« ElőzőTovább »
Mrs. Philtre was delighted with this hint; for when she brought her daughters to the county ball, they would all waltz. Lady Hook being allowed to proceed with her councils, informs her sister that she has great hopes of the efficacy of Les Tableaux Vivans. The best possible method of managing this sort of entertainment, she says, is to get an ample frame, and strain upon it some gauze of dark red colour— Italian pictures are sure to tell best-it is wise to follow the old masters: but a scene from ancient history will be a capital substitute. It is right, if classic costume be employed, to leave the shoulders bare. Now, Mrs. Philtre began to express an apprehension that her daughter Anne, whose fate, as the eldest, she held to be first in importance, would never have the face to stand stock still for a long time in the same place. Lady Hook, however, did not pay much attention to this objection, but proceeded to enumerate the variety of resources which she wished to place at the command of her affectionate sister. Rhyming off hand, in a young girl, is such a rare qualification: it is so startling, so bright faculty, auspicious promise of read and are talent, that it is always sure to move the heart of the male auditor. But every thing conclusive was postponed until Lady Hook had an interview with the young ladies, and after this had taken place, she thought that her power of making the proper arrangements would be greatly facilitated. The young ladies were then brought in, and were carefully examined by her ladyship, who made them turn and turn, and look this way and that, and then sigh according to the most approved rules of modern politeness. Lady Hook then gave the damsels some lessons in poetical composition, and whilst they sat down to perform a task which had been prescribed to them by Lady Hook, Mrs. Philtre took the opportunity of inquiring more particularly how she contrived to dispose of her daughters to such unexpected advantage. She rendered up a candid account. With respect to Eliza, one of her daughters, she told the following history :
My first campaign, then, was at an assize ;
" Oh, could Belinda, lank and tall,
The forms that scare us when apart,
Together might ensnare a heart.”
Amelia, another of the daughters of Lady Hook, danced into a general's arms, who was quite taken with her waltzing. Louisa, the third daughter, was fated for a piping marquis, to whose music she put rhymes, and then sung both. Emma, the next in succession, obtained her husband in the following manner :
The gentle, youthful, rich Sir Stephen Gray,
Mary, another daughter, who was very plain, gave the mother much uneasiness; but she has no reason, considering her pretensions, to grumble at her lot: though her husband, a rich booby, seeks his sole amusement in the bottle.
Jane was the last who lay upon clever mamma's hands : but Lord Benlockland, who had just come to town from Scotland, was persecuted with ridicule on account of his broad Scotch. Lady Hook took her opportunity, and laid her traps in order, as we find, by the following confession :
I saw at once where Cupid's shaft must hit,
We took our coffee near the pens and ink,
His lordship read the lines—the thing was done,
The trial of the young ladies, the nieces of Lady Hook, in the important department of poetry, altogether failed; but the cunning mistress of the ceremonies took care not to disclose any symptoms of her disappointment, and terminated her experiments by getting up a play for the amusement of her relations.
There can be no question but Mrs. Trollope has some real scene worthy of her powers in view in the fabrication of this very eccentric, but still very clever, jeu d'esprit. There is no attempt at elegance or point in the verses; the authoress seems to be bent altogether on the design of producing the effect by the keenness and severity of her satire.
Art. XII.--Historical Memoirs of the House of Russell, from the
Time of the Norman Conquest. By I. H. WIFFEN, M.R.I.L., Corresponding Member of the Society of Antiquaries of Normandy, &c. &c. &c. In 2 vols. large 8vo. with plates. London:
Longman, Rees, & Co. 1833. How wonderfully exact, even to this hour, is the beautiful reflection of Bacon which Mr. Wiffen, with a kindred taste, has selected as the auspicious motto of his task,—“It is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay, or to see a fair timbertree sound and perfect; how much more to behold an ancient noble family which hath stood against the waves and weathers of time." The application of these expressions cannot be made to any family in England with greater justice than to the House of Russell, as by well merited privilege it is called, for the name is associated with deeds of greatness and glory in almost every page of our history, from the ancient era of the Norman dynasty, to the still existing race of the Hanoverian succession.
The annals of the lineage of a family, however interesting it may be to the individual members, and to the herald who takes the pains to make it out, is obviously a subject that must always present itself to general readers in a very repugnant garb. The laws which inflexibly guide us in the administration of instruction and amusement, through the medium of this journal, do not appear to us, much as we regret it, to justify the recitation of a long series of Norman designations in Anglo-Gallican dialect, of which we could not expect that those who peruse these pages would make any very profitable use.
