Part 5 out of 6
sort of ante-room, the servant took in the letters, and returned for
answer that the Queen would see me herself. In another moment she
hastened into the room where I was, and without giving me time to make
my proper salutations, she burst out with--"_How is the King_?" I
was astounded at so disagreeable a question, and with difficulty
answered--"Much the same?" "What, no better?" continued she in great
disappointment. At first she supposed that I was a messenger, but upon
hearing my name, she took me herself into another room and remained
conversing with me for full half an hour.
She inquired if I was Captain Stanhope's son, and upon hearing that I
was a Spencer-Stanhope, she made a sort of start of surprise, she said
she knew my father and well remembered my mother's marriage. She added
that she remembered it particularly from one circumstance, the King
was desirious of buying for Princess Sophia a diamond pin which my
father had previously ordered. There was much _pour parler_ about
the matter. My father refused to renounce his purchase to any other
intending purchaser, and the King refused as obstinately to give up
all hopes of persuading the unknown owner of the pin to relinquish his
rightful claim. At last my father learnt who was his rival, and
instantly gave up the pin to the King!
I had for some time found it difficult to keep up the respectful
manner necessary to be observed to Sovereigns, but here, at the
thought of our respective parents obstinately haggling over the same
bit of jewellery, with a jeweller who was in great terror of offending
either, we both threw etiquette to the winds and laughed outright.
She asked me after Lord Chesterfield, and inquired how he bore the
death of his wife. She asked after the Arthur Stanhopes. I told her
the story of my recent imprisonment. She inquired whether the Queen
[Charlotte] appeared much older; and also asked the number of our
family, when she laughed yet more heartily at my saying that I could
not tell how many girls there were without counting. She said to me,
"You see I know more about your family than you do!" She at length
told me she was much obliged to me for the trouble of bringing her
letters and curtsied me out.
After this interview Stanhope saw the Palace which, he says, "is a
splendid building, and on its summit appears a magnificent new crown that
does not fail to remind the spectator of the recent acquisition of the
He was shown the apartments of the King, which he found handsome and well-
furnished, "but amongst the decorations, parrots, plants and musical
clocks made a conspicuous figure, as well as no little clamour for the
attendant setting all the clocks in motion as he passed, a singular
concert was produced, which was increased by the screaming of parrots,
paroquets and macaws.
"I afterwards went through the gardens of the menagerie, where there is,
amongst other creatures, a large collection of monkeys; then to the farms
where there are some cattle, but a most singular assemblage of monsters,
such as _sheep with five legs_, etc., etc.; rather an odd taste in
farming, to which pursuit the King professes to be much attached! In some
of the fields I saw Kangaroos, which were originally a present from our
King, and have bred and become numerous."
He then saw the King's carriages, "one built by Hatchard in England which
cost a thousand pounds"; also, in contrast, the humble little garden chair
in which her Majesty usually drove out, "And, I assure you," the attendant
added confidentially, "_she fills it well_!"
He finally visited Beau Sejour, where he says:--
I was not a little surprised, on entering a salon in a building
opposite to the Palace, to find myself in the midst of an assembly of
Knights in robes of their respective orders. I involuntarily started
back at being thus transported, as it were, into the days of chivalry,
but as soon as my first surprise had passed away and allowed time for
a little reflection, I observed that my Knights were made of wood and
intended to show off the habiliments of the different orders.
I afterwards went to a little island where there was a chapel built
upon some rock-work. I was conducted by my guide into a cell which had
been formed underneath it, and I saw the figure of a monk seated near
a table on which was a skull and an hour-glass. Upon my entering, he
turned his head round suddenly to look at me, but though the deception
has been very well contrived. I was not long in discovering that this
also was a fictitious monk.
Another anecdote relating to Continental Royalties of that day did John
Stanhope send to regale his family. During his travels he met Sir Francis
d'Ivernois, who, he explains, was a native of Geneva brought up to the
French bar. Having made himself of considerable use to the English
Government by exposing the arts and deception employed by the French
Government, he became a great authority on finance, and was rewarded by an
English pension and a knighthood. Stanhope recounts the following
adventure which once befell d'Ivernois:--
"He was at one time on the Continent as a travelling tutor with two young
Englishmen. He happened one day to be sauntering with his pupils near one
of the Royal Palaces of Prussia, when they observed some young and very
striking-looking girls walking at a little distance. This was enough to
excite the romance of the young Englishmen, who were in no great awe of
their tutor. They began to give chase, which excited an evident alarm
among the ladies. In her embarrassment, one of them dropped her
handkerchief, which was immediately picked up and presented to her by one
of the young gentlemen. This, of course, tended to increase the agitation
of the ladies, who retreated as fast as they could, and disappeared
through a door in the wall before them.
"Upon the return of the youths to Monsieur d'Ivernois, he addressed them
with--'Well, gentlemen, unless I am mistaken, you have got into a pretty
scrape. I suspect that those ladies were the Princesses of Prussia!'
"'Pooh, pooh, nonsense!' answered his pupils, highly amused.
"'Not so much nonsense as you suppose; by their dress and appearance they
were evidently persons _comme il faut_; they were frightened and
embarrassed by your conduct, and they retreated through a gate which
opened into the Palace gardens!'
"The young men laughed at their tutor's conjecture, but shortly after,
they were at some ball or reunion at Berlin, when the Duchess of Brunswick
went up to Monsieur d'Ivernois and addressed him with--'Monsieur
d'Ivernois, come with me, I want to speak to you.' Conducting him into a
more retired part of the room, she continued--'The other day the young
Princesses were guilty of an indiscretion. Tired of always walking in the
Palace Garden at Potsdam, they could not resist the inclination they felt
to steal out and enjoy a walk in the open country--a pleasure enhanced
perhaps by the feeling that it was forbidden. They were followed and
addressed by two young English gentlemen who were in company with a man
older than themselves, and of a grave and more sedate appearance, who was
supposed to be their tutor. I have taken it into my head that you were
this person of more sedate appearance, and that the two indiscreet young
men were your two pupils. Now if I am right in my conjecture, I suppose
that you have no _great wish_ to pay a visit to Spandau, and therefore I
need not impress upon you the absolute necessity of holding your tongue on
the subject. The Governess, who is fully aware of the indiscretion she
committed in permitting such an escapade, is in the greatest alarm and as
anxious as you can be that the strictest secrecy should be observed, so
that _she_, at all events, will not boast of the adventure.'
"M. d'Ivernois had nothing to say in reply. He took the hint, for the name
of Spandau effectually sealed both his lips and those of his pupils,
whilst the Princesses, when their alarm had subsided, were most probably
flattered to find that their beauty produced no less an effect when not
enhanced by the splendour of Royalty."
* * * * *
Space forbids following in detail the adventures of John Stanhope _en
route_ to Greece or the outcome of his researches there; an account of
which latter, moreover, he published personally. He accomplished his
journey without misadventure and succeeded in closely investigating the
historical remains of Olympia, the description of which, brought out in
two separate volumes, he dedicated to the Institute of France.  A
severe attack of fever, however, unfortunately brought his operations to
an untimely ending; and on becoming convalescent, he was forced to start
upon his homeward journey.
* * * * *
Retracing their steps through Italy, he and his brother found the land
terrorised by the gangs of robbers with which it was infested, but who,
far from being common banditti, he explains, were to be looked upon as a
body of men who were at variance with the Government of that day.
"At one part of our journey," he writes, "the driver flatly refused to go
the route we had chosen, declaring he must go a shorter way for safety;
thereupon a priest, with whom we had been conversing, exclaimed--'Come
with me, you will be quite safe; here is _my_ pistol.' He drew back his
coat and displayed the cross which was attached to his breast. He then
told me that one day, as he was travelling, a robber with black
moustachios and a very ferocious appearance came to attack him. He
instantly drew back his gown, and with an air of authority showed the
cross. The robber immediately sank upon his knees and implored a blessing.
What a strange state of society in which men can unite to the greatest
veneration for their religion, an open violation of its most sacred laws!"
Another day Stanhope had to go through a lonely Pass which was known to be
occupied by a very celebrated band of robbers. "We entered a dreary dismal
country and at length came to a wild but extensive plain. We suddenly
perceived, on our left, a small troop of nine men, well mounted and drawn
up in a regular line, and evidently exercising themselves in a military
manner. Our Gendarmes informed us that they belonged to the banditti. This
was by no means acceptable intelligence, and we were not a little thankful
to find that we passed quietly on without molestation. This was the spot
in which they had captured an immense Government treasure a few months
before. It was escorted by 250 men. These were so confident in their
strength that, concluding that there was no danger of their being
attacked, some were at least a mile in advance and others as much in the
rear. Those who had remained near the treasure were so confounded by the
unexpected attack that they were soon put to flight, and the contributions
of all the Province beyond the Pass fell into the hands of the robbers.
"Murat, indignant at so great a loss, disgraced the General, who commanded
the Province, and sent down another with a thousand men and orders to
exterminate the robbers.
"I heard an anecdote of the Captain of the band that savours so much of
the time of Robin Hood that I cannot help relating it. The Duchess of
Avellino, who was on the point of passing from her chateau to Naples,
happened in some public place to mention that she was much alarmed at the
thoughts of going through the celebrated Pass. A gentleman present assured
her that her fears were groundless, and that there was not the smallest
danger. Shortly after, the Duchess pursued her journey, and when she
arrived at the Pass she perceived a stranger riding at no great distance
from her carriage. She felt considerably alarmed. However, he followed the
carriage closely till it was out of the Pass. He then rode up to the
window, pulled off his hat, and told the Duchess that he was the Captain
of the Band; that he had escorted her out of the limits of his
territories, and that she was then perfectly safe. She offered him money,
but he refused it positively, though politely. He then took his leave, but
not before she had recognised in him the man whom she had met at the
dinner party, and who had assured her that there was no cause for alarm.
"Not long ago one of the haunts of the banditti was discovered, and an
enormous amount of booty was found in it."
At Naples Stanhope and his brother arrived in time to be invited to a
masquerade given by the Princess of Wales. Caroline, weary of her
anomalous position in England, had in 1814 obtained leave to go to
Brunswick, and subsequently to make a further tour. She lived for some
time on the Lake of Como, an Italian, Bergami, who was now her favourite,
being in her company. Feted by Murat, King of Sicily,  she pursued
unchecked her career of eccentricity and indiscretion.
"Directly the Princess heard that we were at Naples she invited us to her
masquerade. My friend Maxwell was going in a Turkish dress which he had
brought with him from that country, therefore I thought I might as well
adopt a costume of the same land, and chose that of a black slave. The
ball began by fireworks which were let off in a little Island immediately
in front of the Palace in which we were assembled. I had been assured that
the Commandant had declared that as he had a considerable quantity of
gunpowder in the Fortress, he could not allow anything of the sort without
an express order from the King, as the danger would be considerable. None
the less, out of deference to the wishes of the Princess, the order
appears to have been given. The ball which followed was brilliant, the
dances were magnificent, and the King and Queen took part in almost every
dance. She is an extremely pretty woman. The King, to my amusement,
changed his dress frequently in the course of the evening. In the middle
of the proceedings a little cabinet was thrown open, in which was
disclosed a bust of Murat with the Inscription Joachim 1er Roi de Naples.
