and brilliant repartee upon ev 
ery topic which formed the subject of conversation, and this, his 
great forte both in company and tete-a-tete, was endless. Plac 
ing people of all classes on a footing of easy familiarity, and thus 
unlocking their confidence, he drew from them a perpetual sup 
ply of materials for his own combination toujours variees 
toujours renaissantes his house became the resort of all ranks, 



332 SIR WILLIAM GELL 

ages, and sexes, and his mornings one continued levee. The 
equanimity of his temper under the pressure of bodily infirmity, 
often of acute suffering, enhanced the value of a cheerful, hu 
mane, benevolent, charitable disposition, and even the shafts of 
sarcasm and of ridicule, in which he occasionally indulged, left no 
sting, because it was felt that they were the offspring of no 
malignant spirit. "With all his resources, however, Sir William 
languished in solitude ; he breathed only in the atmosphere of 
society ; even his literary and other occupations were sometimes 
carried on in company, while conversing with those around him. 
" He was fond of being looked up to as a patron and protector, 
and somewhat jealous of the ascendency which he thus sought 
to preserve. 

"It has been said that, as in thinking, so in feeling, he was a 
stranger to any great depth ; and certainly he seldom betrayed 
much emotion, or even expressed much interest in the fate of 
others. It is a remark of his friend, Lady Blessington, in one 
of her books, that persons the most remarkable for general 
kindness are those who have the least feeling. 

" Emulous of fame, he aspired after notoriety and display ; 
and the latter was sometimes evinced by introducing subjects 
with which his auditors were very imperfectly conversant, in 
order, as it seemed, that he might excite their surprise and com 
mand their applause. 

" Tn an argument he was easily vanquished ; in a forward 
remark as easily checked ; by superior powers painfully eclipsed. 
Sir William liked to be the presiding genius. In his acquaint 
ances, visitors, guests, with a few exceptions, he preferred va 
riety, novelty ; and when these had lost the power of pleasing, 
he willingly resigned them, like the last month s magazine, 
for others more attractive. 

" Hence he was deemed by some people rather selfish, not 
quite sincere, and not sufficiently mindful of past favors ; but 
in endeavoring to exhibit the various traits of a distinguished 
character, we ought always to bear in mind that they include 
many from which no human being is entirely exempt. 

" Amid a boundless acquaintance, it may be questioned wheth- 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 333 

er Sir William Gell had many really and truly attached friends . 
his affections were infinitely subdivided, frittered away ; but 
he was a kind and indulgent master. 

" He seemed to be a great favorite with the fair sex. They 
gathered flocked around him ; they confided in they confessed 
to they consulted him as a superior being ! Yet all the youth, 
beauty, grace, accomplishments, whose homage he was constant 
ly receiving, did rarely, in my hearing, call forth an admiring, 
never one enthusiastic, one impassioned sentiment. They might 
be * well-looking, * well-mannered, a pleasing person, that 
was all. I often asked him who was the most beautiful woman 
he remembered to have met with ? He replied that he thought 
he should say Lady Blessington. Still, his behavior, attentions 
to, correspondence with ladies, were excellent, polite, and kind. 
In estimating character, we judge, partly from what people do 
and say, and, which frequently escapes them, from what they do 
not do and say ! 

" In these peculiarities and other foibles we have, alas ! only 
to recognize the imperfections from which none are free ; but 
the verdict of an immense majority will decide in favor of the 
amiability, the charms of the character of Sir William Gell, and 
will confess he has left a blank which it will be difficult, if pos 
sible, to supply." 

%* There are several busts of Sir William Gell, but none of 
them a good likeness. With the exception of a less aquiline 
nose, he bore a strong resemblance to the statue, said to be of 
Aristides, in the museum of Naples. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL TO LADY BLESSINGTOX.* 

Naples. 

" Mr DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON, A most horrid affair has taken place a t 
Psestum, Mr. Hunt and his wife having been murdered by robbers. Three 

* The Blessingtons arrived in Naples in July, 1823. They established them 
selves at the Villa Belvidere, on the Vomero, about the 23d of the same month. 



334 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM CELL. 

parties were at Psestum Mrs. Benzon and daughter, the Hunts, and a party 
of officers from The Revenge. Mrs. Benzon was returning to Naples, and 
about two miles from Paestum met four robbers, who with threats demanded 
and took all their money. They seem not to have ill treated them otherwise. 
Mrs. Benzon gave the alarm at Salerno, and sent gens d armcs. About a 
quarter of an hour after came Mr. and Mrs. Hunt by the same place. They 
tore off the vetturino and the servant from the box, and were ill treating the ser 
vant for having no more money while Mr. Hunt was descending from the car 
riage. Mr. Hunt seems to have remonstrated in violent terms at this, and one 
of the thieves said he would shoot him if he continued. Mr. Hunt seems to 
have continued, and to have said he dared not shoot him : this the enraged 
thief did with two balls, both of which passed through his body, and he fell 
from the step. One of the balls took a side slant, and went through the body 
and lungs of Mrs. Hunt also. The thieves, seeing what they had done, im 
mediately fled without any booty. The husband and wife, the first almost in 
sensible, were carried back to Prestum. The husband died at half past seven 
o clock of the same day. The act took place about one. Mrs. Hunt was car 
ried to Mr. Belelli s, a decent house, and seemed for some time better, and the 
officers, sending Mr. Thompson here for assistance, remained with her. Dr. 
Watson went last night, about twelve o clock, to see if he could do any good. 
It is almost certain Mrs. Hunt can not live. I have written this in a great 
hurry, having merely had time to give you an outline, but a correct one, of the 
facts, which I heard from Mr. Thompson himself. I have sent certain docu 
ments to Lord Blessington about Lady Falkiner, which the judge wishes you 
to see, because he says you arc the person who knows most about the busi 
ness. With kindest regards to the count and the Lady Julia, * believe me 
most truly yours, dear Lady Blessington, W. CELL. 

" V A sua Eccellcnza la Contessa di Blessington, Villa Bclvidcre, Vomero." 

" Naples. 

" Do your excellencies dine at home to-day? If you do, I purpose an as 
cent to the Belvidere. You arc in danger of being rivaled with the arch- 
bishopt by Mrs. Beaumont and her three daughters, for whom he has con 
ceived a passion. Most truly yours, WILLIAM GELL." 

" Naples. 

"When I had read Lord Byron, which I found very interesting, but most 
particularly the revengeful poem, which must have been written after some 
conversation with you about his wife, I found myself rather forlorn ; but, rec 
ollecting my charge of the letters, I thought for some time what I should do 

They remained there till March, 1825, and about the 25th of the latter month re 
moved to the Villa Gallo, where they remained till February, 1826, when they 
left Naples for Rome. R. R. M. 

* The Lady Julia was Lady Blessington s sister, Miss Mary Anne Power. 
R - R. M. f The venerable Archbishop of Tarento. R. R. M. 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 335 

with them, so I took the liberty of going into the drawing-room, and, after 
some consideration, I put them carefully into a large red portfolio on the 
count s table, with a red ribbon, where pray go and take them, having made 
my apology for taking such a liberty with him. I am sorry Miss Power is 
angry with me, but I have nothing on my conscience. No Casorano came. 
I kiss your feet, and am ever yours, W. GELL." 

" Naples. 

" The devil has upset his inkstand in the clouds, and I think it therefore 
better to postpone my visit, as you were kind enough to say I might, if the 
world went upside down. Dr. Doratt, having engaged me to write, sent also 
yesterday to say he had forgotten his engagement to the Hamiltons, brute 
that he is for his pains. I will come when the weather changes, and, not to 
disturb you, will send the same morning to ask if it suits you. Kind com 
pliments to your party. Perhaps you have got another Museum or other 
book. WILLIAM GELL." 

" Naples. 

" I lost no time in consulting the doctor, all the way down the hill, and as 
far as he goes there would be no difficulty, except his engagement with Sir 
William Drummond. He said, at the same time, what a fool he should look 
like if Sir William D. died in ten years, and he found himself without a shil 
ling. It was resolved, therefore, to talk to Sir William, and the consequence 
was, a declaration that five years was to him the same as his whole life ; that 
he would give the other hundred a year which I stated to be necessary for the 
present, and that he had left Dr. Watson 200 and some other things.* 

" He said at the same time, that if Dr. Watson wished it, he was at liberty, 
and such a resolution should have no effect in changing his good intentions 
toward him. 

" However, of course, seeing that Sir William listened to the reason ot the 
case (which he always does when properly explained), the doctor would be 
very unwilling to give him any pain on the subject. 

" You see you have been the cause of good, so let us console ourselves, and 
pray believe me, most truly and affectionately, W. GELL." 

" Naples. 

" According to your orders, I have told Mr. Craven that he has to appoint 
an early day to go to the Bclvidere, and he will come on Wednesday. 

" That being fixed, I have to inform your ladyship that the weather seem 
ingly consenting to relent, Dr. Watson and I have an idea of a trip to Pom 
peii to-morrow, and having had a sort of half agreement with your amiable 
party, I think perhaps you may not be disinclined to the excursion. 

* Dr. Watson, the medical attendant of Sir W. Drummond, one of the most em 
inent linguists of Europe. R. R. M. 



336 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM CELL. 

" Suppose we say we will meet there at or about twelve, and bring our din 
ners in our pockets, and dine either in the quarters at the great table, or any 
where else about three or four, for later it may be cold, but about three will 
be very agreeable, the place being sunny and sheltered. You can dine either 
in the villa at the end of the tombs, in the Triclinium of the tombs, or on that 
of the Actseon, in the centre of the town, or in the Forum, which last will be 
sunny and warm, just as you please. If you accede to these propositions, let 
me know what dish or dishes I shall bring in my pocket for the public good. 

" Would you be so good as to ask Count D Orsay to let me have my cam 
era lucida, as without that I am not fitted out for my labors. 

" WILLIAM GELL. 

" I think I myself will begin at the soldiers quarters, and so ramble by de 
grees toward the Forum and the new excavations there. Thus we shall meet 
without doubt or difficulty, even if you begin from the tombs, which is much 
the most striking, and consequently the best beginning. 

"A. S. E. Madamigclla M. A. P. a casa del Conti di Blessington, Palazzo Negroni." 

"Naples. 

" If I waited longer I might get a better piece of paper, but I have 110 pa 
tience, so this is just to let you know, madam, that your carnival pranks have 
all been watched, and that I have observed your tricks for the last five days. 

"Tremble, then, when you see the handwriting of your jealous 

LAWFUL." 

"Rome, April 5th, 1824. 

" I really did arrive at Rome on the 12th of last month, having quitted your 
city on the 8th, and having experienced on the way every possible misfortune 
except being overturned or carried into the mountains. In short, I know 
nothing to equal my journey except the ninety-nine misfortunes of Pulici- 
nella in a Neapolitan puppet-show. I set out without my cloak in an open 
carriage ; mv only hope of getting warmer at St. A gat a. was destroyed bv an 
English family, who had got possession of the only chimney. I had a dread 
ful headache, which, by-the-by, recollecting to have lost at your house by 
eating an orange, I tried again with almost immediate effect. Next morning 
one of my horses fell ill at the moment of being put to the carriage, and has 
continued so ever since, .so that I have had to buy another, which is so very 
(what they call) good that it is nearly as useless as the other, so that I never 
go out without risking my neck. When, at length, I got to Rome in a storm 
of sleet, I found a bill of one hundred and fifty dollars against me for protect 
ing useless lemon-trees against the frost of the winter, which, added to the 
expense of the new horse and the old one, have ever since caused the horrors 
of a jail to interpose themselves between me and every enjoyment, and so 
much for the ugly side of the question. 

" In other respects I am in very good health and spirits, and go out every 
day to dinners, of which the chief givers have hitherto been Lady Mary Deer- 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 337 

hurst, Mr. Morritt, of Rokeby, Lord Dudley, Lord Kinnaird, Torlonia, Mrs. 
Beaumont and Co., and others, besides the same company, Mr. Irving or Ir 
vine, Mr. and Lady Selina Robinson, Lord C. Fitzroy, Lord Ashley, Captain 
Southill, His Highness the Prince of Mecklenburgh, Dr. Wilson, a most 
agreeable Scot, fresh from Egypt, Jerusalem, and all the East, and very talk 
ative, Mr. Hare, Mr. Dodwell, and your humble servant, to which lately \vo 
add Sir William Drummond and Dr. Quin. Do not, therefore, imagine that 
in dinners or dinner company we are at all behind you at Naples, though all 
the strangers are supposed to have left this place, the Lord rest their souls. 
Since my arrival we have had nothing but misfortunes ; first, the sad affair 
of Miss Bathurst,* and, secondly, the death of the Duchess of Devonshire. 
Miss Bathurst s death really made every body unhappy, having been one of 
the principal delights of the society here while living, and really beloved by 
every body. Lord Aylmer does not appear to be recovered yet as to spirits, 
and it seems that the idea still recurs to him every instant : at first his ex 
ertions in the water, and the agitation he underwent, seemed to threaten his 
senses for some days. 

"Mr. Mills has been of the greatest use to him, having at length succeed 
ed in persuading him to talk about the fatal business till he acquired by de 
grees a little calmness and fortitude. Mills eats his breakfast as usual, and 
desires your ladyship may be informed of the circumstance, adding, he will 
give you a breakfast at the Vigna Palatina, as he has done to Lord and Lady 
Aylmer almost every morning for the last fortnight. They go away in a day 
or two to meet the unhappy Mr. Bathurst at Genoa. 

" The poor duchess had every possible consolation at her death. By the 
most lucky chance, the duke and Mrs. Ellis were here, and Dr. Quin, coming 
here for a frolic, sat up with her eight nights, so as to have hurt his own 
health. He describes her as dying in the most calm and amiable manner pos 
sible, and the physicians having permitted her to see her friends when they 
had no longer any hope, the duke, Mr. Ellis, the Due de Laval, and Mr. Ar- 
taud went to see her, to take leave of her, as well as Dr. Nott or Knott, who 
had a conversation with her very satisfactory to him on matters of religion, 
showing that she did not die a Catholic, and would have taken the sacrament, 
but the doctors would not permit it on account of her weakness. Dr. Quin 
had been desired by the Duke of Devonshire to be present at the embalming 
of the body, which is to go by land to England. It was discovered that an 
ossification of the arteries had commenced, so that in a short time she would 
probably have died from that cause, had not an accidental cold, neglected by 
herself for too long a period, thus destroyed her. And now I will give you 
no more of the miseries of this life. I hope you have at length had better 
weather. Mr. Morritt says that for two months the thermometer has been 
seven degrees higher in London than Rome this winter. What will Lord 

* The lamentable death of Miss Bathurst, who was drowned in the Tiber in 
February, 1824. R. R. M. 
VOL. I. P 



338 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

Blessing-ton say to an Italian climate after this] but when I recollect that I 
have been able to breakfast in my loggia, in a hot sun every morning, except, 
perhaps, ten during the winter, I shall not be easily persuaded that we are not 
better off. I found two letters from Lady Westmoreland, who has already 
got at Malta 300 worth of things prepared for her voyage to and in Egypt, 
where she will probably never go. I have answered her with my own pro 
jects, but do not build much on the negotiation. 

" In the mean time, they say the Pacha of Egypt has declared himself in 
dependent ; and others state that he is going in person to attack the Morea, 
which last is a folly he never will be guilty of, as the government of Constan 
tinople would then catch him in a trap. If he quits the country, adieu to 
traveling there, and so says Mr. Wilkinson at Cairo, from whom I have an 
other letter, saying the pasha has now 30.000 men armed and disciplined in 
the European manner, with which certainly he might bid defiance to the Porte, 
if the opinion or religion of the multitude be sufficiently changed for them to 
resist an imperial order to lay down their arms before the standard of the 
Prophet. 

" Lord Dudley will set out for Naples the first fine day. I don t know 
whether Dr. Watson has had any success with the volume of Dr. Ilichardson 
lent to Sir William Drummond ; his illness and his usual carelessness seem 
to have been our great enemies. I don t know what to do about it, except 
10 pray that as Lord Blessington had the goodness to send for a copy for me. 
lie will possess himself of that, and leave the oilier at Naples. I am so much 
ashamed of my neighbor s conduct, that I never will be responsible for him 
again. Alas ! he is so accustomed to losing and destroying books, that he 
feels no shame himself on the occasion, and swears, though he conversed 
frequently about the book, he never saw it in his life. Indeed, he never does 
read a book except for the first live minutes, lie seems in very good health 
and spirits, and his trip to Rome has already done him good. I am quite 
sorry you all hate this place so much, for I find myself better amused in gen 
eral than at Naples, where there is nothing but eternal Toledo, Chiaja, and San 
Carlo. There can be no doubt that this is preferable for society ; but for me, 
I think one great motive of preference is a large and shady garden, where I 
can hobble among and under my own trees of my own planting. I have al 
ready been on one, and I intend to <>;o on several excursions to different parts 
of the country, where I make observations for the making of a map of the 
neighborhood. Every body seems inclined to go on these excursions, so my 
researches appear as if they would become the fashion in the shape of morn 
ing rides and drives, with cold dinners brought to the point of rendezvous. I 
fear you see little or nothing of Craven, who seemed to me, when I left him, 
as if he was established for life, tacked to his mamma s apron, without benefit, 
of clergy. 

" I hope you will let me hear how you all go on, and what you are all do 
ing, and that you have given up that tour in Sicily, where you will have more 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 339 

than the inconvenience of Egypt, with very little of the entertainment or profit. 
If the Egyptian journeys can not be contrived, I have a sort of faint idea of a 
tour to Como, and the northern Italian lakes. I kiss your hand and feet ; and 
with the kindest regards to the count and the great Mathews, believe me, 
my dear Lady Blessington, your affectionate and faithful 

" WILLIAM GELL." 



CHAPTER XVII. 

LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL TO LADY BLESSINGTON. 

"Rome, 4th July, 1824. 

" 1 was going on in much too flourishing a state of health and jack-ass 
riding when I received an unlucky letter from Dr. Watson, congratulating 
me on the same, and singing the praises of Dr. Neiker, who he says has 
cured him of his infamous headache. 

" This was a sort of triumph old Nick could not allow, so the same day, 
having invited Dodwell to dine under the trees in my garden in order to con 
cert an expedition to Soracte, &c., which would have taken up three days, 
after which I meant immediately to throw myself at your feet, I was obliged 
to be carried to my post, and have never, since the 27th of June, made a single 
pace on my own feet, nor till this evening in any other manner. In the mean 
time I have really very little pain, though I have been so bewildered that I 
could not even sit up for two days a great inconvenience, as it deprives one 
of so many amusements. At present I am better, or the scene is shifting, 
which it makes no scruple of doing between both feet, both knees, and a 
dozen or two of the elbows and fingers ; and thus you have had a long and 
dull account of my enemy and myself. 

I have been, since I wrote last to your ladyship, doing nothing but living 
in the country houses of the Romans. We had a week at Tivoli, at the Villa 
Santa Croce, after we returned from Bracciano. We next borrowed the palace 
of the Duke of Tagerolo of that ilk, and thought that though the thieves were 
already strong in the field, a population of four or five thousand souls, with 
the ducal palace in the centre, would render the neighborhood safer for us ; 
and indeed so we found it, having the good fortune to assify all over the 
country in all directions unassailed. Lady Mary Deerhurst, who is the lady 
of the castle on all these excursions, carries the whole household, children, 
tutor, governess, dogs, and the rest of the royal familv, so that we made some 
show even in the largest of these mansions, that at Zagarolo being really a 
magnificent pile, and the place where the pope of those days sent the learned 
men to consult on the best Catholic edition of the Bible, since published, and 
called the Vulgate. Here we were joined for some days by Lords Kinnaird 
and Dudley, and Mr. Hare, to say nothing of Mrs. Dalton, and two beaux, 
Mr. Bacon and Mr. Stevenson, whom Lady Mary found out one day bv chance 



340 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

as she was riding through Valmontone, the whole party and I believe three 
carriages having only mistaken their way a little, and traveled through the 
whole territory of the thieves by Monte Casino, thinking they were going by 
the Terracina road, much as the lovely Bess Caldwell went halfway to Vienna 
in her way from Brussels to Paris. 

" When we had seen every thing in that country we returned again to 
Rome, whence we fitted out several little expeditions for the day, and discov 
ered several cities with good old Greek-looking walls of large blocks, which 
the wags and antiquaries had no idea of. 

" Probably the lost cities taken by Romulus and the Tar quins will all be 
found in time, if we all live and are well, which, as you very wisely observe, 
is doubtful. 

" I shall only give you one more of our tours in search of Cures, the ancient 
city of the Sabines, whence came Mr. Smith s cousin, King Tatius, and all the 
Quirites to Rome. We found the place, though there are but few remains, 
near the modern village and river Correse, a charming trout stream, running 
through the most beautiful country we had ever seen. Between the high 
range of Monte Gennaro (Lucretili according to Mathews) and the Tiber is 
a country perhaps eight miles in width, interspersed with villages at short 
distances, perched on the most romantic spots, perfectly defended by nature, 
but beautifully picturesque, with the remains of the ancient fortifications of 
the baronial houses. We had the palace of Prince Sierra at Monte Libretti, 
one of those villages, and though we had it not enough to ourselves to be very 
comfortable, we managed to make our excursions with effect. Nothing can 
give you an idea of the infinite beauty of the country, which, generally speak 
ing, seems an eternal forest of oaks and spina Christi ; yet every now and 
then, and just when you wish it, opening into a little cultivation, either in 
corn, flax, or gardens. Every half mile, in crossing the direction of the great 
mountains which bound the whole, you have a descent by a precipice into a 
deep woody dell, with its little stream, sometimes with a patch of cultivation, 
and forcing its way through the rocks ; but I will say no more, lest you should 
think the gout is got into my head. How sorry you will all have been for 
Lord Byron. We have a little medal here of him, but it might as well have 
been of Caesar, to my eye. They should have sent to Count D Orsay for a 
profile. It is really a sad loss to literature, and an immense deficit of interest 
from the Greek cause. I am afraid the said cause is not very flourishing, as 
we begin to receive letters from ruined families of the Greeks, saying that, 
having lost almost all they had by the revolution, and no law existing, they 
fled with the little remainder, and now solicit your excellency s support. In 
the mean time, Lady Westmoreland, who had been nearly famished during the 
late scarcity of cases, is quite set up again by Mr. Battler s case, and the 
death of Lord Byron before he had time to reform ; and with these two she is 
now exercising her eloquence, first at Venice, and since at Vicenza, and other 
towns in the north of Italy, where Mr. Craven met her. Craven writes from 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 34^ 

the Lake of Wallensee on the 16th, and Munich the 17th of June. He finds 
no attempt at pease, or even salad. At Wallensee several patches of snow 
down to the water s edge. The elder flowers not come out. The apple-trees 
yet in early bloom, and a sharp frost every evening. Two days before, he was 
eating over-ripe cherries in Italy. 

" I wish I could send you a good account of the robbers, but nothing has 
been heard of them lately, except that they are living like fifty prodigal sons 
at Montellano on the product of the last ransom. When that is spent, of 
course they will send for more ; and if I get well by the time they begin to 
infest the road, I must really take the liberty to escape by sea, for to be beaten 
to death because I can not walk into the mountains, or, being taken on an ass, 
to have to pay the greater part of my fortune for a ransom, would neither of 
them be advisable cases. I hope, at least, the earl now likes the Belvidere 
better than in the winter, when the window curtains sometimes insisted on 
becoming part of the dinner company at the table. Speaking of a gun, do 
any of you want a groom, named Crispin, who has been all over this country 
with Lady Mary, but which Lady Mary is now gone to Leghorn with only an 
English groom for her riding-horses, and, in consequence, the man is left in 
my hands to dispose of 1 Now for a description. Crispin is of middle stature, 
slim, active, intelligent, and much in appearance like a real slang English 

groom ; in feature like a baddish caricature of K C put into an oven 

till his hair was singed. Born at Viterbo, aged about thirty, and I suspect 
concerned in divers serenades, sung in a high key, and not remarkable for 
precision, which I sometimes hear in the street. If any of the family of Bel 
videre want for themselves, or can dispose to their neighbors of a person 
so eminently qualified, he is now to be had cheap. I hope you will be able 
to read my writing, as it has only just occurred to me that I am obliged to 
sit in a posture which I can not do myself, with my feet in the air. I have 
no news from England. A friend wrote to me in the greatest haste to help 

him to a peerage, that of Darcy of .* I gave him his answer, and told 

him Darcy of Navan was what he had a claim to, and no other of that name. 
Yet I have had no answer, so conclude he has died of it, as it is now above 
three months ago. They say the Aberdeens are coming here, instigated, if 
true, I suppose, by Captain Gordon. We have long been without a single 
milord of any sort or kind, but I believe there yet remain many of a tribe of 
both sexes, who are in want of money to go away the next day to England 
with a very pitiful story, which they take round every winter, without ever 
quitting for an instant the Holy City. 

" We have yet had not a hint on the subject of the learned Faustus. I 
hope and trust she has been exorcised long ago, and does not mean to be ill 
any more, but to be a nice little neat sort of a tidy discreet old sort of a body 
as usual, when fate allows me to come clumping like a parrot into her pres- 

* Word illegible. R. R. M. 



342 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 



ence. I kiss the hems of your garments. I salute the whole company, and 
am most affectionately and faithfully, W. G." 

" Rome, October 2d, 1824. 

