« ПредишнаНапред »
given a tendency to his jovial body, which cut him off with a dropsy before he was old. At least, he was but fifty-eight; which was not an age at which a man of so strong a constitution ought to have died. But the wisdom of the spiritual portion of it survived the folly of the rest, just as soul itself survives body; and this kept him the consistent statesman, and the pleasant sage of private life, to the last.
The spoilt child prevailed so long in the life of Fox, and, to all appearance, so irremediably, that accounts of him at different periods seem hardly recording the same man.
To give instances, in as few words as possible. We have seen the smashing of the watch.
When a youth, he was a great admirer of peerages and ribbons; and on his return from his first visit to the continent, he appeared in red-heeled shoes, and a feather in his hat-the greatest fopperies of the day.
His father paid a hundred and forty thousand pounds for his gaming debts.
He took to the other extreme in dress, and became as slovenly as he had been foppish.
On coming into office, he showed that he could be as industrious as he had been idle.
Whenever he was in office, he never touched a card; and when his political friends, out of a sense of what was due to his public services, finally paid his debts, and made him easy for life, he left off play entirely.
He dressed decently and simply, and settled down for the remainder of his life into the domestic husband, the reader of books, and the lover of country retirement, from which he could not bear to be absent for a day.
In Holland House Fox, passed his boyhood and part of his youth. He is not much associated with it otherwise, except as a name. He and a friend, one day, without a penny in their pockets, walked thither from Oxford, a distance of fifty miles ; for the purpose, we suppose, of getting a supply. They resolved to do it without stopping on the road; but the day was hot ; an alehouse became irresistible; and on arriving at their journey's end, Charles thus addressed his father, who was drinking his coffee: “ You must send half a guinea, or a guinea without loss of time to the alehouse-keeper at Nettlebed, to redeem the gold watch you gave me some years ago, and which I have left in pawn there for a pot of porter.”
A little before he died, he drove several times with his wife to Holland House, and looked about the grounds with a melancholy tenderness.
But, notwithstanding the celebrity of Charles Fox, and that of Addison himself, the man who has drawn the greatest attention to Holland House, if not in his own person, yet certainly by the effect of his personal qualities and attainments upon other people, was Fox's nephew, the late Lord Holland, Henry Richard, third of the title. He succeeded to the title before he was a year old; rescued the old mansion from ruin, as before noticed ; and with allowance for visits to the continent, and occasional residence in town, may be said to have passed his whole life in it, between enjoyments of his books, and hospitalities to wits and worthies of all parties.
Lord Holland was a man of elegant litera
ture, of liberal politics, of great benevolence. Travelling like other young noblemen on the continent, but extending his acquaintance with it beyond most of them, and going into Spain, his inclinations became directed to the writers of that country, and his feelings deeply interested in their political struggles. The consequence was a work in two volumes, containing the Lives of Lope de Vega and Guillen de Castro, a translation of three Spanish comedies, and the most hospitable and generous services to the patriots who suffered exile in the cause of their country's freedom. The comedies we have never seen. The lives, though not profound (for his lordship was educated in a school of criticism anterior to that of Coleridge and the Germans), are excellent as far as they go, written with classical correctness, and full of the most pleasing and judicious remarks. The friendly inter