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different is the apparition of the heroic Maid or the patriot Queen. Women crowd closely upon the great highroad of the past. The unobtrusive domestic creature which is held up to us as the great model and type of the sex, could never be guessed at as its representative, did we form our ideas according to experience and evidence, instead of under the happy guidance of the conventional and imaginary. Every other kind and fashion of woman, except that correct and abstract being, is to be found in history; women who are princes, heroines, martyrs, givers of good and of evil counsel, leaders of parties, makers of wars. Their robes mingle with the succincter garments of statesmen and soldiers round them, with an equality of position and interest such as no theory knows. Nor is the butterfly-woman any commoner than the man - butterfly in the world of fashion and gossip dead and gone. The example we choose is of the best kind of the species, a higher specimen than the twincreature, Horace Walpole, for example, who occupies something like a similar rank in the unimpassioned chronicle. There are qualities in Lady Mary which are quite above the range of her brother gossip, and a human interest which transcends any claim of his; but yet the light which flashes out from her delicate lantern upon every scene through which she passes, and uponer the voiceless, unluminous mass around her, is the kind of light to which we have just referred-not the illumination from above, but the level ray which goes in and out amid the crowd, and reveals everywhere, in the little spot of radiance round her figure, the thronging forms, the half-seen faces, the gestures and fashions, the cries and exclamations of the generation which is past.
Mary Wortley Montagu was born Mary Pierrepont, of noble family and many gifts-Lady Mary, softest and sweetest of all titles, from her birth-in the year 1690.
We do not pretend that she ever came up to the ideal of her name; but the young creature was sweet and fair, as well as sprightly and full of life, in the early days which she makes dimly apparent in her letters. The first incident in her story conveys a curious foretaste and prevision of her whole career. Her mother died when she was a child; and her father was one of those gay and easy men of pleasure who are the sternest and most immovable of domestic tyrants. He was very fond of her so long as she was a baby unable to cross his will-proud of her infant beauty and wit, and the first rays of an intelligence which was afterwards one of the keenest and brightest of her time. He was a Whig, and a man of the highest fashion, and " of course belonged to the Kitcat Club." At one of the meetings of this " gay and gallant community,' the object of which was "to choose toasts for the year," Lord Dorchester (such being his title at the time; he was afterwards Duke of Kingston) nominated his little daughter, aged eight, declaring that she was far prettier than any lady on their list.
The other members of the Club objected that their rules forbade the election to such an honour of any unknown beauty, upon which ensued the following characteristic scene:
"Then you shall see her!' cried ho; and in the gaiety of the moment sent orders home to have her finely dressed and brought to him at the tavern, where she was received with acclamations, her claim unanimously allowed, her health drunk by every one present, and her name engraved in due form on a drinking-glass. The company consisting of some of the most eminent of one poet, or patriot, or statesman, men in England, she went from the lap to the arms of another, was feasted with sweetmeats, overwhelmed with caresses, and what, perhaps, already pleased her better than either, heard her wit and beauty loudly extolled on every side. Pleasure, she said, was
too poor a word to express her sentiments-they amounted to ecstasy; never again throughout her whole future life did she spend so happy a day.
Her fa father carried on the frolic, and, we may conclude, confirmed the taste by having her portrait painted for the club-room that she might be enrolled a regular toast." (it
This is the first appearance of the poor motherless child in the gay world she was to amuse and inAuence so long. After so ecstatic a glimpse of the triumphs which awaited her, she was sent back to the obscurity and seclusion which is the common fate of young-womanhood in the bud; but which, no doubt, after the above scene, was still more distasteful to the little beauty than it is in general to the captive princesses in their pinafores. There is a little controversy as to the mode of her education, of which her first polite biographer declares that "the first dawn of her genius opened so auspiciously that her father resolved to cultivate the advantages of nature by a sedulous attention to her early instruction. A classical education was not usually given to English ladies of quality when Lady Mary Pierrepont received one of the best," adds the courtly historian. "Under the same preceptors as Viscount Newark, her brother, she acquired the elements of the Greek, Latin, and French languages with the greatest success. When she had made a singular proficiency, her studies superintended by Bishop Burnet, who fostered her superior talents with every expression of dignified praise." This is very fine language, and there is a dignified consciousness throughout the narrative that its subject is a person of quality, and not to be spoken of in the vulgar tongue; but the fact is very doubtful, and seems to have had no greater foundation than the existence of a translation of the Enchiridion' of Epictetus which Lady Mary executed in the ambition of her youth, and which