I met the Princess of Wales coming out of the cabinet, and was informed
that when the door was first opened she was stationed near the bust, and
in a theatrical manner placed a crown upon its head.
"To all this magnificent entertainment _there was no supper_!
"A few days afterwards, to my dismay, I received an intimation from the
Duc di Gallo that the King wished me to be presented.... On New Year's
Day, at the appointed time, I accordingly repaired to the Salon destined
for the Corps Diplomatique. I there found many people assembled, and a
table set out with a good breakfast, coffee, tea, all sorts of wine and
liqueurs. We were at length ushered into the Presence Chamber and formed a
circle round the King.
"I had been far from pleased with Murat's manners at the Princess of
Wales's ball, but he now certainly played the part of a Monarch like a
consummate actor. The former Inn-keeper's son was dressed magnificently in
a Spanish costume. He walked round the circle, and when he came to me he
exclaimed, as if aside, '_Ah, un beau nom!_' He asked me whence I came and
whether I intended to remain long in Naples; upon my answering the latter
question in the negative he said, 'J'en suis fache!'
"As soon as our audience was terminated we were ushered into the Chapel
where all the nobility of the Court, both male and female, were assembled.
Each seemed to vie with the other in splendour of dress. The music was
immeasurably fine; but this theatrically magnificent assembly in a Chapel
seemed much like a mockery of Religion. Murat, however, who was in a very
conspicuous place, acted his part very well. His little boy stood near him
and he found out the different parts of the service in the child's prayer-
book. As soon as the mass was over the Duc di Gallo placed us in a room
which opened into that in which the King received the ladies of the Court,
so that, by standing near the door, we could see the whole of the
ceremony. The Queen was absent as she had caught cold at the Princess of
Wales's ball. The ladies, in consequence, only passed with a side step and
solemn demeanour, making _en passant_ a low, deferential bow to the King.
But I was extremely amused at their manner directly this was over. As soon
as they arrived within a short distance of our door, their solemn and
respectful countenances relaxed into a smile of mockery, their side
swimming steps into a run, and they all appeared as changed as if they had
been touched by a magician's wand. I could not refrain from laughing at
them as I read in their altered demeanour the distastefulness of the
ceremony through which they had just passed."
Later, Stanhope received, through the Princess of Wales, invitations to
various other balls; and finally he was the recipient of a letter from
Lord Sligo inviting him to become a subscriber to a ball which it was
proposed to give in honour, jointly, of the Princess and of the King and
Queen. Stanhope, in common with several of the English, refused to take
part in a measure which the latter considered their own Government would
not approve, as England had not recognised the Sovereignty of Murat. At a
dance, however, that same evening, the Princess, who had previously taken
no notice of Lord Granville who was present, came up to him as he stood
near Stanhope and informed him that she was exceedingly anxious there
should not appear to be any division among the English on this occasion,
and that therefore she wished him to subscribe. Lord Granville answered
that if it was _her_ wish he should certainly consent to do so. She
thereupon proceeded to attack Stanhope's other friend, Maxwell, but the
latter stood firm, flatly refusing to consent to a proceeding of which he
disapproved. On this the Princess, greatly indignant, turned her back on
him and walked off, exclaiming emphatically, "No more dinners at _my_
house, Mr Maxwell!"
Before the disputed ball took place, Stanhope and his brother had
journeyed on to Rome. On the road thither they again ran great danger from
robbers; indeed, at the first town in the Pope's dominions, where they
were obliged to submit their baggage to the examination of the custom
house officials, a soldier informed them that he had orders not to let an
Englishman pass without an efficient guard, and he begged them, to their
astonishment, to take an escort of fifty-two men.
"We, however," Stanhope relates, "passed the next stage safely without
seeing any robbers, but we were informed that our danger was not yet over,
as we had to pass near a wood which was one of their regular haunts. We
saw nothing to alarm us in this wood, but, shortly after, we were startled
by seeing two men lying in the middle of the road, swimming in blood. We
learnt that these were two robbers whom the gendarmes had been conveying
to Turin, when a rescue was attempted. The gendarmes immediately shot
these men and pursued the others. This had happened only a quarter of an
hour before we passed."
In Rome Stanhope wrote, "I frequently meet Lucien Bonaparte. We have also
some excellent English society--the Duke of Bedford, Lords Holland and
Cawdor, Sir H. Davy, Mrs Rawdon, etc., and most of them give parties, so
that I could sometimes fancy myself in London, I see so many London
At Milan he was shown how the French soldiers had playfully made the
fresco of "The Last Supper," by Leonardo da Vinci, the butt of their
bullets; and at Turin he was struck by the strange sight in the Museum of
a black man in _puris naturalibus_. He had been a favourite servant of the
King of Sardinia, who had left nothing undone to cure him of the disorder
from which he suffered; but having failed in this endeavour, he had the
deceased nigger stuffed and affectionately preserved thus!
The travellers next crossed the Mont Cenis by walking up the mountain and
sledging down the other side. And now, at length, they again approached
Paris. With strangely mingled feelings, not unmixed with a sense of
premonition, did John Stanhope once more draw near the scene of his former
captivity. A transformation had taken place in the surroundings which he
knew so well; Napoleon was now himself a prisoner in the hands of his
enemies, and Louis XVIII. was seated upon the throne of his ancestors. But
Stanhope was not long in discovering that the metamorphosis was far more
apparent than actual. The eleven months' Sovereignty of Louis had not
served to render the monarchy secure, and the spirit of Napoleon brooded
like an unseen presence over the land which it still dominated.
"During the period of my rapid journey," writes Stanhope, "I lost no time
in ascertaining the feelings of the people with respect to the Bourbons
and to all the extraordinary changes which had taken place since I left.
We had an officer in the coach who told us that if Bonaparte were to
appear, almost all the privates would join him, and I found that
disaffection prevailed universally through that part of France. Even boys,
who were running along the side of the coach begging, and who cried _Vive
le Roi!_ after having begged in vain for some time, ran off crying _Vive
l'Empereur!_ This was a degree of licence very different to what I had
been accustomed to see in France in the days of Napoleon's iron rule and
tyrannical system of espionage. The impression produced in my mind by what
I heard and saw was that, if I had formed a just estimate of Bonaparte's
character, _he would soon be in France and at Paris!_"
The latter was not a comforting conviction, and, ere long, Stanhope learnt
that plots were undoubtedly on foot to bring such an event to pass, "A
regiment of the old Guards marched into some town, and, addressing the
young Guards quartered there, said, 'Our cry is _Vive l'Empereur!_ What is
yours?' '_Vive le Roi!_' was the answer. 'Well, then, we must fight it
out; but as we are of the Vieille Guarde we will give you choice of
weapons.' 'No,' replied the others, 'we will neither cry _Vive l'Empereur_
nor accept your challenge.' Such a reception was not what the conspirators
expected; in consequence, the plot failed, the old Guards returned to
their quarters, and the Generals concerned in the business attempted to
escape. Some succeeded, but others were taken. Louis XVIII., however, did
not dare to put them to death.
"But that a conspiracy preceded and signalised Napoleon's return there can
be little doubt, and the violet was the emblem of the conspirators.
Frederick Douglas  told me that before Napoleon's return he was at the
Duchesse de Bassano's when the subject of flowers became the topic of
conversation. The Duchesse exclaimed, 'Pour moi, j'aime la violette!' A
general smile appeared on the countenances of all present, and Douglas saw
that there was some joke or secret that he did not understand. That secret
became sufficiently clear afterwards." 
Meanwhile, upon Stanhope's arrival in Paris, he called upon several of his
former friends; but the following morning, to his dismay, he was seized
with a return of the fever which had attacked him in Greece. His brother
had left him to return home by another route, and he thus found himself
alone, stricken with a severe illness which "was no longer ague, but a
violent fever, scarcely, if at all, intermittent." He at once sent for the
doctor, who provided him with a good nurse; but he explains, "My situation
may be better imagined than described when I say that the first
intelligence which greeted me in my helpless and suffering condition was
_that Bonaparte had landed in France_. At the very time that we were
passing through the south of France, he was but a short distance from us!
"I never for one moment doubted the result of his return. My old nurse,
who took the greatest care of me, amused me with her abject terror, while,
in order to reassure me, 'Il ne viendra pas!' was the burden of her song.
"Even from my bed of sickness I became aware that an extraordinary change
had taken place in the feelings of the Parisians. The impression produced
on my mind on my return to France had been that by far the greater
majority of the people were decided Bonapartists. But the moment that
Napoleon's return became a probable event, there was a complete
transformation in the opinions of the people. They became enthusiastic in
the cause of the Bourbons. Hitherto they had laughed at and despised them;
but Napoleon they hated and feared. Although at a distance they might pity
and almost love him, when near present he was only an object of terror.
The remembrance of the past came back vividly to their minds. They
recognised, too, that in his adversity they had betrayed and forsaken him;
now the day of his triumph or retribution was possibly approaching.
"Numerous battalions were formed in Paris, and the greatest zeal shown by
the great mass of the inhabitants in the Royal cause. The army, however,
which had marched to Lyons to oppose the Emperor, joined his standard, and
the only hope of the King lay in the new army which had been hastily
collected. Would the troops fight, or would they desert to the Emperor,
was now the question on everybody's lips. Upon this the issue rested.
"My impression was that though, of course, all the old troops were devoted
to Napoleon, the feeling of the army in his favour was very far from
universal. Many felt that they could not in honour, or indeed without the
guilt of perjury, forsake the White Standard which they were sworn to
defend, in order to join the ranks of their adversaries. They recognised
that, by whatever species of pretext it was glossed over, still desertion
remained the foulest blot upon a soldier's honour. But, on the other hand,
they felt no interest in the Royal cause, and a natural repugnance to shed
the blood of their fellow-countrymen. They were, in fact, entirely
indisposed to spill French blood for either of the rival Sovereigns, and
were prepared to remain quiet spectators of the scene. Could the King but
once have succeeded in making them fire on the Imperialists he might have
had a chance, and doubtless a skilful General might have succeeded _se
faire maitre d'occasion_.
"But Bonaparte had hazarded his all upon this venture--he had counted upon
the feeling of the armies of France. And the dramatic instinct by which he
had made himself master of so many situations in the past was now again
called to his aid. He took care to have it circulated that his troops
would not fire upon Frenchmen. He even gave out that his soldiers had no
cartridges. This put the Royalists in an unexpected dilemma.... 'How can
we fire in cold blood upon men who will not fire upon us?' was the
universal problem in the Royal army. And while they debated this question,
Napoleon eventually passed through their lines as if he had been an
"Meanwhile, my situation was a singular one. Returning from my pilgrimage
where I had been to earn my liberty, here was I again in Paris, hopelessly
confined to my bed, with the prospect of being again taken prisoner as an
Englishman. My earnest entreaty to the doctor was to patch me up in any
way so as to enable me to effect my retreat from Paris, for I foresaw that
there would be such a stampede as Napoleon approached the city that it
would be impossible to procure post-horses.... After having been confined
to my bed for a week I was at last enabled to put on my clothes. Fortified
with some strong _bouillon_, which my nurse gave me instead of beef-tea,
and getting into a hackney coach, I went off to procure myself some
necessaries for the journey. The scene I saw was an extraordinary one;
everyone seemed in a hurry, hastening somewhere. Crowds of English were
leaving the city, some frightened out of their wits, others in perfect
unconcern. One dandy I even heard say, 'Well, I would rather be a prisoner
in Paris than at liberty in England,' and I longed to give him a letter of
recommendation to my old quarters at Verdun."