" I am sitting in my garden, under the shade of my own vines and figs, my 
dear Lady Blessington, where I have been looking at the people gathering 
the grapes, which are to produce six barrels of what I suspect will prove very 
bad wine ; and all this sounds very well till I tell you that I am positively sit 
ting in a wheelbarrow, which I found the only means of conveying my crazy 
person into the garden. Don t laugh. Miss Power. The fact is, that all those 
feelings which I had for two days at your house most kindly contrived to re 
solve themselves into a fit of the gout on the very morning of my departure, 
so that I got into the carriage in torture, and was obliged to be borne out by 
two porters at Capua, since which time till to-day I have never put a foot to 
the ground. I considered, at Capua, that if I let Sir W. Drummond turn back, 
as he wanted to do, it was most probable he would fall ill before I was well, 
and he would be thus disappointed of his tour, so I was carried again to the 
coach, and, after a drive of thirty-five miles to San Germano with the same 
horses, through a most beautiful country, and not very bad road, we found 
ourselves compelled at sunset to mount two wretched asses, and climb by a 
steep zigzag road for an hour and a half to the monastery of Monte Casino. 
All this, with a fit of the gout, was certainly rather an undertaking, but I was 
carried by some very good people of the jackasses up five hundred steps and 
forty corridors, and laid upon a bed, where the holy fathers, the very nicest of 
Thingumbcrrys in the world, were so kind to me that I could have been no 
where better. They gave us a fine supper in the next room, as I found by 
the number of good plates they brought, and tried to persuade me to eat. Sir 
William Drummond seemed quite pleased with them, and talked till a late 
hour, and they, on their parts, seemed equally delighted with him. The next 
morning, Tuesday, they took him to see their library, which is very good, and 
their archivio, or room of manuscripts ; and finding I was not in a movable 
state, they were so kind as to send five or six of their most curious MSS. to 
me. Among them was the MS. Virgil, which has all the lines filled up (by 
the Lord knows who) which Yirgil had left unfinished in his hurry to die. 
We remained there till Saturday, when I descended the mountain in a sedan 
chair, and we renewed our journey. On Friday, the fathers insisted on my 
seeing their wonders in the said sedan ; and I went into the church to hear 
the celebrated organ, which, in the shattered state of my nerves, only served 
to make me cry. The church is really the most beautiful thing ever seen. 
It is entirely incrusted with the finest marbles, and neither stone nor mortar 
appears in any part of it. The pilasters are inlaid in beautiful arabesques of 
verd-antique, porphyry, and serpentino ; and the whole so clean, so new, and 
o polished, that, till I had seen it, I had no idea of the effect which might be 
produced by colored marbles. The floor is also equally beautiful and simple, 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 343 

and the ceiling gilt and painted in the gayest and most elegant manner. Un 
der the dome is the abbot s throne, and in the chancel the stalls are of carved 
oak, of the most elaborate and astonishing workmanship. When the first 
effect of the organ had passed off, I found it was really more like an orchestra 
than any thing I had ever heard, and the organist was never tired of playing, 
and of setting it off to the best advantage. These people are really learned 
monks, and we found, out of ten, three or four who were good scholars, and 
had even got as far as the Hebrew. In former times they had great revenues, 
and more than one hundred residents. They have now 16,000 ducats, or 
about 3000 per annum. Nothing could exceed their kindness to us, and we 
did our best to repay it, by showing them the sextant, camera lucida, and ali 
we possessed, which might be new to them in science or literature. Quitting 
these good souls, we began our adventures, intending to go to Rome by the 
nearest way. We set out, therefore, with a vetturino for Ceprano, the first 
town in the Roman States. We found, near St. Gcrmano, the remains of an 
amphitheatre ; and we spun along a fine new road, past Aquino to below 
ilocca Secca, for two hours or more, with the greatest success, and there met 
with the River Melfa, almost dry, but at the bottom of a deep, rocky dell, over 
which a bridge is building to get over the stream ; it was therefore neces 
sary to diverge to the right, and in about twenty minutes we regained the 
good road, only to quit it forever on the left, and wander for the rest of the 
day in the wilds and vineyards, without roads or any fixed direction. It ap 
pears that, if ever five miles of the road be made, there will be no difficulty in 
reaching Ceprano in a direct line. As it is, however, the fine road rnns to 
the right to Sara, and we were condemned to hunt our fortune in a large coach 
and four, and at last to make nine or ten miles out of the five. There were 
few absolute dangers, particularly as the weather had been dry, but it began 
to rain in the afternoon, and we passed a sort of devil s bridge between two 
precipices of slippery earth, which was not quite agreeable. We reached at 
length the little village of Isolatta, and soon after got into the Roman States, 
where we found a road, and a very good new bridge over the Liris, by which 
we entered the little town of Ceprano. Here we lodged at the house of a 
surgeon, to whom our friends of Monte Casino had recommended us, and we 
were treated as well as, under a very humble roof, we could expect. In the 
morning of Sunday we set out again, and, passing by a very decent but tire 
some road, eternally mounting and descending, but in a well-cultivated and 
pretty country, through Frosinone, Ferentino, and Anagni, cities of Latium, 
with great remains of antiquity, we arrived at night at Valmontane, having 
gone forty-four miles with the same horses from Ceprano. As we came late, 
though the inn is very large, it was occupied, and, after a good deal of waiting 
and trouble, we got two corn-chambers, with damp bods to sleep in. Sir Will 
iam could not sleep, but in the morning we proceeded to the Holy City, twenty- 
five miles, and arrived at two o clock, having performed our journey through 
the whole of the thieves country without any sinister accident. Lord Kin- 



344 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 



naird we saw on our arrival, and Mr. Mills came the same day. Mr. Millin- 
gen was also here, and is gone on to Paris. Lady Mary Deerhurst came yes 
terday, and I expect her in my garden every minute. Craven arrives to-mor 
row, and the margravine is hourly expected : a most wonderful coincidence 
of travelers. My companion voted me too crazy to accompany him to Albano, 
where he thinks he is going to ride about on the mountain, so I am sent to 
grass for a few days at my own casino on the Quirinal. I expect in less 
than a week to be summoned to Albano, and so to return to Naples, when, as 
I already begin to hobble, I expect to be quite well in my way, and where I 
hope to hear of you on my arrival ; for I will not let you write, as I am most 
uncertain in my motions. I think I am the only person who sets out at the 
beginning of a fit of the gout on a party of pleasure, but I think it has suc 
ceeded, as I should not have been well any where ; and I can say that, except 
starting, the pain of the gout seems to have very much worn itself out, or to 
have been conquered by Dr. Neiker. You will know poor Miss Bathurst s 
body was found the day we arrived. A flood seems to have removed the sand 
bank which had covered it, near the scene of the accident. Having been al 
ways under water, the flesh had become like spermaceti, and the hat, veil, &c., 
were perfect ; even the mouth was recognizable. I beg my kindest regards 
to the earl, count, Mousey, Mathews, and all your party. W. GELL." 

"Naples (1824). 

" The doughty Douglass could not come because he was going away so 
soon, but will wait upon you in St. James s Square. 

" I intend to come to-day, and will bring a specimen of the Royal Letters, 
and Mademoiselle Demont s journal, if you will be at home.* Your slave, 

"W. GELL." 

* On the queen s trial in 1820, Louisa Demont was examined. Said she was 
a native of Switzerland, of the Pays dc Vaud, a Protestant; engaged with her 
royal highness as first fe.imnc dc cJtambrc at Lausanne. Her testimony was the 
most damaging to the princess of all the evidence of the crown witnesses. Sep 
tember 1st, 1820, on her cross-examination, said she had been in England thirteen 
months, and could not speak English. Was discharged by the princess in 1817 
for saying something which was, in fact, untrue. Did not go into other service, 
because in Switzerland she had funds of her own sufficient to live upon. 

A letter of hers, after her departure, was read to her sister, another servant of 
the princess, named Marictte, dated 8th Feb., 1818, in which this passage occurs : 
" You can not think, Marictte, what a noise my little journal lias made." In this 
letter she says she spoke in her journal in the highest terms of the princess. The 
whole evidence of this witness showed her to be a very unscrupulous, intriguing, 
cunning, clever person, not deficient in education. Lord Brougham said of her, 
This woman was the most perfect specimen, the most finished model of the com 
plete waiting-maid." R. R. M. 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 345 

" Naples. 

" I have been thinking of your learning Italian, and think at last I could 
teach you in two hours to read ; and as you are professor of Pausanias al 
ready, would willingly have a set-to at a little bit of it with you ; there can be 
no doubt that no modern language is equal to it, and when you have it, Latin, 
Spanish, and Portuguese (to read) will be easy. I shall therefore bring Pau 
sanias on Sunday and hope you will not have company who will prevent my 
lesson. With kindest regards to the count and Lady Julia, 

"WILLIAM GELL." 

In a letter of Sir William Gell s, addressed to Lady Blessing- 
ton, 1824, at the Villa Belvidere, the following observations on 
mythological emblems, ornaments, instruments, and vesture are 
inserted, in the hand-writing, I think, of Mr. Craven, probably 
transmitted in compliance with the wishes of Lady Blessington, 
communicated to Gell : 

" Certain wreaths were peculiarly given as rewards to the winners in par 
ticular games. Wild olive was the recompense in the Olympic games, laurel 
in the Pythian, parsley in the Nemean, and pine twigs in the Isthmic games. 
The diadem or fillet, called Credemnon, was among the gods reserved for Ju 
piter, Neptune, Apollo, and Bacchus, and among men it was regarded as the 
peculiar mark of royalty. The radiated crown, formed of long sharp spikes, 
emblematic of the sun, and represented as issuing from the head of that deity, 
was first worn only on the tiaras of the Armenian and Parthian kings, and 
afterward became adopted by the Greek sovereigns of Egypt and of Syria. 
A wreath of olive-branches was worn by ordinary men at the birth of a son, 
and a garland of flowers at weddings, on festivals, and at feasts ; in order 
that the scent might be more fully enjoyed, the wreath was often worn round 
the neck. As a symbol of power, gods, sovereigns, and heralds carried the 
sceptre, or hasta, terminated by the representation of some animal or flower 
instead of a point. As the emblem of their mission, Mercury and all messen 
gers bore the caduceus twined round the serpent. 

" The car of each Grecian deity was drawn by some peculiar kind of animal 
or bird : that of Juno by peacocks, of Apollo by griflins, of Diana by stags, of 
Venus by swans or turtle-doves, of Mercury by rams, of Minerva by owls, of 
Cybele by lions, of Bacchus by panthers, of Neptune by sea-horses. The Gor 
gon s head, with its round chaps, wide mouth, and tongue drawn out, emble 
matic of the full moon, was regarded as an amulet against incantations and 
spells, and is for that reason found not only on the formidable aegis of Jupiter 
and of Minerva, as well as on cinerary urns and in tombs, but on Grecian 
shields and breast-plates, at the pole-ends of chariots, and in the most conspic 
uous parts of every other instrument of defense or protection to the living or 
the dead. The prows of Greek galleys or ships of war were ornamented with 

P2 



346 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

the cheniscus, frequently formed like the head and neck of an aquatic bird, and 
the poop with the aplustrum, shaped like a sort of honeysuckle. Two large 
eyes were generally represented near the prow, as if to make the vessel like 
a fish, to see its way through the waves. In religious processions of the 
Greeks, masks were used as well as in their theatres, and in order to repre 
sent the attendants of the god who was worshiped. Thus, in Bacchanalian 
processions (the endless subjects of ancient bas-reliefs and paintings), the 
fauns, satyrs, and other monstrous beings are only human individuals mask 
ed ; and in initiations and mysteries, the winged genii are in the same predic 
ament ; and the deception must have been the greater, as the ancient masks 
were made to cover the whole head. Of these masks, which, together with 
all else that belonged to the theatre, were consecrated to Bacchus, there was 
an infinite variety. Some represented abstract feelings or characters, such 
as joy, grief, laughter, dignity, vulgarity, masked in the comic, tragic, and 
satyric masks, others offered portraits of real individuals, living or dead. The 
thyrsus, so frequently introduced, was only a spear, of which the point was 
stuck in a pine cone, or wound round with ivy leaves. Afterward, to render 
the blows given with it during drunkenness harmless, it was made of the reed 
called ferula. 

"Of musical instruments, the phorminx, or large lyre, was dedicated to 
Apollo, and was played upon with an ivory instrument called plectrum. It 
was usually fastened to a belt hung across the shoulder, and sometimes sus 
pended from the wrist of the left hand, while played upon with the right. The 
cithara, or smaller lyre, was dedicated to Mercury, and when the body was 
formed of tortoise-shell, and the arms composed of a goat s horns, it was call 
ed chelys. This was played upon by the fingers. The barbitos was a much 
longer instrument, and emitted a graver sound. The trigonium, or triangle, 
an instrument borrowed by the Greeks from Eastern nations, much resem 
bled the harp. Besides these instruments with chords, the Greeks had several 
wind instruments, principally the double flute and the syrinx, or Pan s flute. 
To these may be added a certain instrument for producing noise, the tympanon, 
or tambourine, chiefly used in the festival of Bacchus and of Cybele : the crem- 
bala, or cymbals, formed of metal cups, and the crolals, or castanets, formed 
of wood, shaped like shells. 

"In attire, the chlamys, a short cloak, was a garment of gods and heroes, 
fastened over the shoulder or upon the chest. Such is the mantle of the Apollo 
Belvidere, and many of the statues of Mercury. Wreaths of oak leaves were 
consecrated to Jupiter, laurel leaves to Apollo, ivy and vine to Bacchus, pop 
lar to Hercules, wheat ears to Ceres, gold or myrtle to Venus, fir twigs to the 
fauns and sylvans, and reeds to the river gods. 

"The pcplum was a sort of mantle worn by the Greeks; the tunic a loose 
robe. Venus is the only one of the goddesses that is represented without a 
peplum, and Diana is generally represented with hers furled, and drawn tight 
over the shoulders and round the waist, forming a girdle, with the end* fall- 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 347 

ing down in front. The peplum had small metal points attached to its cor 
ners, in order to make them hang more straight and even." 

" Rome, 23d March, 1825. 

" I shall never have the pleasure of whipping the family all round most 
severely again, if it be true that poor old Parr is really dead, as I see it an 
nounced in the newspapers. I am always for those living longest who con 
trive to be content with the world, and endeavor to make the best of it ; and 
he was really one of those. I conclude he was by no means young, but it is 
a pity that two such scholars as he and Porson should have departed without 
having left something of more consequence behind them to perpetuate their 
fame. I continued to mend in my hobbling as I approached the Holy City, 
and for some days after my arrival ; but, as fate would have it, all my friends 
lived up one hundred and fifty stairs, and I ruined myself by my premature 
activity so effectually, that, though without pain, I have been forced to be car 
ried by tw T o people, one of whom is the great Pasquale, till three days ago. 
It would be natural that I should have therefore seen very few persons, but 
the good Lady Manvers, who protects me most especially, is so popular, that, 
seated in her wheeling chair, I have seen almost all the good company at Rome, 
Lady Bute excepted, who threatens me with a visit in my garden to-day, as 
she does not attempt stairs. I have no doubt Dr. Neiker could cure her of 
that also. We have Sir George Talbot, who gives great and good dinfters as 
I am told, for I was not well enough to go when invited. We have Lady 
Davy, who lives in the right horn of the moon, in the Valdombrino palace, up 
five hundred steps, who gives agreeable little dinners neither great nor good. 
We have Anna Maria Starke, who gives parties and misereres, if you are fond 
of music ; Lady George Seymour, who has a very pretty daughter, and a very 
nice girl ; Mr. Rose, the man of Greek inscriptions ; a rich Mr. Ferguson, 
with one or two others, last from Persepoiis and Bagdat ; a Baron Uxscull 
or Oxscull, from Finland, last from Egypt and Syria, with a collection of draw 
ings ; William Burrell, with a new waistcoat and neck-handkerchief of real 
Cashmere (or do you spell it Cashemire) shawl for every day in the year, and 
a gold toilet ; Mr. Dodwell, who has just cut open a mummy in public, and 
found it to be a lady of fashion three thousand years old, and his pretty wife, 
who has a party every Sunday, and I dine with them to remain at it ; Mrs. 
Singleton, nee Upton, and Miss Upton, unmarried ; Mr. and Mrs. Lucas, very 
nice people, from Ireland ; Dr. and Mrs. and Miss Hall, the Dean of Durham, 
from Naples, who seem good people, and a variety of others, fathers and moth 
ers unknown. A little while ago, every body was engaged in companies, like 
Anglo-Mexican miners, to make excavations in secret ; as nobody got any 
good by these speculations, the taste seems at present all gone into the mise 
rere line, and there really are arrived many pilgrims, and even prelates, who 
do penance, much as I think I could do it myself, by arriving here in a coach- 
and-four. and under their oil-cloth dress and cockle-shells are clothed in real 



348 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

cloth of gold and fine linen. I believe the Duke of Lucca is also a pilgrim, 
and, in short, from what I understand, the plot begins to thicken, and the des 
ert of Rome to be peopled. I can not help thinking it would entertain you 
all exceedingly to make a trip for a week, particularly as holy years do not 
occur every day of one s life, and we shall end with an illumination and fire 
works of the most brilliant kind. 

" I wish I could say I would lodge, clothe, and feed you if you would come ; 
but for amusement, the people, the quaintriess of every thing, and the air of 
general decadence, are, after the bustle of Naples, things to ponder upon, and 
could not fail to strike you at the time, and to prove a source of recollections 
and reflections afterward, not to mention the queer things you would pick up 
for the adventures in your new romance. I wish you would engage me in 
that to-be-celebrated work. Have you read the Travelers, a book with some 
such name, with anecdotes of all the robberies, real or supposed, in the way 
between Rome and Naples 1 Have you got the Inheritance, by the author 
of Marriage 1 It is excellent, and very interesting. Think of poor Colonel 

S hanging himself, and the shocking affair of Lord Shaftesbury s son at 

Eton. The world is gone crazy. Lady Mary Deerhurst I see often, and she 
will come to Naples in May. She wants to send her son to school in En 
gland. Our spring is very backward, but nevertheless I find my garden, which 
is full of evergreens, in considerable beauty. When the weather is warmer 
I shall begin my geographic excursions with Lady Mary and Messrs. Graham 
and Dodwell. We purpose going up Mount Soracte among other things, and 
to hire all the diligence, and go in it to Civita Vecchia, and thence to Corneto 
or Tarquinium. You will most likely think us all very crazy, but as Lady 
Charlotte Campbell said, if it be not right, it is at least very agreeable. Lord 
Kinnaird is by no means well, and it is supposed he must quit Rome. I hope 
Mesdames Lucrezia and Letizia continue to be the ornaments of their profes 
sion, and to draw the great coach with success. I beg to be most kindly re 
membered to my lord and Lady Julia. Pray tell the count his particular 
friend Dr. Wilson has sent Lady Mary also some oranges, so he must not 
think the protection exclusive. I don t hear whether he called her Mary in 
his letter, or added her title. I kiss your hands. W T ILLIAM GELL." 

" Drummond has given his word of honor to close his gates to the abbot,* 
and told Craven and Scarfe to announce it to the world. Captain Scarfe was 
a witness, and Craven says, quite eloquent, and without compliments. 

" There docs not appear to be any svmpathy for the abbot at present any 

where. Reilly seems a sort of helper, and S in the worst scrape as to 

the figure he makes, for he has unsaid and has to reunsay. Most truly and 
sincerely, W. GELL." 

* The \vell-kmnvn Alil.o Campbell. R. R. M. 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 



349 



" Naples. 

" I could not answer your last kind letter, as I was wofully beset by bank 
er s business at the moment, but I intended to have sent a letter this morning, 
when your man arrived. I must come to-morrow, as I don t like to refuse 
Craven at this moment, just after the tidings of Lord Craven s death. I will 
come on Wednesday to dinner, and at seven, if I do not hear that your hour 
is changed, if you can see me, and think then, with assistance, I shall be able 
to do without my chair, as to-day I can stand alone. I am quite well, but 
with such legs (in their best state), I am long in recovering the little use of 
them which remains. 

" A nasty man, Mr. R : he has gone and bought a house in Piccadilly, 

on which I had 4000, or rather an annuity of 400 a year, which has thrown 
my money, or rather the interest of it, into a sad state. 

" With kind regards to the Lady Julia and the count, 

" WILLIAM GELL." 

" Naples. 

" How do you do after your star-gazing 1 and have you got your treasures 
safe, and has the count been angry at me for slipping them into his portfolio 1 
for I am anxious to know all these circumstances. After waiting some time, 
I recollected that Lord Blessington said you were to wait for the moon, and 
that I might have remained many centuries listening for the wheels of your 
chariot ; so I departed, hoping that I should meet you somewhere on the road 
to the studio, where you turned off to the observatory. I doubled up my note 
as curiously as I could, that no one might dare to open it, and learn where I 
had placed the letters, and I hope I succeeded. 

" VERSES BY PAYNE KNIGHT s GHOST TO MR. SOTHEBY : 
" Dear Botherby, let me alone, 

For as asses still scratch one another, 
Every mortal that hears of your moan 

Will imagine that I was a brother. 
Bad verses I wrote, but no cant ; 

Was a scholar and wit, as you know it ; 
While, in spite of pretension and rant, 
You re a quack and a prig, but no poet. 

"Most truly yours, W. GELL." 

" Naples. 

"It is so many centuries since I heard of you from yourself, that I have 
thought it better to write than to go on longer in darkness. I have heard, 
however, that poor Miss Faustus* is going on well, from Dr. Doratt ; pray let 
me hear how she is to-day. It is so cold for the last three days that I think 
of giving up the ghost myself, and Sir William Drummond is not yet quite 

* One of the numerous appellations Sir William was in the habit of giving his 
fair friend Miss Power. R. R. M. 



350 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

recovered. I fear you will have also suffered from the winter, which, in your 
exposed situation, must have been more serious than here. Nevertheless, I 
have always breakfasted on my terrace, for the abominable wind does not blow 
here till twelve or one. I expect Craven to-morrow evening, w r ho has escaped 
with difficulty from his constituents, the actors at Rome, for they are quite 
ruined by his departure, and expect no more good benefits. Lady Drummond 
threatens us with a masked ball, and Mrs. Hamilton with another, at the end 
of the month. M. De Serre gives a ball this evening, and Count Jeniseo, who 
is just as fat as ever after the liquidation of his blood, according to Bess Cald- 
well, gives another in a few davs. I shall certainly be danced quite off my 
leers. What do you think of my dining with the archbishop yesterday, at 
what he calls three, and not ending till seven, which made nine at night ap 
pear like twelve ! He had two new dandy counts from Sweden, one of which 
was a Count Hamilton, to dinner, and I took the Angell* with me to show 
his precious sculptures. The archbishop says you are all most cruel people 
to come like an apparition, and then, after swearing eternal friendship, to 
come no more ; however, he has turned off the Beaumont girls, and says he 
will deliver himself up to you, body and soul, if you are inclined to return to 
his embraces and charities. In the middle of dinner the Angell put down his 
hand by accident, which was immediately seized and scratched by the great 
black cat Othello, who lies watching for such opportunities. He only 
climbed upon my knee once by setting his claws into my pantaloons. 

" I fear we shall end by falling into the arms of Mr. and Mrs. Montefiore, 
Mr. Rothschild s brother and sister-in-law, for our Egyptian voyage. They 
are now waiting at Rome, and mean to get a ship from England in Septem 
ber. 

" Pray let me hear how you all do ; and with best regards to the earl, the 
count, and all the party, WILLIAM GELL. 

"Naples, August Gth 

: I really don t think it would be fair to attack you a third time by the post, 
having already, as you ordered, first addressed you at Turin, and then at 
Geneva, particularly as, before this arrives at Florence, you will probably be 
in Ireland. First, his lordship was very kind and very gracious about the 
map, which I wrote him word I accepted with pleasure, and his name, as the 
Mccaenas, is already inscribed in the title ; and I wrote by the same post to 
put off Lady Ruthven, who was likely to have been the map s protectress. 
Moreover, I wrote to his lordship again to say that, as he told me, I had, 
through Torlonia, made a sort of draft on Messrs. Ransom at a long date I 
think three months as the map was almost finished. I have put down in the 
title at once that his munificence was the cause of the publication, for it 
seems better to write the real truth. So it begins, Munificentia Exc. Viri 
Carolus Johannes Comitis Blessington, and set forth properly in capitals. 
* Mr. Anpcll was an eminent English architect. R. R. M. 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 351 

Nobody can be offended at the puff, and his lordship s modesty will not, and 
can not be alarmed. I have also twice written to say my d d .1000, 
which I have in London, is not yet cleared from certain houses on which it 
is secured ; and since then I have from Craven a letter, to say the time is by 
no means fixed when it will be forthcoming. 

" Ye gods, how hot it is ! Mr. Lambton s vessel is here, and the sailors 
wanted to take the Neapolitan frigate, where it was launched the other day. 
because the English flag was placed the lowest, except the Algerine. There 
is spirit for you ! W. G. 

" Naples, 15th April, 1826. 

" It was very silly of me not to ask one of you to send me one line from Flor 
ence, as I have been thinking ever since of the displeasure I should receive 
from losing a letter to you. However, I will proceed on the supposition that 
you are really gone on to Venice, unseduced by the wiles of Messrs. Strang- 
ways and Co. to detain you at Florence. Oh, what pens and paper one meets 
with in Dodwell s house ! but I have mended it, for there I am waiting for 
dinner at four o clock on the 15th day of April, 1826. 

" You left us in great tribulation at your departure, and the next day it 
seemed as if you had been gone a week, so heavily did the time pass. I im 
mediately fell to map-making with great vigor, and it is positively engraving 
on a great plate of copper weighing thirty-six pounds, and costing the Lord 
knows what. The said plate arrived when I was out, and Squintibus, to 
whom I had mentioned my wish to put a metal plate behind the fire, mistook 
it for that, and was on the point of sacrificing my new copper to that purpose. 
I made the tour proposed with Messrs. Dodwell and Nibby, and the Conte di 
Monte Vecchio, last Monday ; but, having wisely selected the only rainy day 
ever seen, we did nothing but fence off the bad weather with umbrellas, and 
after getting up at five to set out at seven, we dined at twelve in a cottage, 
at a place called Buccea, twelve miles from Rome, and returned without being 
much the wiser for our pains. 

" On Tuesday next we set out for Antiuin that is, Dodwell, Mills, and I, in 
two carriages ; as Mills goes on a plant expedition only, and we go to flatter 
ourselves in vain, we shall find Corrioli with Caius Marcius and John Kem- 
ble on the wall. Sir William Dry arrived the day before yesterday, having de 
luded Lady D to stay a fortnight longer in Naples. I have not seen him 

yet, but go to-night at eight, after dining at Dodwell s. He has brought Dr. 
Watson to take care of him, for he is by no means right, having a hind leg 
out of order ; but he is getting well. They don t know how long they stay, 
or whither they are bound, except that they think Paris will be somewhere in 
their journey. I have a letter to-day from Champollion, who has found treas 
ures at Leghorn, in Salt s collection, which the French government have 
sent him to examine and pack up. He has found, among other things, the 
great Queen of Egypt, Nitocris not that of Babylon and is very ingenious 



352 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

on the subject, having really a splendid talent at making silken purses out of 
sows ears. Manetho, or Eratosthenes, I forget which, says the name Nito- 
cris meant the victorious Minerva ; so Champollion s queen begins with the 
signs of Neith, the goddess answering to Minerva, and of the rest of the char 
acters after Neit or Neith he makes the word victory in Coptic, of which I be 
lieve every word (like a goose, you will say), and quite worship the knowl 
edge united with the talent he possesses. He says he will come here on the 
15th of May, and certainly will be a great acquisition to me 
" The Strabo informs us. 

" Miss Power has long ago left the room, I conclude ; but, as she does not 
yet know Champollion, she can only call him a bore. Moore is really gone 
to Naples, and so is every body I ever heard of, except the licentious people 
who go by a vetturino to Vienna to meet my lawful. My nasty friend has 
ended by declaring that he can not give the 400 he promised me two years 
ago, and I have yet 1500 of my capital which my friends have not disposed 
of at Naples, and which grieveth the financial boss of my cerebellum full sore. 

" I was sent for by Princess Gerace as I quitted your house, and she told 
me was restored to Nelly ; but I fear not no good won t come of it. 
The Sagan woman was most uncommonly civil to Nelly, and last Saturday 
set out for Vienna with the Potocka girl. I saw for a moment the margra 
vine s memoirs at Torlonia s. In the middle of them is a long essay on Etrus 
can art, written by the editor, Mr. Brett, out of Winkleman, a book I have oft 
en seen in his hands. The said lady has ordered C never to invite Lut- 

trell to dinner again, because he never spoke to her. Mills says he is glad 
the receipt is at last discovered. Please to tell Miss Power that the Mr. De- 
metri, her friend, I have at last found out to be a person whom I never saw 
but once in my life for a moment, and not a bit a certain Athenian that I re 
ally did know. Mrs. Dodwell has agreed to take a box at the Theatre do Bu- 
ratini, or Theatre of Puppets, next Saturday. This has long been a fashion 
able amusement at Rome ; but they have now got up, with splendid scenery 
and dresses, Iphigenie in Tauris, and other heroic pieces, which are said to be 
very entertaining, particularly when the machinery goes wrong, and the he 
roes, instead of striking a blow with their swords, thrust them through the 
train of their own robes. This operation is so long deferred on account of 
their journey to Antiurn, about which you have heard so much, and prob- 
ably care so little. This letter is concluded the IGth of April, when I have 
had a long tea-party with Sir William Drummond, and very long discussions 
on divers points of history, and particularly that of Rome, by Niebuhr, the 
ex-Prussian minister here, which if you ever meet with in French, pray get 
it, as it is very curious. You have probably been overtaken by Puss in 
Boots at Florence ; at all events, last Friday he determined to set off, but I 
think my letter may overtake him yet, as he goes by a vetturino. The world 
is grown very wide I mean, there is quite room enough for those remaining 
in Rome and to-day I have seen no one but Dr. Watson, Nibby, Mr. Petre, 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 353 

and Mr. Sykes, the first bound for Naples, and the latter for England, where 
Pussey will wend for the sake of buying horses. 

