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From Temple Bar. lively when she speaks,” and the younger HORACE WALPOLE'S TWIN WIVES.
- “agreeable, sensible, and almost handIt is generally — and correctly — sup. some.” posed that the brilliant cynic of Straw- Mary and Agnes were the daughters of berry Hill lived and died a bachelor. But Robert Berry, who began life with “great there were two charming sisters who in expectations from maternal uncle later life be called his “ wives,” to whom named Ferguson ; a Scotch merchant who his caustic pen was always gentle, for made £300,000, bought an estate in Fifewhose welfare he showed the most chival- shire, and married Miss Townshend of rous consideration, and who occupied his Honnington Hall
, but could never be perthoughts as constantly as Stellar and suaded to leave his gloomy house of busi. Vanessa did those of Swift, without their ness in Austin Friars. Mr. Ferguson had having to pay much of Stella and Vanes. no children, and his elder nephew, whom sa's bitter penalty.
he sent to college, “ bred to the law,” and Some small portion of that penalty, in then despatched on a continental tour, deed, fell on the sensitive and high-spiro was naturally regarded as his heir. But ited Mary Berry and caused her acute Robert displeased his uncle by marrying pain. Envious and narrow-minded peo. a portionless daughter of the Yorkshire ple professed to see mercenary motives Setons, and further disappointed him by in the friendship of a beautiful young having no sons himself, and by refusing woman for a septuagenarian, and were to marry again immediately, when his contemptuously incredulous' of the intel- beautiful young wife died in 1767, after lectual sympathy which united them. As four happy years. regards Horace Walpole himself, it seems
Of my mother (writes Miss Berry) I have possible that the suspicions of his jealous only the idea of having seen a tall, thin young relatives had some foundation, and that woman in a pea-green gown, seated in a chair, for one brief moment he vainly urged seeming unwell, from whom I was sent away Mary Berry to me the “wife” he to play elsewhere. Of my own irreparable loved to call her. If so, it does them both loss I never acquired a just idea till some the greater honor that his loyal devotion years after, when my father told us that my never failed, from the meeting at which mother, on hearing some one say I was a fine he "found her an angel,” until, nine years child and they hoped I should be handsome, later, she and her sister were the only com- replied, “All she prayed to Heaven for her
child was that it might receive a vigorous unforters he desired by his deathbed.
derstanding.” This prayer of a mother of Walpole's " sarcastic levity of tongue
eighteen for her first daughter impressed on and frequent want of charity are familiar
mind all I must have lost in such a parent.* as household words; it is only fair to see him sometimes in the cordial and sympa
Thenceforward Mr. Ferguson chose to thetic mood which he showed consistently consider as his heir William Berry, who to Marshal Conway, Sir Horace Mann, married a rich wife of the house of Crawand a few other friends, occasionally to ford, had two sons, and was “a sharp lad
with some of his own family, but most warmly
a mercantile training,” altogether to the two favorite companions of his last better suited to Austin Friars than his years. As it is impossible to walk through literary and indolent elder brother. An the rich woods of Mapledurham without allowance of three hundred pounds a year seeing in “ the miod's eye Pope loitering
was made to Robert, and by the side of his
He was allowed to sink into the state of a
disinherited Fair-haired Martha and Theresa brown,
any of the pity such
a state generally inspires. While yet a mere so the bowery gardens of Strawberry Hill
, child (writes his daughter Mary] I suffered in by the same winding Thames, are haunted spirits from the little privations his very narby the spare form of Horace Walpole, row income entailed on us; every expense of with his keen face and observant eyes, attended by the graceful sisters the elder
* Journals and Correspondence of Miss Berry, 1783
1852, vol. i., p. 5; edited by Lady Theresa Lewis. “sweet, with fine dark eyes that are very | Longmans, 1866.
education was denied us, and all the thought that I had to lead those who ought to have lessness of youth was lost in the continual | led me; that I must be a protecting mother complaints I heard and difficulties I saw. instead of a gay companion to my sister, and From my father's disposition his children had to my father a guide and monitor, instead of little to hope or to depend on, for he was finding in him a tutor and protector. quite as little careful about our future prospects and success as he could ever have been
One cannot but suspect that the melanabout his own.
