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this date which we believe will appear in another edition, and we give two extracts, one relating to the Prince of Wales and the other to a lady who conceived herself to be no less royal in the realm of literature.
Feb. 22. 1797. •Know also that I have spent four and twenty hours with Miss Seward, to whom I brought a letter from Llangollen, and I vote her the female of greatest powers of mind with whom I ever conversed. Her superiority so completely awed me, that I was not quite at ease, and of course lost some even of my natural mental advantages. She does not“ bear her faculties very meekly,” for there is a lofty swell in her language that makes us around her appear like the confidantes in white linen, though to do her justice, this is only on suitable and serious subjects. You are not to judge of her solely by her poetry. Her talents for criticism, her prose, for I have seen several of her letters, and her conversation, are all infinitely beyond her verses. She is fifty-four, but appears younger ; has a large person, a stoop, and walks with difficulty from the effects of an accident in her three and twentieth year. Her dress is rather showy than simple, but perfectly within the bounds of propriety and fashion. Her hair is auburn, eyes of a most brilliant hue, neither blue nor black, but a fine warm painter's brown; they have great fire and expression. Her countenance is in general highly animated, her complexion fair and florid. She has been the most flattered woman I suppose in the world, and seems queen of Lichfield.' (MS.)
July 27. 1799. I went with Lady Buckingham to the opera, and the Prince was very gracious in the coffee room. She then insisted on presenting me to Mrs. Sturt, and took me there. Mrs. Sturt, who last year affected to say that it was impossible to add to her list of female acquaintance, was now all civility-such is the force of a respectable chaperone. The Prince was there also; talked a vast deal to me, and returned twice to resume the conversation. He pressed me to go to Brighthelmstone. I said I hated a place without wood. “Yes, but it has every other perfection, and after all, one has seen so many trees ! ” He spoke of the Llangollen ladies; and said, such a party must be composed of either two men or two women, for no pair of friends or lovers of different sexes could have existed together so many weeks without being tired of each other. I mention this to give you an idea of the absurd importance attached to every word of his - you know 'tis what everybody says, though perhaps no one thinks; yet a person who overheard came up and said to me, “I thought he was tired of Lady Jersey before ; but I am sure of it from his speech. Did you ever hear anything so marked ?” The Prince's civility ridiculously tickled the civility of others; and Mrs. Sturt followed me to the door, pressing me to supper, as if I was her dearest friend; but we went away about one.' (MS.)
In the autumn of this year, she undertook what at that time really must have been an undertaking for a solitary lady,
a journey to the principal cities in Germany, the diary of which was printed last year for private circulation, and excited so much attention and interest as to have produced the publication of the present volume.
We at once meet with familiar names: she is consigned to the care of young Mr. Hudson Gurney, the banker at Yarmouth, by his London partners, who conceived her to be a decrepit elderly lady travelling alone for her health, and she describes the expression of his surprise as conceived in a very 'good strain of flattery.' On her arrival at Hamburgh, she is immediately visited by Baron Breteuil, the noted diplomatist of Louis Quinze, and at his house she meets Lady Edward · Fitzgerald and her lovely little daughter, whose eyes and • eyelashes are celestial.' She arrived at Hanover early in November; and in a few days Prince Adolphus, then acting there as Regent, called upon her, and appointed a lady to take her the round of the Court, and introduce her to the wife of Marshal Walmoden, son of George II., who occupied a semiroyal position. Here is the portrait, in his youth, of the Prince whose genial and green old age as Duke of Cambridge is still dear to the memory of the people of England :
His exterior is highly prepossessing. He is extremely handsome, tall, and finely formed. His complexion fair, yet manly ; bis features regular, yet expressive. His manners bear that stamp of real goodness, which no art can imitate, no other charm replace; and though he presents himself with suitable dignity, his address immediately inspires ease and confidence. His conversation is fluent, various, and entertaining.' (P. 37.)