" I have now sent you a very long and very ugly letter ; but Lady West 
moreland says little queer letters are the only ones which arrive safe. I have 
neither announced myself in France or Portugal yet, in the persons of their 
embassadors, not having had time, or perhaps the courage which sound legs 
inspire ; but I will do so next week, that I may not be in that dinnerless con 
dition described by Hare at Florence, which, in the present dearth of compa 
ny, seems not impossible. By this time Miss Power may be returned, hoping 
my dull letter may be finished ; but no, you have yet the loves of the Con- 
tessina Dodwell, who says you are all sympathetic sympatica ; of Mills, who 
loves you tenderly ; and Dodwell, who eagerly asks every day for information 
I can not give him. Pray let me hear from you ere long, not a letter, but a 
line to say how you all are, and whither bound. Dr. Robertson came a day 
or two after you went, and seemed sorry not to have caught you. I salute 
you all with a kiss a little warmer than Dr. Parr s holy kiss on the stairs. 
"Your ladyship s slave, W. GELL." 

" Rome, June 7, 1827. 

" I am gone to bed at nine, having a dozen gouts and as many agues, be 
sides swelled glands, and every other species of agreeable sensation. It rained 
yesterday furiously, on account of which Lady Westmoreland gave a fete in 

a villa at Rome. Now I had no idea that Lord B was with the rest of 

the family, imagining that he had departed some fortnight ago for the purpose 
of appearing in Parliament ; and, on this supposition, I ventured to ask the 
count whether the mention of the map would be an imprudence or not. His 
lordship has solved my doubts in a very agreeable manner ; so I shall, accord 
ing to his order, consider him as the Mecsenas of my map, and he must figure 
away with arms, coronet, and supporters, with a sort, I think, of Latin dedi 
cation in one corner, according to the custom of the modern Medes and Per 
sians, which altereth not. Depend upon it I will contrive the thing in a few 
words, saying the truth, that his lordship is the cause of its appearance, by 
his munificent protection of the engraving. What I wish him to do is to tell 
the Ransoms to answer my drafts for a sum not exceeding 400 dollars (and 
I hope not 300), which was the way settled with Lord Kinnaird by his own 
desire ; and let me beg of him not to think of dying as he did, for it puts me 
in a fright, now the map is nearly engraved, quite indescribable. The next 
thing is the business of the 1000. Last year I was in high quest of a per 
son to whom I might lend on annuity that or somewhat a larger sum ; but it 
was disposed of to a certain Signore Pietro, lord of the manor of Porto, and, 
after Torlonia, the greatest proprietor here, who pays one twelve per cent, for 
the same ; and 500 more I lent to a friend on the same terms, that is, when 
I die, adieu to my rent. Now I have another 1000 in London, settled on 
houses for three lives at ten per cent., but I can leave that in my will ; more- 



354 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

over, the owner of the houses has delayed payment ever since the Fauntleroy 
affair that is, he owes me 300 at this moment, and my lawyer has ordered 
the rents to be paid to him instead of to the said proprietor, and it is probable 
I am to expect my arrears and my principal soon. 

" All the people here pay on the first of every month, which is very con 
venient, and they pawn their lands and houses. Moreover, there is an office 
in which you examine whether the said houses and lands have been pawned 
before ; and if the thing be not registered there, the engagement would be the 
last to be discharged. If the money should be forthcoming, I will immediate 
ly let his lordship know ; and as Craven is in London, ;t is not impossible 
that I should hear something shortly. It is true we talked about Mr. Gait, 

and Lord B thought that at his instigation he might be able to dispose of 

the work on the Alhambra, but I am afraid he is gone to America ; and by 
what I hear, the trade of bookselling and making, except in novels and plays, 
is quite finished in London. As to lithography, I am told no publisher can 

afford any thing else, and that nothing else appears. Lord B s belle, the 

margravine, goes to Naples to-morrow, and Lady D is retired to the Villa 

Ricciardi, in spite of Sir William, who wrote to her not to come because it was 
so dull, The rest of the Neapolitan world are gone to Castelamare. 

" Rocca Romano is, I believe, constant, but has made up matters with 

. He lives a good deal in the country. Caserano is still at Palermo. 

Mrs. Dodwell not quite so handsome, but more severe ; and having heard of 
what that book contained against her, vowed she would never again enter an 
English house. She and her husband, who has the gout in his toe, desire 
kind remembrances to all your family, and they say they love them merely 
through fear. You will be gone when Mills arrives, though he hastened his 

journey on purpose. Lord B should come here as embassador, not to 

Florence, which I believe is infra dig. for vou, though not to an eldest son. 

" The Pope will now be content to receive him as deputed to a temporal 
monarch, without talking of his divinity. Manage that, and you shall be my 
Magnus Apollo. 

" Dr. Goodall, the Provost of Eton, is here, and we arc such friends that 
he sends me Latin verses on myself, which I shall put I don t know where to 
be seen, they are so flattering. When you see the Gait, do ask him what he 
can do about books, and when you have time let me know. W. GELL." 

"Rome, 29th June. 

"MosT ILLUSTRIOUS, I wrote according to your orders to Turin, but as it 
is by no means impossible that by delaying your journey, or changing your 
route, you may forget that my letter exists at Turin for you, so I shall re 
capitulate the marrow and pith of the same. First, I have caused his excel 
lency s name to be inscribed on the map in a way that can not offend his mod 
esty, being only the simple truth in classical language, which runs somehow 
thus : 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 355 

MUNIFICENTIA EXC. VIRI. 

Comitis Blessington, 
Hoc Tentamen Geographicum, 

Exhibens 
Latium Vetus Et Hodiernum, &c., &c.,&c. 

Romse Kal. Sexti Anno. MDCCCXXVII., 

showing that his lordship s munificence is the cause of the production of the 
map. Please to tell Messrs. Ransom about it as soon as you can, so that 
when I draw through Torlonia, it may be all right. Now for the second 
proposition about the 1000 and the annuity. I have no money at this mo 
ment not disposed of, but I expect 1000 to be paid me by a certain Mr. Bax 
ter, settled on houses in Carmarthen Street. Whenever it comes, I will fire 
you a line ; but I am not at all certain when that may be, yet I should say 
soon. Most truly and affectionately yours, W. GELL." 

" Rome, June 6th, 1828. 

" Any decent person I mean, any person with decent legs would have got 
up and got a good sheet of paper, instead of writing to you on two leaves of 
a book of MS. sermons. But I have given my people so much trouble in set 
ting out the breakfast for two German professors, who have just brought me 
a diploma, creating me member of the Academy of Thuringia, that I don t 
wish to call them again. 

"Where the deuce is Thuringia 1 say you. Why, I hardly know myself, 
except that in the diploma I see it is in Saxony, and, if literally translated, it 
would seem the employment of the society should be digging up the graves 
of their ancestors, to see what sort of fellows they were. I beg you would 
have and feel a proper respect, in common with my lawful, for my new and 
budding honors. Moreover, the Prussian Academy has sent to say they thank 
me for my book on Walls, and will take care it shall be published with due 
care and honor. 

" Now what have you all been doing in the mean time 1 I have been twice 
or thrice ill, and between the acts to the Torlonias, at Castell Gandolfo, and 
the Comptons at Frescati. 

" I have got by Cavaliere Bunsen, the Prussian minister, just returned (and 
worth all the rest put together), the Hare and the Thirlwall s translation of 
Niebuhr s History of Rome. There is a good deal of information in the work, 
and several jokes and vulgarities not proper for history ; but that is the au 
thor s fault ; the translators seem to have been two Frenchmen. What think 
you of this 1 It were a great thing if I might be able to scatter, for those 
who read me, the cloud that lies on this most excellent portion of ancient sto 
ry, and to spread a clear light over it. Pray set my lawful to turn it into 
English, with her well-known grammatical accuracy. One can make out 
what it means, but scatter instead of disperse is not pretty, and Julius Hirsu- 
tus* can never have revised his work. 

* Mr. Julius Hare. R. R. M. 



356 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM CELL. 

" Poor Mrs. B has lost her son, which I fear will go nigh to lose her, 

poor soul ! She got the news before she reached England, where or whither 
she was going post haste. Lady Mary is going on the 10th to Naples, over 
the mountains of China ; so that Dodwell and I shall have the town to our 
selves, as well as the Villa Borghese. But Bess Caldwell, by the way, who 
has been to see an old place which she calls by a name which she mistakes 
for castellated, is to replace all deserters. Craven write.s that he leaves En 
gland soon. 

" I have a letter from Black Fox, at Naples, to-day ; he has been hunting 
antiquities in Samnium with great success. I wish, when you get to Paris, 
you would desire the count to send for Champollion, in my name, to dine with 
you. He may say, by way of introduction, that I have charged him to an 
nounce that I have received from Cairo for him Burton s Excerpta Hiero- 
glyphica, which I will send by the first opportunity. He is a great friend of 
mine, certainly one of the most marked men of the time, and agreeable in 
many ways, and lively in society, and I know they will be mutually glad to 
have seen each other. I never know whether my letters reach you. Cover 
the people with affectionate kisses for me, not forgetting my dear tormentor, 
who I am sure will find no one to make such silly faces, say such foolish 
things, or sing without knowing the words or having a voice, so readily as 
their slave in the Negroni, W. G. 

" P.S. I have found a great resource in Mr. Manning, the Chinese schol 
ar, since you went ; he knows every thing by sheer study. Imagine that he 
does not know a note on any instrument, but has studied music out of a book 
Chambers Dictionary. I make him sing from the notes backward and for 
ward, base and treble, at sight. I tried him in a difficult canzon, and he sung 
it all right the first time, singing la la instead of words, which he had never 
tried a most curious instance of application ; but he must have a good ear. 
The Barings at Florence have brought him for the summer. I hope with him 
I shall have concluded the Chinese museum for Naples. Since you went also, 
I have entirely painted my room, and you will think me crazy when I tell you 
that people really come to see it I mean, people I don t know. I have done 
it in all the bright staring colors I could get, a sort of thing between Etrus 
can and Pompeii ; and the won of the Duca di Sermoneta, much the most 
clever and agreeable person in Rome, but whom I never got an opportunity ot 
introducing at Blessington Castle, has had the patience, kindness, and abili 
ty to come and stand on the steps of a ladder till he had finished, with much 
spirit, a frieze of one hundred men, women, horses, and chariots round the 
apartment. 

" I beg to say few people possess rooms adorned by the hands of a duke, de 
scended from the Lombard conquerors of Italy, or with an estate ten miles 
long by fifteen, producing twopence a year. Adieu, my duck, says the 
Moore ; love to you all. 

"Once more, ever vours, W. G." 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 357 

The following letter, signed E., inclosed in a letter of Sir \V. 
Gell to Lady Blessington, is thus addressed : 

"FROM THE BEST BERKELY HUNDRED CHEESEMAKER. 

" Naples, 4th April. 

" LA DEA CONSOLATRICE, Your poetry is the best I have ever seen, and 
made us all laugh, while I admired the style. I am much better than I was, 
but not quite well, nor shall I be till these barbarous March winds are over, and 
I have taken some baths. Keppel has a bad cold. It is quite a disagreeable 
thing to have you at Rome while I am here. I heard last night at the Opera 
that Baily goes off for Rome to-morrow, and so I shall send this. I hope you 
have better health than we have, and better pens ; this is the sixth new one 
I try to write with. Yours most affectionately, E."* 

" Naples, July 5th (1828). 

" I am resolved to write to you, though my hand refuse its office, and will 
probably be shared by its less practiced fellow before I have filled my sheet. 
I have been attacked with an abominable rheumatism, beginning in the shoul 
der, and, having well established itself in the neck, so as to produce the most 
excruciating pains, sending a colony to establish itself in the elbow, wrist, and 
hand in the shape of the gout, that I have passed an entire week in purga 
tory, whence I am now only beginning to escape, with the loss of the little 
remaining hair, known by its couleur mouchicide, as the count used to say 
of it. Let my lawful, therefore, prepare her spirits for the reception of her 
bald admirer, and no longer expect those beautiful ringlets which Lord Bless 
ington so well remembers. Bless me ! I have given you a whole page of my 
own misfortunes, when I only intended to say I have been and still am ill, but 
in the mean time have taken the measures for removing the remains of my 
person to the Holy City, to partake of the corner of the heterodox at the pyr 
amid of Gains Cestius. 

" So I have stolen from myself, therefore, the necessary money for the jour 
ney, and in wishing to lend my house to a most excellent person and friend of 
mine, Miss Whyte, in my absence, have found a tenant who insists upon pay 
ing rent whether I will or not, and with whom I can leave my goods and 
chattels all at sixes and sevens, just as they are, without any trouble or prep 
aration. The gentleman Lord Blessington calls the training groom has the 
politeness to be just as ill, or rather worse than I am, all the time ; so that, 
having been forced to give up going out, we are obliged to dine at home, much 
assisted by the frequent appearance of Fox, who, having found out that the 
groom knows a trick or two besides training, has long courted his society. 

" I am sometimes astonished by the wonderful knowledge of my companion 

* It is possible this letter, signed E., in the hand-writing of a very aged person, 
is the production of the Margravine of Anspach, whose Christian name was Eliz 
abeth. R. R. M. 



358 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

on all political subjects, and do not depend on my own judgment, which has 
not been exercised that way, but on that of Fox, who is in every respect ca 
pable. I fear I shall lose my said friend at Rome, and then Lord Blessing- 
ton will not have the trouble of being civil, though, if you continue to repeat 

the kind things the groom has said of Lord B , that may perhaps effect a 

change. The news here is, that the Holy City is so full of factious and frac 
tious John and Mary Bulls, that the whole herd is split into four or five sec 
tions, and one party abjures the other. The universal complaint is, however, 
that there are two houses so much more pleasant than the rest, that the gen 
tlemen of taste and intellect won t go to the others, which are comparatively 
deserted, and these houses are yours and Lady Mary s.* Here you have the 
sum and substance of all the letters from Rome to friends at Naples, and per 
haps this may give you the first idea of what you are doing, which I dare say 
you were not aware of. I have a letter from Miss Agnes Berry at Paris, with 
snow and sleet, and the other agremens of the season, and they return to 
England to be with poor Mrs. Dorner, whom they think failing, and who wants 
them, otherwise they would have been at Rome with the Hardwickes. They 
write that they mean to be at Lucca baths with Lady Charlotte Lindsay in the 
summer, and vow I shall go, whether I will or not ; while I, like a goose, feel 
more than half inclined. 

" Matthias desires kind things to you God bless my soul ! t I have just 
got a letter from Egypt, where my friend Wilkinson has found at Thebes a 
whole list of kings not yet known, painted and carved on three sides of the 
room. He announces twenty-seven queens, ladies of high fashion in their 
time, two of whom were black, and one very ill-tempered. How he finds out 
their disposition I can not tell. My nephew is, I find, arrived at Rome, and 
I conclude will be in scrapes, if he cannot get some body to take care of him. 
I fear he would be of little use to you ; but if you should feel compassion for 
his youth and innocence, order him to wait upon you, and say I did it, but J 
will not force him on your charities. When I have settled my affairs, I shall 
let you know the day when, after breakfasting at Albano, I shall hope to re 
joice in the sunshine of vour eyes once more. W. GKLL. 

" V A sua Eccellenza la Signora (Jontessa di Blessinglon, Palaz/.o Negroni, Roma." 

"Naples, December 29th, 1S2U. 

" I have put off writing to you so long, day after day, that I almost feel 
ashamed at last of addressing you. One of the causes was the delay of my 
unfaithful spouse, who has been for six months in my debt a letter ; and an 
other, that where no good can be done, one feels averse to mentioning the 
many subjects you must have encountered of an unpleasant and afflicting na 
ture. I beg only to assure you that, though absent and distant, I have never 
ceased to think of you with regard and affection, and to have most anxious- 

* The house of Lady Mary Decrhurst. R. R. M. 

t A favorite exclamation of poor old Matthias, the author of the Pursuits of Lit- 
feature R. R. M 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 359 

ly inquired of all travelers from France concerning your welfare and proceed 
ings. 

" Nevertheless, till the unexpected arrival of Colonel Stewart, I had never 
been able to make out any thing satisfactory about you ; for, though Mills 
seems to have known, yet a tour which he made to England seemed to put an 
end to his power of writing ; and even Craven, who was in the habit of hear 
ing from him, heard no more. Lately, I have an account of you from Mr. 
Hamilton, who sent me a Mr. Chester, to whom I was to give certain intro 
ductions to persons in Egypt. Since I saw you, I have, I think, written two 
or three books, none of which have as yet appeared in public. One is a little 
treatise on the walls and military architecture of the Greeks, with a view to the 
question about Cyclopean walls, with about thirty plates, which I have dedicated 
and given to the Royal Society of Berlin, out of gratitude for their unsought 
protection and election of myself when I was as yet young and unknown. 

" This, I believe, they are publishing at Berlin. The other is a second 
series of Pompeiana, which was thought of when you were in Italy, but which 
is now enlarged to more than eighty plates, and is in the hands of Mr. Jen 
nings, a bookseller in London, who begins to publish it in the spring. In the 
mean time, I recommended to him the propriety of sending me .500, which 
he says he was very glad to do, and which I regret is now in a fair way of 
dissipation, having, however, stopped in its progress the mouths of my credit 
ors, occasioned by Mr. Fauntleroy. I shall request that you will accept a copy 
of the new work on Pompeii, as a companion to that which used to be on your 
table. 

"I suppose we shall soon hear some advertisement on the subject, so pray 
do not send for it if you feel so disposed, as I will order you to be served with 
one of my own copies. I did not much like the account I sent Count D Orsay 
about his Sicilian money. The people are such thorough-bred cheats, that 
they have made a roundabout plot to throw it upon the shoulders of the o-ov- 
ernment, who are not troubled with a propensity to payment. We have fewer 
milords than usual this year, and at Rome there is also a deficiency. 

" The Normanby plays at Florence seem to make that place the favored 
residence. Here we have the Langford, Brookes, and Townley Parkers of 
Cheshire, very admirable people, and I don t know that I ever remember the 
society so pleasant as it has been for the last two years. Bess Caldwell was 
at Rome last year, and she seemed very much taken up with going every day 
to examine the Duke of Buckingham s exhalations. It is supposed she meant 
excavations. When she heard of poor Sir William Drummond s death, she 
asked whether that was not the man that died writing a history of oranges ; 
by which she meant Origines. She is a great loss, but I suppose you will 
have her at Paris this year. I was pleased and displeased to see by the pa 
pers that the count had won a race. I am always in a fright at all sorts of 
sporting for money ; and often one small sum won causes the loss of thou 
sands. 



360 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 



" I fear you will none of you ever come into Italy again, unless you can con 
trive to ruin yourselves. The Roman disturbances arc ended, and even Lady 
Sandwich has been to dine with Lady Mary. What geese people are, to say 
no worse of the trying to pull all one s neighbors down to get into their places. 
The poor archbishop is by no means right ; he has lost his favorite Annette, 
which is a severe blow to him, poor man ! in his eighty-sixth year. Other 
wise, I don t think he was more changed than his age would warrant. He 
always asks very kindly about you all. 

" I saw the Filangiere the other night ; he told me his wounds were break 
ing out afresh, and giving him pain. The Ricciardis spend their lives in get 
ting up plays, but as it has rained three months, and now begins to snow, who 
can go to them "? I must apologize for my horrid paper, the baseness of which 
I did not detect till it was too late to retract. Do you know old Le Chevalier, 
the author of the voyage to the Troad 1 He was formerly a great friend of 
mine, as was Barbia de Bocage, the Barber of the Grove, but he is dead, and, 
I fear, Le Chevalier is by this time grown old ; but he is a very good man, 
and of the old school. 

" My health is, I think, much the same, or perhaps, on the whole, improved. 
Pray let me hear all about yourself, and remember me most kindly to the fat 
doctor, Sir Manly, and the count most kindly, poor little souls ! to those two 
children. W. GELL." 

" Sir William Drummond s book goes on slowly, on account of the writing. 
As to such drawings as you are kind enough to admire, they cost but little 
trouble, and have no value ; but being taken from the antique, or being of 
places difficult of access, as you say, we shall be bound in calf together, with 
great eclat. Speaking of art, M. Ternite has at length seen the new pictures 
at Pompeii, and says of that of Achilles and Briseis, Ah, c est unique. 
Moreover, he swears that, compared to it, all that modern painters have ever 
done are, in comparison, daubs. I really believe I shall be old fool enough to 
sec it before I go to Rome, which must take place, whether I will or no. I 

fear the poor abbo has lost .500 by the failure of B and Company. 

" W. GELL." 

" Naples, March 20th, 1832. 

" You have been on my conscience for at least the last six months, that is, 
I have been purposing to myself to write to you for at least so long a time ; 
but I have been so much occupied in writing like a steam-engine for my bread, 
that I have been obliged to neglect every thing else, till I could finish a work 
on the Roman Topography, in which there is nothing about Rome, but a great 
deal about the country, and which the Society of Dilettanti are undertaking, 
and for which I now expect, perhaps in vain, at least 500, to satisfy thn 
claims of the Torlonias, who give one enough of credit to be one s ruin. 

" Among the misfortunes of the age, cholera, reform, and rebellion, tho poor 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 361 

dear old CountcsH Ricciardi, of Camaldoli, has boon a terrible loss to hor fam 
ily and friondH ; H!IO h;ul tho measles (which tho Italian doctors do not know 
how to treat, when of the kind called confluent) ; and just an tho poor Princess 
of Hutera died a year ago, our poor friend wan killed, by the disease being 
thrown inward by Homo imprudent exposure to air, and tho total want of 
knowledge of the doctors. She died about two days ago. The unhappy IIUH 
band left the house, and retired to that of Coriali, whoHe daughter married one 
of the Ricciardi s HOIIS. 1 ean not tell you any more of the consequences, but 
every body wan Horry for her, poor soul ! and regretted her IOHS. Vou ro- 

ineinl)er Mr. H H sudden attachment to her, and they have, continued great 

friendever Hincc, and seen one another often, as ho liven at the Uclvidero. 
He is only yesterday returned from Persano, whore ho was pretending to 
shoot, by way of getting over the fetes of tins Carnival. Wo have had a very 
bad winter that is, it lian never been very cold, but always too cold, and it has 
rained much more than UHiial. Even now it in not at all the climate for en 
joyment, and the spring in three weeks later than it in in general. I hopo 
you got, and continue to fret, tho new worlc on Pompeii ; if not, let me know, 
i beg, that 1 may arm you with full powers against the publisher, Mr. Jennings. 

" The world here is much altered since you loll it. I should say, tho socie 
ty last year was better than ever, but I was prevented, by tho probability of 
the Trastovcrini sacking Rome, from going there. I intend to go this year, 
if they do not get up another riot between the French and Austrian*, which 
seems not unlikely. In tho mean time, the world is grown much more luxu 
rious and expensive, for one is asked every day to dinners of sixteen arid 
twenty, instead often and twelve, and then; seem to bo a ball, even in Lent, 
nearly every night, only not with fiddles. 

" Yesterday I was invited to three dinners, Lord Hertford, Lady Dmminond, 
and Sir (ieorgo Talbot, and to an assembly at tho two first, and another at 
Count Lebrettern s, tho Austrian minister, HO that tho world hen? is really 
going on swimmingly. We are to have an omnibus expedition to Pompeii 
on Monday next, under the auspices of Lord Hertford. It carries twenty- 
four, and 1 think so great will be its fall, that I intend going in a carriage of 
my own, if 1 ean. You know we have Sir Walter, and he is in much better 
health ; in short, I should say recovered, and all tho bettor sineo his arrival 
here. I took him to Miss Whyte s, in the way to Piestum, and I see him al 
most every day, and dine with him to-morrow. Ho is very agreeable in a 
drive or tttic-d-t( .tc, but lost in parties of twenty, to which he is invited. I took 
him to tho archbishop s* to dine, and am to go ngain this week. The arch 
bishop is quite well, except an inflamed eye, which Dr. Hogg says they aro 
treating ill, and which might be cured in a few hours ; but he has recommend 
ed a proper cure to tho canonico, who will, I hope, persuade the Neapolitan 
doctor to apply it. Sir (jlranvillo Temple told ino last night Champollion was 
dead. It is a great loss, as I believe he has no successor, unless Roeellini of 
* The Archbishop of Tarento. 

VOL. i. a 



362 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

Pisa may be so called. Our last accounts of your London cholera are alarm 
ing, but I trust untrue. Pray remember me kindly to the count, and all who 
are faithful to you to your sister of the long eyelashes, the Contessa , 
for I never can remember the name, pray also remember me. On the whole, 
Italy is quiet and uncholeric for the present, and I can not but think you would 
be at least as happy here as among the turbulencies of Lord Grey and Co. 

"W. G. 

p.S. Among the curiosities, I was delighted to see Miss Skeene, who is 
the Miss Pratt of the novel called Inheritance. You remember, she comes 

to Lord s house in a hearse. I asked Sir Walter, before I saw her, 

if the character was like. He said, Well, I believe it may be, with a little 
ill nature added to her. She seems the very person. I was near calling her 
Miss Pratt twenty times." 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL TO LADY BLESSINGTON. 

" Naples, October 26th, 1832. 

" I am become so much of a coffee-house, that I really have been two days 
beginning to write to you, and even now I begin with two people talking to 
me, so that it is not likely I should indite any thing coherent. You are right 
in saying I have been long obeying your order to write. The besetting vice, 
after vanity of this world, is putting off, just as hell is said to be paved with 
good intentions. I have certainly put off writing for the last three months, 
having all the time suffered my duty to sit as an incubus upon my conscience. 
I have now, however, received your kind present and your beautiful picture. 
Without compliment, it is a most lovely portrait, and, except the expression, 
is like you ; there is something about the mouth which is not you ; and what 
is singular is, that most of the people who see it on my table exclaim at the 
likeness to Lady Augusta Coventry, who is grown up into a beautiful girl, 
and makes many conquests among the heathen. The picture by Mr. Uwins 
is, I think, like me, but it is a little more unhappy than the original. Never 
theless, I must have a melancholy cast of countenance, for a Mr. Uwins, at 
Rome, has taken a small waxen profile of me, which has the same character; 
and it would not be extraordinary, after thirty-two years of illness, if some 
twinges had taken a permanent lodging in some of my features. I am, how 
ever, except the loss of most of my hair, not so much worse than when you 
quitted Italy as might have been expected, and Lord Hertford s plan has 
saved me for the last eighteen months from the same degree of torment which 
I have suffered for the last ten years. I was in hopes your letter would have 
told me when you intended to revisit these countries ; but your house, as 
Craven tells me, is so exquisite in all respects, that he thinks it impossible 
any thing can ever tempt you to move again. Mr. Powell, who seems a 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 353 

most agreeable person, I have already seen twice, and am to meet to-morrow 
at dinner at Craven s. He gives a good account of yourself, and tells me 
that the affairs of Count Alfred will soon be arranged to his satisfaction. I 
am delighted to see that the spirit of order which you always possessed, and 
which has done so much good on other occasions, has enabled you to take 
care of such of your friends as have less foresight than yourself. My preach 
ing has the peculiar advantage of coming from a person who is always in 
debt, and always in the last stage of poverty himself. Either the cholera or 
the reform has so fettered the booksellers in London, that, though the Dilet 
tanti Society have engraved a map for me at their own expense, yet .300, 
which I want to get for the book accompanying it, from a bookseller, do not 
seem at the moment to be easily forthcoming. You say Mr. Uwins has given 
you my picture. Do you mean that you have not got my last Pompeiana, 
second series 1 If not, it is not my fault, but your own, for decidedly Messrs. 
Chaplin and Jennings, in Fleet Street, have long ago put down your name as 
one of my copies sent. Pray send immediately about it, for I dare say all the 
booksellers will fail on the first opportunity. I am sure I sent you the order 
very long ago. By-the-by, I wish there were any means of seeing your By- 
roniana here, where nothing ever arrives till five years after its birth. You 
are probably, by this time, an arbiter of the fate of more than one bookseller. 
Jennings told Craven that nothing sold but what would go into one of the 
annuals. It is very disagreeable to a poor author to write without a certain 
way of disposing of his works. I have at present about seventy paintings 
from Pompeii, &c., which are colored from the originals, and form a very 
beautiful and useful history of the art among the ancients. I wish I could 
find a bookseller to undertake it. Should you see any means of furthering 
my interest with your man of books, pray nail the said bookseller, if you can 
do it without inconvenience to yourself. I think I could make an interesting 
work on the Arabs of Spain, interspersed with translations of some of their 
poetry, which would suit one or any of the annuals, but I must have intro 
duced some views of the Alhambra, to make it more interesting. 