Nor was Stanhope a moment too soon. With the greatest difficulty and only
at an exorbitant price was he able to get horses and the promise of a
voiturier who eventually sent his wife as driver in his place, being
probably himself a suspected person who could not leave the city. At the
last moment a message arrived from Mr Boyd, the banker, begging that he
and his family might share Stanhope's flight. Such an offer to an
enfeebled invalid was most acceptable, and accordingly Stanhope eventually
left Paris in company with the banker, his wife and their two daughters.
The scene as they went defied description; troops were marching, drums
sounding, flags flying, crowds were collected in the streets with no
particular object, and fugitives were vainly endeavouring to make way over
the bridge where carriages were locked in a block which threatened
disaster to their occupants. Nevertheless, Madame la voituriere, who,
Stanhope explains, was not only dressed up to enact the part she had
undertaken, but was "not of the mildest or most peaceable temper," forced
a way through the melee with such success that, in due course, she
deposited her travellers in safety at Brussels whither they were bound;
when, to their extreme amusement, her task accomplished, she speedily
"transformed herself into a Parisian _elegante_!"
And even as they reached safety, into the city which they had left,
Napoleon entered. By then the stampede of fugitives was ended, "and,"
writes John Stanhope, "I was informed that upon Bonaparte's arrival, a
melancholy stillness seemed to pervade the streets. A few feeble cries of
_Vive l'Empereur_ were raised, but only by his immediate partisans; for
the most part the Parisians, as though uncertain of their feelings,
maintained a morose and depressed silence."
And in the midst of that brooding stillness, Napoleon entered upon the
last phase of his greatness, his brief Reign of a Hundred Days.
LETTERS FROM ENGLAND AND FRANCE
Throughout the period when John Stanhope was experiencing so many and
varied adventures abroad, life in the home which he had left flowed on
with less of note to mark the flight of time. But at the very date when he
had been enduring the miseries of a prolonged detention in France, the
former companion of his travels, Tom Knox, had been undergoing a
misadventure of a different type, in which the family in Grosvenor Square
took a peculiar interest. His first action on arriving in London had been
to hasten to see Mrs Stanhope in order to take her the latest news of her
son. Dining with her on this occasion he made the acquaintance of Miss
Acklom. The young lady exhibited a great interest in the traveller, of
whose adventures she had heard repeatedly from her friends, the Stanhopes,
and he finding her a sympathetic listener, the mutual attraction rapidly
increased, with the result that, at a concert at Lady Jersey's in June,
1811, he proposed to her, and was accepted. The engagement, however, was
not a happy one. Mr Acklom demanded far larger settlements than Mr Knox
was in a position to agree to; and in December of the same year all idea
of the marriage was abandoned. Tom Knox returned to Miss Acklom her
picture which she had bestowed upon him, and she sent back to him the
portrait and presents which he had given her; while neither of them appear
to have regretted regaining their freedom.
Full particulars of this episode in his friend's life were dispatched to
John Stanhope at Verdun; indeed, no sooner had Mrs Stanhope at last
ascertained the fate of her absent son than she and her family strove
diligently to lighten his exile by any available relays of news from his
native land. And in strange contrast to the adventures of the young
_detenu_ must have seemed those letters which reached him, descriptive of
that far-away family life in England, and conjuring up pictures of the
home and the faces which he might never see again.
_Mrs Spencer Stanhope to John Spencer Stanhope._
Your sisters are all well. They are, as usual, very busy acquiring
knowledge. They are learning Spanish, Italian, French & German, also
the harp and the flute. At this moment Marianne is studying Euclid,
Anne & Frances are at the Pianoforte, Isabella is drawing & Maria is
occupied with her French.
Hugh grows very stout & bold; Isabella, I never saw better, Frances is
a prodigiously tall girl & very clever. Maria is always the same good-
natured little Fairy.
From Cannon Hall Marianne wrote later:--
The Drawing-room and the Brown Room look beautiful in their new state,
and you cannot think how elegant all our company appear at this
important moment. Anne and the gay Cupid [Philip Stanhope] are
enjoying all the agonies of a game of chess. The Glyns  are staying
with us, and Tom  is fitting himself for Prime Minister by
assiduously studying the papers. Lady Glyn and Mamma are enjoying a
light supper; Sir Dicky puts in notes of interrogation and comments
upon the passing scene with great effect. Papa is grunting, groaning
and snoring in the library--the result of twenty brace of moor-grouse.
The younger members of the family are, I suppose, enjoying delicious
slumbers at Westminster, for the clock has just struck eleven, and I
must to bed!
From Southampton, then a fashionable and gay resort, where he was staying
with a private tutor, Charles Stanhope likewise wrote to his distant
SOUTHAMPTON, _November 5th, 1812._
I dined the other day with the Fitzhughs who live near here, and was
much disappointed at not meeting Mrs Siddons who is always with them.
She is not liked by the people about here, she is so very
_graciosissima pomposissima_. If she goes to any party she
immediately usurps the sofa, monopolising it most infamously with her
most corpulent latitude; and to those people who conceive themselves
most her intimates, she bows like a Queen, with a slight inclination
from her shoulders, never deigning to move from her seat, nor even in
the slightest degree to bend her formal body. This, of course, cannot
but disgust, tho' Mrs Fitzhugh doats on her.  When she acted here
Mrs F. waited on her as a maid, and when she came off the stage, after
having died most naturally, Mrs F. begged her to go to bed, and was
worked up to hystericks wanting repeated assurances that she was not
in _reality_ dead. Was there ever anything so absurd or foolish?
I was at Gaunts, Sir Dicky Carr Glyn's. It is a pretty place and a
well-arranged house in the inside, but the exterior is completely _a
la Citoyen_. A square, formal house with an inclined, slated roof.
I was amused at Sir D.'s upholding his prerogative. Lady Glyn was for
folding doors from the drawing-room to the library. Sir D. was against
them. The argument ran high. Sir D. then said, "Well, _my dear_,
you may have your folding doors and your new fashions, but let me have
the old. None of your new, flimsy introductions for me, I _will_
still be the old, worthy Alderman & English Gentleman!" Thought I--
_Bravo Sir Dicky!_
Encouraged by his own eloquence, he further insisted on his point,
_and now, lo! there are big folding doors with a single small door
close to them!_
It strikes a person unacquainted with the circumstances as though
Dicky, with true Aldermanic foresight, intending to enlarge his paunch
with Turtle, etc., etc., etc., and conceiving that he would soon be
incapable of passing thro' the narrow door, had thus provided for his
increase of latitude.
It puts me in mind of an epigram by Jekyll.  A canal was cut here
at great expense (at the time when everybody was embarking their
fortunes in that kind of speculation); it ran parallel with the great
river. Everybody contributed to it, and bought shares in it. They did
not perceive the folly of the undertaking till the Canal was finished.
In short, it was never used, and everybody was bitten. The epigram ran
Southampton's wise sons thought their river so large
Tho' 'twould carry a ship, 'twould not carry a barge;
So they wisely determined to cut by its side
A stinking canal where small vessels might glide;
Like the man who contriving a hole in his wall,
To admit his two cats, one great and one small,
When a great hole was cut for the first to go through
Would a little hole have for the little cat too! */
I have learnt to take snuff among other fashionable acquirements, a
custom which, of course, you have learnt and will be able to keep me
I must tell you an anecdote of Philip which I think will amuse you. At
one of the Levees being left alone--(that is a bull tho')--with the
Prince, the Duke of York and Lord Yarmouth, they wished to have some
fun with him, and among other things asked him how he liked being at
Court. But he, not being yet used to address Royalty, was at a loss in
the selection of his words, till at last two very applicable terms
presented themselves to him. But then he was again at a loss which was
the most _genteelerest_. Finally he decided in favour of both--
_Toll-Loll_ and _Pretty Bobbish_, and so replied to the Royal
inquiry--of course it set them in a roar!
[Illustration: SIR RICHARD CARR GLYN, BT.]
Southampton, whence this letter was written, owed its fame, as Charles
Stanhope explains subsequently, to the fact of its being then a resort for
all persons who had been bitten by mad dogs. The salt water was supposed
to assist in warding off an attack of hydrophobia, and doubtless many
suffering from terror of this complaint were saved by such a belief. But
the very circumstances which rendered the town popular, contributed to
make it expensive, and Charles gives an illustration of this. Once, when
his sister Frances was staying there, she required some slight medical
attendance for a cold. "She sent," he mentions, "for Dr Middleton, who is
a very gentle, insinuating old gentleman. He has been here three times
since Tuesday, _three guineas a time_, so it is rather dear being ill in
Curiously enough, this extravagant medical attendance was not infrequently
called into requisition by the marvellous acting of Mrs Siddons, the wife
of a former theatrical wig-maker. Her superb impersonation of the
characters she represented stirred her audience to an extent which appears
incredible, and the hysterical condition of Mrs Fitzhugh, described by
Charles Stanhope, was a more common result of her genius than he seems to
have been aware of. It is on record that she constantly made men weep and
women faint by the realism of her performance; while in 1783, when the
Royal Family went in state to see her play Isabella in the _Fatal
Marriage_, so extraordinary was her genius that the actors who took part
with her were completely over-mastered by their emotion, and even the
stolid King, in his richly-decorated box, sobbed unrestrainedly in sight
of all present, till Queen Charlotte, annoyed at such weakness, turned her
back upon the stage and loudly declared that such a lifelike exhibition
was "too disagreeable to look at." Off the stage, however, the personality
of Mrs Siddons was transformed. A handsome woman, though of ponderous
build, her conversation was singularly dull, and she spoke in a slow,
sententious manner as though declaiming a set speech, which peculiarity
gave rise to many ludicrous stories respecting her.
_Charles Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._
CHRIST CHURCH, _November 1812._
I have bought a beautiful little wax medallion of Lord Chesterfield in
a frame which I wish I could show you.
I went out sky-larking with Elcho yesterday who asked much after you.
Mr Belli went up for his degree yesterday, and was excessively annoyed
at the examining masters calling him Mr Belly of Christ Church, till
Lloyd set them right. We had a terrible row on Monday. It was a
general illumination here with a bonfire, etc. The Gownsmen gave the
first provocation and we had a most desperate battle-royal. Several
men were hurt and about to have been rusticated, among which is Lord
Kintore, an ex-college nobleman.
Col. Anson  was here on Saturday and I was surprised to see so
unsmart a person turning out a-shooting from such a host of Dandies,
so late in the day as two o'clock. He killed, however, more than had
been killed by any individual hitherto, thirty-eight brace; but the
keeper says he never saw a good shot shoot so abominably; he had two
guns, and if he fired one off, he fired away one and a half lb. of
powder. The keeper was knocked up in loading his gun and trotting
I presented Lord Chesterfield with the medallion of his father that I
bought at Cosway's sale, which was most thankfully received.