She adds: “He cannot speak of his father without tears in - his eyes. He rises at six, and takes four lessons daily in study
and science.' The Irish stranger clearly made a sensation, and we may not uncharitably suppose that the agreeable variety of the presence of such a person in an uneventful society may bave had something to do with the extreme good-nature of the Hanoverian ladies, who evinced no sign of displeasure at the Prince's continued favours. In truth, although the Dean has modestly refrained from telling the story, the charming widow made so deep an impression on the Prince, that nothing but the stern provisions of the Royal Marriage Act debarred her from an alliance of the highest rank. A correspondence ensued; and it was only upon the subsequent marriage of Mrs. St. George with Mr. Trench, that the Duke returned her letters and her portrait by the hands of Lady Carysfort, intimating with great delicacy that he thought he had no longer the right to keep them. At Brunswick Mrs. St. George was presented to the Dowager Duchess, who distinctly remembered her grandfather, George the First, and who appeared a model
of agreeable old age turned in ivory, a softened resemblance of her brother Frederic the Great. The lively old lady remarked, Vous n'aimez pas beaucoup en Angleterre le Roi de · Prusse;' 'I frankly owned to her we did not.' •But,' said she,' il n'est pas assez riche pour faire face aux dépenses d'une 'guerre contre les François et d'ailleurs il ne pourrait pas s'unir ' avec l'Empereur. Les François ont bien voulu lui donner • Hanovre, mais il l'a refusé.' She expressed great regret at not having learned English, saying,' she much preferred Pope to Voltaire,
In the days of universal politics in which we live, we can hardly comprehend how this and two or three other allusions are all that this wise and witty woman gathers up and thinks noteworthy with relation to the tremendous contest then actually in progress between the French Republic, with its great child and champion of Revolution,' and the constituted order of Europe. How thick the cloud was gathering which was to reduce these German Courts and peoples into vassalage to a power which they had abhorred and contemned; and yet here we merely see the hereditary Prince, the Black Bruns'wicker,' as making foolish love to the attractive traveller, who receives bis attentions with a playful malice !
She remained a short time at Berlin, where she had the opportunity of making the acquaintance of another member of our Royal Family, whom she thus describes :
. Ten P.31. — I have just had a visit of two hours from Prince Augustus. He is taller and larger than Prince Adolphus, and much resembles the Prince of Wales. His hair is too scientifically and studiously dressed to be very becoming, but on the whole his exterior is to be admired. He appears to have a fund of conversation and great fluency. His vanity is so undisguised that it wears the form of frankness, and therefore gives no disgust. I mentioned to him that I had heard of his excellence in singing, and he agreed that he possessed it without the least hesitation, adding, “I had the most wonderful voice that ever was heard three octaves - and I do understand music. I practised eight hours a day in Italy. One may boast of a voice, as it is a gift of nature.” Yet his vanity is so blended with civility and a desire to please, that I defy any person with a good heart to dislike it.' (P. 15.)
