« PreviousContinue »
was her nature to be grateful for any trifling act of kindness, and as I had the good fortune to possess her friendship and favourable opinion, she indulged my curiosity to learn her history by presenting me with this sketch of her life (oh, she wrote expressly for me), as the strongest proof (she observed) of her confidence and esteem. These are the facts connected with the 'Autobiographical Memoirs.""
The author of "Piozziana" says: "I called on her one day, and at an early hour by her desire; when she showed me a heap of what are termed pocket-books, and said she was sorely embarrassed upon a point, upon which she condescended to say she would take my advice. 'You see in that collection,' she continued, 'a diary of mine of more than fifty years of my life. I have scarcely omitted anything which occurred to me during the time I have mentioned. My books contain the conversation of every person of almost every class with whom I have had intercourse; my remarks on what was said; downright facts and scandalous on dits; personal portraits and anecdotes of the characters concerned; criticisms on the publications and authors of the day, &c. Now I am approaching the grave, and am agitated by doubts as to what I should do whether to burn my manuscripts or leave them to futurity. Thus far my decision is to destroy my papers. Shall I or shall I not?' I took the freedom of saying, 'By no means do an act which done cannot be amended; keep your papers safe from prying eyes, and at least trust them to the discretion of survivors.""
The heap of pocket-books must have been a very large heap, for a diary so kept would require at least one a-week. Thraliana,” now in the possession of the Rev. G. A. Salusbury (the eldest son of Sir John Salusbury), is contained in six books, of about 300 pages each, and extends over thirty-two years and a half. The first entry is in these words: "It is many years since Doctor Samuel Johnson advised me to get a little book and write in it all the little anecdotes which might come to my knowledge, all the observations I might make or hear, all the verses never likely to be published, and, in fine, everything that struck me at the time. Mr. Thrale has now treated me with a repository, and provided it with the pompous title of Thraliana.' I must enIdeavour to fill it with nonsense new and old. 15th September, 1776." The last: "30th March, 1809.— Everything most dreaded has ensued. . . All is over, and my second husband's death is the last thing recorded in my first husband's present. Cruel Death!"
HER STORY OF HER LIFE.
I HEARD it asserted once in a mixt company that few men of ever so good a family could recollect, immediately on being challenged, the maiden names of their four great grandmothers: they were not Welsh men. My father's two grandames were Bridget Percival, daughter to a then Lord Egmont, and Mary Pennant of Downing, great aunt to the great naturalist. My mother claimed Hester Salusbury, heiress of Lleweney Hall, as one of her grandmothers by marriage with Sir Robert Cotton; Vere Herbert, only daughter of Lord Torington, was the other.
The Salusbury pedigree is, indeed, perpetually referred to by Pennant in the course of his numerous volumes. It begins, I remember, with Adam de Saltzburg, son to Alexander, Duke and Prince of Bavaria, who came to England with the Conqueror, and in 1070 had obtained for his valour a faire House in Lancashire, still known by the name of Saltsbury Court. I showed an abstract of it to the Heralds in office at Saltzbourg, when there; and they acknowledged me a true descendant of their house, offering me all possible honours, to the triumphant delight of dear Piozzi, for whose amusement alone I pulled out the schedule. You will find a
modest allusion to the circumstance in page 283 of the Travel Book, 2nd vol.*
Among my immediate ancestors, third, fourth, or fifth, I forget which, from this Father Adam, was Henry Salusbury surnamed the Black; who having taken three noble Saracens with his own hand in the first Crusade, Cœur de Lion knighted him on the field, and to the old Bavarian Lion (see "Retrospection," p. 116) which adorned his shield, added three crescents for coat armour. On his return the king permitted him to settle where he married in Wales. He built Lewenney Hall, naming it Lew, the Lion, and an ny,-for us; and set a brazen one upon its highest tower.
Among our popular Cambrian ballads, is one to the honour of this hero; still known to the harpers by name of Black Sir Harry. The civil wars of York and Lancaster called into public notice an immediate descendant of this warrior. His name, which also was Henry, stood recorded on a little obelisk, or rather cippus, by the road-side at Barnet, where the great battle was fought so long, that I remember my father taking me out of the carriage to read it when I was quite a child.
* "There is a Benedictine convent seated on the top of a hill above the town (Salzbourg), under which lie its founders and protectors, the old dukes of Bavaria, which they are happy to shew travellers, with the registered account of their young prince Adam, who came over to our island with William, and gained a settlement. They were pleased when I observed to them that his blood was not yet wholly extinct amongst us." · Observations and Reflections, &c. This quotation is added by the Editor, and all notes and references, not expressly mentioned as by others, are by him.
He had shewn mercy to an enemy on that occasion, who looking on his device or imprese, flung himself at his feet with these words:
Sat est prostrasse Leoni.
Our family have used that Leggenda as motto to the coat armour ever since.*
I guess not why this man was a Yorkist. The other party was natural to the inhabitants of North Wales, where the proud Duke of Somerset had married a daughter of his to the son of Owen Tudor by the Princess Katherine of France; another of whose sons, Fychan Tudor de Beraine, married his son to Jasper the Earl of Pembroke's daughter.† These were immediate parents to the father of Katherine de Berayne by Constance d'Aubigné, Dame d'Honneur to Anne de Bretagne. She brought him this one only child, an heiress, who was ward to Queen Elizabeth, and in her fifteenth year married, with her Majesty's consent, to Sir John Salusbury †, of Llewenney Hall, eldest of fourteen children. After his demise fair Katherine gave her hand to Sir Richard Clough, the splendid merchant, mentioned in a note to "Retrospection," ‡, whose daughter inherited Bachygraig, and married Roger Salusbury, youngest brother of Sir John, first husband to her mother. He quarrelling with the House of Lleweney, tore down the Lion and set it on his wife's seat called
* See "British Synonymy," vol. ii. p. 218. Mrs. P.