LONDON, _Thursday, February 4th, 1813._
Marianne and my Mother went to attend the Drawing Room, being the
Queen's nominal Birthday. I then took a long walk, first to Tottenham
Court Road to see the preparations for the Regent's Park, then to Bond
St. and St James's St. to see the Equipages, etc. It seemed a very
full Drawing Room and some magnificent Equipages, among which the
Duchess of Montrose's was the finest. It consisted of 12 servants in
most superb liveries, and three sedans, in one of which was the
Duchess, and, in the two others, two of her daughters, Lady Charlotte
and Lady Lucy, both very pretty. I returned home at a quarter to six,
and my mother was not then come home. At last she arrived, complaining
much of the intolerable squeeze which had never been surpassed but by
the first Drawing Room after the King's recovery. Mrs Beaumont came to
us in the evening.
_Mrs Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._
_February 20th, 1813._
Mrs Beaumont has just presented Diana, who is, as you may believe,
very happy. The sons have taken their Degrees.
Lord Kinnaird has contrived to get into such difficulties that his
House, Pictures, and everything are to be sold. I went over the House
yesterday and felt every step as if the ghost of his father could not
fail to appear. There never was a fortune tumbled down in such a
moment. The Pictures and Bronzes very fine. There is one of the best
of Titian's Pictures; but though fine, I do not think it is a pleasing
I heard an amusing story the other day against Douglas Kinnaird. 
As you know, he is a wonderful linguist, but Werry, who is now
secretary to Lord Cathcart, is yet finer. The latter boasts that he
met Douglas at a dinner-party in London once, and, for a wager,
entered the lists against him, and beat him in every language in
Europe. But Werry admits that, in order to accomplish this, he never
ceased talking from the moment he sat down till eleven o'clock at
night! He says he felt--"_Si je crache, je perds!_"
I sent you a letter from Knox, he has dined here once, but he is now a
very bad neighbour. The Ackloms are in Lower Grosvenor Street. Esther
looks well, but is grown thin, the death of her father in a moment was
a great shock to her. Everything was settled for her marriage, which
is delayed till she is out of black gloves. I see a great deal of Mr
Maddocks who has shown them great attention. It is said that she has
L10,000 a year.
Esther Acklom had not been long in filling the place vacated by Mr Knox.
In 1813 she again became engaged, this time to Mr J. Maddocks, who was
said to possess an income of L4,000 per annum. The same year, however, her
father died suddenly, leaving her L10,000 a year and all his goods, while
to his wife he left an annual income of L16,000. Miss Acklom, therefore,
not only found herself a substantial heiress, but with the prospect of
inheriting a yet larger fortune from her mother. A friend, Mrs Calvert,
writing at this date, shrewdly remarks--"It is now supposed that Esther
will jilt Mr Maddocks," but Mrs Stanhope does not seem to have anticipated
this result, when, on March 3rd, she wrote various items of news to her
Walter Scott has published a new book called "Rokeby," dedicated to Mr
Morritt. It is not so much admired as his others, though more than it
was at first. His works are always the more admired the more they are
read. Your old acquaintance, Mr Inglis, has balls frequently, ending
at Twelve. All Lord Kinnaird's pictures, wines, and house, are
selling. His youngest brother has been at the point of death at
Edinburgh, but is recovering.
I went in Mr Maddocks Tilbury  yesterday; (you see my love for a
gig still continues). Esther says she would not have trusted herself
with him. They are not to be married till she is out of black gloves.
But alas! for Mr Maddocks; ere the "black gloves" were discarded, Esther
had fulfilled the prophecy of Mrs Calvert. She broke off her engagement;
scrupulously, however, refunding to Mr Maddocks every penny which he had
spent upon her. This second instance on her part of jilting a _fiance_
confirmed many people in the belief of her heartlessness; but the reason
which probably determined her action on this latter occasion was that she
had already met the one man, who, she recognised, could enchain her fickle
affections for all time.
Meanwhile, on March 13th, Mrs Stanhope wrote to her son:--
We are all now in sable for the Duchess of Brunswick who was sister to
the King and Mother to the Princess of Wales.
Bonaparte seems to be making a great effort & I should hope the last,
for the spirit of the Germans seems at length to be roused. I trust in
God they will not be too eager to show their teeth before they can
bite--to use an old proverb.
The Russians are a glorious people. Two Cossacks are now here, & they
invite great curiosity. Yesterday being Sunday, thousands & thousands
were in the Park to see one of them ride, and in Kensington Gardens
they cheered him.
The winter of 1813 was one long to be remembered in England. Christmas day
was exceptionally beautiful, fine and clear, but the day following a frost
set in and continued without interruption till the month of April. All
inland navigation ceased, and nearly all the song-birds perished. The
Thames was frozen, and a great Fair was held upon it, when oxen were
roasted, while on the Tweed there was an ice-fete at which fifty gentlemen
sat down to dinner. When at last the frost broke, the country presented a
curious and a wonderful sight; enormous masses of ice accumulated and were
carried down the river, while vessels which had been moored to the banks
were lifted up bodily by the overwhelming force of the torrent and, later,
left stranded far away in the neighbouring fields.
_Mrs Spencer-Stanhope to Charles Spencer-Stanhope._
_February 28th, 1814._
We have had the most severe winter I ever remember--the whole Kingdom
was rendered impassible from the deepness of the snow & the streets in
London were in a state I never heard of their being in before.
I heard from your brothers from Ulm, etc. The country they had
travelled through was beautiful, but the roads horrible; they were
upset once. At Munich they saw the Crown Prince at a ball & at
Stuttgart John waited upon the Queen of Wurtemburg who received him
most graciously and inquired after us all. It is said that she is in a
bad state of health & is coming to England.
At the Hague they dined with the Prince of Orange, the report is that
in June he is to be married to the Princess Charlotte of Wales.
The Allies have met with some checks, notwithstanding it is said they
are going on well.
The attention of the whole civilised world was centred on the events
happening in France. In March came intelligence of the victory of the
Allies which enabled them to occupy Paris. "I shall never forget," writes
Charles Stanhope, "the sensation it made in London. For a week past we
hardly understood the operations of the armies, when at last despatches
were received from the height of Montmartre. Everyone seemed drunk with
the news." This was followed by that of the abdication of Napoleon on
April 5th, 1814. All Europe went mad with joy, and, within a month, Louis
XVIII. had entered his capital as King. In the June following it was
arranged that the Allies should visit England, but while preparations for
the consequent rejoicings were in progress, Mrs Stanhope and her family
attended a festivity which they regarded with almost greater interest.
At the date at which Esther Acklom had jilted Mr Maddocks, she had been
introduced to Lord Althorp  the eldest son of Earl Spencer, who had at
once attracted her. Known for so long to his friends and fellow
politicians as "Honest Jack" he was possessed of as marked an
individuality as her own. Although unable to lay claim either to good
looks, depth of knowledge, or polish of manners, yet the charm of his
personality, his unalterable amiability, and the curious fascination of
the smile which readily suffused his countenance, exercised an
irresistible attraction upon all who came within his influence. In his
public life, indeed, what genius might have failed to accomplish in his
favour, the profound sincerity of his character amply achieved. Other men
might be noted for tricks of State-craft--for impassioned oratory, for
shrewd Diplomacy, for powers of organisation; to Jack Althorp alone was it
given to owe his fame primarily to unswerving uprightness and the moral
rectitude which was reverenced alike by friends and foes.
Not only accuracy to a penny in accounts committed to his charge, but
absolute sincerity in the small things of life, as in the great, amounted
to a mania with him. Occasionally, for instance, someone might remark
casually to him that the day was fine, and the result of this unconsidered
platitude was calculated to provoke a smile. For before risking a possibly
untruthful assent, Honest Jack would turn to the window and reflectively
scan the heavens, then, after consideration, would deliver himself of a
cautious verdict. "Well," he would pronounce guardedly, "I don't know that
you can actually say that it is a fine day, because you see that it is
early yet, and there are clouds about; but it is a pleasant morning and I
hope will prove a fine day." And the supreme simplicity of the rejoinder,
coupled with the complete unconsciousness of the speaker that there was
anything unusual in his attitude, at once erased any savour of
It was to such a man that fickle, wayward Esther gave her heart, only to
find that, slow of perception and indifferent to her charm, Honest Jack
did not return her love. But the girl who had remained undaunted by the
stern Marshal of Napoleon was not to be thwarted in this, the dearest wish
of her life. Her habitual determination came to her aid. Since Jack
Althorp would not propose to her, she proposed to him; and such an unusual
proceeding was fraught with happy consequences, for, on April 14th, 1814,
she became his wife, and entered upon a union of unmixed happiness for
"She was the one woman with whom I never felt shy," explained Lord
Althorp, with some reason; and it may be added, that his devotion after
marriage amply compensated for his lack of ardour before. For her sake he
settled down in the old home of her ancestors, Wiseton Hall, and expended;
L10,000 in making the unprepossessing house habitable; every wish and whim
of hers he lived but to gratify, and so complete was his confidence in
her, that during his absence she was deputed to read all his letters, at
her judgment destroying what was unimportant or reserving what required
attention. "It would not do for ladies to write him love letters!" she
used to remark laughingly.
Her former friends, the Stanhopes, often stayed with her at Wiseton
subsequent to her marriage, and rejoiced to see her happiness; but its
untimely ending, which greatly distressed them, may be related here.
On June 11th, 1818, Lady Althorp, after much suffering, gave birth to a
still-born son, and two days later, after a period of delirium, she
expired. It was supposed that the fate of Princess Charlotte, who had died
under similar circumstances in the previous November, had weighed upon her
mind, and claimed her as yet another of the many victims whose fate was
influenced by that of the unfortunate Princess. However that may be, her
husband, who had attended her devotedly to the last, was inconsolable at
her loss. "When he had deposited her remains in their last resting-place,"
relates his biographer, "he seemed as if left without an object on earth.
Shrinking even from the affectionate attentions of his family, he went at
once to Wiseton, where he passed several months in complete retirement ...
his grief was too deeply seated to be otherwise than lasting; and for many
years its poignancy remained unabated."
To one person only did he turn in his bitter grief--to the mother of his
dead wife; an unprepossessing woman, who had never shown him any kindness,
but who now became to him the first object of his care, out of the love
which he had borne her daughter. He wrote to Mrs Acklom every day, showed
her the utmost attention, and exhibited for her the most devoted
affection, which she, ere long, returned. Meanwhile, the rooms that had
been occupied by the wife he had so loved were never altered from the day
when she left him; upon his finger he always wore her ring, and wherever
he went he took with him the pillow upon which her head had last rested.
* * * * *
Long, however, ere this sad ending to a happy romance, during the summer
which followed the marriage of Lady Althorp, the Allies visited London
amid frantic demonstrations of rejoicing from the people who, too
prematurely, concluded that the final downfall of Bonaparte was at last
_Mrs Spencer-Stanhope to Charles Spencer-Stanhope._
GROSVENOR SQUARE, _May 25th, 1814._
Next month is Philip's month of waiting, when he will probably have
much gaiety, and from having to attend the Regent will see the Allied
Sovereigns to advantage--they have been expected some time, but it is
now said will not arrive till the middle of next month, when Fetes and
various gaieties are expected. The Prince of Orange and Prince Paul of
Wurtemburg are here.
