Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

together, though I think I was not quite so there was something in the king's obsticold as I was the last two nights.

nate seclusion which was equivalent to a This entry is dated the 19th of April, so fated to be both more fortunate and more

favorable reception.

At Vienna she was clearly the snow and the hard frost that

unfortunate. We resume Lady Louisa Lady Mary records, and which proved so

Stuart's narrative. fatal to poor Duchess Jenny, must have occurred at a time which the modern cal

Our ambassadors at foreign courts had not endar places in the month of May, and yet learned to dread invasions from their from this it appears that late and bad countrywomen; travelling boys and tutors did springs are not new trials either in the frequently give them a deal of trouble, but history of English gardens or of English English ladies did not at that time go swarmsick-rooms.

ing all over Europe. The Empress Queen As Lady Mary is suspected of having received and treated Lady Mary with all her set her mind on marrying a royal duke, it

habitual graciousness; Joseph, ever a most may be supposed that the marriage of the agreeable man in society, was well-bred and

courteous to Sir Robert Keith Murray's Duke of Cumberland and the public friend; Prince Kaunitz, the Prime Minister, avowal of the Duke of Gloucester's mar. followed his example;' Count Seileren, who riage to a subject were felt by her as pero had been ambassador in England, welsonal injuries and mortifications. This is comed her as an old acquaintance; the how she alludes to the latter event: Thuns, the Lichtensteins, and the Esterhazys

invited her to superb entertainments, and, on Sunday, November 9, 1766. By the time I the whole, I suppose the months she passed had breakfasted and dressed for Court it was time to go to chapel. I found Lady Fran- When about to go away she had a private

among them were the happiest in her life. cis Tilson in the closet. She gave me an audience of the Empress, who, with many account of the fine presents the King of Den- flattering expressions of regret for her deparmark had given her sister - a small pocket- ture, desired she would accept a fine medallion book set with diamonds, and within it a note set in jewels and wear it for her sake. All for 1,000l. The Queen was to be married this was as so much sunshine beaming on Lady last Wednesday. Lady Bridget Lane sat over Mary's mind. In extraordinary good humor, against me. When the dukes came into the breathing nothing but admiration for the perKing's closet sbe bent forward and said to fect beings she had left, she came home to

“ Married !” meaning, the Duke of relate her prospérités. It was unfortunate Gloucester, who I think must have heard her. that Lady Mary paid a second visit to a city I replied very softly, “ Married ?"

and a court where she had been so well re. sure you it is true. Thinking it was not a ceived the first time. Feeling herself, so to proper subject so near the King, I made no speak, at home, she acted as she was wont to

The Queen was not at the chapel, act at home took part in some feud against but came to the drawing-room, which was ex

a Court lady, and was surprised when the tremely full. I never got farther than just of Empress thought she had no business to come the inside of the door, and had for my com- and stir up dissensions at the Court. panions Lord Chatham, my Lord Chancellor Camden, and two bishops - - no bad support- It is certain that Lady Mary's friends ers, you'll allow.

more amused than concerned, or But the history of Lady Mary's ad- even surprised, at the rupture that folventures would be incomplete unless we lowed. Lady Louisa Stuart says:were to give an account of her foreign tours, and of her friendship with the Em- be obtained. The sovereign's frown had its

No more audiences or medallions were to press Queen Maria Theresa, the leading accustomed effect on the courtiers, and there power of Europe, and who from having was no doing there what might so readily be been Lady Mary's friend became, so Lady done in England if the King had spit in your Mary Aattered herself, her eneiny. En- face (or, for that matter you in his) -- no gland, after the monstrous acts committed leaguing yourself with the friends of freedom by their royal highnesses of Cumberland and holding your head higher than ever. and Gloucester, and not committed by Lady Mary left the territories of her enemy in Edward, Duke of York, Lady Mary felt complete, thorough, perfect dudgeon, and constrained to leave. It was not the first with only one consolation

-as perfect a contime that she had made excursions into viction that Maria Theresa, Empress of Ger. Germany, to visit sundry royal and se. many, Queen of Hungary, the leading power

of Europe, was her enemy; hers repe highnesses. She had even

member hearing it suggested that some rupushed as far as Berlin, with the hope of mors respecting the deceased Duke of York interviewing Frederick the Great, but might have reached the Empress's ears, and, after a week at Potsdam she had to beat a as she was much surprised at Lady Mary's retreat, and comfort her own vanity that unlooked-for appearance a second time, might

me :

“I as

answer.

were

I rearms.

