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at a convenient distance from the maids of honor, who were in the circle adjoining the royal box. Her majesty and these ladies had an opportunity of catching a glance of me, which I believe they did; for I perceived more than once their opera-glasses were directed toward me, while there was some conversation held with the Earl of Albemarle, whose attention was also diverted toward the pit; and myself being so well known to the public, hundreds of eyes were riveted there, so that no doubt could be entertained on the subject. In fact, when the queen entered the house, she almost immediately recognized her lover, while she was unanimously applauded by one of the most numerous and brilliant audiences I ever beheld in that theatre. If I were to confess the emotions of my heart at beholding the elegant and graceful manners of my sovereign, coupled with the captivating smile by which her features were adorned, expressive of the happiness she felt in meeting with so loyal a reception from her subjects, I should, without hesitation, allege the queen has made a conquest of it. The delightful scene was highly colored, and rendered doubly interesting by the applause of the whole theatre after the performance of the anthem.
"Her stature is short, and inclined to embonpoint; my own is not tall, and therefore might not suppose there would be a great deal of disproportion in our height if we were married, so as not to appear conspicuous, if my age was not so much beyond her majesty's. This, however, you are aware, is more apparent in some persons than others. My health is, thank God, much the same, and therefore might not imagine it would be thought an overwhelming obstacle to our union, should it be so arranged, pursuant to the royal marriage act of Parliament in that case to be made and provided. I should be anxious, however, before I take my departure from England, to have an opportunity of kneeling at the queen's feet, and offering the homage of my love and respect.
"This distinguished honor could not be obtained, I believe, without an application to the secretary of state, and perhaps then there would be some difficulty in the way, without an introduction at court; and although I am ready to espouse her majesty in a week (if wished), I have no opportunity of obtaining a private interview, which might hasten the completion of my hopes, viz., marriage with the queen, Victoria the First.
"To describe to your ladyship the effect the recent work published by Messrs. Longman, Orme, and Co., entitled Love's Exchanges,' has had on the public mind, is not within my capability. Every lady that I meet seems full of anxiety on the subject, observing, 'Not yet in the petticoats? The gentlemen say, 'What! still in the same dress?" Thus I will leave your ladyship to judge what I go through from day to day, while my likeness is portrayed as an elegant woman in all the picture-shops in London. Why, therefore, I may say, should not the first ladies in the land have the society and friendship of one of the fairest flowers? Should I, by being in petticoats, be transgressing the rules of morality or propriety? Probably not. Could I, by
acting as I wish, obtain forgiveness after M . . . . .? A guarantee to that effect would tend to relieve my anxiety of mind, and remove my scruples if I am now thought over-fastidious. Being without encumbrance, could I not say why should I hesitate? My dress would be respectable without being gaudy.
"My time is short, and my funds are exhausted, while I am fearful I shall have a painful struggle to provide for my necessities. Should I be generously aided with pecuniary means to forward my prospects in France (in the event of not being united to her majesty), that help, when forwarded to me by your ladyship and your friends, will be refreshment to the weary, as Petrarch beautifully expresses it in his commentaries: 'Crede mihi non est parvæ fiducia polliceri opem decertantibus, consilium dubiis lumen cæcis, spem dejectis, refugium fessis; magna quidem hæc sunt si fiant, parva si promittantur.'
"In the fervent hope that this will find your ladyship in good health, please to accept my prayers for a continuance of your happiness in this world and in the world to come. I have the honor to be, with sincere regard, your faithful and affectionate friend, L. N."