It appears that the ancestor of this family was amongst the earliest of the followers of William the Conqueror, who accompanied him to this country, and permanently remained. The successors in each generation seem to have maintained the high character of the name, which, in the commencement of the sixteenth century, was rendered more glorious than ever by the valour in the field, and the judgement in council, which were exhibited by Mr. Russell. This gentleman was early introduced at the court of Henry VII. in consequence of an accidental meeting between him and the Archduke Philip of Spain. John Russell was then a young man, just returned from his travels, abundantly possessed of all those accomplishments which were in those ancient days so usually acquired by those who had performed the pilgrimage of the grand tour. The Archduke, who had been just invited in accordance with the king's wish, by Sir Thomas Trenchard, young Russell's kinsman, to dinner, was highly delighted to find so capable an interpreter in the young traveller. The Archduke resolved upon forwarding his views with all his influence. It so happened that the disposition of Henry led him to encourage ability, and he was in the habit of engaging in his affairs the ablest men he could procure. In fact, so important did he deem the necessity of surrounding himself with persons of this description, that he was perpetually making notes and memorandas respecting the individuals whom he was desirous of employing, or of trusting, or rewarding. Mr. Russell having been, as we have already stated, introduced at court, the king was highly delighted with him, and soon made him a gentleman of his bed chamber. Mr. Russell afterwards volunteered his services against the French in Picardy, and performed many heroic exploits, which gained him the favour of the nation and the king, and thus was laid the foundation of the fortunes of the Russell family. It would be surperfluous to follow out the details of the further progress of this celebrated and prosperous member of the family. It is sufficient to mention, that by promotion after promotion, he succeeded at last in obtaining a peerage, with the title of Lord Russell, which, in 1549, was changed into the more exalted designation of Earl of Bedford. In six years afterwards he died full of years, and a more general object of respect amongst all parties than any individual of his rank in the country at the same period: he was succeeded by his son Francis, then in his twenty-seventh year. This earl had a daughter of surpassing accomplishments and beauty, and was held in such general esteem as that when her marriage took place, it was celebrated by all the ceremonies and festivities of which the occasion, in those good old times, was susceptible. We avail ourselves of a sketch of the ceremony and succeeding feats of arms which is graphically recorded by Mr. Wiffen, as a curious illustration of the manners of the higher orders of the period.
Upon a certain day, when the Queen, surrounded by a great concourse of nobles, sat disengaged after a splendid banquet,
“ The York Herald, in his surcoat of arms, entered the apartment, and declared that there was a messenger arrived from some foreign country, with a message to her majesty and the honourable princess there ; the queen commanded him to be ushered in. This the herald did with a trumpet three times sounding, and Edwards of the chapel entered, as the post, in boots and spurs, and kneeling down before the queen, apprised her that four strange knights would, at the marriage of the Lord Ambrose and the Lady Anne, hold joust, tourney, and barriers, if it pleased her and the Margravine to give the looking on. Her assent being yielded, to answer the challenge came Robert Earl of Leicester, Henry Lord Herbert, son and heir to the Earl of Pembroke, Arthur Lord Grey, and twenty other gentlemen.
The day of marriage having been fixed for the 11th November following, on that morning the bride (Lady Anne Russell), who lay the night before at the palace of Westminster, proceeded from her chamber, and was conducted by the Earls of Oxford and Rutland, before whom went in procession various lords and gentlemen, to the queen's great closet. The bride was followed by the queen's maids of honour, who were dressed all in yellow satin, guarded with green velvet and laid on with silver lace.
“ The bride herself, we are told, was apparelled in a kirtle of cloth of silver mixed with blue, a gown of purple velvet embroidered about with silver, and a caul of gold upon her head,her train borne by Katharine, daughter of Sir Francis Knowles, vicechamberlain.”
The lady being left in the closet, the same lords who conducted her thither, went next to lead there the bridegroom. He was dressed in a gown of purple velvet, which was furred with sables and embroidered with gold, and was followed by the Earl of Leicester, who was dressed in purple satin, with a broad guard of gold embroidered. The queen then made her appearance, and the ceremony of marriage was performed. In the afternoon of that day and for two succeeding days, jousts, the tourney and the barriers were held. Four gentlemen stood forth to challenge all comers. This must have been near Westminster, for the queen came into the gallery, and the trumpeters rose to know, whether the strangers might come forward to do their endeavour. Her majesty assented, and the challengers proceeded from the Queen's Mews in order.
“ In the first place were seen the trumpeters, with banners of their colours, white, and red, and black; next, Sir Adrian Poynings, his horse trapped with a rich gilt barb of steel, and himself armed in like manner, his vizor open, as patron to Mr. Knowles, with a plume of feathers, red, white, and black; then the horse of Mr. Knowles, caparisoned of crimson satin; on the same a wreath of white and black sarsnet, made in manner of lozenges, and in every lozenge a raised staff of white tinsel sarsnet ; his base of the same sort. After him an Amazon, with long hair hanging down to her sandals, apparelled in a tunic, with long sleeves of crimson satin, wrought and garnished as above, with a sword by her side, and on her face a vizor: her horse's caparison was of white tinsel sarsnet,