LIVING AGE. VOL. LXXIII. 3770

once

have led her to suspect the wandering heroine ments which it became in our Victorian of evil designs upon the heart and hand of era, and the education of royal ladies was Joseph. This I utterly disbelieve.

then as defective as their lives were narOnce started in this vein of quarrels, row, but this princess earned the affection Lady Mary met or made them wherever of all who experienced her goodness of she went. As Horace Walpole said of her, heart. It required, then, a caprice of “she had a hundred distresses, and was temper that bordered on insanity for Lady like Don Quixote, who went in search of Mary Coke to trespass as she did on so adventures, and when he found none im- much indulgence. Possibly this untamed agined them.” She went to Paris. shrew regretted the quarrel when it was

all too late, but it did not teach her any Imagine [says Lady Louisa Stuart] a tall, lessons of prudence or amiability. In elderly English noblewoman, full fraught with all the forms, etiquettes, 'decorums, and truth, Lady Mary Coke proved herself nice observances which old women value and such an astonishing woman, that no one recommend, wearing a flat hoop, long ruffles, was surprised when she brought about a and a sweeping train, holding herself very up- rupture between herself and Horace Wal. right, speaking very bad French, and, to pole. He often laughed at her, but he crown all, abusing the Queen's mother without liked her, called her “a dainty widow," mercy. I say, imagine such a wight arriving and, had she been amenable to reason, amid the revelry then reigning at Versailles, would have kept up with her one of those and judge whether the giddy crew and their intimacies with a woman so common in leader were likely to receive her with open French manners, and so necessary for

Walpole's happiness. He had been, as But worse than this was yet to come. Madame du Deffand told him, the best It will bardly be believed that Lady Mary company in the world, the sovereign of gave a finishing stroke to her absurdities the kingdom of taste at a time when a by contriving to put, as Horace Walpole vulgar court had rendered letters unfasbexpressed it, a very good quarrel on foot ionable. He possessed this real or imagbetween the Princess Amelia and herself. inary importance, that of a man of letters The royal lady and the capricious traveller and fashion about town, and Lady Mary had seen a great deal of each other ihrough had also an imaginary importance, that of life. Nothing could exceed the kindness a dashing woman of quality with relations

pay, the forbearance always shown as important as herself. Yet a quarrel by the superior for the faults, foibles, and between two such persons was not quite eccentricities of her friend', but when unlikely. On the one hand he grew more Lady Mary became impertinent, and valetudinarian, and she grew more contra. when, instead of apologizing and making dictory and impertinent, and it is perit up, as the king's daughter gave her the haps true that as people get on in 'life ready opportunity of doing, she went into ill-humor waxes larger and wants more heroics, then the princess drew herself up, elbow-room. In one respect these friends, ordered the carriage of her ill-tempered both so well adapted originally for busvisitor, dismissed her with a bow, and tling in the great world, were unequally

saw her again. The Princess matched. The reputation of Horace Wal. Amelia survived this rupture two years, pole would endure through centuries that dying in her house in Harley Street, very

to

He would live as the much regretted by her friends. She never keenest delineator of manners, characters, was a favorite with her nephew George and events, while a woman has but one III., yet it is only justice to her memory real reign — that of her beauty. Now to say that in the duil and coarse atmo- Lady Mary was old, and if she did not sphere in which she had been brought up love her follies less she ought at least to she shone like a sunbeam in a cloudy day. bave learned by sad experience that She had the misfortune to be born at a