" If I ever come of age, and am not obliged to write for money, I shall cer 
tainly, at all events, give the public an account of the Moors, with the Alham 
bra as an embellishment, as the last and most exquisite of their works. I 
have got notes without end on the subject, which I think would make a very 
interesting book. Our mountain goes on burning, and, I think, seems inclined 
to continue ejecting lava, till a little cone, which has grown out of the centre 
of the crater, you remember, shall be as high as the highest peak of the hill. 

"November 2d. I dined at Craven s with Mr. Powell and his companion, 
Mr. Harcourt. They are going, under the protection of Lord William Fitz 
gerald, to Cumae, on Saturday, and I was asked to meet them at dinner on 
their return. In short, they go about sight-seeing, and they seem to have 
little occasion for any assistance from me. I shall try to get them a footing 
at Lady Coventry s, who keeps open house every evening both here and at 



364 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

Rome, and under whose auspices they may see all the world without trouble. 
I have already told you Lady Augusta is grown up one of the prettiest girls 
possible, and one of the best-educated and well-informed, and mamma has 
taken her to court ; and, in short, she is come out, and the house is on a bet 
ter footing, and has more company in consequence. We have Lord Ponson- 
by arrived as minister, but Mr. Hill is yet at the Belvidere on the Vomero, for 
Lord Berwick is expected not to survive twenty-four hours. It is true he 
rallies perpetually, but by the time this reaches you, you may consider Mr. 
Hill to have become Lord Berwick. You were very kind in remembering my 
servants, and they were very much struck with your goodness when I told 
them, and desired to kiss your hand. Craven desires also a thousand kind 
remembrances. He is in bad humor, as he thinks he is more deaf than usual, 
but I think it only imagination. Nevertheless, he would soon become a sort 
of hermit if he had not some one to keep him always in agitation. The 
young captain seems disposed to keep him in hot water every now and then ; 
but it is a very agreeable, genteel youth, and he acts quite without a rival both 
in French and English. We are to have private theatricals this winter, and 
I dare say shall do very well for company, though the characters supposed to 
be coming from England are, as yet, not named. A family of Colonel Vyse 
have settled in the Palazzo Paterno, one of the most agreeable that ever came 
to Naples, in my opinion. They are numerous, but seem to be rich, so as to 
have all in due proportion. It is said many are come to Rome, but I can learn 
no names. The Torlonias go on just as usual. You would scarcely know 
the father was defunct, except that you don t hear his tremendous cough 
when you go there. I suspect my finances are, however, arrived at that state 
which will render my visits to Rome more rare and more difficult. Mrs. Dod- 
well is at last by no means so ill off as we feared ; in short, every thing con 
sidered, I hope she will be in a better state of finance than nine tenths of the 
Roman nobility. Mr. Mills, who is gone to Sicily, and myself, were left her 
trustees, and I think, between coaxing and scolding, her affairs are in a fair 
way of being settled, insomuch that we have relinquished the business, our 
agency being no longer required. Pray remember me most kindly to Colonel 
Stewart, who has been expected here for the last three years by many. For 
my part, I conceive that Dr. Potter, who hates Naples, will not bring him here 
again. I hear of the ex-Lady Cell, La Comtessa di St. Marsault,* sitting with 
a disdainful air in a high fly-cap in a corner of the room. My blessing upon 
her. The archbishop, who has got your picture, and is delighted, with it, has 
been ill, but is now flourishing, aged ninety. Matthias is younger than ever, 
and more discontented. 

" The Ricciardis I will see or send your message to, with all speed. They 
have not recovered their loss. My dog family consists of Ticati, who is my 
companion, his son and heir, Monsu Qua, a youth of promising talents. I 

* The countess was the youngest sister of Lady Blessington, lately the Miss 
Mary Anne Power whom Gell used to call "my lawful." R. R. M. 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 355 

have also a white terrier, Monsu Bo, of Craven breed. My house is really 
become quite pretty at the expense of 100 two years ago, and when finish 
ed, and I called for the account, I found it had been paid by Lord de Ros ; Sir 
Charles Monck also gave me a fine organ, so you would not know the place. 
My kind regards to Count Alfred, and pray continue to believe me very affec 
tionately yours, W. G. 

" P.S. Ladies are so used to writing criss-cross, that perhaps you will not 
be displeased at this for your Byronian, and may put it in your own terms if 
my short note suits you. Lord Byron had once a vis-a-vis ; I used frequent 
ly to drive out with him in it. One day, passing the Alfred Club, he asked 
if I were a member. I said some one had put me down, but as I had never 
been there, I was going to take my name out. Oh, says he, on no account 
take out your name. Why V said I. Because there are nine hundred can 
didates waiting for admission, and I should have taken out my own name, but 
that I found it would make one of these expectants happy. Only imagine, 
said he, if you took yours off also, there would be two of these wretches de 
lighted, and that would be really too much. He then, as we had no auditors, 
laughed at his own affected misanthropy, which was only put on for the pur 
pose of making the world in general believe there was something extraordi 
nary about him, and which he found for many years a great recommendation 
in that sort of highly-refined society, which is in perpetual want of new and 
extraordinary excitation. I believe I mean excitement. Adieu. W. G. 

" I fear my letter is stupid, and has too much parish business, but I hope 
my next will be more entertaining." 

" Naples, April 4th, 1833. 

" I scarcely know why I have been so long in answering your amiable let 
ter, and thanking you for your kind attention about books and booksellers ; 
for, though I have been frequently ill, and have passed the winter, which has 
been here remarkably cold, rather comfortably, I have somehow or other writ 
ten a great deal, and when your letter arrived had just been employing myself, 
by the desire of the family, in writing those very same memoirs of Sir Walter 
Scott s residence in Italy which you recommended to my attention. I have 
made use of the letter from the bookseller you had spoken to so far as to di 
rect Mr. Hamilton s attention to him with regard to the disposal of my Ro 
man Topography, but I have not as yet heard the result. Not that I have, 
indeed, any great hopes of any thing favorable, for he writes that the book 
sellers are absolutely ruined, and that even [ ] has been twice in danger 

of bankruptcy. M , however, offers to print my book, and to give me 

half the profits, which is not what I want, as such profits, though guaranteed 
by the Society of Dilettanti, arc never likely to be great to an author abroad. 
The odd circumstance is, that though the book was written at the desire of 
the said society, and they profess high satisfaction at its execution, they do 
not offer me the 300 which I want, and take the profits to themselves as 
they arise. Miss Scott wrote to me, by the desire of Mr. Lockhart, to beg I 



366 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM CELL. 

would send him my reminiscences of Sir Walter, because I was the last of 
his friends. The fact is, that I had generally the care of him while he was 
in Italy, and though I thought I was going to write only a page or two, I soon 
found myself writing my twentieth and thirtieth pages, without approaching 
the end of my materials, which finally reached a fiftieth page, and, consider- 
in & all circumstances, the whole is by no means so barren of interest as I 
thought it would have been when I begun the narrative. It contains, even to 
a certain degree, information as to his future literary projects, which could 
not have been recorded, I believe, by any other means. 

" I shall send you a little bit of it with regard to Lord Byron, which I for 
got to send you before, and you can mention it or not, as it suits your pur 
pose. Your house at the Belvidere is just become vacant by the retreat of 
Lord Berwick, who is going to England. He wishes to buy it, and the price 
is only about 3000, so it is quite wonderful it is not already sold, as the win 
dows have been renewed. The dowager queen has bought and beautifully 
fitted up your Villa Gallo, and the Duke of Gallo himself died some two months 
ago, having left his family not ill provided for. It is hoped Diego Pignatelli 
will marry the widow. Of the Ricciardis, there is nothing new ; they are 
well, and always ask most kindly about you. Naples has the advantage of 
Rome this year in point of company ; but after the Holy Week we are to 
change sets. To-day is the holy Thursday, when carriages are not permitted 
in Naples, so I am going on an ass to dine with Lord Hertford at the next 
house to the Paterna, and I hear he has either juggles or phantasmagoria at 
night. My pension as vice-chamberlain seems about to be granted, under the 
protection of the lord chancellor that is, it would seem so, for the claim is 
established, and he promises his assistance ; but I am not to be deluded by 
appearances, and Lady Charlotte Lindsay, who says she backed her applica 
tion with a roasted turkey and a bottle of well-iced champagne, says she is 
aware, like Lord Duberley, that fine words butter no parsnips. The ac 
knowledgment of rny claim proves that I ought to have arrears, and if they 
did not acknowledge my claims, it might in the end be worse for their own 
people, and would serve as a precedent to cut them off. Nevertheless, I shall 
only believe in my pension when I see it. I have written all this while 
obliged to talk to company, who sit upon me, a penance to which I am very 
much subjected ; and my house is really become so pretty by the expenditure 
of only 100 upon it, which has built a portico, and made all the rooms com 
municate in a suite, besides a fine organ which Sir Charles Monck gave me, 
that I am become a sort of coffee-house for the idle and the nothmg-to-doarians 
of the place. I believe I shall not get to Rome this year, as my journey de 
pended on the 300 for my book arriving, and that seems cut off. 

" Now for Sir Walter : I accompanied him to the convent of La Trinita 
della Cava, and in going he repeated to me the poem or ballad of Jock of Ha- 
zledean. In returning I desired him to let me hear it again, and on express 
ing my surprise at the clearness of his recollection, he told me he had a most 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 357 

remarkable memory, and had astonished many by it. On his first introduc 
tion to Lord Byron, some one (whose name I forget) was looking on with 
wonder at the apparent correctness with which he spoke, and the singular 
changes in Lord Byron s countenance as he proceeded. He was repeating to 
the great poet the whole of the poem of Hardyknute, which he then knew by 
heart, and which proved so highly interesting to his lordship. My notes also 
refer to a conversation I had with Sir Walter as to why he had left off writ 
ing poetry. When I asked this question, he said, Because I found Byron 
beat me ; but I shall now try again. These anecdotes, which may amuse 
some, are all found in my contribution, which I have sent to Hamilton to give 
to Mr. Lockhart ; for as the family had requested them of me, I could not 
well dispose of them to my own advantage, which I was told I might easily do. 

" I keep a copy, however; and if Mr. Lockhart does not use my materials, 
which I think he can hardly reject, as I have taken care to give due honor to 
his hero, they may appear hereafter separately. I have lately been very idle 
as to writing ; for the penny magazines afford no encouragement to booksell 
ers, nor they, in consequence, to me. I hear I am made a member of the 
French Institute, and so is Millingen, who is just come into my room, and 
sends his best respects to you. I hear of Count Alfred in the newspapers as 
hunting in Leicestershire : pray give my kindest regards to him. I have also 
lately seen a print of him on horseback, which is good. Lady Augusta Cov 
entry and Henry Fox are to be united in the holy bands of matrimony imme 
diately, at Florence, whence they proceed northward. She is become a very 
pretty girl, and he has at present a very bad fit of the gout at Rome. The 
houses at Castelamare are already taken for the summer. Lord Ponsonby 
was on the point of embarking for Constantinople in the Action, when, the 
day before yesterday, so violent a storm arose that he is yet on shore. 

"My servants, who all cherish your memory, hearing me ask about the 
means of sending this letter to you, desire to kiss your hands, according to 
the custom of the country. My dogs, horses, and every thing else, remain 
just as you left them, except that I inherited the margravine s landau, which 
is more convenient for my disabled legs. My kind regards to the Contessa 

de St. M , whom I have heard of sitting silent in a corner in a high cap. 

" WILLIAM GELL." 

" Naples, Nov. 19th, 1833. 

" Your friend, Mr. Bulwer, I have received safe, with his friends ; but not 
so your book, which, in a box with several things of their own, they have 
contrived to lose on the way ; so I must put off the gratification I should have 
had in reading it till somebody here gets it, which may not be for months to 
come, for books are ages before they arrive in this country. Mr. Bulwer 
seems, indeed, all you have described ; for, though he has only been here 
some three or four days, yet we have contrived to get very well acquainted in a 
very short time. I asked them to breakfast the morning after I received your 



368 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

letter, and they brought me one at the same time from Lady S at Rome, 

by which I found they were fond of dogs ; so that the first thing I heard in 
my outer room, and before I saw any person, was the exclamation, Oh, you 
dear creature ! addressed to my dog, who went to see who was come. We 
got on very well, and they ate maccaroni with great success, and positively 
bought a dog of the same species as mine before they went home, of a black 
color, which they christened Lusio, and carried off to their lodgings. I have 
had a note from each of them since, and on Sunday I am to meet them at 
dinner at Mr. Craven s, for whom I believe you gave them also a letter. I 
have also told Lady Drummond to invite them to dinner, which she has prom 
ised to do ; and thus, so far, I hope they will feel satisfied with my little at 
tentions, bestowed according to your order. 

" I have made every inquiry as to the sale of books by a bookseller here, 
and, not trusting to my own exertions, I have employed such of my friends 
as are most fitted for the purpose. There is nothing in the shape of book- 
gelling in this town ; the libraries are only just tolerated, and their owners 
can hardly exist. No bookseller here has a correspondent in London, that I 
can find ; nor do I hear of any purchase of such a book as yours, except the 
Duke of Cassorano, in the whole city. He immediately thought of making 
such a book himself, and filling it with princesses of Centola, Tre Cose, Monte 
Yago, &c., &c. ; but he could give me no assistance, and certainly Naples is 
not a place for the advancement of literature, so I am unable to execute your 
commands. You had heard that I was in bad health, and so I am certainly ; 
but I think not much worse than when you were in Italy, only that my hair 
is fallen off, and I shall be reduced to baldness or a wig in the course of an 
other year, if I live so long. Here is Terrick Hamilton just arrived, but going 
shortly to Koine. He is well and merry ; but when I meet him at dinners, 
where I die of cold, he is always complaining of heat, and is very amiable. 
Here, also, is Dr. M G , author of the last novel I read, called The Par 
son s Daughter. At this moment I received a little work of a few pages from 
the archbishop upon cats, on the occasion of a cat s mummy brought for him 
from Egypt by a friend of mine, Dr. Hogg, who is just come from that coun 
try. The good old soul is really very little altered since you saw him, though 
he is now ninety-two ; but I can not imagine how the machine is to go on 
much longer. He desires one thousand loves to you, and I am to take the 
Bulvver to dine with him shortly, though I fear, if he is not quick at Italian, 
he will scarcely become very intimate, as I observed Walter Scott and Mon- 
signore did not make it out very well together, for the archbishop will not 
take the trouble to talk much or long together in French. By-the-by, I ob 
served to you that my life of Walter Scott in Italy, which I wrote by the desire 
of Miss Scott, was very entertaining in its way, and I sent it to Mr. L. by Mr. 
Hamilton. He has never, however, thanked me for it, nor even acknowl 
edged the receipt of it, nor sent me Sir Walter s works, which he ordered for 
mo with almost the b.st sentence he uttered that \vas intelligible ; and if it 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 359 

does not appear in the work, it will be really worth publishing, and I shall 
send it to you. 

" November 27th. I went with the Bulwer to the archbishop s to dine yes 
terday. The good old man would be very polite, which I told him to submit 
to. He showed us several curiosities, and put oft the dinner till four by so 
doing. We coaxed his cats, and Bulwer seemed much pleased with him, as 
he seemed with Bulwer. There was nobody but Cavaliere Venorio, the chief 
of the botanists here ; and he seemed, also, to get on very well with the Bul 
wer, who is this day gone to Pompeii, luckily with fine weather. At this 
moment, in comes the Baron de Billing, the French secretary of embassy, who 
wishes to know Mr. Bulwer, and I have given him a note of introduction, as 
I promised. The Baron de Billing has been ten years in London, and is a 
very clever person, and I think it probable you know him. The Craven s 
mother has bought and fitted up beautifully your old Villa Gallo, but your oth 
er house, the Belvidere, remains untenanted since Lord Berwick departed, 
and will want repairs, as I hear, before it can be habitable again. It is to be 
sold for only 3000, and Lady Drummond has given over 10,000 for the 
villa, or cake house, of Mr. Dupont, on the Capo di Monte. We have three 
or four of the Yacht Club here, with their ships, which help to enliven the 
scene, and we expect Lord Anglesey with his. I have seen Lady Harriet and 
her sister, as also, another day, her aunt ; she is so altered since I knew her 
as a girl that I really should not have known her. They live at Brettagna, 
but in such retirement that I have never seen any of them out. The Acton 
Palace is so far finished that they receive company, and give dinners and balls 
with great success. It is quite astonishing how many people come to Na 
ples, and how the people, whom I knew when I was a young man in London, 
appear yet unexhausted, so that I have very often my whole morning taken 
up by visitors. Matthias, aged eighty-one, is rather younger than ever, but 
complains that he sees nobody. Craven had him to dinner, and remarked how 
clever he was at contriving to ask questions without ceasing, yet never to 
profit in the least by the answer. The canonico is well and merry, and the 
Ricciardi in a good state. Cariati and Casarano desire mille choses to you. 

" W. G." 

" Naples, January 22, 1834. 

" I am now roasting myself close to a large fire in my own house, waiting 
dinner for Dr. Hogg, a portentous name, you will say, but belonging to an ex 
ceedingly benevolent and amiable physician, who, after residing here for some 
years, is just returned from a tour in Syria and Egypt, with your friend Mr. 
Baillie. Though I am roasting, the necessity for it is only produced by my 
own cold nature, for a finer summer s day was never seen than this has been, 
and Doctor Watson, who is just arrived from Paris, where he has been five 
or six years, says he had no idea of the difference till he found himself again 
in Italy. He says that, except the three glorious days, lie has never seen 

0,2 



370 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

the weather so fine since he left Naples. But that was not at all the thing 
I intended to say. My first object was to tell you that my man, Gennarino, 
who is only just saved by the English doctors from death, has been twice to 
see the boy in question, and that he is quite well and happy. He has fine, 
light-colored hair, which could scarcely be seen for the magnificent cap, made 
ornamental, which he wore on his head. He appears about six or seven years 
old, and is very lively, and they say very clever, and learns every thing with 
quickness. He is, moreover, remarkably clean and well clothed, and, as Gen 
narino says, is treated quite like a signore di gualita e parla Francese, and is 
so well satisfied with his present treatment, and with those who have the care 
of him, that he ran away and hid himself when he found the inquiries were 
made for himself, for fear that my man might be sem\ to take him away. 
There is always a drawback to every story, and it appears that the little boy 
has some sort of defect in one leg, which may be perhaps in the hip joint, but 
is called in the foot, and it is said that Ischia waters will cure him. I confess, 
from the account, the cure seems to me doubtful, but in the mean time the 
boy is perfectly well in health, and by means of a shoe with a thicker sole, 
fatto dal meglio scarpayo di Napoli con molta cura, he runs about just as 
well as any other boy of his age. As far as care goes, therefore, he has all 
you can wish, and his health is perfect. A letter is just arrived for his moth 
er from the family, which I shall direct and send, as the letters sent before had 
probably failed from want of superscription. 

" So much, therefore, for your commission, which I hope you will find sat 
isfactory. I have consulted Casarano about the sale of your book here, and 
I find any attempt would be quite useless, as nobody has any money for books 
in the whole kingdom, nor will any one buy a book of any kind. I have heard 
only of four persons any where who read or buy. Two live in the mountains 
of the frontier, and thus smuggle into the state the few books they can ob 
tain ; the third is a Neapolitan cavalierc, who receives books of classic learn 
ing from Germany ; and the fourth is the prefect of a provincial town, who 
longs in vain for books, but is forced to go without them. I shall keep a 
sharp look-out for Colonel Hughes, who, I suppose, is one of Lord Dinorben s 
family. 

" You have done me a great kindness by sending me the Conversations, 
of which I have hitherto seen only detached portions, which, by-the-by, are 
so full of talent and of shrewd observation, that I can not help congratulating 
the memory of Lord Byron on the fortunate circumstance which left his ideas 
in such good keeping, that they have been matured and perfected before they 
saw the light. There were brave men before, as a Roman poet observes, but 
no Homer to celebrate them. The truth is, you see things in a much better, 
and fairer, and juster light yourself than Byron ; you know more of the world 
than he did ; and, moreover, it is not part of your system to make yourself 
seem in ill humor when you are not so. 

" I beg to observe that, in The Conversations, I reverence you infinitely 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 37^ 

more than the poet ; indeed, as I have more respect for Homer than for Aga 
memnon, I have had this in my mind whensoever I have read the extracts from 
your work, but you have probably had the same feeling repeated many times, 

and better explained by a hundred literary admirers. As to Mr. L , I fear 

much that he is not good for much, and I am certain he got the work, for I 
sent it to Mr. William Hamilton, who gave it with a request that he would not 
omit a word of it in printing. I kept a copy of it, however, and I will send it 
to you. There are no remarks except such as tend to explain away and ren 
der less ridiculous the total want of classical taste and knowledge of the hero, 
in a situation full of classical recollections, and which I have added, that I 
might not seem insensible to his real merits. They were written for the fam 
ily, and by the desire of Miss Scott herself, and therefore nothing offensive 
could have been inserted ; and when I had finished the anecdotes, I was sur 
prised myself at the number of circumstances I had recollected, and perceived 
that the account of the last days of so distinguished a person was really inter 
esting, when told with strict regard to truth. The circumstances of his ill 
ness having changed his mind, or deprived it of its consistency, which I my 
self much doubt, might be judged of from his way of treating the subjects of 
conversation which presented themselves, and this alone would be of conse 
quence to his numerous friends. 

" I think it scarcely possible that any of those most attached to him could 
be displeased at my manner of representing him, and, at all events, I have re 
peated what he said, and related what he did in Italy, in a way that satisfied 
every one here who was the witness of his sayings and doings. However, I 

shall send the copy to you, and if the Life is published by the said L , 

without use and acknowledgment of my papers, the best way will be to sell 
it to the bookseller, and to let it come before the public. I will affix, or 

rather prefix, Miss S s request that I would write it, and will suppose 

that the original has been lost or mislaid, in consequence of her premature de 
cease. In this case, I shall beg of you to make the most advantageous bar 
gain you can for a poor author under your protection. 

" My book on Roman Topography, which will, I am persuaded, if it ever 

sees the light, gain me credit, still continues unsold and unprinted. M 

is calculating the expense, Hamilton and Co. and Vyse are interesting them 
selves, and the University of Cambridge offers to take one hundred copies, but 
I hear of no results at present. Mr. Bulwer has written to his man of book 
selling in London, after having read my work, to recommend it, but the an 
swer is not yet returned. The times are bad, or, as my royal mistress would 
have expressed it, O trumpery, Moses, for O tempora, &c. I go on 
scribbling at you to the end of my paper, which you must rejoice to see ar 
rived. 

" I dine with the archbishop to-day, who is well and merry, and sends his 

love. Lady H is leaving Naples for Rome immediately. I suppose, at 

the end of March, I shall see her again at Rome. WILLIAM GELL. 



372 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 



" Mrs. Dodwell is really become Countess Spaw, or Spanker, and is Bava 
rian Incaricato, and is to be minister at Rome. She will now have a fair 
chance in life ; her last husband was quite crazy during the latter part of his 
life." 

" Naples, 30th January, 1834. 

" I have scarcely had time to overlook a copy of my Scottiana before Mr. 
Bulwer sets out for England. It is written by the Sticchini mentioned there 
in, who does not understand English, and therefore I fear blunders may have 
escaped me and him. I have an abominable headache, so that I can scarcely 
sit up to write, and I can say little more than what occurs to me as right. 

" With regard to the MS., if Mr. L has got the original, and has used 

it entirely in his Life of Sir Walter, nothing is to be done, I suppose ; but if 
he has not got it, has lost it, and does not publish it instanter, I am for selling 
it to the highest bidder. In my own copy I have the portrait, most luckily 
like, in a good sense, and two Roman caricatures mentioned. 

" The Galera, which I took when there with you ; a view of the Castle of 
Bracciano, which I took while sitting talking with Lord Blessington ; a view 
from the window of the lake, which I took while talking with Sir Walter ; and 
the stair-case in the court, which I did for him : but these I do not send, as I 
hear London booksellers can no longer deal with plates. 

" I am too headachy to write more. WILLIAM GELL. 

" Lady Harriet is gone to Rome." 

" Naples, March 9th, 1834. 

" I feel as if I were going to write you a long letter, and to become very 
troublesome. Since you wrote to me on the 17th of February, you will have 
received from Mr. Bulwer the MS. of the notes on Sir AValter Scott, and may 
have, perhaps, disposed of it to some bookseller in London, so that it no long 
er rests with me to decide on what should bo its fate. I was asked, on the 

day I sent the original, why I sent it to Mr. L 1 and I answered, because 

Miss S had asked me to write it ; but that I was totally unacquainted 

with the gentleman, or he with me, and we had no friend in common. 

" The truth is, that he ought to have been thankful for the information, and 
as the conversations chiefly took place in a carriage, these circumstances can 
not possibly have been learned from any other quarter. I dare say he thanked 
Mr. Hamilton, but as he thinks he has better information elsewhere, it is doing 
him no harm to keep my information for my own use ; and when I consider 
that the whole about Rhodes can only have been said to me, and that I am the 
only person who could hAve given Sir Walter the information he wanted on 
that subject, I must think that interesting, and I could mention many other 
tilings in the MS. that could only be related by myself. 

" However, I will beg of you to make a few changes, which I will write on 
a separate sheet, for I do not wish to offend any body, begging of you to wafer 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 373 

into the MS. at the proper places the few words about the publication at the 
beginning and end, and a few anecdotes which have recurred to my memory 
since the notes were written. I can not but imagine that you will be disap 
pointed on reading the work, because it will be found so much shorter than 
you expected, the whole being purposely as much condensed as possible. 
You will therefore not be surprised if it does not produce in the market the 
respectable sum you have imagined as its value. I am not at all surprised at 
the wish to print it as if from another supposed hand, for I have seldom, out 
of the sixteen or seventeen publications I have made of maps and books, suc 
ceeded in securing to myself the fame of any merit they may possess. 

" You would be surprised at the catalogue of literary thefts by which I have 
suffered. Yet, per grazia del cielo, I find myself very frequently cited, both 
in England and on the Continent, wherever the subjects I have discussed are 
touched upon ; and so much for that business. One shall be a great man 
among the little boys some years after one s death. 

