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Earl of Oxford (Harley) purchased it for £100. This was a mark of Sarah's sovereign contempt. One of her grand-daughters, Lady Anne Egerton, had deeply offended her. The grandmother got hold of a portrait of the lady, blackened over the face, and inscribed in large characters on the frame, "She is much blacker within!" Thus, placed in her usual sitting-room, the picture was exhibited to all visitors. She had still at a great age considerable remains of beauty, most expressive eyes, and the finest hair imaginable, the colour of which she had preserved unchanged by the constant use of honey-water. None of her charms, when they were at their proudest height, had been so fondly prized by the poor Duke, her husband. Therefore, one day, upon his offending her by some act of disobedience to her 'strong sovereign will,' the bright thought occurred, as she sate considering how she could plague him most, that it would be a hearty vexation to see his favourite tresses cut off. Instantly the deed was done; she cropped them short, and laid them in an ante-chamber he must pass through to enter her apartment. But, to her cruel disappointment, he passed, entered, and repassed, calm enough to provoke a saint; neither angry nor sorrowful; seemingly quite unconscious both of his crime and his punishment. Concluding he must have overlooked the hair, she ran to secure it. Lo! it had vanished—and she remained in great perplexity the rest of the day. The next, as he continued silent, and her looking-glass spoke the change a rueful one, she began for once to think she had done rather a foolish thing. Nothing ever transpired upon the subject until after the Duke's death, when she found her beautiful ringlets carefully laid by in a cabinet, where he kept whatever he held most precious: and at this point of the story she regularly fell a-crying." 3
It does not appear at what time the Duchess presented Pope with a sum of £1000 to suppress the character of Atossa. Walpole and Warton relate the incident in nearly the same terms. The lines were first shown to her Grace as if they were intended for a portrait of the Duchess of Buckingham;4 but she soon stopped the person who was reading them to her, and called out aloud, "I cannot be so imposed upon; I see plainly for whom they are designed." She gave Pope £1000 to suppress the portrait, which he accepted, it is said, by the persuasion of Martha Blount; and after the Duchess's death it was printed in a folio sheet, 1746, and then inserted with the characters
3 See the interesting Introductory Anecdotes, contributed by Lady Louisa Stuart to Lord Wharncliffe's edit. of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Works.
4 "The Duchess of Buckingham was as much elated by owing her birth to James II. (by Catherine Sedley) as the Marlborough (the Duchess) was by the favour of his daughter. She indulged her pompous mind with such shows as were appropriate to her rank. She had made a funeral for her husband as splendid as that of the great Marlborough: she renewed that pageant for her only son, a weak lad, who died under age; and for herself; and prepared and decorated waxen dolls of him and of herself to be exhibited in glass-cases in Westminster Abbey. It was for the procession at her son's burial that she wrote to old Sarah of Marlborough to borrow the triumphal car that had transported the corpse of the Duke. "It carried my lord Marlborough," replied the other, "and shall never be used for anybody else." "I have consulted the undertaker," replied the Buckingham, "and he tells me I may have a finer for twenty pounds!"-Walpole's Reminiscences.
of Philomedé and Chloe, in Warburton's edition of Pope's Works, prepared, and partly printed, before the poet's death. The publication of the Marchmont Papers, in 1831, confirmed this traditionary story, which every admirer of Pope, and every friend to good faith, and independence of character in men of genius, would gladly have seen disproved, and blotted out for ever.
COUNTESS OF SUFFOLK.
Ver. 157. Yet Chloe sure was form'd without a spot.] Henrietta Hobart, daughter of Sir Henry Hobart, married first to the Hon. Charles Howard, afterwards Earl of Suffolk, and secondly to the Hon. George Berkeley. She is best known as Mrs. Howard, lady of the bed-chamber to the princess, afterwards Queen Caroline. No doubt was ever entertained that Mrs. Howard was Pope's "Chloe," and the publication of her correspondence, in 1824, showed how truly the poet had delineated her character. "Though Miss
Bellenden, one of the maids of honour, bore away the palm of beauty, and her colleague, Miss Lepell, that of grace and wit, Mrs. Howard's good sense, amiability, and sweetness of temper and manners, made her a universal favourite; and it was her singular good fortune to be at once distinguished by her mistress, and beloved by her companions." "5 She was also unfortunately distinguished by the prince, afterwards George II., in consequence of which her husband, Mr. Howard, affected great indignation, but was silenced,
eleven years; and after Mr. Berkeley's decease, in 1746, she survived twentyone years, gratifying her neighbour, Horace Walpole, with Court anecdotes long after all the actors in them had passed away. "Lady Suffolk," says Walpole, "was of a just height, well made, extremely fair, with the finest light brown hair, was remarkably genteel, and always well dressed, with taste and simplicity. Those were her personal charms, for her face was regular and agreeable rather than beautiful; and those charms she retained, with little diminution, to her death, at the age of seventy-nine," July, 1767.
DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY.
Ver. 193. If Queensberry to strip there's no compelling,
'Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen.
The celebrated Catherine Hyde, grand-daughter of the great Clarendon, and wife of Charles Douglas, third Duke of Queensberry. Prior, Swift, Pope, and Gay have all chanted the praises of "Kitty, beautiful and young, and wild as colt untamed." Prior makes her before her marriage spurn the restraints which "wise mamma ordained," and envy the freedom of her sister, Lady Jenny:
"What has she better, pray, than I?
That all mankind for her should die,
The second of these lines probably suggested the not very delicate compliment conveyed in Pope's couplet. The Duchess's extraordinary friendship for Gay is well known. He was the inmate of the ducal mansion for years, and, in order to promote his services, his fair patroness sacrificed even the favour of the Court. Lord Hervey has described this fracas in a style very characteristic:
Among the remarkable occurrences of this winter , I cannot help relating that of the Duchess of Queensberry being forbid the Court, and the occasion of it. One Gay, a poet, had written a ballad opera, which was thought to reflect a little upon the Court, and a good deal upon the minister. It was called The Beggar's Opera, and had a prodigious run, and was so extremely pretty in its kind, that even those who were most glanced at in the satire had prudence enough to disguise their resentment, by chiming in with the universal applause with which it was performed. Gay, who had attached himself to Mrs. Howard (then one of the ladies of the bedchamber to Queen Caroline), and been disappointed of preferment at Court, finding this couched satire upon those to whom he imputed his disappointment, succeed so well, wrote a second part to this opera, less pretty, but more abusive, and so little disguised, that Sir Robert Walpole resolved, rather than suffer himself to be produced for thirty nights together upon the stage, in the person of a highwayman, to make use of his friend, the Duke of Grafton's authority, as Lord Chamberlain, to put a stop to the representation of it. Accordingly, this theatrical Craftsman was prohibited at every playhouse.
Gay, irritated at this bar thrown in the way both of his interest and revenge, zested this work with some supplemental invectives, and resolved to print it by subscription. The Duchess of Queensberry set herself at the head of this undertaking, and solicited every mortal that came in her way, or in whose way she could put herself, to subscribe. To a woman of her quality, prover. bially beautiful, and at the top of the polite and fashionable world, people were ashamed to refuse a guinea, though they were afraid to give it. Her solicitations were so universal, and so pressing, that she came even into the Queen's apartment, went round the drawing-room, and made even the King's servants contribute to the printing of a thing which the King had forbid being acted. The King, when he came into the drawing-room, seeing her Grace very busy in a corner with three or four men, asked her what she had been doing. She answered, "What must be agreeable, she was sure, to anybody so humane as his Majesty, for it was an act of charity, and a charity to which she did not despair of bringing his Majesty to contribute." Enough was said for each to understand the other, and though the King did not then (as the Duchess of Queensberry reported) appear at all angry, yet this proceeding of her Grace's, when talked over in private between his Majesty and the Queen, was so resented, that Mr. Stanhope, then Vice-Chamberlain to the King, was sent in form to the Duchess of Queensberry, to desire her to forbear coming to Court. His message was verbal. Her answer, for fear of mistakes, she desired to send in writing, wrote it on the spot, and this is the literal copy:
'Feb. 27, 1728-9.
'That the Duchess of Queensberry is surprised and well pleased that the King hath given her so agreeable a command as to stay from Court, where she never came for diversion, but to bestow a great civility on the King and Queen she hopes by such an unprecedented order as this is, that the King will see as few as he wishes at his Court, particularly such as dare to think or speak truth. I dare not do otherwise, and ought not, nor could have imagined that it would not have been the very highest compliment that I could possibly pay the King, to endeavour to support truth and innocence in his house, particularly when the King and Queen both told me that they had not read Mr. Gay's play. I have certainly done right, then, to stand by my own words rather than his Grace of Grafton's, who hath neither made use of truth, judgment, nor honour, through this whole affair, either for himself or his friends. C. QUEENSBERRY.'
"When her Grace had finished this paper, drawn with more spirit than accuracy, she gave it to Mr. Stanhope, who desired her to think again, asked pardon for being so impertinent as to offer her any advice, but begged she would give him leave to carry an answer less rough than that she had put into his hands. Upon this she wrote another, but so much more disrespectful, that he desired the first again, and delivered it. Most people blamed the Court upon this occasion. What the Duchess of Queensberry did was certainly impertinent; but the manner of resenting it was thought impolitic. The Duke of Queensberry laid down his employment of Admiral of Scotland