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pretty. I was then bid to sit, and the Lady Augusta asked me ten thousand questions. My answers, I think, were not imprudent, and very true; it is impossible for me to tell you all, or indeed a quarter part of what she said. A basket of flowers was brought to the Lady Augusta, a present from Prince George. She desired to know if I loved flowers; on my saying I did, she took out a very fine
it to me. The whole of the behaviour of both my royal mistresses was extremely gracious. I must pass over a hundred things they said, or I shall not have time to finish the letter.
“ About half an hour after twelve, the things were brought in by a person whom it seems is under me, but speaks like a lady of the bedchamber. She has been about the Lady Augusta ever since she was born, and is greatly considered and indulged on that account. No Mademoiselle de Chaire appeared, so I hear we have waitings, but how, I have not yet found out.
“ The Lady Augusta said she would dress, and desired me not to be the least hurried or discomposed. I obeyed. She was pleased to say I performed mighty well. (I hear since she told the princess I was very adroit.) The Lady Elizabeth I had nothing more to do to than comb her head, and put on the same cap she wore before. You will easily believe I was glad when I had done. Innumerable questions were again put to me, but in the most obliging manner in the world; among the rest, did I love birds ? On my answering as I had before done on the flowers, parrots, parroquets, and a magpie were ordered to be brought in to their bedchamber--(I am to tell you they showed me all their rooms, which are three, a dressing-room, bedchmber, and closet for the Lady Augusta, and told me the history of the pictures)--this was the occasion of great mirth and entertainment for near an hour.
I must not omit telling you the Lady Augusta expressed great concern I was not better lodged, and wondered how I should be able to endure so bad a room as she feared mine was; asked if my servant was there to get my room aired, and proper for me to go into.
“ The Lady Elizabeth and I were together till three o'clock; then Mrs. Pitt entered, and desired to know if she might not take me with her to prayers, which were going to begin. We went into the outer room, and there Miss Chudleigh, Miss Dives, Miss Moya ston, and Mrs. Jane, the bedchamber-woman, stood. They all çame ụp to me, and wished me joy, and then we prayed. I went home with Mrs. Pitt immediately after prayers, dined and drank coffee, and then came the garden way back; found my toilette setting out, and my room in good order. Mrs. Graydon was the dresser of my toilette.
“ As soon as she was gone, I sat down to write to your ladyship, but had not written six lines before I was interrupted by company coming; and who should that be but Mrs. Pitt. She is most ines. pressibly obliging to me. Slie sat near a quarter of an hour with me, commended my room and the furniture of it, desired me to give her compliments to you, and then departed. By Mrs. Pitt's discourse I am on a pretty high foot in this house. I will say more of that when I know more. I have had a message from Miss Goodrick; compliments, and she designs waiting on me very soon. Mrs. Pitt imagines every body, maids of honour, bedchamber-women, &c. will come to see me. “ I have written down every action and word of
my own till this minute. I am alone, and therefore you must be told my thoughts. That I am very happy, and that I owe that happiness to you, I need not say ; so that, as it must be very obvious, I shall put it aside, and next tell you I feel a satisfaction, a joy inexpressible. When I look round, all that I see within this room is mine, and I cannot but feel grateful. And here I must leave my reflections, and haste to the conclusion, or I shall not have finished this letter in time. Mademoiselle de Chaire has been to visit me; hopes to see me at her apartment; shall be happy if she can have an opportunity, or have it in her power to be of any service to me in any thing I may command her. Before she left me, Miss Goodrick came in, was vastly my friend and humble servant too ; hoped I would make use of her to assist me in any way she could. They both stayed with me till I was very heartily tired of them. My servant pot at home, so I could not give them tea, and they robbed me of a very true pleasure; notwithstanding which I was, I hope, very civil to them; I am sure I meant to be so. They are both very, very, very fine ladies. I suppose they design to be intimate with me; but that'must not be; but how I shall avoid it, I do not know.
“I have obeyed you in not regarding either form or style in my letter. Never was a command before of so strange a nature; it cannot be disobeyed, because I cannot express the sense I have of my obligations to you, or how very much I am, &c.
" MARGARET Power."
Vol. 1. p. 223. Here we must stop, for upon the letters of Mrs. Bradsbaw, Miss Chamber, or Miss Bellenden, we dare not venture. As specimens of the epistolary style of maiden ladies attached to the Court of the two first Georges, those of the last named are literary curiosities; and we will not too severely visit their egregious indecency and grossness upon the fair writers themselves, who penned them, no doubt, according to the standard of good breeding and modesty by which they had been trained. But we are bound to protest most solemnly against the flagrant dereliction of duty in an editor who has permitted such ribaldry to go forth to the public. The retrenchment of a few words can never parge away general offensiveness of meaning ; and as for asterisks, they serve as sign-posts and show-boards, - claram facem præferre pudendis, - to mark where contraband goods are deposited. There is no
reason to suppose that the ladies we have mentioned were more unguarded in their expressions than many of their contemporaries; and such being the case, it becomes a matter of surprise, that “hissing infamy" has not been able to proclaim " what ills from beauty spring,” in more instances than those which have bestowed such unhappy immortality upon the names of Vane and Howe.
Arr. IV. Percy Mallory, by the Author of Pen Owen.
3 vols. 8vo. 11. 10s. Blackwood, Edinburgh. 1824. LIVELY and interesting as the work before us is, and decidedly superior, as it is considered, to the general run of novels, it nevertheless stands not a little in need of the salvo which we shall transfer from the conclusion to the beginning, as a necessary preparative for the marvellous inventions which await us.