" Mr. Craven, with whom and the Patcrno, and the Satriano Filangieris, 
&c., I have been to dine with Miss Whyte to-day at Portici, says he will get 
ready for you by the time appointed a story for your Book of Beauty. Pray 
tell me whether a translation of a very queer old Portuguese book, The Travels 
of the Infante Don Pedro to the Seven Quarters of the Globe, would not do 
for your work 1 It is very strange, and quite original, and the prince goes, 
among other places, to the court of Prester John of Abyssinia. It might be 
divided, perhaps, into two or three parts, if it be too long, which I really think 
it is. Would you like some of the old Spanish Moorish ballads translated 1 
for example, any addressed to the beautiful Zayda, as yours is a Book of 
Beauty 1 

" I had once an idea of publishing such things when I was younger and 
more romantic, before age and infirmity had put an end to all poetic illusions. 

" Mr. Rothwell, by-the-by, the great painter who was sent to me by Lord 
S , and whom I have sent in a letter to you this morning, says, on look 
ing over my book of the Alhambra, that a Moorish Annual or Album would 
be one of the prettiest things in the world, and might, with good engravings, 
become a successful work ; and in such a case, the Moorish ballads would 
come in well. Nothing, certainly, would be half so picturesque or so beautiful ; 
but, like every thing of the kind, it could not be carried on with interest for 
more than two or three years. I shall see, in your Book of Beauty, what 
sorts of subjects are fitted for it, and hope to be able to do something in some 
way or other to suit it. A little bit of an adventure, a journey in Asia Minor, 
would perhaps not be amiss ; but we shall see. I don t think myself capable 
of exciting much interest without having recourse to the pencil to aid my 

muse, whether poetic or historic. Lady H is gone, but it is possible I 

may see her at Rome, where I think of being on the 1st of April, and of re 
maining till the 1st of June. My house there is let to the 25th of March to 
Mr. Brooke Greville, who is perhaps known to you. We have floods of com- 



374 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

pany, and sometimes, between Lady Strachan and Lady Acton, two private 
plays in a week. We had three Italian comedies, like the French vaudevilles, 
last nio-ht at Lady Acton s, and they were got up by Neapolitans with very 
great success. 

" The young Duke of St. Theodore, as a shy lover, won great applause, and 
Donna Olympia Colonna, and the mistress of the house, the Duchess of Mi 
randa, and the Duchess of Cajanello, with many others, showed much talent 
in the French plays. Craven is the only Englishman engaged, but his son is 
expected soon. The family of La Feronays, as usual, form the heroes and 
heroines of all the French pieces, and sing and act in perfection. 

" The king and all the court generally come to all these great entertainments, 
and, besides being very expensive, they last till about two hours after midnight. 
Besides those amusements, we have tremendous dinners at Lady Drummond s 
and Lord Hertford s, with assemblies in the evening, to most of which I go in 
my wheeling chair, by way of seeing the world in my old age, and must say 
I find every one as kind and compassionate as one can have either right or 
hopes to expect in these hard times. Craven, as you know, has bought a 
large convent in the mountains, near Salerno, which he has fitted up with 
every sort of convenience, and where he receives in the summer all comers, 
four or five ladies at a time, with gentlemen to match, and is really very hos 
pitable both to strangers and natives. If you ever return to this country, you 
will be amused by a trip to his valley. 

" I have sent you, as I said before, Mr. Rothwell, the new Sir Thomas 
Lawrence, and I think a very clever person ; so much so, that he is quite big 
enough to help himself in the world. But I mean to send you a most benevo 
lent and good sort of person, not much known to fame, with the ugly name 
of Dr. Hogg, who has been here some years, and is just returned from Egypt 
and the Holy Land, where saints did live and die. He makes the most won 
derful faces, and has the strongest action with his hands you ever saw, and 
Mr. Hill used to ask him to dinner to witness them ; but he will tell you how 
the world goes on here better than most people, and as you have round you 
many men of rank and fashion, you will, not dislike, for a change, to see a 
traveler without pretensions, whose merit consists in a kind heart, and a very 
benevolent deposition to do all lie can for the benefit of his fellow-creatures. 
Speaking of which, (Jennarino is become a great friend of the family, and the 
child in Strada di Chiaja, and sees them almost every day. He says they are 
all very well, and hecm pleased at his coining to see how well the boy is taken 
care of. I forgot to say that Doctor Hogg will not torment you much, as ho 
is only going to England for a short time on business. Our Duke of Derby 
shire is in Sicily, and very much recovered from his lameness. He is very 
kind-hearted, and in the only person I have seen for years who knows any 
thing of my family, which I don t believe flourishing. My nephew, that hope 
ful youth, in at Milan, and, as Count Metri told me at the archbishop s (who 
i quite well, and salutes you), he is not very flourishing. How glad you must 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 375 

be my paper is ended, for curiosity will lead you to read the whole of my let 
ter. So, with kind regards to the count, and thanks to Lord Durham, &c., 

" ANACHARSIS. 

" Lady Blessington is requested to insert in my MS., after the last of the 
notes on Rhodes, the following record of a conversation with Sir Walter re 
specting the Stone of Odin : 

" On our return to the Palazzo Caramanico, we passed Mr. Laing Mason in 
the street, and this brought to Sir Walter s mind the refutation of the antiquity 
of Macpherson s Ossian by Mr. Laing, who had shown that the names of the 
heroes were taken from the map, I think, of the channel between the Isle of 
Skye and the main land. One of these names. said he, happens to have 
been given in the last century, and the date of that is well known. Mr. Laing 
knew those countries well, and his proof was striking: and satisfactory. I think 
he said Mr. Laing came originally from Orkney, and he added, I once went 
to see him, and carried over in my boat a fagot of sticks for the peas in his 
garden, which were reckoned there a great curiosity. He said, however, that 
elders would grow, and that the face of the country might be improved by them. 
From this he was led to compare the once flourishing state of those islands 
with their present forlorn appearance, and observed that, to a people from 
the farthest north, these might perhaps have seemed the abodes of the blessed. 
They were certainly, said he, esteemed holy, and there was a great circular 
building like Stonehenge not far from Kirkwall. which proved the importance 
of the place. Saying this, he searched for and presented to me a pencil draw 
ing of the temple, which I preserve, and highly value. It is entitled, Stand 
ing Stones of Stenhouse in Orkney, and has on the back inscribed the name 
of J. Keene. Esq.. by whom it was probably drawn. Sir Walter mentioned 
another pillar, called the Stone of Odin, which is perforated, and afterward 
descanted on the ordeal by which persons accused of crime were deemed in 
nocent if capable of passing through this species of aperture in very remote 
ages. 

" Lady B. is requested to insert the following passage where Sir Walter 
has been speaking of his acquaintance here : 

" Before Sir Walter Scott quitted Naples, he made the acquaintance of Mr. 
Ball, a gentleman advantageously known to the society of that city as the au 
thor of two poems, of which the baronet was pleased to express his approba 
tion. His amiable feeling, on every occasion, led him to assist and encourage 
all younsjer authors, and he seemed totally devoid of every spark of that little 
ness and jealousy which sometimes actuates even the most illustrious and es 
tablished literati." 

"March 10 (1S34). 

" I have just received a letter from Mr. Bulwer. who writes that his first 
visit in London was to Ottley and Saunders, booksellers, and that he has suc 
ceeded in selling them my work, called Roman Topography. How very good- 



376 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

natured of him to have attended to my wants before he had settled himself, 
and rested from the fatigues of his journey. He writes me a kind letter to 
thank me for my little attentions at Naples. I did for him what you ordered 
that is, set him a going, by presenting him to the best people, or praising him 
as he deserved ; after which he made his own way, of course, with success. 
I wish my means permitted me to be more useful. By-the-by, a Mr. Rey 
nolds sent by you seems very angry with me, but I can not help it. I have 
no legs to go a visiting, and never go out but borne by two servants. So, if 
you send me any one in a letter, pray tell them that I am a cripple, and can 
only be useful to them if they will take the trouble of coming to my house, as 
I can not make calls. It only makes enemies, if the people will not recollect 
that I am lame. I have got another passage, which, I think, ought not to be 
omitted, about Sir Walter, and don t be angry at all the trouble I give you. 
I believe I can say that Craven has already begun something in verse for your 
work. He will, I have no doubt, do it well as to execution, and as to story, 
he knows the history of all the odd things which have happened in Italy from 
the most remote period of the darkest ages. I have just discovered that I 
must have a little separate slip of paper for my last Scott anecdote, as the list 
about Odin s Stone does not come at the end. 

" March 12. Your maid s child is well and merry, but is to be taken to Is- 
chia in the summer for this defect in the joints ; he is very well taken care of, 
and delighted to see Gennaro. The archbishop is quite well, and not a day 
older than when you left him. W. G." 

" Naples, June 2d, 1834. 

" Here I am again, just returned from Rome, and agreeably surprised to 
find a long letter from you, which I expected the less, as I had not answered 
that which Messrs. Errington and Lyne Stevens, or Stephens, brought for me 
to the Holy City ; for there 1 have done all that could be done under the ex 
isting circumstances, when all the milords and my ladies were disappear 
ing, and leaving Rome and the Colosseum to their own resources. The best 
thing I could do for them was to sell them to Lady Coventry, with a request 
that they might be treated on a par with the most favored nations, and to see 
that she executed her part of the treaty. I believe they will tell you I was as 
good as a grandmother to them, and I think it ended by their becoming guests 
at Coventry almost every day in the week. Moreover, I dare say Lady 
Goodwin will arrive at Naples in a few days, and take them again under her 
protection here, and as she keeps open house at both places, they find her a 
very useful and a very agreeable acquaintance. 

" I told you it had not rained for three months at Rome, and till the last few 
days I spent there, every thing was as yellow and burned up as if it had been 
August instead of May. 

" I find this kingdom quite green, and every thing in a most flourishing con 
dition, after that worn-out, misgoverned, unfortunate representative of the 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 377 



mistress of the world. I found here Craven, on the point of setting out for 
his convent of Penta ; and I have scarcely seen any of my acquaintance yet, 
though Mr. Temple invited me for to-day, and I shall dine with the archbishop 
to-morrow. I have been so perpetually ill at Rome, that I am inclined to de 
sert it, and as books will no longer sell in my line, it will be quite as well for 
my finances. 

" You have had a great deal of trouble in fishing for a decent escape from 

the business of Mr. L , and I thank you for it. I do not wish myself to 

do any thing disagreeable to the family, but I think it very ill-judged of them 
not to place every thing in its true light, especially when I had suppressed 
every thing which might have been put in a ludicrous light, out of respect and 
regard to Sir Walter. They can not revoke his two last novels, so it will be 
out of their power to get rid of the facts, while they lose all the merit they 
might claim for stating the case as it was. Besides, the whole philosophy of 
the business becomes tainted by that want of candor which spoils their book, 
without hiding the truth. They have shown the man as he was in his glory 
(we will suppose) ; it was equally their duty to the public and to posterity to 
show him in his decline. The whole is a dull piece of affected piety, which 
vitiates whatever they may publish of him ; but, as far as I am concerned, I 
only care about it as having taken the trouble to recollect and write down 
what was so little worth recollecting or writing, except as the sequel to some 
thing of more consequence, and the winding up of the story. I believe I dis 
covered, during the time I was writing, that any biography of any contempo 
rary must be amusing. And this brings to my mind your recommendation to 
write an autobiography of Sir William Gell. There is no doubt, if one dared 
to write all one knew and all one had witnessed, the book would indeed sell, 
and be a great favorite for a time ; but I doubt whether the author would find 
himself in a very agreeable position in society after the publication. By liv 
ing partly in London and partly abroad, I have certainly met with, and have 
known a great variety of personages, not to mention Dr. Parr, and the queen, 
of whose life and manners I could certainly make very good fun and much 
amusement ; but I must treat them in a very different manner to that which 
I measured my account of Sir Walter for the inspection of his family. I have 
a neighbor who often desires me, and urges me, to write my life, but I really 
do not see the possibility of making it true and entertaining without commit 
ting half my acquaintance. I have some sixty or seventy letters of her most 
gracious majesty, Queen Caroline ; and, Mein Gott ! what curious things 
they are, and how rightly it would serve the royal family, supposing they had 
not quarreled with her, to publish their wife and cousin s correspondence, as 
they have cheated me out of my pension. By no means, however, publish my 

Scottiana, as you seem to think that L is inclined to behave well about 

it, though his reasoning is poor, and false, and inconclusive, as a history of 
Rome would be which finished at the Antonius s, or one of Bonaparte which 
ended at the taking of Berlin. Speaking of which, I dined in company with 



378 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

the Prince of Musignano, at Rome, the other day, who married a cousin, a 
Miss Bonnarte, which wife seemed as dull as the prince himself seemed an 
imated and interested in every subject. And so my paper is ending before I 
have finished my story. I will find a Spanish, or Arabian-Moorish historico- 
romantic ballad for you, and I will set about Matthias to-morrow, who will dis 
claim all knowledge of poetry in Italian, but who will most probably end by 
sending you what you want. I forgot to tell you that Mr. Errington and Co. 
are here, for they overtook me at Mola, as they traveled post, and I with my 
own horses. So we dined together, and set out together the next morning ; 
but as my said horses had only been at Naples some twelve hours before, they 
have been indulged in rest, and I have not seen your friends here yet. Mr. 

Errington said he had written to you. Lady H I saw at Rome with Lord 

B s aunt. Our warlike king has taken the city by capitulation, and has 

spared the sacking of it, which would have taken place had it been taken by 
storm. Mr. Mills I left at Rome, but going to the lakes of Lombardy. Not 
a soul, except William Petre, will be left at Rome. 

" The Torlonias are well. Kind regards to the count, and pray believe me 
affectionately yours, AULUS (GELLIUS). 

" P.S. I don t know whether you knew poor Mr. Coote, a young man of 
Wiltshire, and son of Sir Eyre. He had a yacht here, and is just returned 
from a voyage to Greece. After this, he would steer his ship in a storm of 
rain to Paestum, and then dine in his wet clothes ; the consequence of which 
was, that he died in a few days." 

" Naples, July, 1834. 

" Your two books of Byron and of Beauty arc at length arrived, and I re 
turn you my most hearty thanks for the kind present. 

" I see by the book that the ladies are sometimes only very slenderly attach 
ed to the letter-press, like the unpaid attaches of an embassy, so that as far 
as that goes, one of my Arab or Spanish ballads may be attached to the next 
lady you have in an Oriental costume, who may be called Zayda, as well as 
by any other name equally sweet-smelling. This reflection gives me some 
hopes that what I have written may be of use to you, though it is terribly 
prosaic, because I want to prove that the world is deceived in calling the whole 
of that a romance which is in great part true, and of which the circumstances 
are very peculiar. I think I have proved what I wished, and that, as it all 
ends in specimens of Spanish and Arab poetry, it is not too heavy for your 
work. It is also very poor in style ; but if you knew how many people that 
have nothing to do call upon me in a day, so that the prose is all written in 
talkative company, and the verse with a pencil, as one takes an evening drive 
in a carriage on the Strada Nuova, you would pity rather than condemn the 
most humble of your slaves. Besides this, I am scarcely a day in tolerable 
health between gout and headache, though my spirits keep up most marvel- 
ously, and I am just as merry as my more fortunate neighbors. I know not 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 379 

when my letter was begun, but this day, July 15th, I have finished all I mean 
to write for you, and given three or four romances in limping verse, and I end 
with an anecdote about a king who sent his enemy with a letter of recom 
mendation, which authorized the receiver to cut off the bearer s hands and 
feet, and to bury him alive. 

" If I had thought it sufficiently serious, I would have terminated by a par 
allel passage in my own life which I suggested. I received a letter thus : 

Dear Gell, I send you my friend Mr. ; you will find him the greatest 

bore and the most disputatious brute you ever knew. Pray ask him to din 
ner, and get any one you know of the same character to meet him. This 
was brought me by the man himself, and I found him in every way answer 
ing to the character. Pray add or subtract any thing you like from what I 
send you. I see plainly that it is not quite right, though the intention is good, 
and I have given a full proportion of love, mixed with a proper degree of blood 
shed, which the genius of the time requires. Pray also correct in the verse, 
according to the fashion of the day, the words opprest or oppress d, and such 
like words, to your taste, and if you think it all a bore, as very likely you may 
find it, you may put it in the fire altogether, with my compliments. 

" I have no doubt, however, Craven will send you some sort of Italian story 
of the Middle Ages worth having. He is at Penta, his country house, and can 
have nothing else to do, when tired of gardening. I have written to him to 
have it ready, and my chief object in writing this, and sending it by the post, 
is, that you may know that you are sure of some thirty pages of my little 
scribble, and something from Craven also. 

" Mr. Temple being with the count for some days at Palermo, I have no 
means of sending you so large a packet as my Arabo- Spanish lucubrations 
will make, so I only send this to apprise you that we have executed your 
commands. Young Craven vows a contribution from himself or his wife, 
Mdlle. Pauline la Feronays, but he is so much engaged in making love that 
I dare say he will write nothing. They are to be married in September, or 
sooner, if possible. As to that gay man,. Matthias, now in his ninety-third 
year, he is as obstinate as twenty pigs, and vows he will never write another 
line, as it is time, he says, to leave off making himself a fool in public. I 
thought at first I could persuade or bully him into it, but he is too resolved for 
the present. If he relents, he will put his sonnet into the Book of Beauty 
for the year 1867, when Mr. Irving says the millennium is to begin. Here 
is my neighbor Mr. Ramsay, who writes much, but it is all on the corn-laws 
and political economy, so he can not help us much. They say Don Miguel 
is coming here, but in the mean time is consoling himself by feasting and 
making merry with the Duke of Lucca. I have been forced to give up my 
Roman establishment, as I could afford it no longer, and I believe Dr. Watson 
is going to live there instead of at Paris. You remember how it amused you 
that I had begun to take the necessary steps when I thought I was ruined by 
the hanging of Fauntleroy, since which my finances have always kept me in 
a state of alarm. 



380 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM CELL. 

"Mr. Mills is gone toward Switzerland for the summer, and Mrs. Dodwell, 
now Countess Spaw, and Bavarian minister at Rome, is just brought to bed 
with a fine boy at Albano. I beg you will remember me most kindly to the 
count, who, I hope, did not lose his own money, but that of his neighbor, at 
a shooting match, which I saw an account of the other day in the newspa 
per. I can not make out as yet who brought your two books, for which I 

thank you. Mr. Lyne Stephens is gone, but has left Mr. E in the good 

graces of Miss M , so that they go gallivanting all over the country. I 

have not seen them lately. I hope your friends will tell you that I set them 
a going with all my might when they first appeared. They are very amiable 
children. Love to your sister the coritessina. W. GELL." 

" Naples, August 6, 1834. 

" I have written to you so often lately that you will begin to think me a 
nuisance. But I now write on business, to introduce to you my little Essay 
on the Romantic History of Spain, which will, I believe, be presented by my 
friend John Auldjo, Esq., celebrated for his excursion to the summit of Mont 
Blanc, and as much celebrated for the interesting and unaffected account which 
he has published of his ascent and descent, which makes you think you know 
the mountain as well as he does. He will give you an account of all that is 
going on at Naples, what we are doing, and who is going to be married. The 

Ricciardi send their loves to you. I saw the two girls at old mother R s, 

at the Villa Rugina, on the Vomero, the other night, where they sang, and 
two nights ago I saw them again, and had a long conversation with their fa 
ther at a ball, concert, and supper, given by Dominico Catalano, the great law 
yer, on St. Dominic s day, at which all Naples was present. There Madame 
Nicolas, who yet seemed to retain all her beauty, sang, but with perhaps less 
voice than formerly. The other sister has become a regular large dowager, 
and did not sing ; so I conclude her voice has departed like a mist on the hills 
of Morveri. The whole world came from Palermo the other day the St. The- 
odoros, Actons, kings, princes, and queen ; so that Naples, which had been 
deserted, begins to be inhabited again ; and at Catalano s there seemed to be 
between three and four hundred persons, many of whom jigged away just as 
if the thermometer had not been up to eighty, and afterward ate as if there had 
been no fear of an hereafter. Coriali, Pepe, Filangieri, are well and merry. 

" Torlonia, now Duca di Ceri, was to have been married to a granddaugh 
ter of the Paterno, a Mdllc. de Moncada, but they quarreled, and broke off 
the match. Craven is living at Penta, and receiving company, having estab 
lished a house with twenty beds, stables, and all that tends to reception. I 
have been there once this summer, and am going again with Lady Coventry. 
The archbishop is very well, perhaps better than usual, but paler and more 
bent, and desires loves to you. I go and dine there about once in ten days. 
" The Actons have finished their house, and live very hospitably and agree 
ably in it, and give balls, dinners, and plays. Young Craven marries Mdlle. 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 331 

Pauline la Feronays on the 28th of August. The happy couple have each 
a rent-roll of trois mille francs, but K. Craven will give 600 a year, so they 
will have about 900 to begin with, and I hope they will contrive and be pru 
dent with it. Your old Belvidere is to be sold, and the queen will, if you 
like also, sell you the Villa Gallo : the Belvidere for about 3000. I could 
find no earlier method of sending you the Spanish Arabic article, but I hope 
it will be in time. I have got a most beautiful lady really, the Princess of 
Monte Vago, in Sicily, who would do for Zayda s picture, if you wanted a 
new face for your book, and if you are in want I would contrive to send it for 
engraving. Mr. Auldjo has in his Constantinople journal a beauty or two of 
that country, whose faces he copied with an instrument, and they are not only 
good in themselves, but very different from any thing European, and might 
consequently be very useful in your book, and prevent a sort of nationality 
that will be observed when all the artists are from one country. Lady Cov 
entry gave the archbishop a copy of your Book of Beauty, which delighted 
him much. 

" You may cut down my dissertation or print it all. just as you like ; change, 
burn, or otherwise destroy what you don t like, or the whole together, and put 
my name, or that of any one else, just as you find it convenient. I lent it to 
Captain Basil Hall to review, and he says it should have my name ; but judge 
for yourself. Craven has got an Italian story for you, and I am sure you will 
have it soon. Augustus Craven has something else, and I should not won 
der if one of the Stewarts sent you something also. What is become of that 
most amiable Stewart, the colonel of Killymoon ? Not to intrude more on your 
time, and having the gout myself, I must stop, but with love to La Comtessa 
de St. Marsault and Count Alfred. Yours, &c., WILLIAM GELL. 

" Gennaro sees your maid s child very often, and he is well/ 

" Penta, June 23d, 1835. 

" It was not so much because I had been ill myself, as because I had heard 
that you were ill, that I have delayed writing so long. I trusted that I should 
get some fresh intelligence about you, and from day to day put off writing ac 
cordingly. I conclude, from your silence on the subject, that you have not 
been much indisposed ; though it is not for me, who have been six months 
laid up, to glory in the strength of my constitution, which broke up, like the 
ice on the Neva, about the middle of November last, and left me a prey to all 
the diseases into which gout has been known to resolve itself when it is fair 
ly tired out with the common symptoms and pains. Among these, dropsy is 
generally the most prominent and the most fatal ; and the next is asthma, with 
which two agreeable companions I have, since November, passed my time ; 
sometimes suffering from one, and often both the complaints united. 

" I found my talent for sleeping in company much inflproved, and I can give 
you no better specimen of it than these two last lines, where you will observe 
the words united and very much disguised by having fallen asleep three 



382 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

times while I was writing the following sentence : I had turned up the 
shortest road to Penta. 

" I will let it stand as it is, for it will explain to you why I could not write 
before, and why I might as well not have written now. I cease writing, or 
write nonsense, or the pen goes on scribbling, but I can not guide it. I will 
now begin again, three hours later. Well, the symptoms of asthma and drop 
sy continued, and I could not lie down horizontally for fear of suffocation. 
Nevertheless, with four doctors Dr. Strange, Dr. Heath, Dr. Knight, and Dr. 
Watson I am alive, and one might almost say recovering, as fast as possible, 
from the physic and the disease. The most curious symptoms are the going 
dead asleep all at once, and the dreaming, when wide awake, about eating, 
and helping my friends to eatables. I gave Lord Aberdeen a large slice of 
cold ham this morning about five o clock, but when I came to repeat it, I found 
he had no plate. I rung the bell, and by the time the servant really came, I 
was sensible there was neither ham nor any other eatable in the bed. This 
sort of thing happens twenty times in the twenty-four hours, and sometimes 
produces the most ridiculous combinations. However, the other day I was 
alone at Mr. Temple s, looking, as I believed, at some prints in a book, when, 
falling asleep, I pulled over my chair in trying to save myself, and fell on the 
pavement in a manner which makes the idea of a repetition of my gambols 
frightful. Not having had time to save myself with my hands, I fell with my 
weight on the floor a most abominable crash and the hip-bone, of course, 
and all that side, suffered most severely ; nor am I well of that accident, which 
has much retarded the cure of the original illness. The only wonder was 
that it was no worse. 

" I was ordered to move about a little, which I do with grief and pain ; and 
am now at Craven s, at Penta, thirty-five miles from Naples, to which place 
I came on a sort of trading voyage, beginning with a visit of four clays to Lady 
Barbara, who is at Castelamare. I stay here four days, and then take two 
more with the Ponsonbys, and then, after some four days at Naples, shall do 
the same over again, changing Lady F. Barbara for Mrs. Locke or her daugh 
ter, perhaps at Castelamare. I give you the history of my life, as it is 

a good way of letting you judge of my health. You see that I might do tol 
erably well were my one hundred and forty diseases curable. Dr. Heath, who 
is with the Ponsonbys, seems, I think, to be satisfied that I shall shortly be 
better, and possibly much better than usual ; and that my grand climacteric, 
which usually falls at the age of sixty-three, has been hastened by length of 
illness, and fallen upon me at fifty-eight instead, after which the constitution 
might change for the better. I thought, till now, that the age of sixty-three 
was required for the change, but he says no. So you see, my dear Lady 
Blcssington, I have given you a long statement of my case, and the results, as 
far as we know them* You tell me of your bad weather, and if this be in 
due proportion, you ought yet to be in Siberia, for I have at this moment a 
tolerable fire, by which I am too cold ; and without, it is raining cats and dogs, 



LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 333 

and seems likely to continue to do so. The consequence is, the most wonder 
ful verdure I ever beheld, the vines in unusually large leaf, and the Indian corn, 
flax, and hemp shooting into thickets below them. I never saw any thing so 
verdant as the world is here, whenever we have an hour or two of sun to enjoy 
so green and beautiful a scene. What is become of the English I know not ; 
the spring was forgotten, the season for summer is half over, and the winter 
yet remains, and the milords seem to have forgotten to come to Italy. There 
may be three families of no note at Sorrento, and about as many threaten 
to come to Castelamare for the month of July, so that the houses are for the 
present empty. The Salsa has, however, worked herself into Dorchester 
House, as the papers say ; and as far as her own account of things goes, she 
finds no difference, but all goes on well ; at all events, she is not the person 
to cry stinking fish, and would say that harmony existed as long as possible. 

" We have at Craven s a tremendous large old convent, with cells for as 
many as can be got to fill them ; and Craven himself, out of perverseness, is 
as hospitable and as open to all comers here, as he sometimes appears the 
contrary at Naples, where society might be had without the trouble or expense 
of maintaining it. I am glad you have seen Dr. Hogg ; he writes remarka 
bly well, and will, I doubt not, make a pretty book from very scanty materi 
als. When he was here he used to go crazy on the subject, which, I hope, 
will not be the case in London. Pray order him to return here directly, and 
tell him that he would find plenty of room to practice, if so disposed. 

" Mr. Wilkinson I am glad you admire, for he must by this time be one of 
the most learned men in Christendom. 

" You say people speak kindly of me. I assure you, since I have been so 
ill, I have found great consolation in observing how far the world in general 
exceeds in kindness what one had any right to expect from it. 

