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correspondence upon baby's deficiency in about so many things; but they knew far health, and on Mrs. Behn's opinion that more correctly where their knowledge began “ the cold bath is the best medicine for and where it stopped; what they thought weak children.” It seems an odd end to a and why they thought it: they had readier deferential perusal of Latin authors in girl- illustrations and more summary phrases ; hood, and to a spirited elopement with the they could say at once what it came to, and preceptor in after years; but the transition to what action it should lead. is only part of the usual irony of human life. The London of 1700 was an aristocratic
The world, both social and political, into world, which lived to itself, which displayed which Lady Mary was introduced by her the virtues and developed the vices of an armarriage was singularly calculated to awaken istocracy which was under little fear of exthe faculties, to stimulate the intellect, to ternal control or check ; which had emancisharpen the wit, and to harden the heart of pated itself from the control of the crown; an intelligent, witty, and hard-headed wo- which had not fallen under the control of man. The world of London -even the the bourgeoisie ; which saw its own life, and higher world—is now too large to be easily saw that, according to its own maxims, it seen, or to be pithily described. The ele- was good. Public opinion now rules, and it ments are so many, their position is so con- is an opinion which constrains the conduct, fused, the display of their mutual counter- and narrows the experience, and dwarfs the action is so involved, that many years must violence, and minimises the frankness of the pass away before even a very clever woman highest classes, while it diminishes their can thoroughly comprehend it all. She will vices, supports their conscience, and precease to be young and handsome long ere cludes their grossness. There was nothing she does comprehend it. And when she at like this in the last century, especially in the last understands it, it does not seem a fit early part of it. The aristocracy came to subject for concise and summary wit. Its town from their remote estates,—where they evident complexity refuses to be condensed were uncontrolled by any opinion or by any into pithy sayings and brilliant bon-mots. equal society, and where the eccentricities It has fallen into the hands of philosophers, and personalities of each character were foswith less brains perhaps than the satirists tered and exaggerated,—to a London which of our fathers, but with more anxiety to tell was like a large county town, in which everythe whole truth, more toleration for the body of rank knew everybody of rank, where many-sidedness of the world, with less of the eccentricities of each rural potentate came sharp conciseness, but, perhaps, with more into picturesque collision with the eccentriciof useful completeness. As are the books, ties of other rural potentates, where the most 80 are the readers. People do not wish to minute allusions to the peculiarities and the read satire now-a-days. The epigrams even career of the principal persons were instantly of Pope would fall dull and ead upon this understood, where squibs were on every taserious and investigating time. The folly ble, and where satire was in the air. No of the last age affected levity; the folly of finer field of social observation could be found this, as we all know, encases itself in pon- for an intelligent and witty woman. Lady derous volumes which defy refutation, in Mary understood it at once. elaborate arguments which prove nothing, Nor was the political life of the last century in theories which confuse the uninstructed, so unfavorable to the influence and so opand which irritate the well-informed. The posed to the characteristic comprehension of folly of a hundred years since was at least women as our present life. We are now ruled the folly of Vivien, but ours is the folly of by political discussion and by a popular asMerlin:
sembly, by leading articles, and by the House “ You read the book, my pretty Vivien,
of Commons. But women can scarcely ever And none can read the text, not even I, compose leaders, and no woman sits in our And none can read the comments but myself— representative chamber. The whole tide of Oh, the results are simple !
abstract discussion which fills our mouths Perhaps people did not khow then as much and deafens our ears, the whole complex acas they do now; indisputably they knew cumulation of facts and figures to which we nothing like so much in a superficial way refer everything, and which we apply to
everything, is quite unfemale. A lady has an and to keep him Prime Minister of England. insight into what she sees ; but how will this He also maintained, during two reigns, a help her with the case of the Trent, with the complete system of court-strategy. During proper structure of a representative chamber, the reign of George II. he kept a queenwith Indian finance or parliamentary reform ? watcher. Lord Hervey, one of the cleverest Women are clever, but cleverness of itself is men in England, the keenest observer, pernothing at present. A sharp Irish writer haps, in England, was induced, by very dexdescribed himself “as bothered intirely by terous management, to remain at court durthe want of preliminary information ;” ing many years to observe the queen, to women are in the same difficulty now. Their hint to the queen, to remove wrong impresnature may hereafter change, as some san- sions from the queen, to comfirm the Walguine advocates suggest. But the visible polese predilections of the queen, to report species certainly have not the intellectual every incident to Sir Robert. The records providence to acquire the vast stores of dry of politics tell us few stranger tales than that information which alone can enable them to it should have been necessary for the Sir judge adequately of our present controver- Robert Peel of the age to hire a subordinate sies. We are ruled by a machinery of ora- as safe as Eldon, and as witty as Canning, tory and discussion, in which women have for the sole purpose of managing a clever no share, and which they hardly comprehend : German woman, to whom the selection of a we are engaged on subjects which need an prime minister was practically intrusted. Nor arduous learning, to which they have no was this the only court-campaign which Sir pretensions.