Lady Collingwood has let her house in Town and stays at Newcastle with
her father, who is very aged. I noticed that it was William's old ship
which conveyed Bonaparte to his new Government, where I should think
he must feel very odd. I cannot help wishing he had been removed to a
greater distance, as I doubt not he will still try to do mischief, for
he has an able, active, and wicked mind. What changes have taken place
within the last three months! They appear to me like a dream.
Tom Knox is come home. He says had not John been in such haste to get
on he would have gone on with him.
So full was London that it was impossible to find accommodation for all
the distinguished visitors, and the Stanhopes' friend, Lord James Murray,
put his house in Great Cumberland Place at the disposal of Count Platoff,
and twelve attendant Cossacks. The latter now became a familiar sight and
ceased to create a sensation when they rode abroad; indeed, shortly, their
departure was eagerly looked forward to, so uncivilised was their
In Lord James's house they refused to use the sumptuous bedrooms prepared
for them, but preferred to sleep herded together in the hall or on the
staircase, while the damage which they did was incalculable.
_June 8th, 1814._
Philip is now at home, as this is his month of waiting, which is
fortunate for him, as he will have an opportunity of seeing well all
the great people now here. London was yesterday like a fair, for the
Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia arrived and every house from
Hyde Park Corner to Westminster Bridge was as full as possible, the
windows crowded, the streets stopped with carriages, the Park and
streets full of foot people, and all the Kent Road the same, who were
every one disappointed--as the great people came incog., and no one
knew when they arrived. The Emperor, however, showed himself at the
Balcony and was much cheered.
When Blucher went to Carlton House the Mob broke in, and the Prime
Minister invested him with the Garter in the midst of them all, which
pleased John Bull much, for I believe they think more of the General
than of the Emperor.
Philip rides every day in St James's Park; at nine, he goes to the
stables at Carlton House and there he finds a riding-master--a very
pleasant part of his duty riding is. Great Fetes are talked of, but
there seems a doubt whether the Emperor will stay for them, as he
means to travel and see the country.
From Oxford, Charles Stanhope wrote:--
The Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia and his sons, Blucher,
Platoff, the Prince of Wurtemburg and an infinitude of great men who
have flocked to this country, about the middle of the summer term
accompanied the Prince Regent to Oxford where they were received and
feted in the most magnificent style.
The scene in the theatre was particularly fine, the Prince Regent
enthroned with the Emperor of Russia on his right and the King of
Prussia on his left. The Heroes of the War receiving the encomiums of
the peaceful Sons of Science! Blucher seemed particularly happy. A
most magnificent entertainment was provided for them at the Radcliffe
Library, where old Blucher got hopelessly tipsy, and was found
afterwards strolling about the College by himself, totally incapable
of finding his way back to his lodgings!
I must explain that he was lodged at the Sub-Dean's in Ch. Ch., and
tho' a Royal carriage was sent to convey him to the Radcliffe, he
preferred walking, escorted by the Gown, for one of which bodyguard I
The third day the Emperor and King of Prussia quitted the University,
but the Prince Regent and Blucher remained and dined in Ch. Ch. Hall.
I must recount an anecdote of the Prince whose peculiar grace and
elegance of manner shone in its best lustre during the whole visit.
Blucher's health being drunk, he returned thanks in German, but
addressed himself rather to the Prince than to the University or Ch.
Ch. in particular. The Prince, perceiving the indecorum of this, at
once rose and announced that so excellent a speech should not be lost
upon the greater part of the company, who could not be expected to
understand German, and that, therefore, in the absence of a better
interpreter, he would volunteer for that office himself, however
incompetent he might be. He then delivered an extremely neat and
tactful address of thanks to the University and especially to that
College where Blucher and himself had been so hospitably entertained.
GROSVENOR SQUARE, _June 20th, 1814._
This is a day of bustle and confusion in London, as it is the last
day the Emperor remains here.
Philip, at eight, set off for Carlton House in his uniform, as he is
to attend the Regent to a Review in Hyde Park at ten, at which hour we
go to Mr Macdonald's to see it. Afterwards he will attend the Prince
to the House of Lords, and at Night to a great Ball which the Members
of White's Club give to the Royals. To-morrow they all go to
Portsmouth where a Naval Review is expected, tho' it has been said
that it cannot take place owing to many of the Ships having been sent
for the Russian troops which are to pass thro' this country on their
way home. From Portsmouth the Emperor and the Duchess of Oldenburg go
away. The King of Prussia I understand remains some time longer.
Ever since the Crowned Heads arrived, London has been mad, & as full
again as ever I knew it. Where all the people are lodged I cannot
imagine. The streets are full day and night watching the Royals, who
see everything and therefore are always upon the move.
The King of Prussia walked quietly into St George's Church yesterday
and asked for the Duke of Devonshire's pew. They have all been at
Oxford where the Prince was with them and was received with great
Since I began my letter I have been some hours at Mrs Macdonald's to
see a Review in the Park where the Regent and the Crowned Heads
attended. The day is beautiful and the scene was very fine, for there
were thousands of spectators on foot, as horses and carriages were not
admitted into the Park. I was not near enough to distinguish Philip &
he has not yet returned....
I have been interrupted again. Philip is to go with the Prince to-
morrow to Portsmouth which he likes the idea of extremely. He has been
much entertained with the duty of to-day....
After all, the Regent did not go to the House of Lords and the Emperor
does not leave London to-day, therefore Philip will have a little rest
after the fatigues of yesterday, for he did not get home from the ball
till between five and six, and is now asleep.
To console London for the termination of such a round of dissipation, on
July 1st White's Club gave a magnificent masquerade at Burlington House in
honour of the Duke of Wellington, to which the Stanhopes went with their
friends, the Kinnairds. Nearly two thousand persons were accommodated in
the temporary room which was erected for supper, and the costumes were
remarkable for their magnificence, save possibly that of Byron, who was
clad, sombrely but effectively, in the dark flowing robes of a monk. A
guest of gayer, if less dignified appearance, was Sir Lumley Skeffington,
who, as usual, encountered the ill-fortune which seemed to dog his
footsteps, for his red Guard's coat was mischievously torn from his
shoulders by crazy Lady Caroline Lamb.  who hid it and left the
discomforted beau in his waistcoat in the centre of the ballroom.
Eight months after these festivities, news arrived in London that on March
1st, 1815, Napoleon had once more landed in France, followed by the
intelligence that on March 20th he had entered Paris. In June the Campaign
of Waterloo began by the defeat of Blucher at Ligny, where John Stanhope
had so long resided. But on the 18th of the same month, "The fops of
Piccadilly became the heroes of Waterloo," and that famous victory decided
for all time the fate of the Conqueror of Europe. Four days later he again
abdicated, and on July 15th he surrendered himself to the English.
_Mrs Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._
What great and surprising events have happened in little more than a
month. The Battle of Waterloo was one of the bravest & greatest ever
fought, & has decided the fate of Europe, therefore though we must
lament the many gallant men who fell on that dreadful day, yet not a
life was lost in vain, & when we consider what the blood would have
been had the Campaign continued, we must look upon the loss as small.
The surrender of Bonaparte is such an unexpected event, that I can
scarcely yet credit it, for I never supposed he would have lived to
have become a Prisoner. What will be done with him? Thank Heaven we
can now confidently look forward to Peace.
Private events, however, distracted the attention and gave employment to
the pen of Mrs Stanhope during the year which followed. The health of her
husband was gradually declining. He was under the necessity of renouncing
his seat in Parliament, where he had respectively represented Haslemere,
Carlisle and Hull during a space of nearly forty years. Deprived of the
work which for so long a period had completely absorbed his thoughts and
energies, his spirits flagged. The vivacity, the wit for which he had been
noted deserted him and he sank gradually into a mental lethargy which, as
his malady increased, at times almost amounted to torpor, but alternated
with a restlessness and irritation of the nerves very distressing to
witness. In order to divert his attention from the life with which he
could no longer mingle, it was decided that novelty of scene might have a
beneficial result. His family therefore proceeded to travel, but that the
liveliness of his daughters was undiminished and their taste for society
as keen, appears by a letter written by Marianne from Tunbridge Wells to
her brother John in Yorkshire.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS, _October 2nd, 1816._
We do not think that your Doncaster Belles sounded very captivating. I
think I could have shown you at one glance a better show on the
Pantiles yesterday--the beauties who turned out with a bright gleam
after a horrid morning. To begin with the greatest, Miss Eden looked
magnificent, and is pronounced very agreeable. With her was Lord
Auckland's sister, extremely pretty and elegant, quite a _Lucile_,
then Miss Bruce, smart, with well made boots, and Miss Anstruther who,
perhaps, would be least thought of and attract the most. After leaving
there I met the Douglases--Miss D. looking as if her blood did not
circulate and Caroline as if she wished to be civil but found it
Should you have to write to Murray, tell him to send to Grosvenor
Square the second part of "Childe Harold," and also the new novel by
the "Author of Waverley."
In the ensuing year Frances Stanhope was taken to Court by her mother.
Tall, graceful, and with a dazzling complexion, her beauty was singularly
striking, and she used to relate that when she was presented to the
Regent, H.R.H., who always distinguished between the pretty debutantes and
the plain, graciously honoured her by bestowing upon her two resounding
kisses on each cheek. Not long after this auspicious entry into society,
however, her mother decided that a couple of years spent on the Continent
might be equally advantageous to the health of Walter Stanhope and to the
education of his children. The family therefore migrated to Paris, where
everything at this date was in a curious state of transition. With
Napoleon far away at St Helena, Louis XVIII. was firmly established on the
Throne of his ancestors, and France was endeavouring to recover something
of her pristine gaiety. Sir Charles Stuart was now Ambassador at the
French Court; many English were in Paris, and like a fresh act of a Play
wherein the various _dramatis personae_, moved by a common impulse,
translate themselves _en masse_ to a fresh locality, so the Stanhopes
appear, in the midst of their new surroundings, to have found themselves
encircled by their former friends.
_Marianne Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._
35 RUE DE LA MADELEINE, _February 7th, 1818._
I will not lose the opportunity of sending you a letter by Lady
Crompton, who goes to England in two days.
Mrs Beaumont, her two daughters and Wentworth are here, very grand and
gay, talking of giving two grand balls; she is of course the _first_
Mamma, Frances, Isabella and Edward were at Sir C. Stuart's Costume
Ball, which was a most beautiful sight, and the whole thing went off
with great eclat. Frances went as a _Paysanne de Mola_, near Naples;
her dress was a short petticoat, trimmed with green and gold, a green
apron, and black, green and gold bodice, and a roll of the same
colours round her head. It was very becoming to her and she looked
very grand. In Paris she is known everywhere as _la belle Anglaise_.
Isabella was a most airy Coquette, in blue and silver, with a cap of
little bells on one side, and long tresses of hair plaited with blue--
she really looked beautiful. It is the dress of _Belle et Bonne_ in
some Play. Mamma and Edward were both in blue dominoes.