choly temperament, of which Miss Berry
makes frequent and full confession, led When Mary and Agnes were twelve and her to exaggerate the disadvantages of eleven, the extreme precocity of his elder her early years - or at all events their daughter led Mr. Berry to suppose that lasting effects; for her success when she the cost of a governess could be dispensed did enter society was marked and instan. with, and the sisters were left to their taneous. She and her sister were amongst own devices,
the few English women who, without su. To be as idle and read what books we perlative rank, beauty, intellect, or wealth, pleased; for neither of us had the least reli- held a salon to which the possessors of gious education been at all thought of. It these advantages constantly crowded. was the age of Voltaire, and his doctrines had For half a century they knew every one been adopted by all the soi-disant Scotch wits. best worth knowing, and they had that My dear grandmother, indeed, made me read sympathetic charm which creates reputathe Psalms and chapters every morning, but tions amongst contemporaries more diffias neither comment nor explanation of their cult than any others to convey or explain history was given, I hated the duty and es
to posterity. caped it when I could. In 1774 my grandmother took me to visit Mr. Loveday, at
While in Rome, where they arrived in Caversham, Berks, an old Tory country gen- November, 1783, the Berrys went to see tleman who had 'married a cousin of hers. the pope celebrate a high mass, at which
He saw much of all the clergymen in the emperor Joseph (son of Maria The. his neighborhood. At dinner the first toast resa), and the unfortunate Gustavus III. of was always “ Church and King; "the second, Sweden were also spectators; and which “To the flourishing of the two Universities; Mary, with a touch of the Voltairianism the third, “To Maudlin College,” where he she deprecated, calls “the grandest and had been educated. He was an accomplished best acted pantomime that can be imag. scholar, and delighted to find me apt in reined.” They were presented to the pope calling to his mind passages from the Roman
(Pius VI.), and to the Duchess of Parma poets.
(a sister of Marie Antoinette), whom they In 1781 Mr. Ferguson died, aged ninety- found “tall, well-made, like the emperor, three; William Berry inherited £300,000 but not near so well-looking, ill and oddly in the fun and the Scotch estate of dressed, rather masculine in her voice £4,000 a year, whilst Robert only received and manner, with a considerable degree £10,000.* William then settled a thou- of hauteur.” Nelson's Caroline, queen sand a year on his brother, and Robert of Naples, on the other hand, another celebrated his improved circumstances by daughter of " King Maria Theresa,” was taking his daughters for a tour in England "very gracious in her manner, and very and a long visit to the Crawfords in Rot- ready at the necessary conversation.” terdam, after which they went up the The king of Sweden became friendly Rhine to Switzerland, and thence to Italy. with the Berrys, accompanying them on From this period Mary Berry dates the several of their excursions, and showing awakening of her mind and the formation himself an excellent traveller, always of her character.
good-humored and regardless of bad I felt my understanding and imagination in weather. They "did" everything, whilst crease every day [she says] but I soon found in Italy, with most praise worthy energy
- picture galleries, ruins, churches, Her* When the will was read the chief executor asked culaneum, and Vesuvius; besides the Robert Berry if he thought his share too much! reigning royalties, they became acquainted
with the eclipsed greatness of Madame | talents. I must even tell you they dress D'Albany; with Madame de Staël,* then within the bounds of fashion, though fashMademoiselle Necker, sixteen years old, ionably, without the excrescences and balcoand “much neglected by the young En- nies with which modern hoydens overwhelm glish from the boldness of her manners,'
The first night I met them I and with General O'Hara - the most im. heard so much in their praise that I concluded
would not be acquainted with them, having portant introduction of all, as regarded they would be all pretension. Now, I do not Mary's future happiness.