Robert had to conduct, or in which he was In the last century much of this was very successful. Lady Mary, who hated him different. The Court still counted for much much, has satirically described the foundain English politics. The House of Commons tion upon which his court-favor rested durwas the strongest power in the State ma- ing the reign of George I. chine, but it was not so immeasurably the 6. The new court with all their train was strongest power as now. It was absolutely arrived before I left the country. The Duke supreme within its sphere, but that sphere of Marlborough was returned in a sort of was limited. It could absolutely control the triumph, with the apparent merit of having money, and thereby the policy of the State. suffered for his fidelity to the succession, and Whether there should be peace or war, ex- In short, all people who had suffered any
was reinstated in his office of general, etc. cise or no excise, it could and did despoti- hardship or disgrace during the late miniscally determine. It was supreme in its try, would have it believed that it was occhoice of measures. But, on the other hand, casioned by their attachment to the house it had only a secondary influence in the choice of Hanover. Even Mr. Walpole, who had of persons. Who the prime minister was to been sent to the Tower for a piece of bribery be, was a question not only theoretically de- proved upon him, was called a confessor to
the cause. terminable, but in fact determined by the good luck that yet more contributed to his
But he had another piece of sovereign. The House of Commons could advancement; he had a very handsome sisdespotically impose two conditions : first, ter, whose folly had lost her reputation in that the prime minister should be a man of London ; but the yet greater folly of Lord sufficient natural ability, and sufficient par- Townshend, who happened to be a neighbor liamentary experience, to conduct the busi- in Norfolk to Mr. Walpole, had occasioned ness of his age ; secondly, that he should his being drawn in to marry her some months adopt the policy which the nation wished.
before the queen died.
“ Lord Townshend had that sort of unBut, subject to a conformity with these pre- derstanding which commonly makes men requisites, the selection of the king was nearly honest in the first part of their lives; they uncontrolled. Sir Robert Walpole was the follow the instruction of their tutor, and, till greatest master of parliamentary tactics and somebody thinks it worth their while to show political business in his generation ; he was them a new path, go regularly on in the road a statesman of wide views and consum
where they are set. Lord Townshend had mate dexterity ; but these intellectual gifts, to a sober wife, a kind master to all his ser
then been many years an excellent husband even joined to immense parliamentary expe- vants and dependants, a serviceable relation rience, were not alone sufficient to make him wherever it was in his power, and followed
the instinct of nature in being fond of his We need not point out at length, for the children. Such a sort of behavior without passage we have cited of itself indicates how any glaring absurdity, either in prodigality well suited this sort of politics is to the comor avarice, always gains a man the reputa- prehension and to the pen of a keen-sighted tion of reasonable and honest ; and this was his character when the Earl of Godolphin and witty woman. sent bim envoy to the States, not doubting
Nor was the court the principal improver but he would be faithful to his orders, with of the London society of the age. The House out giving himself the trouble of criticising of Commons was then a part of society. This on them, which is what all ministers wish in separate, isolated, aristocratic world, of wbich an envoy. Robotun, a French refugee (sec. we have spoken, had an almost undisputed retary to Bernstoff, one of the Elector of Hanover's ministers), happened then to be command of both Houses in the Legislature. at the Hague, and was civilly received at The letter of the constitution did not give it Lord Townshend's, who treated him at his them, and no law appointed that it should be table with the English hospitality, and he so. But the aristocratic class were by far the was charmed with a reception which his birth most educated, by far the most respected, and education did not entitle him to. Lord by far the most eligible part of the nation. Townshend was recalled when the queen Even in the boroughs, where there was unichanged her ministry; his wife died, and he versal suffrage, or something near it, they retired into the country, where (as I have said before) Walpole had'art enough to make were the favorites. Accordingly, they gave him marry his sister Dolly. At that time, the tone to the House of Commons; they I believe, he did not propose much more ad- required the small community of members vantage by the match than to get rid of a who did not belong to their order to congirl that lay heavy on his hands.
form as far as they could to their usages, “When King George ascended the throne, and to guide themselves by their code of he was surrounded by all his German min morality and of taste. In the main the isters and playfellows, male and female.