Bishop Burnet corrected for her. She describes herself in one of her youthful letters as living surrounded with dictionaries, and teaching herself the learned tongue which was so great a distinction to her in those days. education was one of the worst "My own in the world," she says, when writing to her daughter nearly half a century after, "being exactly like Clarissa Harlowe's; her pious Mrs. Norton so perfectly resembling my governess, who had been nurse to my mother, I could almost fancy the author was acquainted with her. She took so much pains from my infancy to fill my head with superstitious tales and false notions, it was none of her fault that I am not at this day afraid of witches and hobgoblins, or turned Methodist." There were three girls brought up in this way in the family house at Thoresby, which, like all the country houses of the period, was a place of penance and suffering to the possessors. "Don't you remember how miserable we were in the little parlour at Thoresby ? Lady Mary writes to her sister Lady Mar, when they were both in full possession of the freedom of maturer life, though life had not turned out so triumphant as the girls supposed. "We then thought marrying would put us at once into possession of all we wanted," she adds, no doubt with a sigh over the vain supposition. And yet the parlour at Thoresby cannot have been 80 very dull after all, and a pretty picture of girlish occupation might be made out of the few indications supplied by Lady Louisa Stuart in her introductory anecdotes to her grandmother's letters. "She possessed and left after her the whole library of Mrs. Lennox's 'Female Quixote,'
Cleopatra,' Cassandra, Clelia,' 'Cyprus,' 'Pharamond,' 'Ibrahim,' &c. &c., all, like the Lady Arabella's collection, Englished' mostly by persons of honour." In a blank page of one of these great folios "Lady Mary had written in her
fairest youthful hand the names in Latin, whether that Latin was and characteristics of the chief acquired legitimately under her personages, thus:- The beautiful brother's tutor or by private efforts Diana, the volatile Climene, the of her own. melancholy Doris, Celadon the faithful, Adamas the wise,' and so on," a pretty piece of girlish enthusiasm which everybody who has had to do with such budding creatures will appreciate. She " got by heart all the poetry that came in her way, and indulged herself in the luxury of reading every romance as yet invented," a custom which stood her in great stead in after life, and at the same time did not prevent the translation of Epictetus, nor the perusal apparently of many grave authors. Besides all these labours and recreations, the girl, as she grew up, had the duties of the mistress of the house laid on her shoulders-no small matter in those days. No dîner Russe, blessed modern invention, had then been thought of Poor Lady Mary had to take lessons three times a
week from " a professed carvingmaster, who taught the art scientifically," in order to be prepared for her father's "public days;" and on these public days ate her own dinner alone before the laborious social meal came on, to be fortified for its duties.
"Each joint was carried up in its turn to be operated upon by her, and by her alone, since the peers and knights on either hand were so far from being bound to offer their assistance that the very master of the house, posted opposite to her, might not act as her croupier; his department was to push the bottle after dinner. As for the crowd of guests, the most inconsiderable among them-the curate, or subaltern, or squire's younger brother-if suffered through her neglect to help himself to a slice of mutton placed before him, would have chewed it in bitterness, and gone home an affronted man, half inclined to give a wrong vote at the next election."
Hot from such tedious and trying labours, no wonder the girl was glad to take refuge in the Grand Cyrus, or bury her anatomical woes
When Lady Mary was twenty she sent her translation of Epictetus to Bishop Burnet, with a letter in which the charming unconscious pedantry of youth breaks out in curious contrast with the light and not particularly refined epistles which at the same period she was writing to her youthful friends. It was "the work of one week of my solitude," she says; and with simple artfulness begs her correspondent to believe that her sole object in sending it to him was "to ask your Lordship whether I have understood Epictetus?" "My sex is usually forbid studies of this nature," adds the girl, with the oftrepeated plaint of womankind. "We are taught to place all our art in adorning our outward forms, and permitted without reproach to carry that custom even to extravagancy, while our minds are entirely neglected, and, by disuse of reflection, filled with nothing but the trifling objects our eyes are daily entertained with. This custom, so long established and industriously upheld, makes it even ridiculous to go out of the common road, and forces one to find as many excuses as if it were criminal not to play the fool in a thing altogether concert with other women of quality.'
The young lady goes on to give her reverend counsellor a curious sketch of the manner in which "any man of sense that finds it either his interest or his pleasure can corrupt women of quality, in consequence of their careless education, a matter which Lady Mary and everybody belonging to her evidently thinks a quite natural and edifying subject for discussion on the part of a young woman just out of her teens; and the letter is concluded by a long Latin quotation from Erasmus. But for that one wonderful touch about the man of sense and the woman of quality, the letter is
amusingly natural in its artificialness and eager strain after the calm of learning. It is the only bit of pedantry in the collection. Lady Mary and her descendants to the fourth and fifth generation evidently bear a modest consciousness that this Enchiridion' is a feather in the family cap.
