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memory than with the rogueries of who conned the lists published a few Roderick Random or the dilemmas of years ago of the “hundred best books " David Copperfield.
how many conformed to the instrucThousands of persons are familiar tions, and with what result ? with the spiritual fumblings of Robert If any young person of leisure were Elsmere, but comparatively few have so much at a loss as to ask advice as to followed the wondrous story of the Ital- what he should read, mine should ian Renaissance movement only be exceedingly simple : Read anything second to Christianity in its influence bearing on a definite object. Let him on modern life and thought, an era take up any imaginable subject to which which Paul Bourget (himself a novelist) he feels attracted, be it the precession has epitomized in a single masterly sen- of the equinoxes or postage stamps, the tence :
Athenian drama or London street cries ; Cette minute de floraison unique où la let him follow it from book to book, and créature humaine semble avoir été si com- unconsciously his knowledge, not of plète, entre le moyen âge, qui fut le règne that subject only but of many subjects, de la force trop forte, et notre siècle, où la will be increased, for the departments culture confine sans cesse à la maladie.
of the realm of knowledge are divided Again, let it be said that if novel- by no octroi. He may abandon the reading is the surest as it is the easiest first object of his pursuit for another; means of, intellectual recreation, there it does not matter, one subject leads to is no cause to interfere with or discour- another ; he will have acquired the age it; but the true hedonist — he habit of acquisition; he will have whose avowed aim is pleasure — will gained that conviction of the pricelessfind it to his profit to consider whether ness of time which makes it intolerable he is getting good value for the time for a man to lie abed of a morning. spent in it, whether he is not neglect- Treasure turns up in the most unlikely ing other sources of delight not less places. A book of legal decisions is sure and more enduring. If he applies perhaps the last mine one would exto novels an infallible test of the value plore for amusement; but John Burton of any book — is it worth reading note- has told how a student consulting the book and pencil in hand ? — he will be index of such a volume came upon a surprised how few, how very few works piece of fun of the first water. Obseryof fiction stand the proof. That this ing the words, “Best, Mr. Justice, his test is infallible rests on the well-known great mind," he turned up the referfact that pleasure consists not in the ence, prepared to admire an instance of present, which is fleeting, but in an- magnanimity on the bench, and found ticipation and retrospect. Memory is the passage,
" Mr. Justice Best said he treacherous and requires refreshing, had a great mind to commit the witness and, unless the recollection of what is for perjury.”' read is ensured by notes, reading is a But, to show that no disrespect is task as fruitless as that of the daughters intended to our clever writers of fiction of Danaus ; it serves to spend our lim- as guides to the higher pleasure, these ited capital in time without enriching observations may be brought to a close the ever-diminishing store of future. by reference to an early example of
Perhaps it will be expected that, after that very class of literature in which deprecating excessive devotion to fiction the same lesson is more dexterously
after suggesting that the human in- conveyed — namely, the fable of the tellect has passed out of that stage in dying husbandman who bade his sons which it may worthily be much occu- dig in the vineyard for a hidden treaspied with myth - I should point out ure. They did so- most diligently, some other course that may be steered and, as they thought, in vain ; but in with more profit through the sea of lit- after seasons the reward came in the erature.
The attempt to do so has been tenfold produce of the vines. the task of abler hands, but of all those
HERBERT MAXWELL. LIVING AGE,
From Temple Bar. the club forbidding the election of an LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU.
unknown beauty, Lady Mary was sent “SHE quarrelled with Pope and had for, and dressed in her smartest attire, something to do with vaccination,” is bad her first intoxicating draught of fatsaid to have been the concise reply of a tery and admiration. Her health was Girton girl appealed to for an account drunk, her claim allowed, her name of the subject of this paper.
engraved, according to custom, on a But there are other things worth re- drinking-glass. She was the little queen membering of the remarkable woman, of the hour. She afterwards spoke of who so justly predicted that in forty this day as the happiest of her life,
and years' time her letters would be as well said that her " sensations amounted to known as those of Madame de Sévigné, ecstasy." and who, it has been suggested, also Flat and tame must have seemed resembled her in lavishiny affection the return to ordinary routine under and wit on a somewhat unresponsive the direction of a “humdrum old govdaughter.