House of Commons obeyed these injuncBaron Gorirz was the most considerable among them both for birth and fortune. tions, and it was repaid by being incorpoHe had managed the king's treasury thirty rated within the aristocratic world : it beyears with the utmost fidelity and economy; came not only the council of the nation, but and had the true German honesty, being a the debating-club of fashion. That which plain, sincere, and unambitious man. Bern- “received "modified the recipient. The stoff the secretary was of a different turn. remains of the aristocratic society, wherever He was avaricious, artful, and designing ; and had got his share in the king's councils we find them, are penetrated not only with by bribing his women. Robotun was em
an aristocratic but with a political spirit. ployed in these matters, and had the san- They breathe a sort of atmosphere of poli. guine ambition of a Frenchman. He re- tics. In the London of the present day, the solved there should be an English ministry vast miscellaneous bourgeois London, we all of his choosing; and, knowing none of them know that this is not so. “In the country," personally but Townshend, he had not failed said a splenetic observer, “people talk polito recommend him to his master, and his master to the king, as the only proper per
at London dinners you talk nothing ; son for the important post of Secretary of between two pillars of crinoline you eat and State ; and he entered upon that office with are resigned.” A hundred and fifty years universal applause, having at that time a ago, as far as our rather ample materials invery popular character, which he might pos- form us, people in London talked politics sibly have retained forever if he had not just as they now talk politics in Worcesterbeen entirely governed by his wife and her shire ; and being on the spot, and cooped brother R. Walpole, whom he immediately advanced to be paymaster, esteemed a post up with politicians in a small social world, of exceeding profit, and very necessary for their talk was commonly better. They knew bis indebted estate."
the people of whom they spoke, even if they And it is indisputable that Lord Towns- did not know the subjects with which they hend, who thought he was a very great states- were concerned. man, and who began as the patron of Sir
No element is better fitted to counteract Robert Walpole, nevertheless was only his the characteristic evil of an aristocratic socourt-agent—the manager on his behalf of ciety. The effect of such societies in all the king and of the king's mistresses.
times has been frivolity. All talk has tended
to become gossip; it has ceased to deal with The subjects, too, which were discussed important subjects, and has devoted itself in the political society of the last age were
entirely to unimportant incidents. Whether not so inscrutable to women as our present the Duc de has more or less prevailed subjects; and even when there were great with the Marquise de is a sort of com- difficulties, they were more on a level with mon form into which any details may be fit- men in the discussion of them than they now ted, and any names inserted. The frivolities are. It was no disgrace to be destitute of of gallantry-never very important save to preliminary information at a time in which some woman who has long been dead-fill there were no accumulated stores from which the records of all aristocracies who lived un- such information could be derived. A lightder a despotism, 'who had no political au- ening element of female influence is therethority, no daily political cares. The aris- fore to be found through much of the politocracy of England in the last century were, tics of the eighteenth century. at any rate, exempt from this reproach. Lady Mary entered easily into all this There is in the records of it not only an in- world, both social and political. She had tellectuality, which would prove little, for beauty for the fashionable, satire for the every clever describer, by the subtleties of witty, knowledge for the learned, and intelhis language and the arrangement of his ligence for the politician. She was not too composition, gives a sort of intellectuality refined to shrink from what we now consider even to matters which have no pretension to the coarseness of that time. Many of her it in themselves, but likewise a pervading verses themselves are scarcely adapted for medium of political discussion. The very our decorous pages. Perhaps the following language in which they are written is the lan- give no unfair idea of her ordinary state of guage of political business. Horace Wal- mind:pole was certainly by nature no politician
“ TOWN ECLOGUES. and no orator ; yet no discerning critic can read a page of his voluminous remains with
" ROXANA: OR, THE DRAWING-ROOM. out feeling that the writer has through life “Roxana, from the court retiring late, lived with politicians and talked with poli- Sighed her soft sorrows at St. James's gate. ticians. A keen observant mind, not natu- Not her own chairmen with more weight op
Such heavy thoughts lay brooding in her breast, rally political, but capable of comprehending pressed; and viewing any subject which was brought They groan the cruel load they're doomed to before it, has chanced to have this particular
bear; subject-politics--presented to it for a life- She in these gentle sounds expressed her care. —
"• Was it for this that I these roses wear ? time; and all its delineations, all its efforts, For this new set the jewels for my hair ? all its thoughts, reflect it, and are colored by Ah! Princess ! with what zeal have I pursued ! it. In all the records of the eighteenth cen- Almost forgot the duty of a prude. tury the tonic of business is seen to combat I've missed my prayers, to get me dressed by
Thinking I never could attend too soon, the relaxing effect of habitual luxury.
