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her farewell rout, before her departure 'for the country, to a few noble friends who had not yet quitted London; when the stately rooms were beautifully adorned with alabaster lamps, and the Egyptian rosewood urns, exhaled the powerful and odoriferous otto; dressed completely in the costume â la Turque, . appeared The smiling Duchess. Triumph sat over hier well-arched eye-brow, and on the enlarging circle round and under her: eye-lids; but, whether by a mistake in the preparation of the destructive powder, or that her Grace had not been sufficiently careful to keep it from the sight, a sudden and frightful dimness came over her once-sparkling eyes : with horror she reflected on the warning words of the Princess Benchaussen, when she said, “My dear Duchess, pray take care, do not think of using it."
The party was broken up; faintings, histerics, succeeded each other through
the night; in vain she wished to behold another and another morning; the sight of the Duchess was gone, for ever!
Still she was a Duchess ; she continued to be idolized and courted; and she yet had ears open to the flattery of those shallow fops, who, to gain access to her parties, and to be seen in them, would compliment her on her likeness to the hoodwinked little god, declare her still the finest woman in the world, and that heaven had closed her brilliant eyes in pity to mankind !
Her taste for anecdote and secret history, became more vivid than before : one sense was closed, that glanced on her neighbour's defects, and the other became more sensibly acute.
In autumn the days were very short, and she had not yet arrived to any degree of skill, in the art of playing with those
cards, which by punctures are made perceptible to the touch of a blind person; to such a degree of perfection has art of every kind been brought at the present day.
Her son and daughter truly loved her; and they did all they could to divert her mind: but nothing afforded her so much satisfaction as the various modern characters they put together for her amuse. ment, and which were similar to those contained in the following pages.
LADY Frances Stuart was the daugh. ter of the Earl of Benfield, who was much more famous for his military achievements, than for the fairness of his private character : in the field, few equalled him for valour or skill: in his house and family few could come in competition with him for cruelty to a most amiable wife, and neglect of daughters who promised, in their early days of childhood, to be patterns of loveliness and grace.
Virtuous, prudent, and as resigned, as far as is possible for humanity to be, the suffering Countess bore the repeated indignities her unworthy husband loaded her with, for a length of time; so that her forbearance astonished even the most apathetic characters. In concurrence,
Portrait of Lady Sunbury.
however, with the wishes of all her friends, she obtained a separation, having it agreed to retain her daughters with
Lady Frances, the youngest, was extremely beautiful: gay, volatile, early accustomed to receive the adulation of man; like the unconscious rose, she suffered the butterflies to hover round her: noxious insects will however mingle with the innocent; and the wasp-like stings of calumny endeavoured to depreciate the innocent Frances : she might, it was true, be a little of the coquette, but she was no more than a little; and envy and slander were obliged to own their invectives groundless.
The health of the Countess of Benfield obliged her to quit England, and, accompanied by her family, she departed, to try the more genial and tempered air of Italy.