ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Perceval's, the same accident very nearly happened ; for, of course, the poor boy was trembling, and unable to

, guide the horses. Lady [-] told me she was made quité sick by the circumstance; but the resentment and abhorrence she felt at the Princess's total want of humanity on this occasion made her recover sooner than she would otherwise have done ; for indignation took place of any other feeling. And no wonder ! I could not understand a woman's being so unfeeling. It gave me also a feeling of dislike towards the Princess.

To-day I went to Blackheath, by command. Her Royal Highness was in a low, gentle humour. I walked round her melancholy garden with her, and she made me feel quite sorry for her, when she cried, and said it was all her own creation—meaning the garden and shrubbery, &c.—but that now she must leave it for ever, for that she had not money to keep a house at Blackheath and one in London also ; and that the last winter she had passed there had been so very dreary, she could not endure the thought of keeping such a one again. I did not wonder at this. All the time I staid and walked with her Royal Highness, she cried, and spoke with a desolation of heart that really made me sorry for her; and yet, at the end of our conversation, poor soul, she smiled, and an expression of resignation, even of content, irradiated her countenance as she said, “I will go on hoping for happier days. Do you think I may 7” she asked me; and I replied with heartfelt warmth, “I trust your Royal Highness will yet see many happy days.” This Princess is a most

a peculiar person-she alternately makes me dislike and like her-her conduct and sentiments vary so in quality every time I see her. But one sentiment does and will ever remain fixed in my breast, and that is pity for her manifold wrongs.

I saw Madame de HE-je; I think she is a good and an upright woman. Heavens ! what an opinion she has of the Princess. She told me she dreamt the other night, that her Royal Highness's carriage was fired at, going down a lane, and that she was shot in the back. Madame de H[-] and I agreed on the impropriety of her Royal Highness exposing her person as she does, without attendants, in lanes and by-ways near Kensington and at Blackheath.

Thursday.-Lady [] was sent to the cottage to fetch away books, &c., which had been left there. She heard that Chanticleer was ill. Amiable distress, interesting dénouement !—I dined at Kensington. There was no one besides the Princess, except Lady (-). We dined off mutton and onions, and I thought Lady (-) would have dégobbiléd with the coarseness of the food, and the horror of seeing the Princess eat to satiety. Afterwards, her Royal Highness walked about Paddington Fields, making Lady [---] and myself follow. These walks are very injudiciously chosen as to time and place, though perfectly innocent, and taken for no other purpose than for the pleasure of doing an extraordinary thing. It was almost dark when the Princess returned home in the evening. She amused us very much by telling us the history of her sister, Princess Charlotte. I asked her if the report was true as to the manner of the Princess Charlotte's death. She said she did not believe it, and had even reasons for supposing she was still alive. Princess Charlotte married at 13 or 14 years of age, * and, like all princesses, and most other women, she did so in order to have an establishment, and be her own mistress. For some time she behaved well, though her sister said her husband was very jealous of her from the beginning, and beat her cruelly. At length, they went to Russia, and there she became enamoured of a man who was supposed to have been the Empress's lover-a circumstance which rendered the offence heinous, even though he was a cast off lover. But it seems ladies snarl over a bone they have picked, just like any cross dog. The Princess Charlotte was secretly delivered of a child in process of time, in one of the Empress's chateaux. Her husband had not lived with her for a year or two, and for once the right father was actually named. As soon as she recovered from this little accident, the Empress informed her it was no longer possible for her to allow her to live under her roof, but that she might go to the Chateau de Revelt, on the Baltic—that is to say, she must go : whither accordingly she was sent. The curious part of this story is, that Miss Saunders, the Princess of Wales's maid, at this time living with her, had a sister, which sister lived as maid to Princess Charlotte, and she, after a time, came from the Chateau de Revelt back to Brunswick, saying her mistress was in perfect health, but had dismissed her from her service, as she no longer required her attendance. She gave her money and jewels, and, after vain entreaties to be allowed to remain with her royal mistress, to whom she was much attached, M ss Saunders's sister left the Princess Charlotte.