Beauty must decay; time when Sarah, Duchess of Marl. Curled or uncurled, that locks will turn to borough, declared that “in her woful ex

grey; perience most princes, thanks to flattery Since, painted or not painted, all shall fade, and want of intelligence, were alike.” And she who scorns a man must die a maid. Princess Amelia, however, was not quite What, then, remains but well our power to alike, and under better circumstances she

use, would certainly have been a commendable And keep good humor still whate'er we lose? and a successful woman. The court of That was precisely what Lady Mary her day was very far from being that never did. She scolded and caballed, and compendium of virtues and accomplish- produced a good deal of ill blood and

never

were

come.

a

a great deal of laughter at her expense. made the ears of every one in the place to Lady Louisa Stuart wrote, in 1803, “ Lady tingle again. He was a stout man, this Mary Coke called on me yesterday; she bugler, scarlet uniform, and must have is very thin. I felt sorry for a person been proud of his vocation, or he would who had outlived the last of her youthful scarcely have considered it necessary to friends. I fancy it is a great chance blow again, even louder than before, after whether you ever behold her again. Her he had moved on barely a hundred yards. existence is certainly not a happy one.” It really seemed wrong of him to disturb At the time of her death Lady Mary was the still June air in this fashion, and the the owner of a house in Mount Street, startled swallows skimming to and fro but she actually died in a villa at Chis. quickened their flight, not knowing what wick, which Lord Gower described as to make of it. But he did not notice presenting a dull and triste appearance. this, and went on raising the clamorous She passed away in the autumn of 1811. call again and again, as he made his way

In the society where she long shone, slowly down the street. The little boys and which she had convulsed with her flocked round him like Aies, and followed "hundred distresses,” she had become an his steps with pattering feet; and whenextinct volcano. Of that society much ever he stopped they gathered apart in an harm has been said; its apes and pea- anxious group, and watched the bugle go cocks have been reviled, but they can to his lips with such intensity of interest retort that their loves, hates, and pastimes that every little brow was rumpled and are unforgotten still. There is no doubt every little mouth puffed out in sympathy. that its beauties and its dandies were At last the bugler reached the further highly artificial, and that the men of fash- end of the street, and was heard no more. ion who set themselves above all human But his passing had completely broken up emotions were absurd enough. To be the placid calm which had brooded over correct in attitude and step was the thing the town all day. The long street burst principally demanded of those who entered at once into fitful activity, and everywhere ihe narrow precincts of good society; but, clean-aproned men and boys were popping sioce plain sense cannot govern, it is for in and out of the shops, with thump and tunate when at least good taste is regnant. clatter, putting up the heavy wooden shutThat age was less exacting than is our ters. Then the men and boys disappeared, own; but it was more sincere in this re- and for a space the glowing sun, saunter: spect, that it had not agreed to censure ing along the western horizon as his fashthat which all agreed to do. Nor were the ion is in June, glanced the whole length men and women all bad, though play was of the desolate street without being able high and though the conversation was to strike a single shadow. often both deistical and dissipated where

But the desolation was only momen“round our coaches crowd the white tary, the stillness that of a pot just before gloved beaux,” and though of the belles it it comes a-boil. Extraordinary figures might truly be averred that

suddenly appeared in every quarter - fig.

ures in military attire and yet most ludiWith varying vanities from every part crously unmilitary in aspect; and every They shift the moving toy-shop their heart. such figure was ihe centre of a cluster, These impeachments cannot be denied, All down the street the scarlet coats blazed but neither can it be denied that the circle in the sun, and they and their sober satelof Strawberry Hill was a milestone in the lites flowed steadily in one direction. social history of England.

Finally they became concentrated in an open space under the shadow of the old church' tower, and there, jostled by a crowd of onlookers, they arranged them.

selves in two uneven ranks, and stood From Macmillan's Magazine. THE SHAM FIGHT AT RUDDIFORD,

forth the X. Company of the Fifth Cornshire Rifle Volunteers.