Last night we were at an enormous ball at M. Clarmont's, one of
Lafitte's houses; the heat exceeded anything I ever felt. It was said
1200 people were asked, of all kinds and degrees. It was very
Mamma is thinking of giving a dance and is at the moment writing the
invitations, but the day is not yet fixed.
The Duke of Wellington gives a Concert to-night, and it is said two
costume balls. Yesterday we had some of the fooleries of the Carnival
which the weather prevented on Sunday and Monday. Masks paraded the
streets, the windows were full of heads, and all the people from one
end of Paris to the other drawn in procession along the Boulevards and
the Rue St Honore.
PARIS, _March 31st, 1818._
I hear nothing of the man taken up for shooting at the Duke, if it is
true that one has been secured. Poor Bacon was taken up by 5 Gens
d'Arms at nine in the morning and after a secret examination sent to
the Conciergerie. It was conjectured he was concerned with a Banker
who went off--but instead of that being true, the Banker absconded
with all _his_ money! Sir C. Stuart means to make a fuss about
it, for no one is safe if taken up and confined only on suspicion.
The King on one of the most stormy days we have had took three people
out to prevent their voting for the Recruiting Bill. However, they
contrived to get back in time, by which means it was carried by four.
He was angry--they said they did it as a point of duty to him.
Lady Mansfield's Ball was fine--but too many women in proportion to
the men, and many of the latter old. A great many French. I only saw
one Lady out of each family. Many, many young ladies sat out. All the
_ton_ French ladies danced the whole night. Lady M. hoped she should
see you, tho' she forgot to invite you.
Lord Alvanley came to Paris a few days ago with his mistress. They
refused him admittance at the _Hotel de Londres_, saying they had
English families there, among others "the great Mrs Beaumont." He
coolly replied that they need not mind _her_, for her fortune had
been made by keeping a house of bad character; and so he got in! Did
you ever hear of such _scandalous impudence_!
On behalf of Lord Alvanley, however, it may be added that about this date
another story got abroad respecting him which redounds more to his credit.
He and Lord Kinnaird were playing whist one evening, when, owing to some
mistaken move in the game on the part of Lord Alvanley, Lord Kinnaird
completely lost his self-control and abused his friend in the most violent
manner. Lord Alvanley listened in silence to the torrent of denunciation,
then, rising from the card table, observed very quietly, "Not being
blessed with your Lordship's angelic temper, I shall retire for fear of
Moreover, Marianne Stanhope, about the same time, makes mention of an
instance of Lord Alvanley's good-nature which came under her notice. It
appears that one of his greatest friends was an Irish dandy who, for long,
went by the nickname of "King Allen" on account of his having achieved a
unique position in the world of fashion. This monarch of the _beau monde_
spent his days, as did others of his class, exhibiting his faultless
clothes in fashionable resorts; and so wedded was he to this existence
that he could seldom be persuaded to quit London even for the benefit of
Once, however, Lord Alvanley found his friend moping at the sea-side, a
prey to profound depression, and spending sleepless nights tossing on his
couch, unable to account to his own satisfaction either for his insomnia
or his melancholia. With the intuition of a kindred soul Lord Alvanley at
once probed the root of the dandy's complaint. He recognised that it was
impossible for such a man to exist apart from the bustle and noise of the
great city to which he was accustomed, and _faute de mieux_, Lord Alvanley
invented a remedy. At his own expense, he engaged a hackney coachman who
undertook to rattle his vehicle up and down past King Allen's lodgings
till the early dawn, and another man who agreed to shout the hours
throughout the night in the strident tones of a London watchman. The ruse
was successful. Whether other persons living in the neighbourhood were
equally pleased, history does not relate, but the melancholy dandy,
deluded into a belief that he was back once more in his favourite haunts,
slumbered peacefully, and was in time restored in perfect health to the
scenes of his former triumph.
Indeed, "Lord Alvanley," wrote Lady Granville at a later date, "was quite
charming. _Le meilleur enfant_, which does not mean _homme_, but I cannot
persuade myself that he is much altered and that he will end by being a
very good, as he is a most captivating, person. Such cleverness, _si fin,
si simple_, without one grain of effort. What a receipt for being, as he
is, quite charming!"
Moreover, if the tale be true of the affront which he is said to have
offered to Mrs Beaumont, the great lady had manifold compensations. Mrs
The Prince de Bauffremont  proposed _a la francaise_ to Mrs
Beaumont for one of her daughters, but she, not understanding the
style, took it to herself, and answered with great dignity that she
was extremely sorry she was not in a situation to be able to accept
While in Paris, the Stanhopes had a sad encounter with a former friend,
which was curiously typical of existence in the gay city at that date.
When Charles Stanhope was at Southampton he had there made the
acquaintance of a charming old bachelor, Mr Hibbert. The latter showed him
many kindnesses, and, in return, was invited to Cannon Hall for some
shooting. John Stanhope records his subsequent history thus:--
"Poor Mr Hibbert! his was indeed a melancholy history. He lived near
Southampton, an old bachelor, and then as happy a specimen of that race as
I ever saw. He had been a very handsome man, but had unfortunately been
bent almost double by a rheumatic fever; however, his face was still
striking. He was full of taste and accomplishments, and apparently very
well informed, clever and agreeable in society. He was not rich, but
evidently possessed fortune enough to supply him with all the luxuries
that in his single state he could require. When he visited Cannon Hall he
was travelling in a very agreeable manner in his curricle with his own
horses, the whole _bien monte_.
"Unfortunately he went to Paris when the Peace was signed, and he, who had
never touched a card when in England, was persuaded to go to the Salon. He
could not refrain from trying his luck, and from that moment he was never
absent from the Salon when its dangerous doors were open. He was driven
away from Paris by Napoleon's return; he went back there after the _cent
jours_ and lost every farthing that he possessed, ending his life as a
miserable pensioner in the establishment--I believe within its walls."
Mr Hibbert's fate was indeed all too common at that date amongst those who
once entered the dangerous doors of the _Salon des Etrangers_. This was an
institution established for confirmed gamblers, and was kept by the
celebrated Marquis de Livry, whose resemblance to the Regent was so
remarkable that the latter sent Lord Fife over to Paris to ascertain if it
could be so striking as report asserted. The Marquis did the honours of
his club with a grace and courtesy for which he became renowned in Europe.
He provided his clients with the most perfect cuisine and every possible
luxury, while, on Sunday, those who had been most regular in their
attendance, were rewarded by an invitation to his Villa near Paris, where
ladies from the opera were welcomed to meet them, and the society was of
the most doubtful description.
None, indeed, who found their way to the Salon issued thence unscathed,
and its existence coloured the whole of Parisian society of that day.
Fortunes were there staked and lost, many of the victims disappearing
mysteriously, some having committed suicide, others, like Mr Hibbert,
having become so deeply involved in debt that they could not leave the
premises. Lord Thanet, for one, lost there a fortune of L50,000 a year, of
which L120,000 was expended in a single night. When remonstrated with on
his folly, and the probability pointed out to him that he had been
cheated, he only exclaimed with the recklessness born of the fatal
atmosphere of the place, "Well, I consider myself fortunate in not having
lost twice that sum!"
Meanwhile Marianne and her sisters were observing the difference between
the dandies of Almack's, whom they had deserted, and the beaux of French
society with whom they were now to mingle. Later their conclusions were
given to the world:--
Striking indeed is the difference between a true John Bull and a
Continentalist in a ball-room. The first generally looks as if he
could not help himself; he has adjourned to Almack's from the House of
Lords, the House of Commons, or the Inns of Court; and business, with
sad recollection, still pursues him at every step.... What excitation
then will move his apathy? Why, that of vanity alone; a pretty woman
must make love to him. And this is the best explanation that can be
given why, in England, the women always make the first advances to the
men; and if they did not, there would, I believe, be no love at all in
the fashionable world.
But mark the Continentalist! how is he armed for conquest when he
enters the ball-room?....
So accomplished a creature, so bewitching and bewitched must of course
consider himself quite irresistible. Yet have all these
Continentalists, and particularly the sons of France, the air of
annihilating themselves before the fair; their obsequiousness and
humility are unbounded: hence their rapid execution among the female
sex. To be herself admired by an all-conquering Adonis, is so much
more pleasing to a gay young woman than the having only to admire him.
Such is the difference between a French and an English dandy: the
first is an impertinent, affected coxcomb, who makes love to every
woman as a matter of course--it is his vocation. The second is a cold,
contemptuous, conceited creature, intrenched in a double armour of
selfishness, blase upon everything. 
Despite this scathing criticism, the Stanhopes do not appear to have
lacked amusement in their new surroundings.
_Mrs Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope_.
35 RUE DE LA MADELEINE., _Sunday, April 5th, 1818._
Little has occurred since I wrote to you last week except the Duke of
Wellington's delightful and superb ball. We may consider ourselves
fortunate in being invited, as the list was his own and he would not
allow the _aide-de-camps_ to interfere. Isabella, Frances, and
myself arrived about eleven. The rooms were then full, and soon after
arrived the Royal Family. The Duchess de Berri danced, but they all
went away about twelve, as did numbers of the French. Everybody
_sat_ at supper, several rooms were open--round tables in all. The
Duke retired soon after supper, and left Col. Fremantle to do the
honours, which he did, first by doubling the champagne, then by making
the ball go with spirit. We stayed till the last and did not get home
till five. He sent permission to as many of the Officers as liked to
come from Cambrai, and they readily obeyed the Command. I believe
there were 300 of the Guards, almost everybody in uniform. Markham
looked very antique in a full dressed brown coat.
We were at a ball at Lady Mansfield's on Tuesday, a very fine ball,
all the _ton_ French, but that did not make it gay. She had a fine
sitting supper. I am sorry the English suppers are coming into fashion
Madame de Chabaunes had a French dance on Friday, plenty of dancing
men, tho' we were at home before twelve.
Last night we heard Catalani, finer than ever; she goes soon, never to
sing at the Opera again.  She was more superb in diamonds at the
Duke's than anybody.
Mrs Beaumont goes on Saturday. She will astonish the weak minds of the
English by an account of her triumphs in Paris. She desires we will
contradict the report of her daughters' marriages; she takes them
back, instead of leaving them Duchesses and Princesses!
35 RUE DE LA MADELEINE, _Sunday, April 5th._
I will not lose the opportunity, my dear John, of sending you a few
lines by Mr Hunter, who called this morning to tell us of his
For the last ten days we have had complete March weather, a hot sun
and very cold wind. We are just returned from a dusting in the _Bois
de Boulogne_, where all the _beau monde_ were assembled. Lord
Burghersh escorting Lady Aldborough, who is going to England, Lady B.
in _the Duke's_ carriage. Mrs Beaumont and family, marvellous to
relate, in a very shabby carriage. The girls are heart-broken at
leaving Paris; "Madame" informed us she had had various offers, both
for them and Wentworth, but so far neither Prince T. de B., nor E. de
Beauvais. The former was engaged "to a fine French young lady," but as
he was coming to London, and would of course be much with them, "the
report would probably gain ground." She therefore hoped we would
contradict it. She is _greater_ than ever; I think London will not
hold her; she has been laying out mints of money.
