ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

forced to submit, but has been ill ever since; and Sir Henry Halford declared it was a complete breaking up of her constitution,-(to the great delight of the two Princesses,* who were talking about this affair.) Miss Knight was the very person they wished to have : they think they can do as they like with her. It had been ordered that the Princess Charlotte should not see her mother alone for a single moment; but the latter went into her room, stuffed a pair of large shoes full of papers, and, having given them to her daughter, she went home. Lady [-] told me every thing was written down, and sent to Mr. Brougham next day.

There are in the newspapers, daily, long histories written, with intention to inflame the public with an idea of the Princess's wrongs, and, above all, to make it clear that Princess Charlotte could reign to-morrow, if any circumstance was to unfit her father for so doing. This is the great point with the party out of office, and which the men of ambition want to establish, in order to raise themselves. True patriotism, ture knight-errantry, where is it? There are few minds good enough, great enough, to entertain either of these sentiments. As to Brougham, I am more and more convinced that he never meant to have risked what he has done. He is a man of inordinate ambition, and I fear of little heart: indeed, in most cases, the former generally usurps every affection.

Tuesday, 26th.— I saw Bessie R[awdo]n and her mother. The first is a very beautiful and superior creature; the latter lives but in her daughter, † and would be a cypher without her.

* Thackeray quotes this passage thinking it means the Queen's daughters, whereas it obviously refers to the Princess of Wales and Princess Charlotte.

† Harriet, Lady Granville writes in 1817, after Miss Rawdon's marriage : “ Lady William Russell is very pretty, very pleasing ; Lord William looks quiet and pleased, but a little small between his

Thursday, 27th.I dined at Blackheath. Old (Sapio] was there, and the Princess sang, or rather squalled. Of course, those who live much with her Royal Highness must see how matters go on. It is a great pity she should be surrounded by such society ; it does her infinite harm.

Saturday.-I accompanied the Princess to the British Institution. There were not many fine pictures. One subject, taken from Scripture, that has been bought by Lord Stafford for eight hundred guineas, the painter's name, Edward Bird, the subject the death of Eli, pleased me most; and I liked some of Barker's, particularly a woman perishing in the snow, with her baby; and Tam O'Shanter, the horse very good, by Cooper.

The letter has been read to the Prince Regent. His Royal Highness is not pleased to give any answer whatever, says my Lord Liverpool. What is to be done now? Brougham seems to be at a stand still. The R[-]s tell

] me that what the Prince is determined to try for, is a divorce. I hardly think that he will though.-Princess Charlotte would be furious, for fear of his marrying again and having a son, and putting her off the throne. The game of “change seats, the King's coming,” is what she would not at all enjoy ; therefore, she would naturally make a strong party to prevent this ; and many persons dissatisfied with the Prince would side with her-not from any other motive but self-love-'tis, alas ! the most powerful one with the generality of mankind. Besides, he dare not—the clean hands are wanting

Extract from a Letter.

Date, 6th February, 1813. I went last night to Carlton House : all very magnificent, but such a lack of young dancing men, and indeed women, accomplished bride and exigeante mother-in-law, who talks all the timo as if Lady William was dead :-' From the time I lost my poor Bessy.' It is clear Lord William will not love Mrs. Rawdon."

that I quite pitied the Princess Charlotte for the dulness of the ball—such it appeared to me—what must it not have appeared to youth—and intelligent youth ? I think her quite charming, and in all respects as to appearance, far exceeding whatever I had heard of her. I much regretted not having it in my power in any way to make myself known to her ; for possibly I should have received a gracious word or so. But I was very near her often, and could, therefore, make all my observations. Her manner seems open, frank and intelligent; she will captivate many a heart, or I am much mistaken. I think her like both the Prince Regent and the Princess. She danced with the Duke of Clarence], that is, began the ball with him—but of that you will hear more than I can tell you. Lord Holland was there at a very short notice, as he told me, also the Duke of Bedford, Lord Tavistock, (at least I saw Lady,) Lord Cowper, Lord Jersey ; I think not many more opposition lords.