They were as jovial and good-natured a EVIDENTLY something unusual was to- set of men, these volunteers, and as unward in Ruddiford. In the early evening disciplined, as you could have picked up a portent had appeared, in the shape of a anywhere. They were just a pack of man with a bugle.

lads brimful of fun and mischief, even This bugler stationed himself at one end though some of them were mature in years. of the long street which contained nearly Healthy eyes twinkled out as merrily from the whole town, and blew a blast that I above bushy, grizzled beards as from over

I.

a

were

at

[ocr errors]

II.

the smootbest cbin, and there was not a rangement both for themselves and their sad heart in the lot. They were all friends families, and then out into the country for and neighbors - not more than three score two miles uptil they came to the wide of them altogether unless you counted the pasture half-way between Ruddiford and band — and were animated by a single Ditchfallow, where the Ditchfallow corps desire, which was, to have as jolly a time would meet them and they would proceed of it as possible.

to annihilate each other with blank car. The band itself formed a separate cluso tridge. ter in which the musicians stood, hugging Their exuberant spirits at this prospect their ponderous instruments as though revealed itself even on the roll-call and the they loved them. Since every true Rud- facetious ones responded to their names difordian takes a healthy delight in noise, with "Here!”. “There !” “Yonder !” this band was extremely popular, and was “ Gone to bed !” and such-like witticisms, disproportionately strong. It numbered given it is true, in a tone intended to reach five-and-twenty pairs of vigorous lungs, only to the ears of their comrades. Then beside the drummer, and would have been some preliminary evolutions still,larger if the men could have had their tempted, but the press of spectators choice. It was quite a local institution, brought all to confusion. So the signal and did duty at every club feast and agri- was given for which the band had been cultural show for miles around.

impatiently waiting. Thud - thud thud The captain of this array was the great went the drum, and then, with a sudden gentleman who owned the big brewery blare that astonished even the cows and behind the church. Full of importance set the horses galloping wildly in every he strutted to and fro in front of his men field for miles around, the band struck up. whenever the crowd would let him, but Off went the musicians down the long found the labor of sustaining, among his Main Street, and the rest of the corps other military embellishments, a large eye- muddled itself somehow or other into glass under his left eyebrow too severe to fours and followed. allow him much time for anything else. It is very doubtful whether he could see anything through it, and his men, having In its idle moments Ruddiford frediscovered this, made fun of him to his quently speculated upon the past history face. He was indeed by no means popu- of one of its inhabitants. This was natular with them, though of course quite un-ral, because he was the only man in the conscious of the fact. His lieutenant, the town whose career had not been watched young miller, was on the other hand a from the beginning. He had not started general favorite ; but then he was hail- at the beginning like the rest, – he had fellow-well-met with every member of the come to them with his career corps, and they called him by his Christian plished. It was always reported in Rud. name and exchanged “chaff" with him as diford that Mr. Cayton had come to live he moved about among them. As for the there because of the healthiness of the air drill-sergeant, he was an easy-going Irish- and the cheerfulness of the company; but man, and had given up all hope of the the clever ones, whose eyes saw deeper Fifth Cornshire long ago.

into the millstone, whispered mysteriously From the general enthusiasm it was that it suited a certain noble family very evident that this muster was no ordinary well to bury alive its stricken member in affair, no mere drilling practice such as this quiet, out-of-the-way place. Perhaps the Ruddifordian volunteers loved to shirk, it did, - anyhow the poor, weary-faced, wherein after no end of tedious marching wandering-eyed invalid had drifted bither and counter-marching their rifles were with his solitary attendant some years brought to the “present” with empty bar. before, and was here still. The attendant, rels, and nothing louder than a tantalizing a morose, coarse-featured man, was by no click followed the word “Fire.” No! means easy to approach, and though in the This time it was cartridge they were to early days of his arrival Ruddiford had have, and plenty of it; and the business plied him with its wonted liquorish hospi. on hand was a real sham-fight, such as tality on every available occasion, he reonly happened once in a time, and, when mained obdurate and uncommunicative. it did, was reckoned by every one in Rud. This made Ruddiford look upon him as diford as good as any circus. No wonder something of a swindler, and it thereafter therefore that every one was elated. held aloof from him.

