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through her life. Many of her letters were surreptitiously published soon after her death. A carefully edited edition by her great-grandson, Lord Wharncliffe, was published in 1837. The larger portion of the letters were written during her residence in Italy. About 1752 she began to amuse herself by writing a history of her own times, but burned each sheet as soon as it was written. A few pages of this history somehow escaped the flames, and were published by Lord Wharncliffe. They contain a clever account of the English Court at the accession of George I., in 1714.
GEORGE I. OF ENGLAND.
The king's character may be characterized in very few words. In private life he would have been called an honest blockhead; and fortune, that made him a king, added nothing to his happiness, only prejudiced his honesty, and shortened his days. No man was ever more free from ambition. He loved money, but he loved to keep his own, without being rapacious of other men's. He would have grown rich by saving, but was incapable of laying schemes for getting. He was more properly dull than lazy; and would have been so well contented to remain in his little town of Hanover that if the ambition of those about him had not been greater than his own, we should never have seen him in England; and the natural honesty of his temper, joined with the narrow notions of a low education, made him look upon his acceptance of the crown as an act of usurpation, which was always uneasy to him. But he was carried by the stream of people about him in that as in every action of his life. He could speak no English, and was past the age of learning it. Our customs and laws were all mysteries to him, which he neither tried to understand nor was capable of understanding if he had endeavored it He was passively goodnatured, and wished all mankind to enjoy quiet, if they would let him do so.
The mistress that followed him hither was so much of his temper that I do not wonder at the engagement between them. She was duller than himself, and consequently did not find out that he was so; and had lived in that figure in Hanover almost forty years (for she came hither at threescore), withouť meddling in any of the affairs of the Electorate, content with the small pension he allowed her, and the honor of his visit when he had nothing else to do — which happened very often. She even refused coming hither at first, fearing that the people of England — who she thought were accustomed to use their kings barbarously — might chop off his head in the first fortnight, and had not love or gratitude enough to venture being involved in his ruin. And the poor man was in peril of coming hither without knowing where to spend his evenings; which he was accustomed to do in the apartments of women free from business.
But Madame Kilmansegge saved him from this misfortune. She was told that Mademoiselle Schulenberg scrupled this terrible journey; and took the opportunity of offering her services to his Majesty, who willingly accepted of it; though he did not offer to facilitate it to her by the payment of her debts, which made it very difficult for her to leave Hanover without the permission of her creditors. But she was a woman of wit and spirit, and knew very well of what importance this step was to her fortune. She got out of the town in disguise, and made the best of her way in a postchaise to Holland, from whence she embarked with the king, and arrived at the same time with him in England; which was enough to make her be called his mistress, or at least so great a favorite that the whole court began to pay her uncommon respect.
Apropos of distemper, I am going to tell you a thing that will make you wish yourself here [at Adrianople.)
The small-pox, so fatal and so general amongst us, is here entirely harmless by the invention of ingrafting, which is the term they give it. There is a set of old women who make it their business to perform the operation every autumn, in the month of September, when the great heat is abated. People send to one another to know if any of their family has the mind to have the small-pox. They make parties for this purpose; and when they are met — commonly fifteen or sixteen together — the old woman comes with a nut-shell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox and asks what veins you please to have opened. She immediately rips open thať you offer to her with a large needle which gives you no more pain than a common scratch — and puts into the vein as much matter as can lie upon the head of her needle, and after that binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell, and in this manner opens four or five veins. The Grecians have commonly the superstition of opening one in the middle of the forehead, one in each arm, and one on the breast, to mark the sign of the cross. But this has a very ill effect, all of these wounds leaving little scars; and is not done by those that are not superstitious, who choose to have them in the legs, or that part of the arm that is concealed.
The children or young patients play together all the rest of the day, and are in perfect health to the eighth. Then the fever begins to seize them, and they keep their beds two days, very seldom three. They have very rarely above twenty or thirty breakings out in their faces, which never mark; and in eight days' time they
as well as before their illness. Where they are wounded there remains running sores during the distemper, which I don't doubt is a great relief to it. Every year thousands undergo this operation; and the French ambassador says, pleasantly, that they take the small-pox here by way of diversion, as they take the waters in other countries. There is no example of anyone that has died in it; and you may believe I am well satisfied of the safety of this experiment, since I intend to try it on my dear little son.
I am patriot enough to take pains to bring this useful invention into fashion in England; and I should not fail to write to some of our doctors very particularly about it, if I knew any one of them that I thought had virtue enough to destroy such a considerable part of their revenue for the good of mankind. But that distemper is too beneficial to them not to expose to all their resentment the hardy wight that should undertake to put an end to it. Letter, April 17, 1717.
ONTAIGNE, MICHEL EYQUEN DE, a French
essayist; born at the ancestral château of
Montaigne, in Périgord, March 28, 1533 ; died there, September 11, 1592. In his infancy he was placed under a German tutor, who could not speak French, and was ordered to converse with him only in Latin, which language the boy spoke fluently at the age of six. He was sent to a school at Bordeaux, where he completed his academical course at the age of thirteen. At twenty-one he became a councillor in the Parliament of Bordeaux, resigning the post after holding it until 1570. For some years after he lived much at the French Court, and was a favorite with several successive monarchs. In 1571, at the age of thirty-eight, he retired to his château, and began the composition of his Essays, the only work by which he is at all known. These were first printed in 1580, and several times subsequently during his life. Of this edition he left two copies full of corrections and additions, which are incorporated in all subsequent editions,
His Essays have been a favorite with not a few thinkers, notable among whom is Ralph Waldo Emer