erness,” good and pious indeed, but, Mary, eldest child of Evelyn Pierre- according to her pupil, quite without capont 1 and Lady Mary Fielding, was pacity for her task. This disadvantage born in 1689. She was allied through Lady Mary soon set herself to remedy. both parents to the aristocracy of intel- After her mother's death she was much lect as well as that of birth. Her pater- at West Dean in the care of her grandnal grandmother was one of the Evelyns mother, Mrs. Pierrepont, whose good of West Dean, Wiltshire ; 8 Villiers, the memory.she inherited, and who, doubtwitty Duke of Buckingham, was her less, encouraged her taste for study. great-uncle ; the mother of Beaumont, West Dean was a "solemn house,” the dramatist, was a Pierrepont ; Henry with all the country pomp of stately Fielding was Lady Mary's second terraces, wide bowling greens, and secousin.
cluded avenues, where the precociously She lost her mother when she was thoughtful child could brood undisonly four years old, a misfortune which turbed over the ponderous romances of undoubtedly had an injurious effect on which to the end of her days she cherher future life, as her imperious and ished affectionate remembrance. impetuous character more than ordina- Fiction naturally first attracted her, but rily needed gentle and sympathetic con- did not satisfy her long; and she says trol; and her father (said by Lady that when she spent five or six hours a Mary to have been faithfully though day in her father's library, and was supunconsciously portrayed by Richardson posed to be reading poems and stories, in Sir Thomas Grandison) treated his she was, amongst other studies, beginfour children with more than “a little ning to teach herself Latin. At a later wholesome neglect."
stage she acknowledges some assistance On one occasion, however, Lord Kings- from Bishop Burnet, but he was not her ton somewhat whimsically evinced his first confidant. pride in the flower of the flock." A One of her most intimate friends was man of fashion, and a prominent Whig, Anne Wortley, a beautiful and intellihe was necessarily a member of the gent girl, in whose apartments Lady Kit-Cat Club. At a meeting called to Mary met her elder brother, Edward choose “ toasts for the year,” he nomi- Wortley Montagu. She is said to have nated daughter, then seven years old, alleging that she was prettier than • Lord Kingston perpetuated the memory of her any other candidate. The rules of triumph by having her portrait painted for the
1 Afterwards fifth Earl of Kingston ; made Earl o They were the children of Sidney Montagu (son of Dorchester by Queen Anne in 1706, and Duke of the first Earl of Sandwich) and the heiress of of Kingston by George I. in 1715.
Sir Francis Wortley, whose name he took. Lady ? Daughter of the third Earl of Denbigh.
Bute described Mr. Montagu (her grandfather) as 3 Her cousin, John Evelyn, notes in his “Diary" “ a large rough-looking man in a large flapped hat, her "prodigious memory.”
talking very loud and swearing boisterously at his
been only fourteen at their first meet- | a granted prayer" should she after all ing (he was ten or twelve years her consent to become his. Lady Mary senior), and to have astonished him was not without misgivings herself ; even more by her conversational pow- there were other aspirants for her. ers and her taste for his favorite classics hand ; she was in no hurry to decide ; than by her striking beauty. They and it really seems to have been sometalked of Quintus Curtius, with whom what against the better judgment of she was unacquainted, and in a few both that they finally arrived at an undays Mr. Wortley sent her a superb derstanding, and Mr. Wortley laid his edition of his works with a poetical in- suit before Lady Mary's father, then scription in terms of high, if somewhat become Lord Dorchester.
Here an unstilted, admiration. On her part, no expected difficulty arose. Mr. Wortdoubt, Lady Mary was immensely flat- ley's character, birth, and fortune were tered by so much attention from a man all satisfactory, but his views as to setwho had already found a place in the tlements were not. He offered, says brilliant intellectual group already Lady Louisa Stuart 1 in her vivacious known to her as her father's guests, “ Introductory Anecdotes,” to make and which had for her the strongest the best provision in his power for fascination.
Lady Mary, but steadily refused to Edward Wortley was the intimate settle his landed property upon a son, friend of Steele, Addison, Congreve, who, for aught he knew, might prove and Garth. The second volume of unworthy to possess it; might be a 66 The Tatler,” to which he is believed spendthrift, a villian, or an idiot.” 2 to have been a contributor, is dedicated Lord Dorchester's opposition did not to him in these words : “I do not know separate the lovers. Steele became how to say a more affectionate thing to their confidant, and his “Prue" so far you than to wish that you may be al- relaxed her usual severity as to allow ways what you are.” He was not sup- them to meet in her house in Bloomsposed to be a "ladies' man ” by any bury Square, and to drive with Lady means, and if, as some assert, he was Mary in Hyde Park, where Mr. Wortengaged when he first saw Lady Mary, ley would be waiting to snatch a mohe yet could never have wholly lost mentary interview.
