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Jan. 1. New Year's Day.
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* The Correspondents of the EDINBURGH MAGAZINE AND LIFE d LITERARY MISCELLANY are respectfully requested to transmit their Communications for the Editor to ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE and COMPANY, Edinburgh, or LONGMAN and COMPANY, London; to whom also orders for the Work should be particularly addressed.
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THE value which we attached to these Letters, on account of the subject to which they chiefly relate, made us, as our readers will recollect, avail ourselves of the extracts from them in the Literary Gazette, before we had an opportunity of perusing an entire copy. Having now read the book itself, our favourable impression has been so much deepened, as to induce us to make it the ground-work of another article in our Miscellany.
The numerous and peculiar accomplishments of the writer of those epistles, which bear so ample a testimony both to the benevolence of her Royal benefactors and the gratitude of her own heart, have procured for her a memoir of her life in most of the biographical collections published since her death. She was the daughter of Barnard Granville, brother of Lord Granville, the friend of Pope and Swift. To oblige her relations, when only seventeen years of age, she reluctantly consented to be married to Alexander Pendarves, Esq., and retired with him to Cornwall. She soon became a widow, and continued nineteen years in that state, when she was married to Dr Delany, for whom she had long entertained a very high esteem. Her second husband died in 1768, and, soon after that event, she became an inmate of the Duchess
* London, Longman and Co. 1820.
Dowager of Portland's family, and, on her death, she was taken under the protection of the King and Queen of Great Britain.
We have mentioned the conspicuous nature of her acquirements, and it will be expected that we state in what they consisted,- -a statement, however, which we must make with the utmost brevity. Besides the usual accomplishments of ladies of rank and liberal education, she excelled in oilpainting, and produced many copies and some originals; but she was distinguished chiefly by the practice of an art of which she was the inventor. This was
"the construction of a Flora of a most singular kind, formed by applying coloured papers together, and which might not improperly be called a species of Mosaic work. Being perfectly mistress of her scissors, the plant or flower which she proposed to imitate she cut out; that is, she cut out its various leaves and parts in such coand, when she could not meet with a coloured Chinese paper as suited her subject, lour to correspond with the one she wanted, she dyed her paper to answer her wishes. She used a black ground, as best calculated to throw out her flower; and not the least astonishing part of her art was, that, though she never employed her pencil to trace out the form or shape of her plant, yet, when she had applied all the pieces which composed it, it hung so loosely and gracefully, that every one was persuaded it must previously have been drawn The effect was superior to what painting out and corrected by a most judicious hand. could have produced; and so imposing was her art, that she would sometimes put a real leaf of a plant by the side of one of her own creation, which the eye could not
detect, even when she herself pointed it out. The number of plants finished by her amounted to nine hundred and eighty.", This curious Flora is now in the possession of Barnard Dewes, Esq. of Wellsbourn, in Warwickshire.
The value of Mrs Delany's Letters, however, does not depend so much on any relation they bear to her as their author, as on the delightful view they exhibit of the domestic happiness and the warm benevolence of their late Majesties. Kings and Queens are, by most of their subjects, viewed at such an immense distance in public,-they seem so entirely beset by the ceremonial of state, and their private life is so completely concealed from observation, that we generally imagine them as beings quite different from the people over whom they rule; nor can we dismiss the mysterious awe which the circumstances of their station inspire, till, by an effort of reflection, we impress on our minds the remembrance that they are merely men and women. When, therefore, as, in this small collection of letters, our attention is directed to such exalted personages in the capacity of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, friends and neighbours,-relations arising not from the arrangements of society, but from the order of Nature, we deep ly sympathize with all that we behold, and are, withal, consoled to think that the true relish of life flows not from the circumstances connected dwith rank and power, but from the cultivation of affections and the perdeformance of duties equally within the reach of all, and equally incumbent Asi! upon the highest and the lowest in society. Mrs Delany, in her Letters, has given us us a fine counterpart to Burns's Cotter's Saturday Night." The first letter in the collection is dated the 28th of June, 1779, from Bulstrode, the residence of the DuchPress Dowager of Portland, and is chiefedy takem up with the description of a Royal visit, and of an evening spent at Windsor Castle.