Her residence at Vienna lasted many months, and afforded her much matter for observation on men and manners. She was pleased with the cheapness, the air of calm and dignified existence under a mild but vigilant police, and the absence of all importunity and servility. There was an universal appear
ance of goodnature. On the other hand, ladies dressed without taste in gaudy and ill-assorted colours; the young men daneed and rode, and had scarcely any beauty. Political discussion, she somewhat vaguely remarks, is forbidden by the laws,
which are exactly obeyed;' frequent regrets for the loss of Joseph II. are the only expressions of the kind that ever escape,
and then he is said to have been so ardent in his desire to faire le bien that he did not give himself leisure to le bien faire; the nobility did not disdain any branch of commerce or mercantile speculation, not even usury, selling their wine, a florin's worth at a time, and single trees out of their gardens; scandal was totally unknown, the main object of it among women not carrying the slightest disgrace, and being always spoken of without censure and exaggeration ; an uniformly virtuous life, however, did receive some commendation. The only allusion to art or literature is a visit to the painter Füger, an enthusiast who illustrated Klopstock, and who thrust an Italian translation of the Messiah" into her hands, exclaiming, Lisez, lisez, cela vous tournera la tête et vous 'échauffera le sang. We should have rather regarded it as an intellectual febrifuge. Classical knowledge was not thought essential to education, and reading was scarcely considered as an ordinary occupation or amusement. Our ambassador, Lord Minto, lived very much to himself; she says, he is very
pleasing when he does converse, but, like a ghost, will rarely speak till spoken to, unless to his most intimate friends.' He seems to have carried his absence of mind to the extent of forgetting his appointments with the Emperor, and of going out when he had invited parties to dinner; and she cites, as applied to him, a phrase which, however, is of older date, ‘il se fera ‘présenter quelque jour chez lui.' All this time Moreau was crossing the Rhine, conquering at Engen, at Möskirch, at Bibrach; Nice had surrendered to Melas; Buonaparte scaling the Great St. Bernard, entering Milan, and by the battle of Marengo winning Genoa and all the fortresses of Piedmont and Lombardy. And around Vienna there were women only in the fields, and not a piece of gold coin seen by our traveller during her four months' sojourn. No wonder that the people ardently desired peace, unconscious through how many more sufferings and sacrifices it was to be permanently attained.
Passing on to Dresden in the autumn, she was cordially received by our minister, Mr. Elliot, whom she found wonderfully amusing ;' his wit, his humour, his discontent, his
spleen, his happy choice of words, his rapid Aow of ideas, and • his disposition to playful satire, make one always long to write short-hand and preserve his conversation. At his house she met Lord and Lady Holland, the description of whose merits and foibles will be recognised by many as a faithful picture of scenes and persons that are still fresh in the memory of our time. But the great event was the arrival of the Conqueror of the Nile, accompanied by Sir William and Lady Hamilton, and their auto-biographical friend, Miss Cornelia Knight. Mrs. St. George's judgment of the personages and incidents of this visit has already called forth some painful exclamations from the family of the hero, who have asked whether such extravagances could possibly have occurred? Upon this point we do not think the distinction has been properly drawn, between what she gives as the result of her personal observation and what she received through the playful but caustic criticisms of Mr. Ellioti That Lord Nelson was a little man without any dignity, that Lady Hamilton had absolute possession of him, that her beauty was of a coarse and colossal character, and her movements in common life ungraceful, that Sir William never spoke but to applaud his wife, that Miss Knight wrote, Briótannia's leader gives the dread command,' and other bombastic strains, which were sung after dinner by Lady Hamilton and chorussed by the hero himself, with · Hip, hip, hurrah !' and the supernaculum*, - we believe to be accurately true. That Lord Nelson proposed bumpers to the Queen of Naples, adding, She is my Queen, she is Queen to the back-bone;' and that Lady Hamilton said, She had much rather have half Sir William's pension than be received by our Queen,' there cannot be the slightest reason to doubt. But there may, perhaps, be some exaggeration in Lord Nelson having said, with regard to her reception by the Elector, 'Sir, if there is any difficulty of that
sort, Lady Hamilton will knock the Elector down,' or in Sir William's having performed feats of activity, 'hopping round the * room on his back-bone, his arms, legs, star and ribbon all flying * about in the air,' or in the scene on board the frigate at Hamburgh, when there was an end of the fine arts and attitudes,' and Lady Hamilton began bawling for an Irish stew, and her
old mother set about washing the potatoes,' Mr. Elliot being evidently much disgusted with the whole party, and with the ridicule they cast on the English glory and the English name.
* Mrs. St. George misapprehends this ancient ceremony, which she
says she had never heard of or seen before. It is not merely a 'bumper with a last drop on the nail,' but the ring of the nail of each guest on the inside of his glass, to show that it is empty, and ready to do duty again.