He had many the impression made by that meeting, rivals, and, grave, dignified, and formal for he was soon associated in the cor- himself, was evidently tormented by respondence between her and Aune the caprices of his beloved, who on her Wortley, at first as a referee on Latin part liked and respected him too much and literature, but soon as the author to let him go, enjoyed disobeying a of the letters nominally composed by father who she considered had neghis sister:
lected her, but still doubted muclı On Anne Wortley's early death the whether she and Mr. Wortley were thin disguise was thrown aside, and he really calculated to be happy together, appeared as a persistent, jealous, ex- and chafed under his cautions and reacting lover, doubtful not only of his bukes. bright and wilful lady's affection, but
Every time you see me you give me a whether he might not be “cursed with fresh proof of your not caring for me [he
says). Yet I beg that you will see me once servants. Beside him sat a venerable figure, meek
Write a line this evening or and benign of aspect, with silver locks overshadowed by a black velvet cap. This was his brother, early to-morrow.
If I don't speak plain, Dean Montagu, who every now and then fetched a do you understand what I write ? Tell me deep sigh and cast his eyes upward as if beseeching how to mend the style if the fault is in that. Heaven to pardon the profane language he condemned but durst not reprove." (Letters and 1 Daughter of Lady Bute, and granddaughter of Works of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Edited Lady Mary. by Lord Wharncliffe, with memoir, etc., by W. 2 This was curiously prophetic. Edward Wortley Moy Thomas, and introductory anecdotes by Lady Montagu certainly was the two former, and though Louisa Stuart.
Bell and Sons, 1887. Vol. i., p. not an idiot, it is charitable to suppose him to havo Lxxix.)
i been a little mad.
I always comprehend your expressions, but | world will blame my conduct, and the relawould give a great deal to know what tions and friends of [the rejected passes in your heart. [There is a touching suitor] will invent a thousand stories of passage in one of her replies] : I have not me; yet'tis possible you may recompense the usual pride of my sex ; I can bear being everything to me. told I am in the wrong, but tell it me
From West Dean, whither Lady Mary gently. Perhaps I have been indiscreet. I
was sent with her brother, she made came young into the hurry of the world. A great innocence and undesigning gaiety
her escape, and was married in August, may possibly have been construed coquetry
1712. Two months later she writes and a desire of being followed, though from Nottinghamshire, where she renever meant by me. I cannot answer for mained with some friends during Mr. the reflections that may be made on me. Wortley's absence : All who are malicious attack the careless
I don't know very well how to begin ; I and the defenceless ; I own myself to be both. . . . Would any woman but me re
am perfectly unacquainted with a proper
matrimonial style. After all, I think 'tis nounce all the world for one, or would any best to write as if we were not married at man but you be insensible to such a proof all. I lament your absence as if you were of sincerity ? 1
still my lover, and am impatient to hear A climax was put to the perplexities you are got safe to Durham, and have fixed of the lovers when Lord Dorchester a time for your return
I check myself tried to force his daughter into a mar- when I grieve for your absence by rememriage with a nameless suitor, rich and bering how much reason I have to rejoice unenable to his proposed father-in- in the hope of passing my whole life with law's views, but whom Lady Mary you. I am afraid of telling you that I redeclared she detested. In vain she ap- will charge me with hypocrisy.
turn thanks for it to Heaven, because you pealed against her threatened fate ; in
are mistaken. I assist every day at public vain she promised to marry no one else if only she might be allowed to dismiss prayers in this family, and never forget in
my private ejaculations how much I owe to In that case, said her father, Heaven for making me yours. she should be banished to a remote country residence during his lifetime,
It was an ill response on the part of and on his death be cut off with a small a bridegroom to such a letter as this to annuity. Arrangements for the wed- allow days to pass without reply or even ding went calmly on, settlements were acknowledgment. Mr. Wortley had at drawn up, wedding garments bought, that time, Lady Mary said long afterthe day fixed, and on its eve she cut the wards, “ the sort of passion for me that Gordian knot (it is supposed with the would have made me invisible to all connivance of her brother Lord Kings- but himself had it been in his power;" ton and her uncle William Fielding, but he certainly cared little for her who had been on her side in the family peace of mind or ordinary comfort. quarrel) by arranging to elope with Mr. 'Tis the most cruel thing in the world Wortley. Not without many scruples [she writes] to think one has reason to and alarms; she repeatedly assures complain of what one loves. How can you him that her father will never forgive be so careless? Is it because you don't love them, and that she will be a penniless writing ? You should remember I want to bride.