" As to that ugly old abbot, I suppose he had imbibed a false impression, 
and never could get rid of it.* 

" My romance has not advanced a step. I thought, during my illness, I 
could at least have written that ; but that is kistoria, and requires facts and 
dates- ; and I never could guide my pen, as you will have said many times be 
fore you get to the end of this long and dull letter. A thousand kindnesses 
to Count Alfred, and the young lady, your sister. I hope your young friend 
will return pleased with Naples. Faithfully yours, W. GELL. 

" I got both your novels by Mr. Stanley, and thank you much. I think I 
was most entertained with the Repealers, and you certainly speak out. 
Poor Matthias is very well, but is querulous and old, and thinks himself de 
serted so much so, that nobody can undertake his society, he is so discon 
tented and curious. 

" The archbishop is as well as ever, and dined with me a few days ago 
when he laughed and was as gay as ever. 

* The Abbe Campbell, I presume, is alluded to. R. R. M 



384 LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL. 

" The Ricciardis are doing well also."* 

* This remarkable letter was the last, I believe, which Sir William Gell ad 
dressed to Lady Blessington. The date of it is about nine months before his 
death. The singular account of the breaking up of his mental powers, of the con 
sciousness of their failure, and of those w r aking dreams of his when he imagined 
himself in the society of old friends then far distant, and fancied himself dis 
coursing with them as if they were present is painfully interesting. Before 
taking leave of poor Gell, perhaps a letter of introduction, addressed to the Ad 
miral of the Egyptian fleet, of his, and one very characteristic of him, which he 
furnished me with when I was setting out for the East in 1824, will not be found 
misplaced in this collection. 

FROM SIR W. GELL TO THE GRAND ADMIRAL OF THE EGYPTIAN FLEET: 

" Napoli, 10 Agosto, 1824. 

"Mio CAROAMICO GRAND AMMIRAGLIO m EGITTO, Con questaV. mando unamico 
mio, il Signore Madden, chirurgo, di gran talento, il quale va viaggiare in Turchia, per os- 
servare tutto quello che si trova di bello o di nuovo nella sua arte, e por mostrare quanto 
e bravo se stesso nella operazione di chirurgio. Trovarete se avete 1 occazzione assai ca- 
pace, e forse, siccome ve ne sono tanti medici ma pochissimi di veri chirurgi sera questo 
signore di grande utilita a sua Altezza il Pasha o el armata per terra o mare. Dunque vi 
prego asser quanto potete utile durante la sua dimora nella terra dei Mussulman. 

" Pensai tutto quest anno fare il viaggio d Egitto, ma fra 1 incertezza della guerra con 
Algieri, la guerra Greca, ed il non avere bastimento sicuro per trasportasmi ad Alessandria 
di Misir, sono qui per ora, e veramente non vedo mezzi, al momento, a fare il tragetto con 
commodo e siccurezza, ad essendo Zoppo, ed alquanto in vecchiato doppo il nostro celebre 
viaggio nella vostra fregata L Africa, non vale per me la pena viaggiare se non con com 
modo e siccurezza. IIo gran dcsiderio andare per qualche giorue a Gerusalemme ed a pas- 
sare 1 inverno in Egitto se abou Gosh cd il Diavolo me permettessero, ma quando questo 
eara non so. 

" Se avete 1 occaggione e sapeta di qualche bastimento che viene in questi paesi vi prego 
Bcrivermi e far me sapere como vanno gli afi ari vostri e quclli d Egitto perche da vero qui 
ve ne sono certc volte delle conte ed istorie falsi, che non ci permettono sapcrc il vcro. 

" Non so se il figlio resta anchora in Malta altrimentri da lui potrei lo recevere una vos 
tra lettera. Spero che voi riuscite in ogni cosa che vi tocca personalmente, e che sarete gia 
diventato il piu ricco dclla famiglia di Giblachtar. Non so se avete in compagnia fin ora il 
vostro fedele Turcomanno, ma supponzo che il Tenente Osman non resta piu in vorta equi- 
paggio. Hassan Bey di Rhodi scnto esser morto. Mi fara grandissimo piacere quel gior- 
no che posso rivedersi. 

" Spero al fine vederui, un altra volta in questo mondo, siccome non essendo Turco il 
vostro grand Profeta non permette che lo andarse al settimo cielo nel altro. 

" Wilkinson ha fetto grande progress! nello studio delle antichita d Egitto. Sento che 
la povera citta di Atene e tutta distrutta e tutti quanti gli aniici miei morti tanti Greci quanti 
Turchi, Osman Mollah Ibrahim Aga e Compagnia. Vi prego fatta la pace c non mazzata piu 
gente, c trattata i vostri prigioneri con cleincnza per 1 amor di Dio e su Profeta. 

" Credetemi sempre, carissimo Amaraglio, amico c servitorc vostro fedelissimo, 

"GELL." 



SIR WILLIAM DRUMMOND. 335 



CHAPTER XIX. 

IN the preceding letters of Sir William Gell there are some 
persons referred to, of whom a more detailed account may be 
desirable than can be given in the limits of foot-notes. Of some 
of these persons, moreover, frequent mention is made in the Di 
aries and Letters of Lady Blessington, which have reference to 
her sojourn in Naples, and the acquaintances she formed there 
and in Rome. 

The brief notices now introduced will enable the reader to 
comprehend more easily and fully observations on passing oc 
currences, only slightly glanced at in those letters, and allusions 
to persons which may only suffice to excite curiosity, and leave 
a desire to know something more in relation to them. 

SIR WILLIAM DRUMMOND. 

The Right Honorable Sir William Drummond, a Privy Coun 
cilor, formerly H. B. M. s Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plen 
ipotentiary to the King of the Two Sicilies, and subsequently at 
the Ottoman Porte, died at Rome the 29th of March, 1828. 

His first work was published in 1794, " A Review of the Gov 
ernments of Sparta and Athens," 8vo. In 1798 he published 
"The Satires of Persius," translated; in 1805, "Academical 
Questions," 4to ; in 1810, in conjunction with Robert Walpole, 
" Herculanensia," &c., containing a MS. found at Pompeii; in 
1811, in 4to, " An Essay on a Punic Inscription found in the Isl 
and of Malta ;" in 1818, in 4to, " Odin," a Poem ; and in 1824, 
" Origines, or Remarks on the Origin of several Empires, States, 
and Cities," 2 vols. 8vo. He also printed, but not for sale, a re 
markable work, entitled " (Edipus Judaicus," of very anti-Chris 
tian tendencies, reducing Scriptural histories to mere astronom 
ical allegories. 

In 1811, Byron, in a letter to his friend Hodgson, says: "I 
have gotten a book by Sir William Drummond, printed but not 

VOL. I. R 



386 SIR WILLIAM DRUMMOND. 

published, entitled (Edipus Judaicus, in which he attempts to 
prove the greater part of the Old Testament an allegory, particu 
larly Genesis and Joshua. He professes himself a Theist in the 
preface, and handles the literal interpretation very roughly."* 

Byron was then in his twenty-third year, and no doubt the 
veteran Theist s erudition was not thrown away on the young, 
impressible mind of Byron. How much unhappiness may not 
the author of the erudite infidel work of this accomplished writer 
have to answer for, even in the single instance I refer to ? 

Lady Blessington makes frequent mention in her letters and 
diaries of Sir "William Drummond as a profound scholar, whose 
classical lore was united with scientific knowledge of various 
kinds in modern literature, mineralogy, chemistry, and astron 
omy. His conversation was not only erudite, but brilliant and 
playful. He had the imagination of a man of original poetical 
genius ; a capacity fit for a philosopher, a statesman, or a meta 
physician. He was a polished, high-minded gentleman, more 
over, with all the politcssc de la viellc cour. 

Sir William Drummond and his lady were of very opposite 
tastes. He passed his days, and the greater portion of his nights, 
in reading or writing. The tables, chairs, sofas, and even the 
floors were loaded with books. " He seldom saw Lady Drum 
mond except at dinner," says Lady Blessington, " surrounded by 
a large party. She passed, as she passes still, her time in the 
duties of an elaborate toilet, paying or receiving visits, and play 
ing with her lap-dog. A strange wife for one of the most in 
tellectual men of his day ! and yet this dissimilarity produced 
no discord between them ; for she was proud of his acquire 
ments, and he was indulgent to her less spirit ucllc tastes . "f 

It might be a question difficult to answer whether " the most 
intellectual man of Europe" benefited his species more by eru 
dition turned against Christianity, than the lady " of less spirit- 
uelle tastes," though occupied occasionally with the duties of an 
elaborate toilet, but habitually devoted to works of charity, pro 
fuse in her liberality, and making use of her vast wealth, as she 

* Moore s Life of Lord Byron, p. 157, 8vo cd., 1838. 
t The Idler in France, vol. i., p. 148. 



SIR WILLIAM DRUMMOND. 337 

did in Naples, for the relief of the poor and the distressed, 
served her fellow-creatures. 

"When Lady Blessington met Sir "William for the last time at 
Rome, he was then evidently verging fast toward the close of 
his career. Ill as he was, however, he carne to see her at her 
hotel. His death-stricken, pallid features, the utter feebleness 
and extraordinary emaciation of his frame, shocked her. Pie 
was taken from his carriage in a chair by his servants ; and as 
he was thus conveyed into her salon, she was forcibly reminded 
of the sitting statue of Voltaire, executed shortly before his 
death, which is placed in the vestibule of the Theatre Frangais 
at Paris. His mental faculties remained unimpaired. His con 
versation was the same as ever delightful to listen to. 

" He is conscious," says her ladyship, " that the King of Ter 
rors is fast approaching, and awaits his presence with all the dig 
nified composure of a philosopher of old. He spoke to me of his 
approaching end with calmness ; said he should have liked to 
have had time to finish the work in which he is engaged ; and 
observed that it was a blessing for which he was penetrated 
with gratitude to the Most High, that his mind still survived the 
wreck of his body, and enabled him to bear, if not to forget, the 
physical sufferings entailed by disease. 

" Speaking of his approaching end, he said, There is some 
thing in Rome, with its ruins, and the recollections with which 
it is fraught, that reconciles one to decay and death. The in 
evitable lot of all things seems here so strongly brought before 
one, that the destiny of an individual is merged in that of the 
scene around him. " 

It was not long before Lady Blessington s fears for her friend 
were realized. In May, 1828, she visited his grave in the En 
glish burying-ground in Rome. The massive pyramid of Caius 
Sextus cast its shadows over the resting-places of Shelley, Keats, 
and Drummond ; but the remains of Drummond were to be re 
moved to Scotland in the course of a few months. The fair pil 
grim who visited his grave thought of the happy hours passed 
in his society, the brilliant conversation of that highly-gifted 
* The Idler in Italy, Par. ed., 1839, p. 391. 



388 THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 

man, the deep reflections she had heard from those lips that 
were now silent forever. 

THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 

"The English in Italy," from 1820 to 1829, acquainted with 
Naples, the resident Inglesi of Naples especially, can not fail to 
remember the celebrated abbatc, an ecclesiastic not renowned for 
his learning, remarkable for amenity of manners, or agreeable- 
ness of appearance or address ; not venerated much for sanctity, 
or sought after for the excellence of his example, the purity of 
his morals, and the influence of his life and conversation before 
men in his spiritual character, but distinguished for a sort of 
mysterious prestige an apprehension of his power over people 
in high places, in several courts, and in various Continental cap 
itals a nondescript influence seldom exercised for any good-na 
tured purpose, and courted even in the best society on account 
of the fear with which the unbridled license of his tongue in 
spired it. The abbe had to be petted, caressed, abundantly fed, 
and propitiated with good dinners by all new-comers of distinc 
tion and of discretion. 

In Naples particularly, and in some other Continental courts 
of absolute princes, he was without a rival among parvenus and 
hangers-on of great men in power or authority. 

There was nothing in his education, his natural position, his 
antecedents, or his habits, to conciliate men s favorable opinion 
of his companionable qualities. In the latter part of 1821, when 
I first met him, he was, I think, upward of sixty-eight years of 
age, low of stature, exceedingly bulky, unwieldy, and ungainly 
in his movements. His features were large and heavy, coarse 
and vulgar ; his complexion was of an obfuscated, lurid red, 
with a predominance of the purple of the grape in it. The ex 
pression of his face was all animal. His look was cunning, and 
there was a leering, frolicksome twinkle always in it after din 
ner, that contrasted unpleasantly with his age and dilapidated 
appearance. His head was enormously large ; and his neck, 
extremely short and thick, was always buried in a profuse quan 
tity of cravat of a dingy hue. The head and trunk merging into 



THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 389 

one, with so little of intervening neck, reminded one of the con 
formation of some of the larger lizards. His clothes, generally 
bedaubed with snuff, hung on his large person as if they had 
been pitched about him casually and carelessly by an old serv 
ant of his Pococurante, as great an oddity as his master. 

In Naples, his intimate relations of friendship with the min 
ister Medici, and the terms of acquaintance on which he was 
with the old king Ferdinand, gave an importance to his " unde 
fined and undefinable position in society," which contributed 
very much to an influence exercised over it by him that was 
certainly one more of fear than love. The abbe was said to 
have a pension from the Neapolitan government, and an annual 
stipend also from some official source in England, and for some 
public services that were of a very private nature. 

He had been, at a very early age, a chaplain to a Neapolitan 
embassador in London about the time of the marriage of the 
Prince Regent with Mrs. Fitzherbert, and rumor assigned the 
perilous duty of the performance of the marriage ceremony to 
the young chaplain of the Neapolitan embassador. 

I have heard this rumor mentioned in the presence of the 
abbe, and it remained not only uncontradicted by him, but so 
far acquiesced in, at least, as to leave an impression that he knew 
the priest by whom the marriage was celebrated.* 

In the second volume of " The Memorials and Correspondence 
of Charles James Fox," by Lord John Russell, we have the prin 
cipal circumstances related of the Prince of Wales s marriage 
with Mrs. Fitzherbert. First comes a letter of Mr. Fox to the 
prince, in the strongest terms dissuading him from the rumored 
intention of the marriage, dated Dec. 10, 1785 ; next follows a 
reply of " the true prince" and truth-loving heir-apparent, dated 
the 19th of the same month, solemnly denying the rumor that 
" there not only is, but never was, any ground for these reports 
lohich have of late been so maliciously circulated." Then comes 
Lord John Russell s statement, that ten days only after this sol 
emn averment his royal highness had married Mrs. Fitzherbert. 

* When Mrs. Fitzherbert was married in 1785, the abbe, who was born about 
1754, must have been rather more than thirty years of age. 



390 THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 

The marriage, it is stated by Lord John, was performed in. 
private by a clergyman of the Church of England, in the man 
ner prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer, and the certifi 
cate, dated December 21, 1785, was attested by two witnesses. 
This is only half the truth. It would have been no satisfaction 
to Mrs. Fitzherbert s scruples to have had the marriage cere 
mony performed by a clergyman not belonging to her church, 
unless the ceremony had been previously performed by a Roman 
Catholic clergyman ; and I have been assured by the late Mr. 
Thomas Savory, of Sussex Place, Regent s Park, the confiden 
tial and long-loved friend of the Duke of Sussex, that he knew 
of a certainty that the ceremony had been performed by a Ro 
man Catholic priest who was connected with one of the foreign 
embassies in London, and who thought it prudent to fly the 
country after the marriage ceremony had been performed. 

Lord Brougham, in his : Historical Sketches" (George IV.), 
says, " Mrs. Fitzherbert was a Roman Catholic ; sincerely at 
tached to the religion of her forefathers, she refused to purchase 
a crown by conforming to any other ; and the law declared that 
whoever married a Catholic should forfeit all right to the crown 
of these realms, as if he were naturally dead. This law, how 
ever, was unknown to her, and, blinded by various pretenses, 
she was induced to consent to a clandestine marriage, which is 
supposed to have been solemnized between her and the prince 
beyond the limits of the English dominions, in the silly belief, 
perhaps, entertained by him, that he escaped the penalty to 
which his reckless conduct exposed him, and that the forfeiture 
of his succession to the crown was only denounced against such 
a marriage if contracted within the realm." 

And his lordship adds, in a note, " Some affirm that it was 
performed in London at the house of her uncle."* 

The abbe s recollections were no less vivid than entertaining, 
and some gravely interesting, of Lord Nelson and of Lady Ham 
ilton, of his social intercourse with the latter, and of the admi 
rable old port (rarely to be met with in Naples), which gave a 
particular charm to her dinners, the pleasures of which were 
* Historical Sketches of Statesmen of the Time of George III., p. 222. 



THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 391 

generally of a prolonged description, and extended sometimes 
far into the night. 

The abbe was at Naples at the time of the execution of Car- 
raccioli and his associates, and was cognizant of many of the cir 
cumstances relating to that infamy the court intrigues, the 
connection with them of Lady Hamilton, and the unhappy in 
fluence that lady brought to bear on Nelson.* 

The abbe stated that some days after the execution (which 
he spoke of, to his credit, with reprehension, though all his sym 
pathies were with Cardinal Huffo and his party), the body of 
one of the persons executed, said to have been that of Carracci- 
oli, was found floating under the stern of Nelson s frigate, and 
was visible to the admiral from his cabin windows. On one 
occasion of a controversy on this subject, the abbe said, He knew 
for a certainty that Nelson had seen one of the bodies of the exe 
cuted men, some days after the execution, floating near the stern of 
his ship, with the face upward, and he knew that Nelson was shocked 
at the spectacle, and well he might be. 

The abbe was on terms of close intimacy with the late King 
of Hanover and with the Duke of Cumberland, and seldom vis 
ited England that he did not enjoy the duke s hospitality. 

It was something more than amusing to hear this old man, 
of an obscure origin and humble rank, of no very prepossessing 
appearance or courtly manners, vaunting of his intimacy and 
terms of familiar intercourse with kings, and princes, and min 
isters of state : "My friend Cumberland ;" "My old acquaint 
ance, the King of Sardinia ;" " Mio Caro Amico Medici," &c. 

In Naples, after the abortive attempts at revolution in 1821, 
there was a very strict surveillance of the police over foreign 
ers, especially the English, in Naples. Their letters were opened 

* " The 20th of April, 1799, Cardinal Ruffo, at the head of the Neapolitan Roy 
alists and some Russian auxiliaries, entered Naples. Soon after, a confederate 
force of English, Russians, Italians, Portuguese, and Turks, entered the port un- 
dc3r a convoy of Lord Nelson, and invested the Castle of St. Elmo ; Capua and 
Gaeta were afterward taken by the assistance of the English. A severe ven 
geance was afterward inflicted, in contravention of a solemn treaty, on the Nea 
politan patriots, with the culpable connivance of Nelson, acting under the influ 
ence of the- profligate wife of the English embassador, Sir William Hamilton." 
British f7/ro,.nv -.-... - V. . .,!.-,. rf. 1P39, n . 6L K . 



392 



THE ABBE CAMPBELL, 



and examined at the post-office by authority. The services of 
an Englishman, or of some one well acquainted with the English 
language, were required for this private duty of foreign corre 
spondence examination, and on more than one occasion the abbe 
was openly charged with the performance of this duty. Secrets 
became known to him which could only be obtained from this 
source of information. They might certainly have been com 
municated to him by his confidential friend Medici, and the 
direct duty of opening the letters might have been performed 
by some other person. My own opinion is that such was the 
case. 

Sir William Gell for some time adopted a formula for the more 
speedy transmission of his letters through the post-office ; the 
following words, in larger characters than the rest, were usually 
written at the top of the page of every letter of his : "When the 
Abbe Campbell has read this private communication, and replaced 
the broken seal, lie is requested to send on the letter to its destina 
tion." 

This was a dear joke to Gell ; it was the cause of a deadly 
feud in English society in Naples, a feud in which, on one side, 
was ranged the redoubtable abbe, and occasionally, and at a 
convenient distance, an ally worthy of a better cause, Charles 
Reilly, the well-known surgeon of the Chiaga; and, on the other, 
Sir William Drummond, Sir William Gell, Keppel Craven, the 
Count D Orsay, Dr. Watson, the celebrated linguist, and, on the 
confines of the field of battle, Ridgcway, the secretary of Sir 
William, and "the Master of the Horse" of Lady Drurnmond. 

Ridge way was a man of worth and integrity, of a remarkably 
staid and solemn aspect. He had the soul of a " gentleman 
usher of the time of Elizabeth," penetrated with solemn convic 
tion of the grave importance of old ceremonials, and set formu 
las, and stately etiquettes. 

In flinging dirt, the Abbe Campbell was an incomparable bel 
ligerent. There was nothing in the shape of an offensive mis 
sile too foul or too heavy for his hands. The abbe was a fero 
cious hater, savagely sarcastic, and strangely jocular in his furi- 
bond movements. There was something terrible in his rancor 



THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 393 

when he was drunk with passion, and in his revelry, when he 
was inebriated, as he was " wont to be of an afternoon," with 
wine. 

Few people could tell the place of birth, parentage, or ante 
cedents of the abbe. He passed for an Englishman with En 
glishmen, a Scotchman with Scotchmen, and any thing but an 
Irishman with Irishmen in general. To Reilly and myself, Dr. 
duin, and one or two more, he was known to be an Irishman, 
a native of the north of Ireland. 

He was pleased to promise me, on divers occasions, when in 
"the superior condition," the inheritance of his papers, and, 
among the rest, some fragments of a Memoir of his Life, which 
he had written some years previously, and had condemned to 
the flames no doubt very judiciously, when the Carbonari had 
got the upper hand in Naples. 

In attempting to destroy the MS. in a place suitable enough 
for it, a sudden puff of wind scattered the burning papers about 
the abbe, and, according to his humorous account of this auto- 
da-fe of his Memoirs, he was in danger of suffering death by his 
own life. 

The few pages that were unconsumed the abbe was obliged 
to carry off, and to take beyond the frontier with his own valu 
able person. 

Lady Blessington observes, " It is not easy to imagine how 
the abbe s influence is acquired, for his talents are of a very 
mediocre kind, his manners coarse, and his reputation not hon 
orable ; mais n importe, he preserves his ground, and is received, 
though abused, in every great house in Naples. 

" This is one of the many extraordinary instances one often 
witnesses of a man rising from a low station without one qual 
ity to justify his ascent or maintain it, yet whose presence is 
tolerated by those who decry him."* 

The " German prince," Puckler Muskau, whose travels in 
Germany, Holland, and England were published in 1831, makes 
mention of a celebrated wit of a sarcastic turn, " once a patentee 
of puns," whom he had met in one of the first circles of fashion- 

* The Idler in Italy. 

R2 



394 THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 

able life in London, whose every word was extravagantly ad 
mired and extolled, though the liking for the facetious cynic was 
feigned and pretended to, out of fear of the waspish tongue of 
the sarcastic humorist. " I have a mortal hate," says the prince, 
" for the whole tribe of such wits, especially when, like this per 
son, they combine a repulsive exterior with gall and sarcasm un 
redeemed by grace of any kind. In human society they appear 
as poisonous insects, whom people, out of a pitiful weakness, 
help to nourish with the blood of others to save their own."* 

The abbe s head-quarters at Naples, in the latter years of his 
life, were on an eminence called Capo di Monte, and occasion 
ally at the Albergo di Crocelle, in the Chiatamone. He made 
yearly journeys to England, and sometimes more frequently vis 
ited London, and during his stay there (often a very prolonged 
one) installed himself in the house of my old friend, Thomas 
Field Savory, in Sussex Place, Regent s Park. On one occasion 
of a visitation there he had dined out, and done ample justice 
to the viands and the wines of his entertainer. He sallied forth 
at a late hour, after some imsuccessful attempts to procure a 
hackney-coach for him. He had ordered a vehicle, which was 
not to be found. There was a large party at a house adjoining 
his entertainer s, and there was a long line of carriages in front 
of the house, and among them a solitary sedan chair, of large 
dimensions. The drivers of the coaches and the bearers of the 
sedan chair were probably regaling themselves. It was a wet 
night in every sense of the term. The unfortunate abbe no 
sooner espied the sedan chair than some unaccountable impulse 
sent his great bulk of body bundling into the ancient vehicle, 
and no sooner had he plopped down and was seated than he 
fell fast asleep, snoring loudly. 

The bearers, on their return, found a fat snoring gentleman in 
the sedan, whom it was impossible to rouse or to eject by any 
exertion of their lungs or efforts of their arms. A crowd col 
lected : among them, some mischievously-minded individual, an 
anticipator of the hydropathic system, pointed to a spout, from 
which torrents of water were pouring down from the roof of a 

* Travels of H German Prince. 



THE ABBE CAMPBELL. 395 

neighboring house. In an instant the poles were thrust into 
their places ; the sedan chair, with its enormous burden, was up 
lifted, borne to the spot, and placed under the spout ; the head 
was then lifted, and the abbe was suddenly awakened, drench 
ed, bewildered, and dismayed, imagining the end of the world 
was come, and another deluge was taking place. 

A compassionate jarvey, seeing the prospect of getting a good 
fare, contrived to elicit from the thoroughly-soaked gentleman 
his address. He was conveyed home, cool, but not comfortable, 
and not in a very seraphic state of mind. 

The abbe, on various occasions, had given Savory to under 
stand that nearly all he possessed should go to him (Savory) at 
his death. He held out solemn promises also to the nephew 
of that gentleman, Mr. John Savory, that he would find his 
name had not been forgotten in the disposition of the property 
of Henry Campbell. 

He broke all his promises to the elder Savory, to whom, for 
many years, he had given a vast deal of trouble about his pe 
cuniary and other private affairs ; but he kept faith with Mr. 
John Savory (the present head of the firm of Savory and Moore, 
of Bond Street). A short time before he left London for the 
last time, and about three or four months previous to his death, 
in the early part of 1830, having made some arrangement of 
his affairs, he called on Mrs. Savory, and with some signs of 
emotion, and marked solemnity of mariner, placed a small pack 
age in her hands, and spoke of his tender regards for her hus 
band. He went away very much affected, and never was seen 
more by his kind friends. The small but precious package was 
opened with all due care when he was gone, and some twenty 
yards of old Mechlin lace were taken from the paper and laid 
on the table. 

The next news from Naples brought the intelligence of the 
abbe s death ; and a very lamentable account it was of the close 
of a career that was in keeping with the whole of its bad course. 
While the wealthy, friendless, dying man was still conscious of 
what was passing around him, his servants were plundering his 
house, ransacking the room, even where he lay dying, for ob 
jects of any value that he kept there. 



396 CHARLES REILLY. 

At his death, his money was found lodged in several hands, 
with bankers and others. He had left no regular account, show 
ing how his property was placed. Mr. Thomas Field Savory dis 
covered that there were several thousand pounds of his lodged in 
the bank of Messrs. Wright, of Henrietta Street, which his rep 
resentatives had no knowledge of. A young gentleman who had 
been acknowledged by the abbe to be his nephew inherited the 
whole of his property about 16,000 and in a few years man 
aged, I believe, to get through the greater portion of it. 



CHAPTER, XX. 

CHARLES REILLY, ESQ., SURGEON, R. N. 

OF all the medical men in Naples of the forestieri, Charles 
Reillv, a native of Ireland, a retired medical surgeon, who had 
accompanied the Oxford family to Naples in the capacity of 
traveling medical attendant, and had settled down in practice 
in that city in the time of King Joachim, was in the highest 
repute when I was there, in the latter part of 1821, 1822, and 
1823, and the spring of 1824. 