“ If the fastidious critic-and there are few of the tribe who are not so-should, in his scepticism, touching the truth of our narrative, urge the improbability of the facts—we have only to assure him, that the most improbable of these events have their foundation in plain matter of fact-and that there are readers who will, with. out owning it, perhaps, acknowledge this to themselves, and acquit the author even of exaggeration in the mode of recording them.
“Le vrai ne’st pas toujours le vraisemblable,' and if it were, it would hardly be worth recording.--No man ventures on a story round the table; unless it has something to recommend it out of the common wayand if an unfortunate wight is caught in the act of reciting a 'says he,' and says she,' and so,' without some redeeming points of discursive fancy, he is for ever established as a Proser!” Vol. III. p. 347.
All this may be very true; but we would still remind the author, that although the most improbable events are daily happening, a novel composed of such events is like an historical picture filled with horned women, Irish giants, and other past and possible phenomena. More skill is required to represent every day people in their every day costume, and with natural action, than to embody such rare eccentricities.
It must be allowed, however, that the story before us, when read in detail, bears a much greater semblance of reasonable probability, than it is likely to do in the brief and dry abstract to whicb our limits confine us. The leading incidents are às follows:- The Earl of Harweden, a personage as profligate
and selfish as the stock-lord or pere noble of novels usually is, supplants his brother, Mr. Levison Clarendon, in the affections of his affianced bride, a young heiress whose sense of honour is not proof against a coronet. An irreparable breach ensues between the two brothers: and Mr. Clarendon, retiring to a property on the lakes of Cumberland, and assuming the name of the relation from whom he inherits it, marries a tenant's daughter remarkable for her stupidity, and commences humourist and valetudinarian, as Mr. Levison Rycott, of Wolston Worthy. In the meanwhile, Lord Hårweden, having lost a succession of children in their infancy, and finding his countess again pregnant after a long interval of time, resolves in any event to secure an heir, and entrusts his agent and protege, Clement Dossiter, with the task of purloining a male child, to be substituted, if necessary. A female is born, and Dossiter accordingly executes his commission under the disguise of a fictitious name, and with the help of Giles Mallory, a subordinate rogue. With the view, however, of serving a double purpose, and of ultimately creating an interest with all parties, he secures the infant son of Mr. Rycott, to sapply his employer's demand. A brisk pursuit taking place, Giles Mallory, who is the active instrument in the villany, determines, in case of failure, not to lose his promised reward, and accordingly has his own child ready as à dernier resort, unknown to Dossiter. This he eventually substitutes for young Rycott, who is dangerously hurt by an accident received during the pursuit, and whom Mallory palms on his wife as her own. The poor woman, after having been equally duped with Lady Harweden, and forced to restore her supposed offspring to the Rycott's, by whom she is traced to her. retreat, is finally made the scape-goat, and transported for child-stealing, in company with Alice Halpin, her accomplice; while young Percy Rycott is restored, with the damage of a broken head, to his real owners, .Dossiter supposing him all the while to be installed in the place which the child of Mallory is filling. In the process of time, the latter young gentleman, like the viper's egg hatched by Æsop's hen, fully developes all those latent propensities which are his natural birthright, very much to the dissatisfaction of his adopter, who of course feels no great natural affection for his suppositious heir. The daughter for whom the nominal Lord Brandon has been substituted, is in the meanwhile educated abroad under the name of Louisa, or Loo Bellenden. On the death of her governante (an amiable and superior woman, selected by Dossiter merely to get quit of an incurred debt, and who knows nothing of her ward, save as an orphan), Loo
Bellenden is placed under the guidance of Dossiter's sister, Mrs. Norcliffe, the evangelical ex-concubine of a deceased lord, and a dragon of pradery and spiritual pride, with whom she resides in the wilds of Cumberland, not far from Wolston Worthy. Here, during a ramble on the mountains, she meets at a lucky moment with Percy Rycott, grown into a handsome adventurous stripling, who rescues her when half fallen down a precipice, at the moment when a very large eagle is about to increase the embarrasment by devouring her. According to all established rule, and much to the disapprobation of his father and Mrs. Norcliffe, Percy becomes the favoured Pam who wins the fair Loo; but the young lady, much to her credit, rejects all engagements with her wealthy and wellconnected lover, from independent motives. Before matters, however, come to any issue between the several non-content parties, Judith Mallory makes her appearance on the stage, returned from transportation; and, like widow Blackacre, lays legal claim to her full-grown“ minor.” To the horror
poor Percy, whom she believes bona fide her own son, and to the utter discomfiture of his real parents, the pertinacious dame succeeds in establishing the identity of her offspring to the satisfaction of judge and jury.
These untoward circumstances develope the real character of Percy, who has hitherto only appeared before us as a great hoy very much in love. Declining the proffered adoption of the warm-hearted old humourist, while he spurns all communication with his vulgar and profligate mother, he sets off for London to seek his fortune, proud in the consciousness of his own manliness and independence, and happy in the assurance that Miss Bellenden's scruples are removed by his altered circumstances. On his arrival in town, he is recommended by the unsuspecting Mr. Rycott to the good offices of the very Dossiter of whom we have spoken, and who retains the Wolston Worthy agency as well as that of Lord Harweden. At Dossiter's house, Percy and the latter nobleman meet, each ignorant of the others connexion with Mr. Rycott; and the spirited and ingenuous manners of the young man interest Lord Harweden in his favour. Lord Brandon is by this time requiting the fraudulent conduct of his supposed father by a series of mean and profligate conduct, and finally falls a victim to a quarrel among the sharpers with whom he is connected. Percy, to whose knowledge the circumstances of the rencontre are accidentally brought, is led to divine the secret of Lord Brandon's birth and substitution, from facts which transpire, and draws in consequence from Lord Harweden, upon his death-bed, an avowal