Thursday, 11th of February.—The circle of the Princess's acquaintance and attendants grows smaller every day, and I fear will at length degenerate wholly into low company. The Oxford and Burdett party prevail.

12th of February, 1813.–To-day, the Princess received the following letter from Lord Liverpool :

Lord Liverpool has the honour to inform her Royal Highness that in consequence of the publication in the Morning Chronicle of the both instant, of a letter addressed by her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales to the Prince Regent, his Royal Highness thinks fit, by the advice of his confidential servants, to signify his command that the intended visit of the Princess Charlotte to her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales on the following day, shall not take place.

Lord Liverpool is not enabled to make any further communication to her Royal Highness, on the subject of her Royal Highness's note.

Dated, FIFE HOUSE, 12th February, 1813.

To which the Princess sent the following reply :

Lady A[nne] H[amilton) is commanded by her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, to represent to Lord Liverpool that the insidious insinuation respecting the publication of the letter addressed by the Princess of Wales to the Prince Regent on the 12th of January, conveyed in his lordship's reply to her Royal Highness, is as void of foundation, and as false, as all the former accusations of the traducers of her Royal Highness's honour, in the year 1806.

Lady A[nne) is further commanded to say, that dignified silence would have been the line of conduct the Princess would have pursued upon such insinuation, (more than unbecoming Lord Liverpool,) did not the effects arising from it operate to deprive her Royal Highness of the only real happiness she can possess in this world—that of seeing her only child; and the confidential servants of the Prince Regent ought to feel ashamed of their conduct towards the Princess in advising his Royal Highness the Prince Regent upon an unauthorized and unfounded supposition, to prevent mother and daughter from meeting ; a prohibition, as positively against the law of nature, as against the law of the land.

Lady A[nne) is further commanded to desire Lord Liverpool to lay this paper before the Prince Regent, that his Royal Highness may be aware into what error his confidential servants are leading him, and will involve him, by counselling and signifying such a command.

Dated MONTAGUE HOUSE, 15th Feb., 1813.

It is scarcely possible to read this composition without laughing. There can be no doubt of the authors, and it certainly does not do much credit to their literary or rational powers. One might have supposed that all resentment must have given way, on perusal, to the more pleasurable sensation of laughter. How that was, cannot be known, as no one was present when Lord Liverpool received it, or made known its contents to the Prince Regent, (if he ever did so.) To be serious, how lamentable that the Princess should have been betrayed by passion to trust herself or her scribes to commit such egregious folly, and to act in matters of such importance without

[ocr errors]

consulting those persons in whom she partially placed confidence. It was this partial and not entire confidence on her part which so often brought them, as well as herself, into great difficulties, and with justice disgusted those whose interest it was to serve her. There had evidently been some hocus pocus about the premature publication of the above letter in the Morning Chronicle ; and the whole business had been ill conducted.

Copy of her Royal Highness's Letter. THE PRINCESS OF WALES to His ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE REGENT.

14th of January, 1813. SIR, It is with great reluctance that I presume to obtrude myself upon your Royal Highness, and to solicit your attention to matters which may, at first, appear rather of a personal than a public nature. If I could think them so—if they related merely to myself—I should abstain from a proceeding which might give uneasiness, or interrupt the more weighty occupations of your Royal Highness's time; I should continue in silence and retirement to lead the life which has been prescribed to me, and console myself for the loss of that society and those domestic comforts to which I have been so long a stranger, by the reflection that it has been deemed proper I should be afflicted, without any fault of my own, and that your Royal Highness knows it.

But, Sir, there are considerations of a higher nature than any regard to my own happiness, which render this address a duty both to myself and my daughter ; may I venture to say, a duty also to my husband, and the people committed to his care ? There is a point beyond which a guiltless woman cannot with safety carry her forbearance; if her honour is invaded, the defence of her reputation is no longer a matter of choice; and it signifies not whether the attack be made openly, manfully and directly, or by secret insinuations, and by holding such conduct towards her as countenances all the suspicions that malice can suggest. If these ought to be the feelings of every woman in England who is conscious she deserves no reproach, your Royal Highness has

« 前へ次へ »