From the same:
"Lincoln's Inn Fields, June 7th, 1840. "HONORED MADAM,-The duty and profound respect I must always feel bound to entertain for my sovereign lady the queen (for the public say that illustrious lady now patronizes me), as well as sincere regard toward yourself, would induce me, without hesitation, to consent to the apparent wish of clothing me in petticoats, if I could be favored with a specific authority for such a very important change in my habits, as well as exterior appearance (for I am sure I should look like an old washerwoman in female attire); and notwithstanding which, I could not but feel highly honored by her majesty's condescension in thus selecting me to occupy a situation (governess, I presume, in the royal family, and to reside in the palace), if such duties could with strict propriety be considered to fall within the scope of my knowledge, which, matured by experience, might be useful in such a capacity; and if it even were so, my endeavors to meet the queen's approbation would be at all times exercised with sound judgment and energy; but I may, while thus expressing my ideas confidentially on so interesting a subject, be still greatly mistaken, while my awkwardness in petticoats would expose me to the ridicule of all the distinguished guests at the palace.
"The ladies of the capital say I shall look like a fine woman. The gentlemen say I could not wear stays without springs, and they don't think I should look handsome in a bonnet, and therefore I had better remain in breeches.
"If they are all in error on the subject, then I trust you will do me the kindness to afford me a solution of the mystery. If the public are wrong (illa errant quidem gravissime), who is to put them right!
"In the event of funds being forwarded to me (in a parcel sealed up and
directed as above), I will occupy furnished lodgings at Kensington, for I am in impoverished circumstances, and if £50 is sent to me it will be very acceptable and useful these hard times.
"Hoping this will find your ladyship in good health, I remain very truly your faithful and affectionate friend, L. N."
From the same:
"London, May 28th, 1841.
"HONORED AND MUCH-ESTEEMED MADAM,-Although still (after a lapse of three years' written communication) without a single reply either in the affirmative or the negative, and having been personally present at your abode nine times without having been favored with an appointment or an interview, I take leave to offer an explanation to your ladyship on the subject of a bond of indemnity (which I mentioned in the postscript of my last letter), a legal instrument cased with armor, to be a defender against the poisoned darts from the venomous tongue of the rocky-hearted slandere a shield against the malicious and mischievous deeds of the secret enemy.
"The obligor is the party bound, whereby he or she obliges themselves, their heirs, executors, and administrators, to indemnify and save harmless the obligee, which surety without the condition is called simplex obligatio; but with the covenant, a specialty, the dangers therein being particularly specified in writing, and the contracting parties' seal, while regularly acknowledging the same duty and confirming the contract, being affixed thereto, thus rendering it a security of a higher nature than those entered into without the solemnity of a seal.
"But if it be to do a thing that is malum in se, the obligation itself is void, for the whole is an unlawful agreement, and the obligor could take no advantage from such a transaction; and if the condition be possible at the time of making it, and afterward becomes impossible by the act of God, the act of law, or the act of the obligee, there the penalty of the obligation is saved, for no prudence or foresight of the obligee could guard against such a contingency.
"My playing, therefore, a second character in this drama (by acting a woman's part) would depend in toto on my own conduct for honor and integrity. Could I therefore, with safety, enter upon such an engagement without the liability of being a particeps criminis in any unlawful action which might subsequently follow? My opinion from the first was that it would be an impracticable scheme, and I think my friends will admit I have taken a correct view of this extraordinary design of the projectors; for, baffled and frustrated in all my efforts to become the husband of the lady agreeable to the wishes of the public, the disguise of a gentleman in the apparel of a lady, with an intention of having a conversation with his sweetheart at a ball (such a plan being suggested in my letter of July 8th, 1839), would, as that lady is married to another, be now entirely out of season; what motive, therefore, there can be now for exhibiting my portrait (in flagrante delicto) in female
clothes is to me incomprehensible, and I remain in hope your ladyship will do me the kindness to afford me a solution of the enigma.
"Whatever is the object, it has inflicted on me manifold injury and mischief by the construction put upon it. Even at this time more calumny is issuing from the press, and the work entitled 'De Clifford, or the Constant Man,' has very much astonished the public.
"My proposal to raise £1000 by way of loan being unattended to, I am of opinion the most judicious plan of arrangement and relief would be for me to quit my native country; and if I had £50 a quarter allowed me for my maintenance in the city of Brussels, I would go and reside there, from which capital I would correspond with my amiable friend.