This element, too, is favorable to a clever For thee, ah! what for thee did I resign? woman. The more you can put before such My pleasures, passions, all that c’er was mine. a person, the greater she will be ; the less Left operas and went to filthy plays;
I sacrificed both modesty and ease, her world, the less she is. If you place the Double-entendres shock my tender ear; most keen-sighted lady in the midst of the Yet even this for thee I choose to bear. pure futilities and unmitigated flirtations of In glowing youth, when nature bids be gay, an aristocracy, she will sink to the level of By honor prompted, and by pride restrained,
And every joy of life before me lay, those elements, and will scarcely seem to The pleasures of the young my soul disdained : wish for anything more, or to be competent Sermons I sought, and with a mien severo for anything higher. But if she is placed in Censured my neighbors, and said daily prayer. an intellectual atmosphere, in which politi
Alas ! how changed-with the same scr
mon-micn cal or other important subjects are currently That once I prayed, the What d'ye call 't I've passing, you will probably find that she can talk better upon them than you can, with. Ah! cruel Princess, for thy sake I've lost out your being able to explain whence she I, who avoided every public place,
That reputation which so dear had cost: derived either her information or her talent. When bloom and beauty bade me show my face,
Now near theo constant every night abido the legends were doubtless exaggerations With never-failing duty by thy side ;
and inventions. We cannot know the truth Myself and daughters standing on a row, To all the foreigners a goodly show!
of such matters now, and it would hardly be Oft had your drawing-room been sadly thin, worth searching into if we could ; but the And merchants' wives close by the chair been important fact is certain, Lady Mary lived in seen,
a world in which the worst rumors were Had not I amply filled the empty space, And saved your highness from the dire disgrace. greedily told and often believed about her " • Yet Coquetilla's artifice prevails,
and others; and the moral refinement of a When all my merit and my duty fails; woman must always be impaired by such a That Coquetilla, whose deluding airs
contact. Corrupt our virgins, still our youth ensnares ; So sunk her character, so lost her fame,
Lady Mary was so unfortunate as to incur Scarce visited before your highness came : the partial dislike of one of the great recordYet for the bedchamber 'tis her you choose, ers of that age, and the bitter hostility of the When zeal and fame and virtue you refuse.
other. She was no favorite with Horace Ah! worthy choice! not one of all your train Whom censure blasts not, and dishonors stain! Walpole, and the. bitter enemy of Pope. Let the nice hind now suckle dirty pigs, The first is easily explicable. Horace WalAnd the proud pea-hen hatch the cuckoo's cggs ! pole never loved his father, but recompensed Let Iris leave her paint and own her age, And grave Suffolka wed a giddy page!
himself by hating his father's enemies. No A greater miracle is daily viewed,
one connected with the opposition to Sir A virtuous Princess with a court so lewd. Robert is spared by his son if there be a fair “I know thee, court! with all thy trcach’rous opportunity for unfavorable insinuation. Mr.
wiles, Thy false caresses and undoing smiles !
Wortley was the very man for a grave misAh'! Princess, Icarned in all the courtly arts,
take. He made the very worst which could To cheat our hopes, and yet to gain our hearts ! be made in that age. He joined the party “Largo lovely bribes are the great states of constitutional exiles on the Opposition
man's aim ; And the neglected patriot follows fame.
bench, who had no real objection to the polThe Prince is ogled; some the king pursue ;
icy of Sir Robert Walpole ; who, when they But your Roxana only follows you.
had a chance, adopted that policy themDespised Roxana, cease, and try to find selves; who were discontented because they Some other, since the Princess proves unkind : had no power, and he had all the power. Perhaps it is not hard to find at court, If not a greater, a more firm support.'
Probably, too, being a man eminently re
spectable, Mr. Montagu was frightened at There was every kind of rumor as to Lady Sir Robert's unscrupulous talk and not very Mary's own conduct, and we have no means scrupulous actions. At any rate, he opposed of saying whether any of these rumors were Sir Robert ; and thence many a little obsertrue. There is no evidence against her vation of Horace Walpole's against Lady which is worthy of the name. So far as can Mary. be proved, she was simply a gay, witty, bold- Why Pope and Lady Mary quarrelled is spoken, handsome woman, who made many a question on which much discussion has enemies by unscrupulous speech, and many been expended, and on which a judicious friends by unscrupulous flirtation. We may German professor might even now compose believe, but we cannot prove, that she found an interesting and exhaustive monograph. her husband tedious, and was dissatisfied A curt English critic will be more apt to that his slow, methodical, borné mind made ask, “ Why they should not have quarso little progress in the political world, and relled ? " We know that Pope quarrelled understood so little of what really passed with almost every one ; we know that Lady there. Unquestionably she must have much Mary quarrelled or half quarrelled with most preferred talking to Lord Hervey to talking of her acquaintances. Why, then, should with Mr. Montagu. But we must not credit they not have quarrelled with one another ? the idle scandals of a hundred years since, It is certain that they were very intimate because they may have been true, or becausc at one time ; for Pope wrote to her some they appear not inconsistent with the char- of the most pompous letters of compliment acters of those to whom they relate. There in the language. And the more intimate were legends against every attractive and they were to begin with, the more sure they fashionable woman in that age, and most of were to be enemies in the end. Human