Reilly was, in every sense of the term but one, a thorough 
Irishman. He was full of humor, jocose, good natured, with 
something of a lachrymose expression in his serious, business 
like, corrugated features, till some odd fancy would flash across 
his mind, or some ridiculous object present itself to his eye, or 
droll expression meet his car, and then that lugubrious physi 
ognomy, with all its deep traces of worldliness, would brighten 
up as if by magic, and beam with hilarity, that literally made 
every feature of his face glow with joyousness. Reilly s hu 
mor and gayety were peculiarly Irish, and as ; racy of the soil" 
he had abandoned some twenty or thirty years previously to 
the period I refer to as if he had only quitted it the day be 
fore. 

Reilly was not only funny himself, but he was the cause of 
fun in others. He was as essential to the jollity of the old Abbe 
(-ampbell as the jolly abbe was indispensable to Reilly when- 



CHARLES REILLY. 397 

ever he exercised the rights of hospitality, which was seldom 
less, than twice a week. On these festive occasions, Reilly was 
to the abbe what Boswell was to Johnson, in some respects. 
He tickled the great bear, and jumped with his humor. He 
bore with an odd growl from him, and an occasional cuff of his 
big paw, as if he was complimented by the notice of the great 
animal he had the care of. 

The abbe loved Reilly as much as it was in his nature to love 
any body. He never failed to perform his awkward gambols at 
those weekly entertainments. Gulosity and gayety went hand 
in hand at them. 

Some years before Reilly s arrival in Naples with Lady Ox 
ford s family, while serving as assistant surgeon on board a ves 
sel of war at Lisbon, an adventure occurred in the vicinity of 
that city of a very profligate nature, which was attended with 

calamitous results. A first lieutenant, of the name of S , 

and the surgeon of the ship, made the acquaintance of two ladies 
in a convent at Belem, adjoining the city, who consented to leave 
their nunnery, the means of escape having previously been de 
vised and prepared for them. 

The first lady, who descended from a window by a rope lad 
der to the street beneath, reached the ground without accident, 
and was carried off by the lieutenant. That lady I was in com 
pany with about ten years later, at a ball in Naples, the wife of 
the officer just referred to then a post-captain in the navy ; and 

Mrs. S , the mother, at that time, of three or four children, 

bore the character of a most exemplary wife and mother. 

But the other lady, who attempted escape on the same night, 
had fallen from the frail ladder to the ground from a consider 
able height and broken her leg. The cries of the unfortunate 
person were heard in the convent ; people came to the spot ; 
she was discovered, and carried back to the convent. The gen 
tlemen who had occasioned this disaster fled to the boat that was 
in waiting for them, a little way below the convent, and effected 
their escape, leaving the wretched victim to her doom, what 
ever it might be. 

Reilly s acquaintance with Naples in the time of Murat, when 



398 CHARLES REILLY. 

Lady Oxford and her lovely daughters* were the bright stars 
round which revolved, not only the fashion, but the political in 
trigues of King Joachim s court, was fraught with reminiscences 
highly interesting, and was a never-failing subject of conversa 
tion with him. 

Having ceased to be the traveling medical attendant of the 
Oxford family, he commenced practice in Naples, and proved 
so eminently successful in it as to have realized a very large for 
tune so early even as 1821. 

He had married in Naples an English woman in affluent cir 
cumstances, a very thrifty and money-making person, but with 
al amiable and kindly disposed, the widow of the maitre d ho 
tel of the Duke de Gallo. This lady, far advanced in years, had 
two children a son named Marzio, a young man of good tal 
ents, a fiery temperament, and ungovernable disposition, and a 
daughter, an amiable and pretty girl, who grew up to woman 
hood a highly-accomplished and attractive person (the belle of 
the Chiaja), who eventually became the bride of a young English 
surgeon, the successor of Reilly in his professional business. 

Reilly and his wife (and his daughter, I believe), a second 
wife also, whom he had married about ten years ago, all have 
passed away ; and of the English, Irish, and Scotch not a few 
remarkable persons, I may add whom I remember in the habit 
of frequenting that pleasant and hospitable house of his, with 
two exceptions those of Dr. Ciuin, now established in his pro 
fession in London, and my worthy old friend, Mr. Ramsay, living 
in Mordaunt College, Blackheath none, I believe, are in being. 

* The Right Hon. Edmund Harley, fifth earl of Oxford, born in 1773, married, 
in 1794, a daughter of the Rev. J. Scott, vicar of Ichen, near Southampton, and 
had issue three sons and four daughters. 1. Edmund, Lord Harley, born in 1800, 
died in 1828. 2. Alfred, Lord Harley (the present earl), born in 1809, married 
Miss Nugent in 1831. 3. Jane Elizabeth, married, in 1835, to Henry Bicker- 
steth, now Lord Langdon. 4. Charlotte Mary, married to Colonel (now Gener 
al) Bacon, a distinguished officer in the service of Don Pedro, of Portugal. 5. 
Anne, married, in 1835, to an Italian gentleman, the Cavaliere San Giorgio. 6. 
Frances, married, the same year, Henry Vernon Harcourt, Esq. 7. Madeleine, 
who died in infancy. 



DR. QUIN. 399 

DR. QUIN. 

In 1821 my acquaintance with Dr. Gluin commenced in Na 
ples. He was then a young, rising medical practitioner, in 
great vogue with all fashionable English visitors and sojourners 
in Naples, full of life and spirits, of excellent address, with a 
keen perception of the ridiculous, and a great zest for merri 
ment. But Q,uin had solid worth and good sound sense to bring 
to the aid of his professional talents, though some of the inva 
lids of Naples, accustomed to grave, lugubrious doctors, seemed 
to think the philosophy of Heraclitus was more becoming phy 
sicians than that of Democritus. We are told by old Burton, 
that when Hippocrates came to Abdera, he found Democritus 
" busy in cutting up several beasts to find out the cause of mad 
ness and melancholy." And while he pursued his studies, he 
laughed ever and anon, and the public thought he was mad. 
But when Hippocrates conversed with him, he discovered there 
was a great deal of philosophy in his laughter. And he told 
the Abderites, though the little man laughed more profusely than 
other people, " that Abdera had not a wiser, a more learned, a 
more honest man, and they were much deceived to say that he 
was mad." 

" Thus Democritus was esteemed (drolly) of the world in his 
time ; and this was the cause of his laughter, and good cause 
he had. 

" Olim jure quidem, nunc plus Democrite, ride 
Quin rides uita haec nunc mage ridicula est."* 

Three-and-thirty years have had little effect in subduing Dr. 
Gtuin s high spirits, or making inroads on his vigor of body or 
vivacity of mind. The same quickness of apprehension and 
observation, unfailing humor, ready wit and repartee, charac 
terize the most eminent homeopathic physician of London of 
the present day, that distinguished the young traveling physi 
cian of the Duchess of Devonshire in those early days of his 
and mine, which I look back to with feelings of pleasure, and 

* Burton s Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. 1827, vol. i., p. 34. 



400 



DR - 



recall among the reminiscences of times and scenes the most 
agreeable of my life. 

In his profession Dr. Q,uin is zealous and discreet, mindful 
of the sanctity of the sick chamber, and of the obligations it im 
poses on the physician. In private life he wins and retains the 
confidence and esteem of those with whom he becomes acquaint 
ed. His practice is chiefly among the aristocracy. The present 
King of the Belgians reposed the highest confidence in his skill. 
The late Duke of Cambridge left no means untried to induce 
him to accept the post of physician to his family on allopathic 
principles, but those efforts were in vain. Yet I remember 
when the doctor made a burla of Hahnemann and the infini 
tesimal dose system. At an early period of his career in Na 
ples, professing to write against homceopathy, he went to Ger 
many to inquire into the system ; and he who went to scoff re 
mained to study, and to become a convert to the new theory of 
medicine. 

Those persons are not likely to forget Dr. Q,uin who remem 
ber Naples and its society in the time of Sir William Drummond, 
Sir William Gell, the Honorable Keppel Craven, Sir Frederick 
Faulkner, the Margravine of Anspach, the well-known Abbe 
Campbell, the Blessingtons, Sir Richard Acton and his lady ; Dr. 
Watson, the celebrated linguist ; Ramsay, the Scotch merchant, 
with his elegant tastes and classic lore ; Cottrell, the wine mer 
chant, of Falernian celebrity, renowned for his lachrymachristi, 
and his efforts to rival Francis, and to render Horace into better 
English than all previous translators ; Reilly, the true Hiber 
nian ; Dr. Milne, the skillful Scot and accomplished gentleman 
of the Chiatamone ; old Walker, of the Largo Castello, the ex 
patriated Manchester reformer, who, in the good old times of 
William Pitt and George III., was tried for sedition, and nar 
rowly escaped the fate of his reforming brethren, Muir and 
Palmer ; and, though last, not least deserving of remembrance 
and of honorable mention in the list of worthies from foreign 
lands who figured in Neapolitan society some thirty years ago. 
the venerable commandant of the Castello D Ovo, General Wade, 
the old Irish warrior, one of the brave old souls of the Brigade, 



SIR FREDERICK FAULKNER. 401 

renowned for his hospitality, and beloved by all who knew him, 
English, Irish, and Italian.* Maurice Cluill should have lived 
in Naples in those days, and Lever should have recorded all the 
extraordinary scenes and ridiculous occurrences, the reminis 
cences of which are connected with the names of Reilly and 
the abbe, Gluin, Mahon, the redoubtable Milesian ; Thornton, 
the Irish tutor of the Duchess of Eboli ; Ridgeway, the secretary 
of Lady Drummond ; young Edward Molyneux and his friend, 
the incipient surgeon, in those days of nature not unfit for 
scenes of gayety and humor, nor unfamiliar with them. 

SIR FERDINAND RICHARD E. D. ACTON. 
One of " the celebrities" of Neapolitan society in 1823 and 
1824 was Sir Ferdinand Richard Edward Dalberg Acton, the 
seventh baronet of Aldenham Hall, in Salop. He was the eld 
est son of Sir John Francis Edward, the sixth baronet, for some 
years prime minister of the King of Naples, by Mary Anne, 
daughter of Joseph Edward Acton, Esq. Sir Ferdinand Rich 
ard, in his tenth year, succeeded to the title in 1811 (in which 
year his father died at Palermo). He married in Paris, in 1832, 
the only child and heiress of the Due de Dalberg, by which 
marriage he obtained large possessions in Austria. He died in 
Paris, aged thirty-five, in January, 1837. 

SIR FREDERICK FAULKNER. 
Those who were acquainted with Naples about thirty years 

* General Wade, in all probability, was a member of a Westmeath family of 
that name, which gave a field marshal to the British army in the reign of King 
William. That distinguished officer had gained his first military honors at the 
battle of Aughrim, in 1691, and commanded in the Highlands, as a general officer, 
from 1726 to 1737, during which period he had caused roads to be made through 
mountainous districts previously impassable for troops, for which works he was 
immortalized by a Scotch poet in the verse, 

" Had you traveled these roads before they were made, 

You d lift up your hands and bless General Wade." 

The grandfather of the field marshal had considerable grants of land in the neigh 
borhood of Tyrrell s Pass, conferred on him by Cromwell in 1653. The field 
marshal of Westmeath, who died in 1748, aged seventy-five, reposes in West 
minster Abbey. The field marshal of Meath, who died in 1852, rests, after the 
labors of eighty-four years, in St. Paul s. 



402 SIR FREDERICK FAULKNER. 

ago will remember an Irish gentleman, tall- and portly, a fine 
specimen of one of the old school of Hibernian gentility, of pre 
possessing appearance and elegant mariners, dcgagees et dcboti- 
naires, and free from all restraint ; who was exceedingly poor, 
and might have been extremely rich ; who lived from day to 
day by borrowing from all his friends, and yet made an appear 
ance in society ; dined out a great deal, and passed for an Irish 
landlord ever on the brink of prosperity, sure to get rents which 
never came to hand, and in daily expectation of remittances 
which were always coming, but, alas ! which came not. Sir 
Frederick Faulkner was this unhappy gentleman a person 
abounding in anecdote, most agreeable in society, and singularly 
inconsistent in his character. 

Gell talked of founding a hospital at Rome for genteel per 
sons of decayed purses, and discontented, disappointed, agree 
able people. 

Sir Frederick would have been a most agreeable inmate of 
such an institution. 

Nothing could induce Sir Frederick to violate his public prin 
ciples, but in private life his principles were violated every day ; 
his poverty, but not his will, consented to the violation. He 
borrowed daily, without any prospect of being able to pay what 
was lent him. He made solemn promises day after day, which 
were invariably broken by him. 

For many years previous to the Union this gentleman was a 
member for the county of Dublin,* and one of the most strenu 
ous opponents of that measure, though in very straitened cir 
cumstances, and having had divers overtures made to him of a 
very tempting nature for his support. He terminated a career 
rendered miserable by pecuniary embarrassments, in Naples, by 
suicide, in 1822. Sir Frederick married, in 1798, Miss Anne 
Frances Gardiner, daughter of Sackville Gardiner, second son of 
the Right Hon. Luke Gardiner, the grandfather of the late Earl 
of Blessington. 

* In 1807, at the general election, we read in the papers of Mr. Frederick John 
Faulkner, the former member for the county of Dublin, being defeated by Mr. Tal- 
bot.ofMalahide. 



DUKE DE LAVAL MONTMORENCI. MISS BATHURST. 493 

THE DUKE DE LAVAL MONTMORENCI. 

This antique remnant of the ancient aristocracy of France 
was embassador at the court of Ptome in 1825, when Lady Bless- 
ington had taken up her abode in the Palazzo Negrone. The 
duke, whom I had subsequently met in Rome, on several occa 
sions, at their abode, was a remarkable person in society. Oc 
casionally lively and spiritual, frequently and suddenly somno 
lent, and always, when awake, extremely gallant and compli 
mentary to the ladies. But his compliments and eulogies were 
generally mal-apropos . All his senses, and a few of his facul 
ties, were defective ; some impaired by age, one naturally im 
perfect. In these particulars he resembled an old Chancery bar 
rister, Bell, whom Lord Eldon used to commend, though he could 
neither talk, walk, think, or write like any other man. 

The duke s talent for diplomacy was said to have outlived all 
his other capabilities. He was respected, however, by all who 
knew him, for his sterling worth and his generous conduct, es 
pecially to Pius VII. when in France, whose wants were liber 
ally supplied by him. 

The name of this gentleman is connected with a very melan 
choly occurrence, frequently referred to in Lady Blessington s 
Journal and Correspondence, which took place in Rome in the 
month of February, 1824. 

MISS BATHURST. 

Miss Bathurst was a granddaughter of the late venerable and 
excellent Bishop of Norwich. Her father, some years previous 
ly to the calamity above referred to, in his travels in Germany, 
unaccompanied by his family, had disappeared, and was never 
more heard of by them, leaving a young widow and two infant 
daughters to deplore his loss. Miss Bathurst, the subject of this 
brief notice, grew up to womanhood a lovely girl, strikingly 
beautiful. She was traveling in Italy, and sojourning in Rome, 
in 1824, with her uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Aylmer. She 
had gone out, on one occasion, on horseback, escorted by Lord 
and Lady Aylmer and the French ernbassador, the Duke de 



404 MISS BATHURST. 

Laval Montmorenci. The groom of Miss Bathurst had been 
sent back to Lord Aylmer s on some message, and when they 
approached the Pont Motte, over the Tiber, the Duke de Laval 
took them by a path he was in the habit of riding along on the 
banks of the Tiber. Finding this path difficult, the party were 
in the act of retracing their steps, when Miss Bathurst, in turn 
ing her horse, approached too near the edge of the bank, and, 
in an instant, horse and rider were plunged into the river. Lord 
Aylmer made two ineffectual attempts, though unable to swim, 
to rescue the young lady.* The Duke de Laval was incapable 
of affording any assistance. Miss Bathurst managed to keep 
her seat after the horse fell into the river till his violent plung 
ing caused the girths to burst, and then she lost her seat and 
sunk, but rose once more to the surface, and then disappeared 
to rise no more. The remains were not discovered for months ; 
they were interred in the English place of burial in Rome, 
where the ashes of Shelley and of Keats are deposited. The 
vast sepulchral pile that stands there in honor of the memory 
of Caius Cestius excites less interest than the small marble mon 
ument, of snowy whiteness, well fitted to recall the purity of 
that fair creature, whose melancholy fate it commemorates. 
The monument erected to the memory of Miss Bathurst is the 
work of Sir Richard Westmacott, and alike worthy of the mourn 
ful subject and of the skillful sculptor. 

From W. S. Landor, in relation to the death of Miss Bathurst : 

" DEAR LADY BLESSIXGTON, I have just requested Mrs. Paynter to let me 
send your ladyship what Lord Aylmer says about the drowning of Miss Ba 
thurst, which shows that Mills is not quite correct. Lord Aylmer is remark 
ably so on all occasions, and is a most amiable and most intelligent man, 
greatly (of course) hated and injured by the people in power. 

" W. S. LANDOR. 

" Kindest regards to Miss Power and Count D Orsay." 

EXTRACT FROM A LETTER OF LORD AYLMER REGARDING THE 
DEATH OF MISS BATHURST. 

" "W hen at Bath, it did not occur to me to mention to Mr. Landor an error, 
* Lord Aylmer died in 1850, in his seventy-fifth year. 



PIAZZ1. D ESTE. 



405 



into which Lady Blessington has been led, in her Idler in Italy, when de 
scribing a certain dreadful event at which Louisa and I were present at 
Rome. 

" She says that I was prevented by Louisa from rendering any assistance 
to that poor girl who there perished, to our indescribable anguish ; whereas 
you know I made two distinct attempts to save her, and was very nearly drown 
ed myself in doing so, more especially in the last, when I gave myself up as 
lost. Do you think it worth while to mention this to Mr. Landor, who is, I 
believe, in habits of intimacy with Lady Blessington 1 AYLMEK." 

PIAZZI, 
THE DISCOVERER OF THE PLANET CERES. 

Joseph Piazzi, President of the Royal Society of Sciences of 
Naples, of whom mention is made in Lady Blessington s Italian 
Journals, died at Naples in July, 1825, in his eightieth year. 
He was born in the Valteline in 1746. He entered into the 
order of Theatines in 1764 ; and after enjoying the professor 
ship of Astronomy at Malta, he was made professor at Palermo 
in 1781. In 1787 he made several observations, in conjunction 
with Lalande, at the Parisian observatory ; and afterward he 
visited England to purchase instruments. It was on the 1st of 
January, 1801, that he discovered the planet Ceres, which led 
to the discovery of Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. In 1814 he print 
ed a catalogue of 7500 stars, a work which gained for him the 
medal founded by Lalande. In 1816 he published at Milan 
the first volume of the " History of Sicilian Astronomy," and 
completed his "Elements of Astronomy."* 

SIR AUGUSTUS D ESTE. 

The Duke of Sussex, in 1793, married the Lady Augusta Mur 
ray in Rome. A few months later, the marriage was resol- 
emnized in London, and the year following, in 1794, it was de 
clared invalid in the Court of Arches, being contrary to the 
Royal Marriage Act. The union, however, was uninterrupted 
till the year 1806, when a separation took place, and the ill-used 
lady took the name of Madame de Ameland, and the two chil 
dren by this marriage took the name of D Este, after that of the 

* Annual Register, Appen., 1826, p. 269. 



406 CAPTAIN HESSE. 

illustrious family of Ferrara, which was nearly connected with 
the house of Brunswick. 

The eldest child, Sir Augustus D Este, entered the army, and 
obtained a commission in the Iloyal Fusileers ; he served at 
New Orleans in 1814, and at length obtained the rank of colo 
nel. He retired on half pay in 1824. In 1830 he was appoint 
ed Knight Commander of the Bath by King William, and in the 
same year he claimed succession to the titles and honors of his 
father, the Duke of Sussex. He had previously memorialized 
the king on the subject. The matter was brought before the 
House of Lords, and a judicial committee finally decided against 
his claim. Sir Augustus traveled extensively on the Continent, 
and in 1828 was sojourning in Florence, in very impaired health, 
where I had the honor of making his acquaintance. He died, 
unmarried, in 1849. 

His sister, Miss Ellen Augusta D Este, married Sergeant 
Wilde in 1845. 

CAPTAIN HESSE. 

The following account is given by Lady Blessington of a young 
military officer, of much notoriety in Naples, as a man of gal 
lantry and extraordinary adventures in royal circles, at the pe 
riod of my residence there some thirty years ago. 

This account is taken verbatim from one of the commonplace 
books of Lady Blessington, entitled " Night Thoughts," which I 
have had occasion already to refer to. 

It may be well to observe that Captain Hesse was one of the 
gentlemen attached to the household of (olueen Caroline, who 
left her majesty s service and remained in Naples after the de 
parture of the queen in 1820. 

"Captain Hesse," says Lady Blessington, " was the son of a 
Prussian merchant, who acquired great wealth by various con 
tracts, and more especially for clothing the Russian army. 

" When a youth he was sent to England, to be educated un 
der the auspices of the Margrave of Anspach, then residing in 
this country. Being a good-looking, lively youth, he was taken 
much notice of by the margrave and margravine (formerly the 



CAPTAIN HESSE. 407 

celebrated Lady Craven), and was invited to pass his short vaca 
tion with them. His education being completed, he returned to 
Berlin, where his father, then become a banker, lived in consid 
erable splendor, and was expected to leave his son a large for 
tune. Napoleon s campaign against Prussia blighted these pros 
pects ; for the banker Hesse having contracted to clothe the 
Prussian army, their defeat, and its consequent result, precluded 
the king from paying Hesse, and occasioned his ruin. Under 
these circumstances, young Hesse was sent to England, in the 
hope that, through the influence of the margravine (the mar 
grave was then dead), some situation or provision could be ob 
tained for him. A letter, detailing the ruin of the family, and 
entreating the commiseration of the margravine, was dispatched 
to her ; and, with great good-nature, she received young Hesse 
beneath her roof, and so successfully used her influence in his 
favor, that the Duke of York granted him a cornetcy in a dra 
goon regiment (I think the 18th), and the margravine and her 
son, the Honorable Keppel Craven, fitted him out for joining his 
regiment in a suitable manner. 

" The Duchess of York, herself a Prussian, and knowing his 
family, felt interested for her youthful countryman, and spoke 
in his favor to her kind-hearted husband. Meeting, at the mar 
gravine s, the most distinguished persons, young Hesse was re 
ceived into good society. Gay, amusing, good-looking, a good 
horseman, and with an easy address and manner, he soon ren 
dered himself conspicuous by a certain coxcombry in dress, orig 
inating in his besetting and only sin vanity. This weakness 
induced him, when scandalous reports assisted to account for his 
good fortune in England, to allow it to be believed that he was 
the son of the margrave and the margravine previous to their 
marriage, rather to encourage than discountenance the rumors. 
The calibre of his mind could not be better proved than by his 
preferring to have it believed that he was the illegitimate child 
of persons of high rank rather than the legitimate son of a re 
spectable banker at Berlin. His dashing appearance, and his 
desire to attract the attention of the fair sex, drew him into no 
tice ; and when sent with a portion of his regiment to the neigh- 



408 CAPTAIN HESSE. 

horhood of Bognor, where the Princess Charlotte of Wales was 
then staying, he attracted her attention by riding constantly in 
front of her window, until the youthful and self-willed girl, cap 
tivated by his appearance and horsemanship, condescended first 
to bow to him, and then to write to him. The correspondence 
was supposed to be carried on through the medium of the Count 
ess de F , then Miss M. E., though afterward several letters 

were conveyed to the princess through General Garth, who was 
imposed on, and led to believe they were from the mother of 
the princess. Portraits were exchanged, and young Hesse, vain 
and elevated, was perhaps less cautious than he ought to have 
been, and the matter got talked of, and reached the ears of the 
royal family. 

" The princess was scolded, watched, and guarded. Hesse 
was sent to Spain with his regiment, where he was wounded ; 
and it being discovered that he still possessed the letters and 
portrait of the princess, an awkward thing, when her marriage 
with some princely suitor might soon be looked for, the mar 
gravine and Mr. Keppel Craven were applied to to use their in 
fluence with Mr. Hesse to have the letters and portrait return 
ed : the application came from the princess. The margravine 
and Mr. Keppel Craven, justly offended at Hesse s having en 
couraged the false reports of his being the son of the former 
a report which their great kindness had given a color to had 
marked their displeasure to him, and more especially as the 
romantic interest attached to his position as the supposed son 
of a prince and an English countess had greatly influenced the 
girlish fancy of the Princess Charlotte in his favor. Hesse, when 
applied to, was very reluctant to return the letters and portrait, 
but at length yielded to the representation of Mr. Keppel Craven 
on the impropriety of retaining letters which the writer reclaim 
ed ; he sent Mr. Craven an order to have the sealed box con 
taining them (which had been left with a friend, with injunc 
tions that, should Hesse die, the box and its contents, unopened, 
should be consigned to the flames) delivered to Mr. Craven. 
The latter gentleman living out of England, the box was trans 
ferred to the Countess de F , in whose possession the letters 

still are, as that lady assured Mr. K. Craven a year ago. 



CAPTAIN HESSE. CAPTAIN GARTH. 499 

" Gratified by Hesse s surrender of the letters, the margravine 
and Mr. K. Craven, when he returned from Spain, overlooked 
his former folly, and received him into favor. The Princess 
Charlotte, at a ball at Carlton House, saw the unmarried sister 
of Mr. K. Craven, whom she had never previously met, and walk 
ing up close to her, said, I am glad of an opportunity of seeing 
you, and I request you will tell your brother, Mr. Keppel Craven, 
how truly obliged I feel to him. He will know to what my ob 
ligation refers. 

" This, with Hesse s after-scrapes at Naples in royal circles, 
was told me at my house, on the evening of the 31st of August, 
1846, by the Honorable Keppel Craven. M. B." 

CAPTAIN GARTH. 

General Garth, the father of Captain Thomas Garth, Colonel 
of the 1st or Royal Regiment of Dragoons, was a grand-nephew 
of the celebrated Sir Samuel Garth, physician in ordinary to 
George the First. Some unfortunate circumstances, about thirty 
years ago, made the marriage of General Garth with a royal, 
princess of the house of Hanover a matter of notoriety. The 
issue of that marriage was Captain Thomas Garth. The general 
died in London in 1830, in his eighty-fifth year. 

Captain Garth was one of the foreign celebrities of Naples 
about 1821 and 1822, and made his sojourn there sufficiently 
remarkable. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE HONORABLE RICHARD KEPPEL CRAVEN, AND MARGRAVINE 
OF ANSPACH. 

MR. R. K. CRAVEN was the third son of William, sixth Baron 
Craven, by his marriage, on the 18th of May, 1767, with Eliz 
abeth, daughter of Augustus, fourth Earl of Berkeley (born in 
1750), by whom he had issue several children. 

Lady Craven separated from her husband in 1781. In the 
"Dictionary of Living Authors," published in 1816, it is stated 

VOL. I .. S 



410 THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN, 

that Lady Craven had been so cruelly treated by her husband 
that her friends were obliged to interfere to effect a separation. 
This event took place in 1781. The succeeding ten years were 
spent by Lady Craven on the Continent and in the Levant. In 
1789 she published, in 4to, "A Journey through the Crimea to 
C onstantinople . " 

Horace Walpole, in November, 1786, wrote to Lady Craven, 
then scouring the Continent and the Levant, skurrying over 
Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Greece, on the dif 
ficulties she had occasioned her friends by the rapidity of her 
movements, and the impossibility of finding out " in what quar 
ter of the known or unknown world she might be resident or 
existent at any particular time." On receiving a note from her 
at Strawberry Hill, offering to call on her for a moment, he tells 
her, " A whirlwind, I suppose, was waiting at your door to carry 
you to Japan, and as balloons have not yet any settled post-office 
in the air, you could not, at least did not, give me any direction 
where to address you, though you did kindly reproach me with 
*rny silence." In his justification he observes, "I heard from 
you from Venice, then from Poland, and then, having whisked 
through Tartary, from Petersburg!!, but still no directions. 1 
said to myself, I will write to Constantinople, which will prob 
ably be her next stage. Nor was I totally in the wrong, for there 
came a letter from Constantinople with a design mentioned in 
it of going to the Greek Islands, and orders to you at Vienna, but 

with no banker or other address specified You had been 

in the tent of the Cham of Tartary ! and in the harem of the 
Captain Pacha, and, during the navigation of the zEgean, were 
possibly in the terrible power of corsairs. How could I sup 
pose that so many despotic infidels would part with your 
charms ?" 