But she had other things on her hands than translations. Among her friends one of the best-beloved was a certain Mistress Anne Wortley, whose acquaintance was to determine Lady Mary's life. Mrs. Anne had a brother, young, handsome, and promising a young man of family and fashion. This hero of the tale
was in general, we are told, superior to female society. His grand daughter is indignant at the idea that Mr. Edward Wortley was a dull, phlegmatic country gentleman, of a tame genius and moderate capacity, of parts more solid than brilliant," as has been unkindly said. But the fact is, that the impression to be derived of Lady Mary's husband from the sole record in which he figures that in which his wife stands out so clear and crisp and vivid is of the vaguest and faintest character. He
is as indistinct as the hero in a lady's novel. Certain general ideas of truth, straightforwardness, sternness, &c., are shadowed forth in him; but as to individuality, the man does not possess such a thing, either from the fault of the writer
-which is scarcely to be supposed -or from his own. This dim being was, however, young when the two met. He was, we are told, a firstrate scholar." "Polite literature was his passion." He was the friend of Addison, and formed part of the brilliant society which encircled that delicate wit. With all this prestige surrounding him, and clothed with that indefiniteness of youth which it is so easy to suppose full of hope and promise, no doubt he was a striking apparition in the eyes of the girl who chafed at her own ignorance, and courted the approach of
genius. Few things have ever proved more charming to the feminine imagination in youth, than that lordly superiority which, alas! so seldom stands a closer examination. Female education, Lady Louisa Stuart informs us, was at so low an ebb, "that Mr. Wortley, however fond of his sister, could have no particular motive to seek the acquaintance of her companions." But yet Fate beguiled the young hero, notwithstanding the debasement of womankind, and his own lofty sense of a higher being. This was how his downfall befell:
"His surprise and delight were all by chance loitered in her apartment till the greater when, one afternoon, having visitors arrived, he saw Lady Mary Pierrepont for the first time; and on entering into conversation with her, found, in addition to beauty that charmed him, not only brilliant wit, but a thinking and cultivated mind. He was especially struck with the dis covery that she understood Latin, and could relish his beloved classics. Something that passed led to the mention of Quintus Curtius, which she said she had never read. This was a fair handle she received a superb edition of the for a piece of gallantry. In a few days author, with these lines facing the title
back the premature offering. Perhaps it was the first time that Quintus Curtius had served such a purpose. The correspondence was carried on for some time by means of Mistress Anne, who is suspected of having sent her brother's fervid communications under her own name to her dear Lady Mary. Very soon, however, poor Mistress Anne died in the bloom of her beauty and youth; and the two, who were by this time, in their way, lovers, had to carry on their traffic directly, without any intermediacy. Then the character of the correspondence changed. We cannot but suspect that the lover must have been something of a prig. He who began his wooing by means of Quintus Curtius, soon found out that though he was in love he did not approve of himself for it; nor did he at all approve of her, the cause of his unsuitable passion. He loved her because he could not help it; against his will. His taste and his heart might be satisfied, but the same could not be said for his judgment. His letters are (again) like those of the superior hero of a novel, bound to the frivolous, flighty, beautiful creature whom he doubts and disapproves of, but cannot tear himself away from. Nor was this all. When he had at last screwed his courage to the point of a proposal, other obstacles came in the way. Mr. Wortley was a theorist, a doc trinaire, a man of opinions. He was opposed, like the 'Spectator' and Tatler,' to the laws of entail. Indeed, his historian insinuates that on this point it must have been he who inspired Steele and Addison, neither of these worthies having anything to entail-a true piece of characteristic contempt for the mere professional writer, worthy of a person of quality. But Lord Dorchester did not appreciate Mr. Wortley's fine sentiments. When every argument had failed to convince the philosophical lover, the treaty came to an end, and poor Lady Mary, the only one of the
parties concerned in whom the reader feels any interest, was peremptorily condemned, after all the pretty preliminaries of her quaint courtship, to forget her doctrinaire and accept another suitor. The girl resisted, but in vain. She begged to be but left alone to be allowed
to give up both wooers, and remain in her father's house but without success. The few letters ento her friends which are preserved belonging to this period of her life are not more refined than the age; but her conduct at this crisis is decidedly more refined and delicate than was to be expected in the begining of the eighteenth century. It is true she kept up a private correspondence with the philosophical Wortley, and finally away with him; but her letters are free from every taint of coarseness, and full of modest and womanly sentiment, scarcely to be looked for in the circumstances. A more curious correspondence between lovers was never given to the world. On his side there is no doubt a certain glow of restrained passion kept in curb by an almost dislike, a sense of superiority and unsuitability, which becomes comical in its seriousness. On hers there is no passion. She is grateful for the love by which she has been distinguished by a man whom, in her girlish humility, she is ready to take at his own estimate, and consider as superior as he believes himself to be. No doubt Quintus Curtius and the classics, and the flattering sense that it was her own superiority to most women which had determined his choice of her, had dazzled the young creature. She is affectionate, and humble in her affection; puzzled, but anxious to do what will please him, if only he will be candid, and let her know what he is aiming at. It is a virgin soul which speaks, unmoved by any fiery inspiration of love, tenderly unimpassioned, willing to be his wife, most unwilling to be the wife of another man. Perhaps this calm but anxious con