know which I like best, except Mary's face, While at Naples they were much amused which is formed for a sentimental novel, but by two ballets at the Festino. In the first ten times better for a fifty times better thing Queen Caroline appeared as Ceres, at- - genteel comedy. This delightful family tended by Minerva, Mars, and some comes to me almost every Sunday evening. groups of peasants, who united in hand... I forgot to tell you that Mr. Berry is a ing up to the king of Sweden's box on little merry man with a round face. . . . If the point of a spear, wreaths of artificial your ladyship insists on hearing the humors
of flowers bearing the inscriptions,
my district you must indulge me with sendsauveur de sa Patrie;" “ Au Protecteur ing you two pearls I found in my path.* des Beaux-Arts; ” “ A l'Alliance perpétu- Even in the first of the series of pubelle.” After supper the kings of Sweden lished letters addressed by Walpole to the and Naples, sixteen gentlemen and six sisters, as in nearly all its successors, may bears, represented “ The Hunters of Lap. be traced, says Lady Theresa Lewis :land.” “Their dresses," writes Miss
The constant struggle in his mind between Berry, were elegant and characteristic, the tenderness with which he dwells on the and both kings, men, and bears performed pleasure of their society, and the fear of its their parts admirably.” They concluded expression making him ridiculous. by handing up to the queen in her box
He concludes his letter thus : some garlands of flowers and a parcel of Swedish gloves.
If two negatives make an affirmative, why In 1785 the Berrys returned to England, may not two ridicules compose one piece of
sense ? and therefore, as I am in love with you and three years later they took a house at
both, I trust it is a proof of the good sense of Twickenham.
your devoted — H. WALPOLE. If I have picked up no recent anecdotes on
A little later he writes : our common (writes Walpole to Lady Ossory in October, 1788] I have made a much more You have not half the quickness that I precious acquisition. It is the acquaintance of thought you had, or, which is much more two young ladies named Berry. ... They probable, I suspect that I am a little in love, were carried by their father for two or three and you are not, for I think I should have years to France and Italy, and have returned understood you in two syllables, which has the best informed and the most perfect crea
not been your case.
1 had sealed my note, tures I ever saw at their age. They are
and was going to send it, when yours arrived exceedingly sensible, entirely natural and un- with the invitation for Saturday. I had not affected, frank, and qualified to talk on any time to break open my note, and so lifted subject. The eldest, I discovered by chance, up a corner and squeezed in I will. What understands Latin, and is a perfect French could those syllables mean, but that I will do woman in her language. The younger draws whatever you please? Yes, you may keep charmingly. . . . She is less animated than them as a note of hand, always payable at Mary, and seems, out of deference to her sis- sight of your commands or your sister's. ter, to speak seldomer, for they dote on each For I am not less in love with my wife Rachel other, and Mary is always praising her sister's than my wife Leah; and though I had a little
forgotten iny matrimonial vows at the begin• “From our great acquaintance in Italy with the king of Sweden, we became very intimate with his am- ning of this note, and haggled a little about bassador in Paris, M. de Staël. He spoke to me in all owning my passion, now I recollect that I have confidence about his intended marriage with Mademoi- taken a double dose, I am mighty proud of it. selle Necker, asked my opinion and consulted me on And being more in the right than ever lover the subject. But the match was already settled.” (By the intervention, it was said, of Marie Antoinette. Letters of Horace Walpole, edited by Peter Cun. Journal, vol. i., p. 147.)
ningham, vol. ix., p. 153.
nify both. *
was, and twice as much in the right too, I avow Sometimes, but very seldom, Walpole my sentiments hardiment, and am – HYMEN, hardens his heart to scold his charming O HYMENAE !