The Royal Family (ten in all) came at 991 twelve o'clock. The King drove the Queen in an open chaise, with a pair of white horBises. The Prince of Wales and Prince FreAgderick rode on horseback, all with proper attendants, but no guards. Princess Royal 1 and Lady Weymouth, in a post-chaise; Princess Augusta, Princess Elizabeth, Prince Adolphus, (about seven years old,)
and Lady Charlotte Finch, in a coach Prince William, Prince Edward, Duke of Montague, and Bishop of Lichfield, kinda coach: another coach, full of attendant gentlemen; amongst number, Mr Smelt, whose characts him above most men, and does great honour to the King, who calls him his friend, and has drawn him out of his solitude (the life he leisure moment had chosen) to enjoy his conversation every These, with all their attendants in rank and file, made a splendid figure as they drove through the park, and round the court, up to the house. The day was as brilliant as could be wished, the 12th of August, the Prince of Wales's birth-day. The Queen was in a hat, and an Italian night-gown of purple lustring, trimmed with silver gauze. She is graceful and genteel; the dignity and sweetness every thing she says, or does, satisfies every of her manner, the perfect propriety of body she honours with her distinction so much, that beauty is by no means wanting to make her perfectly agreeable; and though age and long retirement from court, made me feel timid on my being called to make my appearance, I soon found myself perfectly at ease; for the King's condescension and good humour, for so respectable a character, (severely took off all awe, but what one must have tried by his enemies at home, as well as
abroad.) The three Princesses were all in frocks; the King and all the men were in an uniform, blue and gold. They walked through the great apartments, which are in a line, and attentively observed every thing; the pictures in particular. I kept back in the drawing-room, and took that opportunity of sitting down, when Princess Royal returned to me, and said the Queen missed me in the train: I immediately obeyed the summons with my best and seeing me hasten my steps, called out alacrity. Her Majesty met me half-way, to me, Though I desired you to come, I did not desire you to run and fatigue your, self." They all returned to the great drawing-room, where there were only two armed chairs placed in the middle of the room for the King and Queen.—The King placed the Duchess Dowager of Portland in his chair, and walked about admiring the beauties of the place. Breakfast was offerthe length of the great apartments, (a ed-all prepared in a long gallery that runs suite of eight rooms and three closets.) The King and all his royal children, and the rest of the train, chose to go to the gallery, where the well-furnished tables were set: one with tea, coffee, and chocolate; another with their proper accompa niments of eatables, rolls, cakes, &c. ; another table with fruits and ices in the utmost perfection; which, with a magical touch, had succeeded a cold repast. The
Queen remained in the drawing-room: I stood at the back of her chair, which hap. pening to be one of my working, gave the Queen an opportunity of saying many flattering and obliging things. The Duchess Dowager of Portland brought her Majesty a dish of tea on a waiter, with biscuits, which was what she chose; after she had drank her tea, she would not return the cup to the Duchess, but got up and would carry it into the gallery herself, and was much pleased to see with what elegance every thing was prepared; no servants but those out of livery made their appearance. The gay and pleasant appearance they all made, and the satisfaction all expressed, rewarded the attention and politeness of the Duchess of Portland, who is never so happy as when she gratifies those she esteems worthy of her attention and favours, The young royals seemed quite happy, from the eldest to the youngest, and to inherit the gracious manners of their parents. I cannot enter upon their particular address to me, which not only did me honour, but showed their humane and benevolent respect for old age.