Isabella and Frances enjoyed the Duke of Wellington's ball much. I
finished their gowns with the red roses for the occasion, and they
looked particularly well. They stayed till five in the morning. Many
of the Guards came from Cambray, and they found many friends of
Yesterday we went to take leave of Catalani in the _Nozze di Figaro_.
She sang delightfully. I think we missed you all more and more, and
shall feel most happy when we have again a beau without walls. I think
you will like the house at Versailles, but you have no idea how
difficult we found it to meet with anything that would hold us.
My father's extreme anxiety to go to England has now a little abated;
his general health and spirits are good, but he has a wonderful degree
of irritation and restlessness about him. The alteration in his mind
strikes me every day, his memory is so much altered, and his deafness
Towards the end of April Mrs Stanhope and her family moved to Versailles,
and their account is not without interest of the appearance presented by
that town after the strange transformations which it had witnessed.
VERSAILLES, _April 30th, 1818._
We are now beginning to feel settled, our House is comfortable and the
situation pretty, and, though in the town, we see only trees from our
windows. It is certainly the dullest looking large town I ever saw,
for the grass grows in some of the streets; but a place which formerly
was so splendid & contained 80,000 inhabitants, & has not now above
20,000, must look neglected.
We have delivered our letters and seen some of the People, but they
are very shy of the English, or rather Irish, for there are nothing
else here; friendly, good sort of People, but not very genteel. The
Caldwells are here only for a week, and Lady Hoste is at a
considerable distance. The other people you do not know.
There is _Mrs Beauman_ here, who is the "Beaumont" of the Place.
She gave a Ball, took off her doors, hung her rooms with red and gold,
and had her supper from Paris, at which there was nothing so vulgar as
a roast chicken. Her husband lives at Paris and is in the Navy. She
was a Miss Webber & rich. I have not seen her, nor am I anxious to
cultivate the English here.
VERSAILLES, _June 31st, 1818._
We have plenty of French society.... Philip wants Edward to take a
_Grande Chasse_ near Dresden, which he may have for thirty pounds
a year, full of Boars, Staggs, Does, Black Cock, Capercailzie,
Pheasants and Partridges innumerable. He writes an anecdote which I
must give you:--An English merchant was hunting one day with the King
of Saxony and, observing that the hounds were inferior, asked the
Intendant if he thought the King would accept any English Dogs. "To be
sure," replied the Intendant, and thought no more of it. About eight
months after, the King received notice from a Merchant at Frankfort
that a pack of hounds waited his orders there from England. The King
was delighted and wrote to the Regent to pass a Service of Dresden
China, duty free, to his generous friend; therefore the English
Merchant was well rewarded for his attention.
We were last night at a ball at Lady Hales's  where we found them
dancing at nine and left them dancing at two; such numbers of men I
never saw anywhere, and yet one may walk about for hours and scarcely
ever see one.
There is a very pretty Mrs FitzGerald here, her husband is related to
Lord Ilchester, but our acquaintance among the English is very small
and we have no wish to enlarge it.
VERSAILLES, _February 9th, 1819._
The Evelyns who live in Lord Mansfield's house gave an excellent ball.
Lady Allone invited, & the story is that Mrs Evelyn says this was on
condition that she--Mrs Evelyn--left out all her own friends.
Mrs Poplim is the gayest of the gay with Balls and Proverbs, but the
English society does not improve.
Robert Glyn writes word that Mrs Beaumont sent to him at Genoa to
complain of the extortion of some of the foreign Bankers; they had
amongst them cheated her of _thirty shillings_, and she seemed to
think the Glyns were answerable for this, which made the Sieur Robert
rather indignant, particularly as it turned out that she had left the
set of Bankers recommended by the Glyns and gone to those of whom they
knew nothing. She has laid out about L500 on curiosities at Genoa.
Sophy  has certainly had a very good offer in Italy, some very
rich Neopolitan Prince, _un grand parti_, but Madame refused him
in grand style.
In the next letter Marianne describes an event which electrified all
France. The Duc D'Avaray was an intimate friend of Louis XVIII. His
granddaughter Rosalba, aged seventeen, was extraordinarily handsome and
much sought after by many aspirants for her hand. Among these latter was a
young Englishman, twenty-six years of age, Charles Shakerley,  who was
a great friend of the Stanhopes. Indeed, it appears extremely probable
that Mrs Stanhope was responsible for his introduction to the Due D'Avaray
as she was indirectly responsible for what followed, since it was owing to
her invitation that Madame Contibonne, whose presence might have averted
what happened, was absent from her home on the eventful evening when
Charles Shakerley took his fate into his hands.
_February 25th, 1819._
I have secured the pen out of my mother's hand to announce the great
event which at this moment occupies all at Versailles and all Paris,
and probably will shortly occupy all the _beau monde_ of France.
This great event is Shakerley's elopement with Mlle. D'Avaray, on
Sunday the 21st.
William saw him either Saturday or Sunday at Paris, very disconsolate
at having just been refused. He told him he was packing up, was just
going to England for a week and then intended to depart for
Petersburg, we supposed to take unto himself some Russian Belle.
William came down in the Celerifere with Madame & Mlle. de Contibonne,
who told him Mlle. D'Avaray was their particular friend, and they
related all the history of the refusal. Mdlle. de Contibonne came here
to dine with her mother, who was obliged to return, having company at
Paris in the evening, one of her daughters remained at home, and with
her Mdlle. D'Avaray dined. The latter was to walk home with her maid
to dress for the party. Instead of going home she got into a
_Cabriolet_ with her maid, and drove to the barrier where Shakerley,
with two carriages, was waiting. They went off to Ostend, the lady and
her maid in one carriage, the gentleman and his valet in the other. At
Ostend they set the telegraph to send word to the Duchesse D'Avaray
where they were, and in return the Duc sent a _permission de mariage_.
On Sunday William gave them your's and Philip's direction, so perhaps
you may see them.
Had he murdered three women, there could not be such an outcry; old
and young, male and female, married and single, all unite in abuse of
the poor lady. The French Dandies are in a rage that the prettiest
girl in Paris should have run off with _un Anglais_. The English
all are delighted, even the Mammas, which astonishes all the French,
_Mais cette nation d'Insulaires barbares a toujours insulte toutes
I have sent you the general details, very likely not all true, but
that he has run off is most certain. To me, he has married her, or
means to do so; the very height and front of his offending hath this
extent, no more.
To this information Mrs Stanhope added:--
What a scandal! In addition to what Anne has said, I must add what we
have heard since. Before Mlle. D'Avaray went away, she went into Mile,
de Contibonne's room, from which she made her way down the back
stairs. They wondered she did not return, and when they looked for
her, the bird was flown. I believe he was in the street waiting for
her. It was certainly a bold step for a French girl, as the eloping,
or as they call it being _enlevee_, is considered as everything
that is shocking! I say you will give him away when they are married
VERSAILLES, _March 3rd, 1819._
Shakerley returned Thursday, was married at the Ambassador's Friday.
The Duke of Gloucester  gave the Lady away & has taken Shakerley
with him to England, & she is gone to her friends, as she cannot be
married by the rights of the Church till the dispensation arrives,
which it cannot do for 21 days. Therefore he is lost and she is not--
what would you say to that? Report says her friends had fixed on
another person whose name I forget, and that the Hotel was ready. You
will probably see him and hear the truth.
Two days before the date of this letter, John Stanhope had encountered the
delinquent in London. On March 1st, 1819, his diary records:--
It rained very hard. Met Shakerley in Bond Street. He had just arrived
from Paris. After having in vain attempted to get the Duc D'Avaray's
consent to marrying his granddaughter, he eloped with her. He had
previously got a passport under Lord B.'s name and sent his carriage
off on the road to Brussels. He got another under his own name, and on
the road to Calais he took up Mlle. D'Avaray.
His cabriolet drove most furiously to the place where Lord B's
carriage and four horses were waiting, thence going off at full speed.
The whole of Paris went after them, but by taking the only road where
there was no telegraph, they completely outwitted the police. At last
one of his pursuers found him on the other side of the frontiers and
conveyed to them the intelligence that the Due would forgive them and
consent to their marriage at the Ambassador's chapel.
Immediately after, Shakerley started for England in order to procure
his father's consent, as that was necessary for their marriage
according to the rites of the Catholic Church.
On March 30th, 1819, Mrs Stanhope adds the final word with regard to this
When Shakerley was married, rooms were prepared for them at the Duke
D'Avaray's, which had not been opened for three years, but no
"_Faire parts_" or "_Visites de noces_," and her friends say she will
have a difficult part to act, as her being received will depend upon
her future conduct. They are gone to Arras, where the Duke has the
command, and will I suppose be in London in May.
Lady Hunloke and various other people are inquiring for houses here.
Mrs Evelyn carried off her daughter in a hurry, as all the men were
It appears, however, that later the delinquents were honoured by some
"_faire parts_" being sent out to their friends by their nearer relatives.
Folded up with these old letters are two announcements, each printed on a
large sheet of paper, one surmounted by a Cupid holding a blazing torch
and supporting a large M.:--
Mr and Mme. SHAKERLEY out l'honneur de vous faire part du mariage de
M. SHAKERLEY, leur fils, avec Mlle. D'AVARAY.
The other (on which a Cupid has just lit two hearts flaming on one altar)
Mr le Duc et Mme. la DUCHESSE D'AVARAY, M. le MARQUIS et Mme. la
MARQUISE D'AVARAY ont l'honneur de vous faire part du Mariage de Mlle.
D'AVARAY, leur petite fille et fille, avec M. SHAKERLEY.
Sad to relate, this romance had an untimely ending. Gronow states:--
"It was the only case I remember of a young French lady running away from
her father's house, and the sensation created by such an extraordinary
occurrence was very great. The marriage, as runaway marriages usually are,
was a very unhappy one; and the quarrels of the ill-matched couple were so
violent that the police had to interfere. Unfortunately, the fair lady
having once eloped, thought she might try the same experiment a second
time, and one cold winter's night she decamped from a ball at the Austrian
Ambassador's with a black-haired Spanish Don, the Marquis d'Errara."
* * * * *
After this unprecedented Parisian excitement, the news from England which
filtered through the post to the family in exile must have appeared
lacking in interest. On March 25th, 1819, John Stanhope mentioned a little
incident which has since become history. "Yesterday, I went to Almack's,"
he relates, "a tolerably full ball. Many people were shut out, as at
twelve Lady Castlereagh ordered the doors to be closed. In the number were
her Lord and Master, and the Duke of Wellington." From Brighton came news
of another old friend, Mr Macdonald, who was under a course of treatment
from "Mr Mahomet, the Oriental Vaporist, "during which he sent them a
description of his surroundings, which might be written to-day.