correspondents ; but then he was only This intimacy now often determined the keeping a promise. residence of the Berry's, and materially
If I discover a fault you shall hear of it [he influenced their life. “ His friends be wrote in an early letter). You came too percame their friends, and his neighbors their fect into my hands, to let you be spoilt by inneighbors." Walpole took the warmest dulgence. All the world admires you, yet you interest in all their plans, and forwarded have contracted no vanity, but are simple and all their wishes – provided they did not good as Nature made you. Mind, you and point to any lengthened separation from yours are always, from my lips and pen, what himself. "I pray that our papa may find grammarians call the common of two, and siga house at Twickenham,” he writes;
Hampton Court is half-way to Switzer. Accordingly he keeps a sharp watch land.” When they left London, in 1789, over their culture, and declares : for a Yorkshire visit, he was in despair:
If you grow tired of the “ Arabian Nights," I passed so many evenings of the last fort. you have no more taste than Bishop Atternight with you that I almost preferred it to bury, who huffed Pope for sending him them, our two honeymoons, and am the more sensi- and fancied he liked Virgil better, who had no ble to the deprivation. And how dismal was
more imagination than Dr. Akenside. Read Sunday evening compared to those of last Sinbad the Sailor's Voyages, and you will be autumn ! If you both felt as I do, we might sick of Eneas's. ... 'I do not know whether surpass any event
the annals of Dunmow, the “ Arabian Nights” are of Oriental origin Oh, what a prodigy it would be if a husband or not; I should think not, because I never and two wives should present themselves and saw any other Oriental composition that was demand the “ Flitch of Bacon,” swearing that not bombastic without genius, and figurative not one of the three in a year and a day wished without nature. Like an Indian screen, where to be unmarried ! *
you see little men in the foreground, and The sisters had promised to write to larger men hunting tigers above in the air, him whilst on their journey; but he did which they take for perspective.f not hear from them so soon as he had
Sometimes he tries to excite their jealhoped, and the day after writing of the
ousy: Flitch of Bacon, he resumes :
Such unwriting wives I never knew! And No letter to-day. . . . You see I think of a shame it is for an author, and what is more, you, and. write every day, though I cannot
a printer, to have a couple so unlettered. I despatch my letter till you have sent me a can find time amidst all the hurry of my shop direction. Miss Agnes was not so flippant in to write ,small quartos to them continually. promising me letters; but I do trust she will In France, where nuptiality is not the virtue write, and then, Madam, she and I will go to
most in request, a wife will write to her conDunmow without you. Thursday night. sort, though the doux billet should contain but Despairing beside a clear stream,
two sentences, for which I will give you a A shepherd forsaken was laid.
precedent. A lady sent the following to her Not very close to the stream, but within doors spouse : “ Je vous écris, parceque je n'ai rien in sight of it. In this damp weather a lame à faire; et je finis, parceque je n'ai rien à vous old Colin cannot lie and despair with any dire.” I don't wish for quite so laconic a comfort on a wet bank. . . . I wish Friday “ poulet; ” besides, your ladyships can write. was come! 26th. Still I have no letter; you Mrs. Damer dined here yesterday, and had cannot all three be ill, and if any one is I just heard from you. Brevity, mesdames, should flatter myself another would have may be catching. . . . If I were not a man written. Jealous I am not, for two young of honor, though a printer, and had not promladies cannot have run away with their father ised you “Bonner's Ghost,” | I would be as to Gretna Green. Saturday. At last I silent as if I were in Yorkshire. Remember, have got a letter, and you are all well! I am too, that Miss IIannah More, though not so so pleased that I forget the four uneasy days proper for the French Ambassador's Fête as I have passed. I have neither time nor paper Miss Gunning, can teach Greek and Latin as to say more, for our post turns on its heel and well as any young lady in the north of Engoes out the instant it has come in. Do not be frightened at the enormity of this, I shall * In the letters prepared for the press by Miss Berry not continue so four paginous in every letter. many of the more eulogistic passages were omitted; Pray present my duty to grandmamma, they were replaced by Lady Theresa Lewis after her
death, and it will be understood that the extracts made and let her know what a promising young here are from Miss Berry's "* Journals and Corresponde grandson she has got.
when not otherwise distinguished.
+ Letters of Horace Walpole, vol. ix., p. 184. * Journals and Correspondence of Miss Berry, vol. # A poem by Hannah More, which Walpole greatly i., p. 461.
admired, and printed at the Strawberry Hill Press.
gland, and might make as suitable a compan-| looking, people I hardly ever ion for a typographer.
gether," writes Mary where they could At last be hears that the Berry family hear nothing for the general hubbub. are coming back, and is all anxiety to find
Walpole's relief was great when he an adjacent house for them.
heard of their safe arrival in Italy; for
them he revived his early recollections, If the worst comes to the worst, I can secure urging them to see and to enjoy every you a house at Teddington, more agreeable thing most worth the seeing; but frankly ihan that at Bushy; at least, more agreeable to my Lord Castlecomer, for it is nearer to me by
admitting that he would not really know half. That proverb I must explain to you for an easy moment until they had again your future use. There was an old Lady Cas- crossed the channel,* and fretting at the tlecomer who had an only son, and he had a
breaks in their correspondence, unavoid. tutor, who happened to break his leg. A vis-able in such a troubled time.