First the men were to march the whole Mr. Cayton and his servant lodged in a length of the town, a very gratifying ar- pleasant house standing back from the

accom

[ocr errors]

66

a

[ocr errors]

road in one of the side lanes of the town, who had been fishing all day, was sitting and there almost any day when it was fine, at the table there busy with a substantial the tall, thin, melancholy figure of the for- meal, when the uproar began at the end of mer might be seen straying aimlessly the street. backwards and forwards along the garden He stopped eating to ask the waiter paths, and generally the square-set, short--- what the deuce was the matter.” • It's necked form of the latter was not far our Rifles, sir,” said the waiter. - There's behind. Gradually the calm and fresh- going to be a sham fight to-night, sir, and ness of the country had called back in a good deal of shooting, and, if you please, some degree the bodily powers of the in. if there's nothing else you think you'll valid, but you had but to look into his want I should very much like to go, sir;" restless grey eyes to see that something and then, as if afraid of a possible veto, he had gone which was past recall.

rushed up-stairs forth with to change his When Ruddiford had had time to get coat, reappearing a moment later, ludithoroughly accustomed to these figures crously altered in appearance.

“ Sure and to regard them as really belonging to there's nothing you'll want, sir

very itself, it became quite proud of them and fine band, sir," and then he vanished for made them one of the stock subjects for good. discussion during the long winter even- Evidently the gentleman did not relish ings in the snug bar of the George. If a this disturbance; his eyes dilated and he Ditchfallovian was present he was often snorted a little as he got up, aod strode to twitted on the absence of any such attrac- the window. In doing so he betrayed his tion in his own town. Even the little military training. He was in fact a retired boys were interested; as they went to officer of the Regulars, and the scorn deschool they used often to press their little picted on his face as he watched the pronoses between the palings and watch the cession pass the window was terrible to silent figure for a time, and then shout out behold. “ Fools! asses! idiots ! he “Au'd Softie ” and run away as fast as snorted. Wasting good time and good their legs would carry them, boasting all money in child's play! Not the making day after of their boldness.

of a soldier among 'em! Bah!” and he The years passed, and still the tall form banged down the window to shut out the moved aimlessly along the garden paths, noise, and drank three glasses of wine in tapping the flowers occasionally with his rapid succession to soothe his ruffled feellight cane. Time had been for him, ings. but was no more. He was there as usual, No one could deny it; it was a trying on this very June night, when not a soul sight. Such a crew! First the band in Ruddiford but had hurried away either puffing out blasts of sound like the spasms to watch the volunteers or to join them of a locomotive, preceded and surrounded he alone unconscious and undisturbed. by their friends and admirers; and the

But hark! what march is that they are drummer who wielded the drumstick with playing ? Surely - Mr. Cayton has one hand and the cymbals with the other, lifted his head and is listening attentively. and could scarcely get elbow-room for the As he listens faint gleams of expression children on either side of him. Then play across the blankness of his counte- the company, all at sixes and sevens, with

He leans forward for a moment, their rifles sloped at all angles, bumping and then moves slowly and deliberately and jostling each other as they turned towards the gate. Reaching it, he looks about to shout their greetings to friends furtively around him, but for once the on the sidewalks. Gaily they all stamped watchful eyes he dreads are not upon him. along, careless of orders. The little boys He opens the gate, and steps boldly into dared each other to rush across the ranks, a world un visited for years.

and the men good-naturedly gave way to let them do so. Relations and families, “ by tens and dozens " like the Hamelin

rats, hastened along beside them and kept PEOPLE came from far enough to Rud- up a running fire of conversation and diford for its trout-fishing, and whenever comment. Hi! there's me bruther they came they always put up at the Bill !” yelled one urchin. “Tom ! let me George. The wonderful reputation which see d' buckle a rubbed bright for tha," the house had gained was another stock cried another. “ John, le-ak at thee subject with the topers in the bar. The bairns !" sang out a stout matron in the windows of the coffee-room looked out on midst of a circle. In vain the little lieu. Main Street, and an elderly gentleman, tenant pleaded, and expostulated, — they

Dance.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »