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The Lisbon earthquake had impressed her strongly; and my mother, who was particularly fond of Spanish literature, made me translate a sermon in that language, written and preached in the Jewish synagogue at London by Isaac Netto,
· whose name is all I can bring back to mind, - and dedicate it to my dear aunt, Anna Maria Salusbury. A set of pearl and garnet ornaments, which I gave afterwards to Lady Keith, was my shining recompense; but such was my father's conduct, she never did love him. My mother she respected, and dear Doctor Collier, a constant guest, did all he could to keep us all happy in one another. Felicity, in this world, however, lasts not long. Poor Lady Salusbury died, at forty-one years old, of dropsy in the breast, and uncle said he had no kindness but for me. I think I did share his fondness with his stud; our stable was the first for hunters of enormous value, - for racers, too; and our house, after my aunt's death, was even haunted by young men who made court to the niece, and expressed admiration of the horses. Every suitor was made to understand my extraordinary value. Those who could read, were shown my verses ; those who could not, were judges of my prowess in the field. It was my sport to mimic some, and drive others back, in order to make Dr. Collier laugh, who did not perhaps wish to see me give a heart away which he held completely in his hand, since he kindly became my preceptor in Latin, logic, rhetoric, &c.
We began, I think, before I was thirteen years old. On the day I was sixteen he confessed sixty-four, I remember, and said he was just four times my age, so
The difference or agreement never crossed my mind, nor seemed to have crossed his. A friendship more tender, or more unpolluted by interest or by vanity, never existed ; love had no place at all in the connection, nor had he any
mother. Their influence was of the same kind, and hers the strongest ; but it was not till after poor papa's death that I observed she looked on Collier with a jealous eye. We were scarce all of us enough to manage
my father's red-hot temper. It was daily endangering our alienation of Sir Thomas Salusbury's fondness, which the arrival of a new neighbor put still more to hazard. We should have made home more agreeable.
My uncle would not then have run to the smiling widow of Wellbury — just at our Park gate — the Honorable Mrs. King, whose blandishments drew him from dear Offey, and made our removal to our London House less painful. The summer before this removal had produced to me a new vexation. Lord Halifax was become lieutenant of Ireland, and my father made one of his numerous escort, delighting to attend his patron through his own country, and show him the wonders of Wales. Mamma and I remained at Offey doing the honors. Doctor Collier was in London
business. My uncle had been to town for a night or two, and returned to tell us what an excellent, what an incomparable young man he had seen, who was, in short, a model of perfection, ending his panegyric by saying that he was a real sportsman. Seeing me disposed to laugh, he looked very grave; said he expected us to like him, and that seriously. The next day Mr. Thrale followed his eulogist, and applied himself so diligently to gain my mother's attention -ay, and her heart too,that there was little doubt of her approving the pretensions of so very showy a suitor, if suitor he was to me, who certainly had not a common share in the compliments he paid to my mother's wit, beauty, and elegance.
His father, he said, was born in our village of Offey, of mean parents, but had made a prodigious fortune by his merits; and the people all looked with admiration at his giving 5s. to a poor boy who lay on the bank, because he was sure his father had been such a boy. In a week's time the country catched the notion up that Miss Salusbury's husband had been suddenly found by meeting Sir Thomas at the house of Mr. Levinz, a wellknown bon vivant of those days, they were not then called amphitryons, — who kept a gay house and a gay lady at Brompton, where he entertained the gay fashionists of 1760. The chaplain of Offley Place, a distant relation of ours, uncle I think to this Sir Robert Salusburywhom we met once in Park Street (Bath), having undisclosed hopes of his own to get the heiress, not only took alarm, but cunningly conveyed that alarm to my father, who, when he came home, said he saw his girl already half disposed of without his consent, and swore I should not be exchanged for a barrel of porter, &c.
Vain were all my assurances that nothing resembled love less than Mr. Thrale's behavior : vain my promises that no step on my part should be taken without his concurrence; although I clearly understood, and wrote Dr. Collier word
my uncle made this marriage the condition of his favor quite apparently, and that certain ruin would follow my rejection. The letter, perhaps, still exists in which I declared my resolution to adhere to the maxims of filial duty he had taught me, and refuse (when I should be asked) any offer, however tempting, that should seek to seduce me from his authority, under which both myself and my mother were placed. By this time the brothers quarrelled and met no more. My father took us to London. My uncle solaced himself with visiting the widow; and after a miserable winter, which visits from Mr. Thrale. to my mother — rendered terrifying to me every day, from papa's violence of temper, a note came, sent in a sly manner, from Dr. Collier, to tell me (it was written in Latin) that Sir Thomas would certainly marry Mrs. King the Sunday following, and begged I would not say a syllable till the next day, when he would come and break the dreadful tidings to my father.
My countenance, however, showed, or his acuteness discovered, something he did not like; an accusation followed, that I received clandestine letters from Mr. Thrale, a circumstance I had every just reason to deny, and felt extremely hurt, of course, at seeing myself disbelieved. After a fruitless and painful contest for many hours of this cruel evening, my spirits sunk, I fainted, and my father, gaining possession of the fatal billet, had to ask my pardon, — poor unhappy soul! and in this fond misery spent we the hours till four o'clock in the morning. At nine we rose; he to go across the park in search of my maternal uncle, Sir Lynch Salusbury Cotton, from whom, and from Dr. Crane, Prebendary of Westminster, he meant to seek counsel and comfort. Me, to the employment of calling our medical friend, Herbert Lawrence, to dinner by a billet of earnest request. All of us were ill, but by the time he came, my father died, and was brought us home a corpse, before the dining hour. This was December, 1762, fifty-three years ago exactly. Yet are not my feelings blunted !
The will gave to my mother his Bachygraig House and estate
for life, charged with £5,000 for me; to which my uncle, in consideration perhaps of my poor father's having paid every expense of his education at Cambridge, perhaps in recollection of having lost him a farm of £ 100 a year, added £ 5,000 more; with which (and expectations of course) Mr. Thrale deigned to accept my undesired hand, and in ten months from my poor father's death, were both the marriages he feared accomplished.
My uncle went himself with me to church, gave me away, dined with us at Streatham Park, returned to Hertfordshire, wedded the widow, and then scarce ever saw or wrote to either of us ; leaving me to conciliate as I could a husband, who was indeed much kinder than I counted on, to a plain girl, who had not one attraction in his eyes, and on whom he never had thrown five minutes of his time away, in any interview unwitnessed by company, even till after our wedding-day was done!
My mother staid with us, however, so did her niece, Miss Hester Salusbury Cotton, now Lady Corbet. Mr. Murphy was introduced, and the facetious Georgey Bodens, as the men called him. Lord Carhampton's father, Simon Luttrell, afterwards known to all the town by the emphatic title “ King of Hell,” * besides a very sickly old physician, who seemed as if living with us, Dr. Fitzpatrick, a Roman Catholic ; the rest were professed Infidels.
When winter came, however, I was carried to my town residence, Deadman's Place, Southwark ; which house, no more than that in Surrey, had been seen by me till called on to inhabit it. Here, too, my mother quitted us, and lived at our old mansion in Dean Street, Soho, then no unfashionable part of the world, and thither I went — O how willingly!— to visit her every day. My husband's sisters † (who, like himself, were eminent for personal beauty) now called on me, looked at me, and, in modern phrase, seemed to quiz me, asking how I liked Dr. Fitzpatrick, their brother's Jesuit friend? I answered drily, that the Doctor was well-read and well-bred, apparently in extreme ill health (he was
* It was told of him that he challenged his son, the Colonel Luttrell (afterwards Earl of Carhampton) of Middlesex election celebrity, who refused to fight him, “ not because he was his father, but because he was not a gentleman."
† Mrs. Rice, Mrs. Nesbitt (afterwards Mrs. Scott), and Lady Lade.
a physician), and that Mr. Thrale's friends must necessarily be mine. The ladies withdrew, disappointed, and I tried with all diligence to canvass the man whom they thought, and of course I thought, had so much influence; where if I gained none I must become a nuisance. The doctor had no more influence than myself; but being so much about them all, could at least tell me les tracasseries de famille of which I was wholly ignorant. From him in due time I learned what had determined my husband's choice to me, till then a standing wonder. He had, the doctor said, asked several women, naming them, but all except me refused to live in the Borough, to which, and to his business, he observed, that Mr. Thrale was as unaccountably attached now as he had been in his father's time averse from both.
And 0, cried the old man, how would my deceased friend have delighted in this happy sight! alluding to my state of pregnancy.
So summer came again, and Streatham Park was improving, and autumn came, and Lady Keith came, and I became of a little more importance. Confidence was no word in our vocabulary, and I tormented myself to guess who possessed that of Mr. Thrale; not his clerks certainly, who scarce dared approach him,
– much less come near me ; whose place he said was either in the drawing-room or the bedchamber. We kept, meantime, a famous pack of fox-hounds, at a hunting-box near Croydon ; but it was masculine for ladies to ride, &c. We kept the finest table possible at Streatham Park, but his wife was not to think of the kitchen. So I never knew what was for dinner till I saw it.
Driven thus on literature'as my sole resource, no wonder if I loved my books and children. From a gay life
mother held me fast.
Those pleasures Mr. Thrale enjoyed alone; with me indeed they never would have suited ; I was too often and too long confined. Although Dr. Johnson (now introduced among us) told me once, before her face, who deeply did resent it, that I lived like my husband's kept mistress, — shut from the world, its pleasures, or its cares.
The scene was soon to change. Fox-hounds were sold, and a seat in Parliament was suggested by our new inmate as more suitable to his dignity, more desirable in every respect. I grew useful now, almost necessary ; wrote the advertisements, looked