Shortly after Lord Craven s decease, his lady, in 1791, married 
the Margravine of Anspach and Bayreuth. This prince, some 
years after he had gained the hand of the English lady, disposed 
of his German principality to the King of Prussia, and retired to 
England, where he died in 1806, at Brandenburg House, Ham 
mersmith. The festivities and fashionable diver tisseme n s follatres 



AND MARGRAVINE OF ANSPACH. 411 

of Brandenburg House attracted no little notice in their day.* 
A private theatre was fitted up in this palace of pleasure, and 
many dramatic pieces, written by the margravine, were produced 
on this stage. Some of these had been written previously to 
her separation from Lord Craven. 

" The Sleepwalker," a comedy, printed at the Strawberry 
Hill press in 1778, and "The Miniature Picture," a comedy, 
written in 1781. " Nourjad," a French comedy, was written 
by her ladyship during her residence in Anspach, and printed 
there in 1787. She published a translation of Gibber s comedy 
of " She would and she would not." Also a very singular com 
position, a satirical piece, in 1779, in 12mo, entitled "Modern 
Anecdotes of the Family of Kinkvervantotsdarsprakengotch- 
derns," a tale. 

The letters of Lady Craven addressed to her son, translated 
into French, are noticed in Grimm s Memoirs (of the year 1788. )f 
Grimm observes that " a superior intelligence, and sentiments 
the most just and delicate, are obvious in the lessons which this 
enlightened mother gave to her son, with regard to the consider 
ation due to the sensibility of the sex." 

In 1802 she published also "The Soldier of Dierstein," an 
Austrian story, in 8vo. 

Boswell speaks of Johnson s " dining with the beautiful, gay, 
and fascinating Lady Craven." Ah ! if the admiring lexicog 
rapher could have looked at the same lady through a telescope 
of sixty years power of looking into futurity, how he would have 
been astounded at the haggard old woman, wrinkled and with 
ered as she was in her latter days, retaining nothing of the for 
mer belle but the sprightliness of her nature, and that vivacity 
contrasting very painfully with the wreck of pristine beauty and 
comeliness. 

During the latter years of her life the margravine resided 
altogether in Naples. 

* The margravine, in her Autobiography, alluding to the magnificence of her 
establishment at Brandenburg House, says, "We had thirty servants in livery, 
with grooms, and a set of sixty horses. Our expenses were enormous, though I 
curtailed them with all possible economy." 

t Memoires par le Baron le Grimm, vol. iv., p. 164, 8vo, London, 1813. 



412 THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN, 

Her well-known villa in the vicinity of Pausilippo, on the 
Strada Nuova, was furnished with taste and elegance ; the 
grounds were laid out with great care under the immediate 
direction of the margravine. 

I have seen her, a few years before her death, working in 
her garden, spade in hand, in very coarse and singular attire, a 
desiccated, antiquated piece of mortality, remarkable for vivacity, 
realizing the idea of a galvanized Egyptian mummy, or one of 
the weird sisters working at " a charm of powerful trouble." 
She died in Naples in June, 1828, in the seventy-ninth year of 
her age. 

Lord Charles Murray, who had known the margravine in En 
gland, was in Naples in 1822. A short time previously to my 
first acquaintance with him in that year, he had been seized 
with fever in Sicily, which malady was followed by temporary 
insanity. He was brought to Naples, and there a great im 
provement took place in his health of mind and body. When 
his lordship was beginning to recover, he was in the habit of 
making excursions, suitably attended, in the vicinity of the city. 

Lord Charles, on one occasion, had begged me to accompany 
him to the residence of the Margravine of Anspach, as he was 
desirous of paying his respects to the old lady, whom he had 
formerly known in London. Unfortunately, the margravine did 
not receive us in her house, or in such costume as ladies usual 
ly receive visits in. Indeed, her costume and appearance would 
have suited admirably for the character of one of the weird sis 
ters in the scene of Macbeth, where the witches are introduced 
performing incantations dire. 

We were conducted to her in the garden, where she was- in 
the act of digging, and we found her attired in a manner not 
calculated to encourage gravity, or keep an excited person s 
mind long in an undisturbed condition. For a few minutes aft 
er introduction and recognition, things went on very agreeably. 
The margravine made many inquiries after old friends, and Lord 
Charles answered them with all possible courtesy. 

But at length a cloud began to gather on his brow, when he 
surveyed the poor old lady, in her singular costume, from head 



AND MARGRAVINE OF ANSPACH. 413 

to foot. I endeavored to hasten our departure for Naples, but 
all my efforts were in vain ; Lord Charles burst out into a per 
fect hurricane of reprehension, calling up reminiscences of a dis 
agreeable nature, rumors of strange occurrences in various quar 
ters of the globe, on which he enlarged with extraordinary ve 
hemence and volubility, to the great amazement of the margra 
vine, till such time as I found an opportunity of explaining the 
unhappy illness under which his lordship had been lately labor 
ing. It was with no small difficulty I brought the unpleasant 
interview, at length, to a termination. 

The margravine accompanied us to the gate of the villa, and 
there a new scene was in store for her. Lord Charles insisted 
on showing her a new mode of entering a carriage, \vhich he 
recommended her particularly to adopt ; he then made a rush 
toward the carriage door, and, putting his hand on the window 
frame, made a jump of that kind which harlequins and clowns 
are wont to make in pantomimes, through panels representing 
clocks, and fairly launched the upper part of his body through 
the window, leaving his long legs on the outside, kicking furi 
ously in all directions. 

The consternation and astonishment of the margravine was 
beyond description. I succeeded, with a great deal of trouble, 
by opening the opposite door of the carriage, to get his lordship s 
legs dragged in where the rest of his person was sprawling ; 
and, not without a great deal of violence on his part, ending in 
the demolition of all the glass in the vehicle, managed to get 
him back to Naples. 

That access of mania appeared to me to have been produced 
mainly by the margravine s strange aspect and apparel. 1 
thought I could read Banquo s inquiry in poor Lord Charles s 
searching gaze when he first set his eyes on her : 

" What are these, so withered, and so wild in their attire, 
That look not like the inhabitants of earth, 
And yet are on t 1 Live you, or are you aught 
That man may question 1 You seem to understand me 
By each at once her chapping fingers lying 
Upon her skinny lips."* 
* Poor Lord Charles perfectly recovered his reason ; about two years later I 



414 THE HON - KEPPEL CRAVEN. 

The present Dowager Duchess of Athol was the mother of 
two children, Lady Catherine, who died young, and Lord Charles 
Murray, who, having volunteered in the cause of Greek inde 
pendence, died at Gastonini, in Greece, August llth, 1824, aged 
twenty-five. The circumstances of his decease are recorded in 
vol. xciv., p. 465, of the " New Monthly Magazine." The fol 
lowing particulars are taken from a later number of the same 
periodical. 

" Lord Charles Murray, an amiable and benevolent young 
man, who had been bred up in luxury and ease, underwent ev 
ery species of fatigue, and submitted to every possible privation, 
in order to encourage the Greeks by his example, and to be able 
to furnish them with means from his far too limited income. 
Nothing seemed to him degrading that could contribute a mite 
to the cause, and the noble son of a lofty Scottish Thane has 
been seen, day after day, giving lessons of the broad-sword to a 
pack of ragged Greeks ! So active was this young nobleman s 
charity, so little did he care for self, that, after an inflammatory 
disorder, brought on by his constant exposure to an unhealthy 
climate, and under a burning sun, he expired on a solitary pal 
let, far from all his friends and connections. An Englishman, 
who had arrived just in time to close his eyes, on taking an in 
ventory of his effects, found them to consist of nothing more 
than two old shirts, a pair or two of stockings, a brace of pis 
tols, a sabre, and a Bible. Every thing had gone to assist the 
impoverished Greeks and the distressed Frank volunteers in 
their ranks. The gentleman who had paid him the last sad of 
fices had, a few months before, owed him his life. Lord Charles, 
though at the time a perfect stranger, waited unremittingly, with 
the care of an affectionate brother, at his bedside, until he saw 
him rise from it with recovered health." 

Some interesting particulars of Mr. Craven s early history are 
given in a publication to which literary men who have to treat 
of their contemporaries are more largely indebted than to all 
other periodicals of their times " The Gentleman s Magazine." 

met him at Marseilles, quite restored. He was then about to embark for Greece 
where he died a little later. 



THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 415 

"When Keppel Craven was about three years old, his father 
took leave of Lady Craven, never to see her more ; and when 
she shortly afterward returned to France, she was allowed to 
take Keppel (being her youngest child) with .her, but it was 
under a promise to return him to his father when he was eight 
years of age. This condition was not fulfilled ; but she after*- 
ward placed him at Harrow, under a feigned name. 

" While Keppel was at Harrow, says his mother, a lady 
saw him in the master s private library, and when she was 
stepping into her coach, she asked the master who the boy was. 
He answered, " A German." " It is the image of Lady Craven," 
she said. Keppel, who at this time was about thirteen years 
old, spoke English perfectly, without any accent, although he 
had been so much abroad. The lady s remark struck the mas 
ter forcibly, who went back to the child immediately, and told 
him he suspected he was Lord Craven s son, and it was better 
that his uncle, Lord Berkeley, who was left to direct his brother, 
then at Eton, should know where he was ; and, after his first 
confusion was over, the child consented to it. In consequence, 
Keppel passed the next vacation with his brother Berkeley, in 
Dorsetshire. 

" Mr. Keppel Craven, however, was not, by this incident, per 
manently estranged from his mother, who shortly after came 
to reside in this country with the Margrave of Anspach, to whom 
she had been married in 1799. After the margrave s death in 
1805, he fixed his residence with her at Naples."* 

When her royal highness, the Princess of Wales, set out in 
1814 on her foreign tour, she was accompanied by several En 
glish gentlemen and two English ladies in her suite. The prin 
cess quitted Naples in March, 1815 ; her two chamberlains, Sir 
William Gell and Mr. Craven, and her only remaining maid of 
honor, Lady Elizabeth Forbes, stayed behind, as did likewise her 
royal highness s equerry, Captain Hesse. 

Mr. Craven, in his examination on the queen s trial in 1820, 
said he was in the queen s service as one of her chamberlains 
in 1814, but left it at the expiration of six months, in conformity 

* The Gentleman s Magazine, October, 1851, p. 492. 



416 THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 

with previous arrangements ; was aware of the presence of a 
spy from England, whose business it was to watch the conduct 
of the queen. He saw no impropriety in the conduct of the 
queen at Milan or Naples, or improper familiarity on the part 
of Bergami. He (witness) left her at Naples, and proceeded to 
England. 

Mr. Craven, having fixed his abode in Naples, became inti 
mately acquainted with Sir William Gell. 

Their tastes, habits, pursuits, and inclinations were identical. 
There never were friends more united in sentiment and affection. 
Mr. Craven was a good classical scholar, had an excellent 
taste for drawing, was a great lover of books, and had all the 
feelings, refined manners, and the gentle, winning, easy address 
of an accomplished gentleman. 

One of the earliest and most highly-esteemed acquaintances 
made by Lady Blessington on her arrival in Naples in July, 1823, 
was the Honorable R. Keppel Craven. 

Mr. Craven (says Lady Blessington) possesses a highly-culti 
vated mind, manners at once dignified and graceful, and exer 
cises an elegant hospitality, that renders his house the most at 
tractive here. 

She speaks of him in her letters and diaries of 1823 and 1824 
as " one of the most agreeable persons in Naples," " a person 
of the greatest versatility of knowledge," " a scholar," " a musi 
cian," " a draughtsman of much merit," " a comic actor of con 
siderable ability." 

In 1821, Mr. Craven published in 4to, "A Tour through the 
Southern Provinces of the Kingdom of Naples, "to which is sub 
joined an Account of the Revolution. This work is embellish 
ed with views from his own sketches. 

Mr. Craven s principal work is " Excursions in the Abruzzi 
and the Northern Provinces of Naples," in 2 vols., published in 
1837. In that excellent work, worthy of the taste for art and 
antiquarian lore of his old friend and companion, Sir William 
Gell, there is one description, which alone would render the 
" Excursions" of no ordinary value ; the detailed and most in 
teresting account of the Benedictine monastery of Monte Casino 



THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 417 

(the original foundation of St. Benedict), and its valuable library, 
and precious archives, diplomas, chronicles, and monastic rec 
ords, and its innumerable documents illustrative of the early 
history in those regions of the Lombards and Normans ; the 
original copies of Leo Ostienses and Richard of San Gerrnano, 
as well as rare manuscripts of the works of Homer, Virgil, and 
Dante ; and, lastly, the celebrated vision of Alberica, a monk of 
this fraternity, from which that poet is supposed to have taken 
the first idea of the "Divina Commedia." 

Mr. Craven died at Naples in June, 1851, aged seventy-two, 
the last of a triumvirate of English literati, scholars, and gen 
tlemen of refined taste in art and excellence in antiquarian pur 
suits, who resided for so many years in Naples in the closest 
bonds of friendship Drummond, Gell, and Craven. 

The respect and affectionate care paid by Mr. Craven through 
out his whole life to his mother was one of the most remarka 
ble and amiable traits in his character. No amount of eccen 
tricity, or waywardness, or restlessness on the part of the mar 
gravine made the slightest difference in the undeviating and 
uniform dutifulness and tender devotion to her of this favorite 
child of hers. 

She was fully sensible of this kindness, and returned her son s 
affection to some extent. I have never observed, except in a 
single instance that of the filial homage, affectionate regard, 
and dutifulness of Sir Moses Montefiore to his venerable mother 
the same deference, honor, and child-like love shown by a 
man advanced in years to a parent, as was exhibited by Keppel 
Craven to his mother. And in this particular case the merit 
of the son s conduct was certainly enhanced by a great deal of 
eccentricity on the part of her whose happiness and comfort 
were the chief objects of his care. 

Mr. Augustus Craven, the only son of the Honorable R. Kep 
pel Craven, was attached to the mission at Naples in the latter 
part of 1830, and to that at Frankfort in 1833 ; was appointed 
paid attache at Lisbon in 1836, at Brussels in 1839 ; was made 
secretary of legation at Stuttgardt in 1843.* He acted, for a 

* Foreign Office List for 1854, p. 54. 



418 LETTERS FROM THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 

short time, as private secretary to the Marquis of Normanby at 
Paris in 1846, and resigned his post at Stuttgardt in 1852. A 
little later, he was a candidate, on the liberal interest, for the 
representation of the county of Dublin, and was defeated. 

LETTERS TO LADY BLESSIXGTON FROM THDHON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 

" Pente, near Salerno, August 29th, 1835. 

"Your last kind letter, and the very flattering expressions it contained, 
ought to have received an earlier answer than I have bestowed upon it, hut 
I am not the less grateful ; and you will admit the validity of an excuse for 
silence when I inform you that it has hcen protracted from a desire of giving 
you a better account of our friend Gell than I could have done two months 
ago. Then, indeed, his state of health was such as to excite considerable 
alarm, but about the beginning of August a crisis appears to have taken place, 
and a considerable improvement has been the consequence ; he is now here, 
where he has been staying a week ; but that would prove nothing in favor 
of his amended condition, as even at its worst period his courage and activity 
of mind never drooped, and he went out just as usual. 

" I wish I could add to this that I am free from all apprehension ; but as 
long as a tendency to somnolency continues, the only symptom which has 
not disappeared, I feel uneasy. This affection is considerably diminished, 
that is, modified in its form and periods, but still it exists to a degree that 
must undergo great alteration before his friends can find their minds totally 
reassured with regard to the consequences ; that this may occur I am assured 
by his physicians is probable, and Heaven knows I am but too well disposed 
to believe them. In addition to this fund of uneasiness, I have had some oc 
cupations of an annoying nature in the uncertainty which arose and hung 
over my son s departure, who, with his wife, is gone to France for some 
months. This had been decided some time back, but the approach of the 
cholera southward urged them to anticipate their intended departure, for fear 
of finding themselves shut into the north of Italy, and surrounded on all sides 
with sanitary cordons. 

" I have just heard from them in date of Milan, and there seemed no ob 
stacle to their having reached Switzerland in safety, so their difficulties are at 
an end. With regard to the malady itself, there seems no doubt that it has 
declared itself at Nice, Genoa, Corsi, and Leghorn, but it has not been very 
violent, and seems just now to be suspended. Measures are taking in this 
kingdom to present obstacles (if that is possible) to its approach, and to attend 
to it in the most effectual manner if it does come ; but the panic it had caused 
at first appears to have subsided, and its effects seem confined to the inn 
keepers and laquais de places, who foresee a sterile winter for them, as it is 
not probable that, as long as any lurking remains of the malady are supposed 
to exist in any part of Italy, strangers will voluntarily select it for their next 



LETTERS FROM THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 419 

winter s residence ; at present there are very few, who will most likely 
soon depart. I have been staying here ever since the beginning of June, oc 
cupied much as usual, with additions and improvements, which, however, have 
somewhat changed their form, as I begin to reap the enjoyments of past la 
bors instead of undertaking new ones. I have had some visitors, enough to 
break upon the unwearied tenor of my usual habits, but not too frequently to 
prevent the resumption of them. The summer has been variable, therefore, 
for this climate, cool ; and now, heavy rains and thunder-storms seem to give 
us a foretaste of the equinox a month before its natural time. 

" I ought before this to have thanked you for your offer of assistance with 
regard to the publication of my last journey, a proposal which I should most 
gratefully avail myself of should circumstances favor its appearance ; it is 
now completed, and copied out in a fair, legible hand, therefore accessible to 
the inspection of any bookseller, who, of course, will choose to examine it be 
fore any stipulations are made. I will seek an opportunity of forwarding it 
to England, and if I find one, will take the liberty of addressing it to you as 
its guardian ; in the mean while, I may as well state the nature of the work 
and its contents, which are the result of various excursions in the northern 
provinces of this kingdom, that is, the Abruzzi ; to these are added others less 
extended, in the district of Samnium and Basilicata, and other less remote 
parts, but certainly not better known. The whole would form a quarto vol 
ume about the size of the last I published relative to the South, and, as far as 
I can judge, written in the same manner that is, in that of an Itinerary, prin 
cipally useful to such as are inclined to examine those regions, but not arriv 
ing at any details of science or statistics. There are some drawings annex 
ed, but I would leave the expediency of adding them to the work to the pub 
lisher s decision, though I think they would add considerably to the effect, as 
they are selected from many, represent spots entirely unknown, and of some 
interest, as well from their locality as their picturesque accompaniments, all 
which I state, in case any previous inquiry should be made as to the general 
nature of the work. Gell, in whose room I am now writing, requests his 
kindest regards to you ; may I beg you will add mine to Count D Orsay, and 
believe me, dear Lady Blessington, yours most obliged and sincerely, 

" R. KEPPEL CRAVEN." . 

"Naples, April 17, 1836. 

" I hope you will not judge of the impression your last kind letter produced 
upon me by the tardiness I have observed in replying to it ; but for this I 
shall offer no apology ; acquiescing in all your friendly expressions regarding 
the loss I have sustained* is but a poor way of denoting my thanks, and I 
deferred offering them till I could at the same time inform you with, some cer 
tainty of my intended movements for the summer, which I now can do, hav- 

* The death of Sir William Gell. R. R. M. 



420 LETTERS FROM THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 

ng determined to leave this very early in the ensuing month, and to proceed 
as rapidly as a weary-spent and not a very robust state of health will allow 
me, resting only a few weeks at Paris, so that I hope to be in London in the 
first week of June, when I need not say you will be very shortly apprised of 
my arrival. I have been very busy in arranging the memorials I preserve of 
our excellent friend, so as to have them constantly under my inspection. You 
know that there are various ways of finding relief, which differ according to 
the disposition and habits of the sufferer in similar cases, and I own that fly- 
ino- from, or destroying every record which recalls the person lamented, does 
not appear (to me at least) an efficacious mode of obtaining consolation ; for 
surely it does not require such tangible mementoes of departed excellence to 
remind one of an irreparable loss, the conviction of which will intrude itself at 
all times, and through every circumstance of social or solitary life. I have, 
therefore, amalgamated the books of which I have possession with my own, 
in a manner that no eye but mine can detect ; and they serve to adorn, and 
give additional value to, the apartment I always inhabit. The drawings I 
have placed in two cabinets, in drawers, except those forming a series of hip, 
Travels in Greece, which I knew he wished to be finally bestowed upon the 
British Museum ; these are all in one case, with his initials, and at my death 
shall be removed to that destination, more worthy, perhaps, of their merits 
than their present position, but not more honored by the owner. 

* We had a beautiful month of March, which has been followed by an April 
reminding us of January, the rigor of which still endures in the shape of cold 
winds, stormy showers, melted snow, and other irregularities, as ill suited to 
the season as to the latitude. 

"There are numerous arrivals from Rome, but few of name or note. S. 
Carlo is closed altogether, and the season more than usually dull in every re 
spect. I fear your friend, Count Matuschewitz must be singularly struck 
with it, but he seems in high good humor, and docs not complain ; he has 
favored me with his company to dinner a few times, and I find him every 
thing you describe ; he has taken the Palazzo Fernandina, and is getting it 
up. There could not be a better selection, and I have no doubt he will find it 
so ; but he is still at the inn, the house not being yet ready for him. The 
king is at present enjoying the honors of a camp composed of about a third 
of his forces, near Salerno ; this is an amusement he was much inclined to in 
his early days of celibacy, but latterly his growing attachment to his poor 
young wife appeared to have absorbed his attention ; however, after three 
months mourning, he has had recourse to this object, either to resume hist 
bachelor s avocations, or perhaps by way only of a little dissipation. There 
are already reports of his having the intention of traveling to seek a wor 
thy successor of the late queen ; and they are not without probability. To 
the questions you put, and which appear to me but too natural, respecting 
Cell s last days, or rather weeks, I find it rather difficult to return a positive 
answer, more especially as to his own feelings respecting his state. I think 



LETTERS FROM THE HON. KEPPEL CRAVEN. 42! 

that at times he was quite aware that his system had received a blow from 
which it could never recover, and that as far back as this time twelvemonth ; 
but he had continued so many months under the impression of repeated som 
nolence, of somnolence totally free from bodily suffering, that I don t appre 
hend he considered himself worse at the end of the year than last spring. He 
was not aware of his increasing debility ; and as the functions of his stomach 
continued unimpaired until within but two days before the sad event, when a 
general and rapid decay of all the vital functions occurred, I don t think that 
his reflections dwelt upon his dissolution as being very near. Nevertheless, 
his last will, about which he was very anxious, was executed little more than 
a week before his decease, and occasionally he would allude to the event itself 
in an indirect manner ; for on receiving some books about a month before it 
happened, and my asking him to lend some to me, he said, You had better 
read them when they are your own and you are not likely to wait long. I 
lind in his daily journal, in which he noted observations on his health, about 
Christmas, these words May consider myself well He had rallied to what 
appeared a very improved condition about three weeks before the catastro 
phe ; but it was principally in the suspension of the lethargic affections which 
had so long oppressed him that this was evident, and the consequence was, 
that, having much longer intervals of clear consciousness and reflection, he 
was undoubtedly more awake to his situation, both morally and physically ; 
for he then complained of bodily ailings much more than during his whole 
malady, though to all appearance they had ceased. He never ceased, I don t 
say for an hour, but an instant, to have a book open before him ; and though 
he sometimes could not fix his eyes for two minutes at a time on its contents, 
he nevertheless understood it, and could afterward talk of the work in a man 
ner which proved that, while his mental powers were awake, they were as 
strong as ever more especially his memory ; but the state he was in caused 
much confusion in his ideas of time and distance, of which he was aware, 
and complained of. 

" I cannot end my letter without thanking you for your very kind offer of 
receiving me at Gore House, and conferring on me the many advantages such 
a residence must insure ; but I fear my stay in England will be too short to 
allow me to accept them more extendedly than in as frequent visits as it will 
allow me to pay, ^owa-rd these I look forward with real satisfaction and an 
ticipated gratitude. " R. K. CRAVEN." 

( Monday evening, June 27th, 1836. 

" You have my best thanks for the two numbers of the Athenaeum you 
were so go,od as to send me.; the article you so obligingly bestowed is the 
same I had read in its most valuable parts ; the other having only some .ad- 
ditions relative to pur friend s descendants and family. I feel very thankful 
for what you have stated of me, though I flatter myself it is no more than the 
strict truth in all that regards my affection for one so deserving of it. By 



422 THOMAS JAMES MATTHIAS, ESQ. 

what you say of him, I am still more grateful, for it does justice to his exalted 
qualities in the most concise and yet the most elegant manner. 

" R. KEPPEL. CRAVEN." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THOMAS JAMES MATTHIAS, ESQ., F.R.S., F.S.A. 

MR. MATTHIAS took the degree of B.A. in Trinity College, 
Cambridge, in 1774. The following year he gained the mem 
bers prize for the best dissertation in Latin prose ; the next 
year he gained one of the prizes as senior bachelor. Shortly 
after taking the degree of M.A., he quitted college, and obtain 
ed an office at the court, that of clerk to the queen s treasurer, 
and subsequently that of treasurer of her majesty s household. 
The rampant Toryism which prevailed about the court of George 
the Third soon and strongly infected the young Cantab official. 
He became a political satirist and a poetical politician, and de 
voted to party the noble talents which were given for mankind. 

In 1781 he published " Runic Odes," imitated from the Norse 
tongue, in 4to. 

In the controversy concerning the authenticity of the Rowley 
poems, assisted by Dr. Glynn, he espoused the cause of Chatter- 
ton, and expended a great deal of energy in vindicating the 
young literary impostor in a brochure " On the Evidences, in 
ternal and external, relating to the Poems attributed to Thomas 
Rowley," in 8vo, in 1783. 

In 1794 he published the first part of an anonymous poem, 
" The Pursuits of Literature," which was eventually compiled 
in four parts. 

This work attracted universal notice, chiefly on account of the 
extensive arid erudite notes, which abounded with evidences of 
varied learning and scholastic attainments, combined with a bit 
ter spirit of sarcastic criticism, arrayed against every thing lib- 
oral in politics or religion, under the guise of a constitutional 
and Christian zeal against revolutionary principles, and infidel 
or unorthodox opinions. 

The leading Whigs of the times were castigated by Mr. Mat- 



THOMAS JAMES MATTHIAS, ESQ. 423 

thias with merciless rancor, but with signal ability. The chiefs 
of Toryism, 011 the other hand, were incensed, till the atmos 
phere around them reeked with eulogistic vapor, and the swing 
of the censer became monotonously wearisome and ennuyant. 
Several other works appeared in succession from 1794 to 1832.* 

Matthias had some peculiarities of an amusing character, or 
petits ridicules, -which Lady Blessington has duly recorded in her 
Italian diaries. His memory was peculiarly tenacious at din 
ner-time in regard to dates, of early productions of vegetables, 
the first appearance of certain meats in the season ; he was re 
minded, at the first sight of green peas on the table, of the par 
ticular day on which he had partaken of them the preceding 
year. It was the same with spring fowl, game, as