16 NEW STEINE, BRIGHTON, _August 7th, 1819._
What a multitude of people we have here, Jews, Haberdashers, and
money-lenders without number, a sort of Marine Cheapside, Mr Solomons,
Mrs Levis, and all the Miss Abrahams; in short, Hook Noses, Mosaical
Whiskers and the whole tribe of Benjamin occupy every shop, every
donkey-cart, and every seat in Box, Pit, and Gallery. I am very tired
of them, and shall probably take flight at the end of the week to
The Beaumonts no doubt are still travelling _en suite_ in Scotland. I
wonder how many darts and hearts have been fired and wounded amongst
my too susceptible Countrymen! We shall see when they return. I
suppose half the Country will follow them back into Yorkshire.
Later in the year, from the same town, another friend, Sir James Graham,
BRIGHTON, _December 28th, 1819._
The Regent is in the best possible state of health and spirits, and
moves to London and back frequently. He leaves to-day for a few days.
The Pavilion Palace is not in a state to receive Company and therefore
he sees very few. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have been here
some time, and remain until the 5th or 6th of January, and this place
is quite full of company-not a good house to be got. Lady Elizabeth
Lowther has been here and is much better than usual.
Perhaps stirred by the letters received from their friends in England, the
thoughts of the exiled family turned more and more towards their home, and
Marianne wrote to her brother--
I shall be delighted to nationalise in old England. I think as much as
mind is superior to body, so much is English society better than
French-I mean that in which we live.... This is a dancing generation,
I think people's wits live in their heels and they cultivate nothing
else, though Mrs Poplim, who is now at the bottom of the precipice,
_tout a fait_, gives Proverbs and Concerts.
Lady Morgan  is quite the light of Paris, people flock to her
house as they would to a wild beast show. She has Talma, Mile.
Georges, and all the other Lions, foreign and home-bred. She and the
Rochefoucaulds are very thick--a great proof of their want of tact,
for she is the most impudent pretender to literature I ever met with.
_Mrs Spencer-Stanhope to Charles Spencer-Stanhope._
_December 12th, 1819._
Although I have written this morning till my hand is tired and my head
confused, I cannot allow the remainder of this sheet to depart merely
blank paper.... The French dance as if they feared they might not live
to begin again after Lent. Lady Hales's ball was so full and hot that
the dancing was not agreeable. There is a very pretty French girl
there, a Paris Belle, and the first _partie_ in France, Mlle. de
Proneville; she is the only Peeress in her own right in France, and
has a large fortune. I say, as our fortunes come here, she should
marry into England. I see that Lord Mountmorris claims the title of
Annesley; should he succeed, the little Belle here will lose her
title, if not her fortune also, probably not all, as I believe her
mother had a large one.
I hope by this time you have John in London. I wish you could persuade
him to marry, though not to sacrifice family to fortune.
Almack's and the French Plays are to be the _ton_, and will it be
advisable to apply soon? How is the Opera?
[Illustration: GEORGE III
_Engraved by S. W. Reynolds, and Pubd. by His Majesty's Most Gracious
Permission, February 24th, 1820._
When the ear heard him, then it blessed him, and when the eye saw him it
gave witness of him.
He delivered the poor that cried, the fatherless, and him that had none to
help him. Kindness, meekness, and comfort, were in his tongue; if there
was any virtue, and if there was any praise, he thought of those things.
His body is buried in peace, but his name liveth evermore.
_To the British Nation this print of the FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE is most
respectfully dedicated by Samuel M Reynolds._
_A print taken of George III when mad. The possession of Rowland
As shown by the last sentence, Mrs Stanhope was already thinking of
securing her Opera box betimes in view of her approaching return to her
native land. Ere she did so, however, an event occurred which terminated
all thoughts of gaiety. On Sunday, January 30th, the Journal of John
Went to Portland St. Chapel. Observed that the Clergyman prayed--not
for the Prince and Princess of Wales--but for the Royal Family in
general. Called on Mrs Arthur Stanhope and learned that the King had
died at half past eight the night before. Singular that the very day
we had put on mourning for the Duke of Kent should be that on which
the death of his father was announced. The _Observer_ states that
the King died without any appearance of pain and without a lucid
interval. He had reigned fifty-nine years, three months and nine days.
He was 81 years, 7 months, and 126 days old.
After breakfast, went down to Carlton House to see the Proclamation of
King George IV. The King-at-Arms cut a ridiculous figure. The guns
fired, the Proclamation was read, the Bands saluted, and some say the
new King appeared at the window and was greeted with cheers, but it is
since said that he did not appear and the cheers were in consequence
of the Proclamation only. Many of the Princes were present.
_February 24th, 1820._
Greeted with the intelligence of a fight that had taken place between
the Radicals and the Bow St. Officers and a detachment of the Guards.
It appeared that twenty-five of them, headed by Thistlewood, had
formed a plot to attack the Ministers when dining at Lord Harrowby's.
Two of them were to go there with red Boxes in lieu of dispatch Boxes.
Whilst the porter was taking these pretended dispatches, one of them
was to open the door to the remainder of the gang. They were to throw
fire-balls into the Mall, and, in the midst of the confusion thus
occasioned, to rush into the Dining-room and kill the Ministers.
Lord Harrowby had been warned by a person he met in the Park, and the
dinner was accordingly postponed. The Conspirators, however, met in a
small street (Cato Street) near Edgware Road. Mr Birnie, the
Magistrate, directed the police officers to enter the house & secure
them. The Guards, who were to second, entered unfortunately by the
wing end of the street. The Police Officers ascended into the Hay
Loft, where the Conspirators were assembled, by a ladder. They found
about 25 in a room with candles & arms of various descriptions upon
the table, and called them to surrender. Thistlewood made a thrust at
Smithers with a long sword & the Officer immediately fell, crying out
"Oh God!" The Conspirators then put the candles out with their swords
and in the confusion many of them escaped. Fitzclarence in the
meantime advanced at the head of the detachment of Guards. One of the
Conspirators presented a pistol at him, but fortunately the Serjeant
knocked it aside and received part of the contents in his coat sleeve.
Another made a thrust at him, and that was also knocked aside. He then
advanced at the head of the Guards into the room. He secured a man who
again presented a pistol at him, but it missed fire, so that he had
three narrow escapes. Nine of the Conspirators were taken, and
Thistlewood, for whom a reward of a Thousand Pounds was offered, was
taken during the course of the day in his bed. Saunders, in company
with another Bow St. Officer, entered the room and threw himself on
the bed. He said, "I have made no resistance. You could not have taken
Thistlewood and four of his companions were hanged and then beheaded, but
the horrid spectacle of their execution roused the public to demand the
abolition of the punishment of decapitation, and they were the last
persons who thus suffered in England.
But the country did not readily resume the more peaceful conditions which
had been thus rudely disturbed, and it was to a land distracted by rioting
as well as to a land of mourning that Mrs Stanhope and her family returned
early in 1820, in order to prepare for the wedding of her son, Edward
Manifold, indeed, were the changes which had occurred within the last few
years. Not only had the long and chequered reign of George III. ended and
the Regent at length grasped the power which he had so long coveted, but
the subject of the succession was creating universal interest. Since 1817,
the luckless Princess Charlotte had lain in her untimely grave with the
still form of the babe which had cost her existence-mother and child in
one dark tragedy bereft of the great destiny which was their heritage. And
now in the nursery of Kensington Palace was a little fatherless girl of a
year old on whom the hopes of England centred. But of the absent Queen of
George IV. disparaging rumours were circulated, and while in the
affections of her fickle husband it was said Lady Conyngham had supplanted
Mrs Fitzherbert, Lady Hertford and Lady Jersey, whispers of a Royal
divorce were in the air, and the threatened coming of Caroline was awaited
with increasing anxiety.
The spirit of unrest which pervaded the country had even penetrated to
Yorkshire. The weavers there were rioting, and so threatening was their
behaviour that about this date Mr Frederick Wentworth actually sent to
offer them a bribe of L20 not to burn down Wentworth Castle. The North was
deemed unsafe, and, abandoning all thoughts of visiting it, Mrs Stanhope,
whose former home in Grosvenor Square had been sold, decided to settle in
Langham Place. She therefore took a large house in that locality, which
was entered by great gates and stood in the midst of a fine garden, and
there her family swiftly resumed the old routine of their London life.
Despite the mourning for the late King, Mrs Stanhope wrote: "Mrs Malcolm
who called yesterday tells me there is a great deal of quiet society &
that if you get into a set, you may be engaged every night." While
Marianne regaled her brother with her usual "quiz."
I am not in love with the dinnerings in the neighbourhood, we met 14
people yesterday at Lord Ashtown's, none of whom I trust I shall ever
I must tell you the derivation of the word _dinnering_. The lady
of a new-made baronet in Dorsetshire informed us that her husband was
put under a regiment & ordered the _tippet_ bath to cure him of
the effect of London "dinnerings."
I am afraid you did not hear of our meeting with a lady who had once
nearly taken a house in Yorkshire "_in a remote part, near West
Riding_"--which she certainly took for a town.
[Illustration: THE MARCHIONESS CONYNGHAM
_From a miniature by P. Singry (about 1825-30) in the Wallace
In June that year the arrival of the Queen brought public excitement to a
climax. On the day when she was to land, greatly to the relief of the
authorities who dreaded a riot, there was an unusually heavy storm. The
Heavens themselves seemed in league against the unhappy woman. It poured
on her first arrival in England, it poured on her return from her long
exile, it was destined to pour during her last sad exit from the scene of
so many humiliations. John Stanhope, who had last seen Caroline as she
wrathfully turned her back upon his friend, Mr Maxwell, at Naples, was
anxious to witness her reception in England as Queen. On June 6th his
It rained heavily, and between the wet and the unexpected arrival of
the Queen, London was in a state of indescribable confusion.
Lord ---- had been sent down to negociate with her. He was
commissioned to offer her L50,000 a year on condition of her remaining
abroad and not bearing the title of Queen. These conditions she
rejected, and abandoning herself entirely to the advice of Alderman
Wood, did not attempt to keep the negociation open, but embarked on
board the Leopold packet with Lady Anne Hamilton, Alderman Wood and
her suite. Sir Neil Campbell drove me a little way on the Kent Road,
the whole was lined with people, but we soon got tired of waiting--to
receive the Queen in the midst of the violent storm and returned home.
The Queen arrived between six and seven. A mob was immediately
assembled round Alderman Wood's house, in which she has taken up her
abode, and forced people to pull off their hats as they passed the
house. The Queen made her appearance on the Balcony.
The Ministers brought a green bag down to the House containing the
charges against the Queen.
_August 8th, 1820._
The Review on Saturday went off most brilliantly--The Duke of
Wellington told the King to show himself, which he did, and was
received with the greatest applause.
The first day the Troops wanted to have cheered him, but were not
allowed. He and the Queen did not meet, tho' she hovered about. She
has now a smart coach and Royal liveries.
The public trial of Caroline, which lasted from August 19th to November
10th, entirely absorbed the public attention. The early partisanship of
the Stanhopes for the unfortunate lady had waned since the conviction had
become unavoidable that her manners were less "royal" than they had at
first imagined. On October 13th Mrs Stanhope writes:--
Philip is much engaged with the House of Stanhope. He has been two
evenings at Harrington House, last night with Lady Stanhope to the
Playgoers, again to-night with the Carringtons with whom he dines. He
has just been here and says it is possible the Queen's business may be
over to-day, as Brougham called for one of the Government witnesses,