know you are safe at Durham. I shall im
agine you have had some fall from your I tremble for what we are doing. Are horse or ill accident by the way, without you sure you will love me forever? Shall
regard probability. There is nothing too we never repent ? I fear and I hope. I extravagant for a woman and a lover's foresee all that will happen on this occa- fears. sion. I shall incense my family in the
A little later, after telling him that she highest degree. The generality of the
has been very ill, but would not allow 1 Letters and Works of Lady Mary Wortley Mon- her maid to write lest he should be tagu. Bell and Sons, 1887. Vol. i., p. 63. (From which edition all subsequent extracts are taken, needlessly alarmed, she concludes, “I unless otherwise indicated.)
wish you would write again to Mr.
Phipps, for I don't hear of any money,
Your absence increases my melancholy and am in the utmost necessity for it.” so much I fright myself with imaginary Her next letter is from Hinchinbrook, horrors, and shall always be fancying danwhere, she
6 I walked two hours gers for you while you are out of my sight. on the terrace a good-natured I am afraid of Lord H. ; I am afraid of robin redbreast kept me company al- everything. There wants but little of my most all the afternoon, with so much being afraid of the small-pox for you, so good humor and humanity as gives me proceed from an unlimited love. If I lose
unreasonable are my fears, which, however, faith for the piece of charity ascribed
you-I cannot bear that “if,” which I to these little creatures in the · Chil- bless God is without probability. But since dren in the Wood.'” All her letters of the loss of my poor unhappy brother I this period have the same tone of half- dread every evil. playful melancholy. She knows he
Letter after letter is in this strain of does not expect (“ nor even so much as desire ") to hear from her so often, but the health of their first child 2 is added
wounded affection. When anxiety for 6- idleness is the root of all evil. I write and read till I can't see,
to her other troubles, she vainly appeals and then
to her husband for sympathy. I walk. Sleep succeeds, and thus my whole time is divided ... I see noth- I found our poor boy not so well as I exing, but I think of everything, and in- pected. He is very lively, but so weak that dulge my imagination, which is chietly my heart aches about him very often. I employed on you."
hope you are well — I should be glad to
hear so, and what success you have in your A strange and sudden change of sur
business. I am in abundance of pain roundings for one who, only a few about our dear child. Though I am conmonths before, had been presiding over vinced in my reason 'tis both silly and her father's gay and crowded town wicked to set one's heart too fondly on house,1 so beset by admirers as to drive anything in this world, yet I cannot overMr. Wortley, looking on from a dis- come myself so far as to think of parting tance, into wrath and despair !
with him with resignation. I hope and I Six months later, in 1713, the young beg of Gol he may live to be a comfort to couple are still without any settled us both. home, and are again apart. Mr. Wort- Again : ley, engrossed by Parliamentary duties,
I know very well that nobody was ever seems to have left Lady Mary to do teased into a liking, but I cannot any longer the best she could for herself as to a forbear telling you I think you use me very residence.
unkindly. .. I am very sensible I parted One house which he suggested was from you in July, and it is now the middle found to be unfurnished; the landlord of November. As if this was not hardship of another was in France ; of a third enough, you do not tell me you are sorry she hears that it is half in ruins and the
for it. You write seldom and with so much furniture locked up !
indifference as shows you hardly think of
me at all. During this period of solitary discom
I complain of ill health, and fort she lost her brother Lord Kingston make it.
you only say you hope it is not so bad as I
You never inquire after your at the age of twenty-one. He was an child. I would fain flatter myself you have amiable young man, to whom she was more kindness for him and for me than you sincerely attached, and was carried off
express. by small-pox with such appalling sud
Mr. Ropes, in the introductory sketch denness that she did not even hear of
to his admirable selections from Lady his illness until she was informed of his
Mary's letters, says that she, like many death. After this event she writes to
of her masculine contemporaries, “ deMr. Wortley :
veloped the intellectual and practical 1 Not the least onerous of the young hostess's duties was carving for all the guests. She took side of her nature at the expense of the lessons in the art three times a week, and dined at emotions." an earlier hour herself that she might give undivided attention to lier task,
? Edward Wortley Montagu, born in 1713.