"Your ladyship's most obedient humble servant,
"P.S.-If your ladyship could honor me with your company for a few weeks in the summer season at Ostend, not only for the benefit of sea-bathing, but also to assist you and your friends in the completion of works for the press, I should esteem it a favor, and learn much from you."
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE MATHEWSES.
From Lord Blessington to Charles Mathews, Sen. :
"Mountjoy Forest, August 2d, 1823. "MY DEAR MATHEWS,-I am determined to build a house here next spring, and I should like to give your son an opportunity of making his debut as an architect.
"If you like the idea, send him off forthwith to Liverpool or Holyhead, from which places steamers go, and by the Derry mail he will be here (with resting a day in Dublin) in five days; but he must lose no time in setting off. I will bring him back in my carriage.
"Remember me most kindly to Mrs. Mathews, and believe me, ever yours truly, BLESSINGTON.
"I suppose it would be utterly useless my asking you to come with Charles; but if you wish to spend a week in one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland, eat the best venison, Highland mutton, and rabbits, and drink the best claret in Ireland, this is the place; and you would be received with undivided applause, and I would give some comical dresses for your kit. Yours, B."
Letters from Charles James Mathews, Esq., to Lady Blessington:
"Torre del Annunciata, Napoli, Wednesday evening (1824). "DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON,-On Wednesday last, at half past twelve o'clock precisely, we started from Pompeii, and arrived in excellent health, covered
After a scientific walk through
with dust, hoping your ladyship is the same. a few of the houses, we returned to our quarters, and sat down to dinner, which we performed with ease in less than five-and-thirty minutes. We then went to bed, thinking that the best way of passing the evening, and though we had no curtained sleep,' we managed uncommonly well, and it perfectly answered our purpose. Angell says that I snored, but persons are very fond of throwing their own sins upon the backs, or rather the noses, of others.
"On the following morning, at break of day, we were again at Pompeii, and spent the whole of the day is combining, analyzing, and arranging our plan of study. The result was this, that we found nothing in the whole city worthy of being measured and drawn architecturally' (by which I mean outlined with the scrupulous accuracy of measurement usually adopted by architects) except the two theatres and the amphitheatre, picturesque sketches and notes of the other subjects of interest being quite sufficient for our object.
"On Friday morning we commenced, and by our united efforts have completed the measurement of the small theatre, which, by-the-by, was unquestionably an odeum. We are now engaged upon the other, which I hope to see concluded in three days; from all which it appears probable that I shall have the happiness of seeing you all again about Wednesday next-which was to be demonstrated.
"Our weather has been charming and very,' and seems likely to continue so. We are at a delightful inn (locanda I call it when I speak Italian), and live in the public room, which is quite private. The bedrooms are fitted up with peculiar taste; mine contains an iron bedstead with one leg shorter than the other (which, on the first night of my arrival, deposited me safely on the floor-N.B. stone), a wash-hand basin one inch and a quarter deep and six inches in diameter, a small piece of broken looking-glass, and half a table. It is an airy room, with four doors, which we should in England call glass-doors, only these have no glass in the openings. However, they are easily closed, for they have shutters which won't shut above half way; however, a couple of towels and a bit of board keep them together very snugly. The walls are stuccoed and painted in the same manner as the houses at Pompeii, only that they are quite white and entirely without ornament of any kind.
"We take two meals a day besides a luncheon. In the morning a little boy, with dark (I won't say dirty) looking hands and face, brings us some coffee in a little tin pot. The coffee is poured over into the saucer, which saves the boy the trouble of washing it out. We can always tell how much we have had, for the coffee leaves a black mark on the cup wherever it has touched it. Upon the whole, it would be a very nice breakfast if the eggs were new, the butter fresh, and the bread not quite so sour. But the dinner makes up for all. We begin always with maccaroni-I have learned to eat it in the Neapolitan fashion; it is the prettiest sight imaginable, and I am making great progress. We then have lots of little fish (from which they tell me they make seppia) fried; they taste pleasantly, and black all your teeth