" If I toitor lamented the accident to her ladyship. day say, 'How do you do?' it will be one The old Rock replied, “Yes, indeed, it is or two and forty days before you answer, very inconvenient to my Lord Castlecomer.” Very well, thank you.' Nevertheless, This saying was adopted forty years ago into he was careful to amuse them with all the phraseology of Strawberry, and is very the "talk of the town; ” the many roman. expressive of the selfish apathy towards others tic inventions connected with the Gunning which refers everything to its own centre.
marriages; the arrival of Sheridan at IsleHis negotiations were ratified, and he worth, where he had taken a house for says :
£400 a year, on being expelled from Bru. I jumped for joy; that is, my heart did, ton Street by an unpaid and indignant which is all that remains of me in statu jump- | landlord ; and the approaching marriage ante, at the news that you approve of the of the Duke of York, which the Duke of house at Teddington. : : You ask how you Clarence called at Strawberry Hill to an. have deserved such kind attentions? Why, nounce. “ I asked the page at what hour by deserving them. By every kind of merit, it would be proper to call on him and and by that superlative one to me, your con- thank him. He answered, · Between ten senting to throw away so much time on a for- and eleven !' Mercy on me, to be dressed lorn antique; you, too, who without specifying and at Petersham before eleven !” particulars (and you must at least be conscious that you are not two frights) might expect any de Bourbon + - "a civil, good-humored,
While in Turin the Berrys met the Duc fortunes and distinctions, and do delight all companies.
gentlemanlike, stupid man. At a royal
hunting party they saw a noticeable In 1790 Mr. Berry and his daughters group: Victor Amadeus III., who rode resolved to re-visit the Continent, and Hor- up to speak to the friend with whom they ace Walpole who had been watching the were driving, and was then progress of the French Revolution with a horror intensified by his personal regard dignified in his manner.
A very gentlemanlike old man, easy and
The Prince de Piedfor many of its victims, felt alarm as well as regret, and vainly endeavored to shake ever beheld; il abuse du privilège non-seulement
mont is the oddest, ugliest-looking being I their purpose. In October they left En- comme les hommes, mais les princes, d'être laids. gland, and in a letter dated “The day of | They say he has a great deal of natural wit, your departure,” Walpole wrote:
penetration, and cleverness. The Prince de In happy days I smiled and called you my ing young man; the Comte d'Artois a great
Carignan is grown a great awkward, ill-lookdear wives — now I can only think on you as darling children, of whom I am bereaved. deal fatter and better-looking than when we As such I have loved, and do love you, and saw him in Paris; his two sons (Duc d'Ancharming as you are, I have had no occasion goulême and Duc de Berri), charming, pretty to remind myself that I am past seventy-three.
boys, on horseback. They were all in uniIf I live to see you again you will then forme de chasse, red, faced with blue, and a judge whether I am changed; but a friendship
broad silver lace. Ugly in itself, but gay and so rational as mine is, and so equal for both, pretty in the field. is not likely to have any of the fickleness of In this correspondence Walpole's freshyouth.
*“Precious as our insular situation is, I am ready The travellers only spent two days in to wish with the Frenchman that you could somehow Paris, which they found “ much in désha- or other get to it by land: "Oui, c'est un isle toujours,
Mais, par exemple, en allant d'alenbille.” But they managed to see the foun. je le sçais bien.
tour, n'y auroit-il pas moyen d'y arriver par terre ?'” dations of the Bastile dug up by the mob, # The father of the ill-fated Duc d'Enghien. He and to visit the National Assembly –
was living in England at the time of his son's execu
tion, but returned to France in 1814, and hanged him“such a set of shabby, ill-dressed, strange. I self in his Château de St. Leu in 1830.