* She was born in 1764 and married, in 1780, Frederick (afterwards King) of Wurtemberg. She died September 27, 1788. It is worth noticing (remembering the Napoleonic sympathies of Caroline, Princess of Wales) that her only daughter Catherine, Princess of Wurtemberg, was married in 1807 to Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia, brother of Napoleon. The Princess of Wales sheltered them during their exile in her Italian villas.

Not long after this, word was brought to the Duke of Brunswick that she died suddenly of some putrid disorder, which made it necessary to bury the body immediately, without waiting for any ceremonies due to the rank of the deceased. All further inquiries that were made ended in this account, and no light was thrown upon this business. Some years subsequently to this, a travelling Jew arrived at Brunswick, whosswore that he saw the Princess Charlotte at the Opera at Leghorn. He was questioned, and declared that he could not be mistaken in her. “I own,” said the Princess of Wales," from her sending

“ away the person who was so much attached to her, and the only servant she had whom she loved and relied on, that I always hope she contrived to elope with her lover, and may still be alive." This story is curious if it be true ; but her Royal Highness loves to tell romantic histories ; so that one cannot believe implicitly what she narrates.

Saturday.-Again I dined at Kensington. Mr. and Mrs. [-] were also there. I was glad to see them at her Royal Highness's table ; for, though not great personages in point of rank, they are great in goodness and respectability and talent. The Princess talked during the whole of dinner time, about her wish to procure four or five thousand pounds by giving up the lease of twentyone years of her house at Blackheath, to whoever would advance her this sum of money. Messrs. [---] both told

her it was a very good bargain for any body to enter into, but very disadvantageous for her. She insisted upon it, however, and said " she would get it done,” and desired Lady (-) to write the next day, and tell Mr. H.[-] to endeavour to procure the money for her on these terms. After dinner, the Princess, her Lady (---), and her

[- gentleman accompanied her to Vauxhall, and supped at the Duke of Brunswick's. The evening was pleasant and amusing, but she would imagine that Mr. Gell was in love with Lady ---]; a very funny idea, but it annoyed her. The Duke of Brunswick is a man who has no notion of persons of different sexes associating together, merely for the sake of conversation and society. The only subject in which he shines is in talking of wars, and rumours of wars. He told me that the reason he could not and would not do any thing abroad was, because the Crown Prince insisted upon every person being under him, and

[ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]

all troops serving in the same cause making an oath to follow him when and wheresoever he should appoint. “This," said the Duke, “I never in honour could do ; for I do not, in the first place, feel confidence in this man ; and, in the second, I could not be subservient to him a faiseur d'armes.” I asked him what sort of looking man the Crown Prince is. “Very like what his former profession was,” replied the Duke, holding himself erect, and gesticulating very much, and “always in this atti

, tude,”-placing himself in that of fencing, with both arms extended. “I knew Bernadotte,” said the Duke, “ before he was in Bonaparte's service, and when he was only a mattre-d'armes. He is an upstart, and, though he personally hates Bonaparte, he loves the French, and only desires to place himself in his stead at their head. He would be just as great a tyrant, were he placed in the same position. My opinion is, he would follow in Bonaparte's footsteps, and I do not think the general cause will be advanced by him.”

The Duke shewed us two very curious illuminated MSS. ; one of them was a prayer-book, or rather a book of prayers, composed and written out in the handwriting of one of the Dukes of Brunswick. There were one hundred beautiful pictures in it, all finished like the finest painted miniatures, and, Mr. Gell said, executed by some great master. The binding of the book was also beautiful- of fine carved silver work. We also saw a vase twenty inches high, and ten in circumference, made of a single sardonyx, with the mysteries of Ceres exquisitely carved upon it. There was a printed account of how this vase came into the possession of the family, and its supposed age, which the author placed as far back as having been in the temple of Solomon; but Mr. Gell said, “that is nonsense, and I hope they will not publish this in the translation intended to be made of this account; for the workmanship of this unique

« 前へ次へ »