"The King desired me to show the Queen one of my books of plants: she seated herself in the gallery; a table and the book laid before her. I kept my distance till she called me to ask some questions about the mosaic paper work; and as I stood before her Majesty, the King set a chair behind me. I turned with some confusion and hesitation, on receiving so great an honour, when the Queen said, Mrs Delany, sit down, sit down it is not every lady that has a chair brought her by a King; so I obeyed. Amongst many gracious things, the Queen asked me why I was not with the Duchess when she came; for I might be sure she would ask 1- for me?' I was flattered, though I knew to whom I was obliged for the distinction, (and doubly flattered by that.) I acknowledged it in as few words as possible, and said I was particularly happy at that time to pay my duty to her Majesty, as it gave me an opportunity of seeing so many of the Royal Family, which age and obscuOh but,' says rity had deprived me of. her Majesty, you have not seen all my children yet;' upon which the King came up and asked what we were talking about? which was repeated, and the King replied to the Queen, You may put Mrs Delany into the way of doing that, by naming a day for her to drink tea at Windsor Castle.' The Duchess of Portland was consulted, and the next day fixed upon, as the Duchess had appointed the end of the week for going to Weymouth.
"We went at the hour appointed, seven o'clock, and were received in the lower pri. vate apartment at the Castle: went through large room with great bay-windows,
where were all the Princesses and youngest Princes, with their attendant ladies and gentlemen. We passed on to the bed chamber, where the Queen stood in the middle of the room, with Lady Weymouth and Lady Charlotte Finch. (The King and the eldest Princes had walked out.) When the Queen took her seat, and the ladies their places, she ordered a chair to be set for me opposite to where she sat, and asked me if I felt any wind from the door or window ?—It was indeed a sultry day.
"At eight the King, &c. came into the room, with so much cheerfulness and good humour, that it was impossible to feel any painful restriction. It was the hour of the King and Queen and eleven of the Princes and Princesses' walking on the terrace. They apologised for going, but said the crowd expected them; but they left Lady Weymouth and the Bishop of Lichfield to entertain us in their absence: we sat in the bay-window, well pleased with our companions, and the brilliant show on the terrace, on which we looked, the band of music playing all the time under the window.When they returned we were summoned into the next room to tea, and the Royals began a ball, and danced two country dances, to the music of French horns, bassoons, and hautboys, which were the same that played on the terrace. The King came up to the Prince of Wales, and said he was sure, when he considered how great an effort it must be to play that kind of music so long a time together, that he would not continue their dancing there, but that the Queen and the rest of the company were going to the Queen's house, and they should renew their dancing there, and have proper music.on ITÔT 1024
"I can say no more I cannot describe the gay, the polished appearance of the Queen's house, furnished with English manufacture. The Prince of Wales dances a minuet better than any one I have seen for many years; but what would please you more, could I do it justice, is the good sense and engaging address of one and all." pp. 2-10.
We shall not spoil the impression these lovely scenes are fitted to make on every unsophisticated or not utterly abandoned heart by any remarks of ours, but shall proceed to enhance the delight already imparted, by adducing some additional proofs of the truly amiable character of the late Queen.
"And now, as I know you take pleasure in what gives me pleasure, and does me honour, I must tell you of our amiable, gracious Queen's politeness, and I may presume to add, kindness to me. She
was told I had wished for a lock of her Queen, but the Duchess Dowager of Portland; she graciously made me sit down just before her, and a three hours' conversation confirmed all I have already said." pp. 13-16.
she sent me one with her own royal fingers: she heard, (for she was not asked for either,) that I wished to have one of Mrs Port's boys in the Charter house, and she gave her commands that one of my little nephews should be set down in her list: you will easily believe I was anxious to make, my proper acknowledgments, and under some difficulty how to do it, as I am unable to pay my duty in the draw ing-room. Fortunately an agreeable opportunity came in my way.
"Last Saturday, the 11th of this month, about one o'clock, as I was at my paper mosaic, in my working dress, and all my papers littered about me, the Duchess Dowager of Portland very intent at another table, making a catalogue to a huge folio of portrait prints, her Grace's groom of the chambers announced the Queen and Princess Royal, who were just driven into the court; I retired to change my dress, and wait for a summons, should her Majesty send me her commands. The Duchess kept her station to receive her royal visitors, and I was soon sent for, which gave me the opportunity I so much had wished, and my acknowledgments were most graciously accepted. The Queen staid till past three, and left us (though no strangers to her excellencies) in admiration of her good sense, affability blended with dignity, and her entertaining conversation. So much propriety, so excellent a heart, such true religious principles, gave a lustre to her royalty that crowns and sceptres cannot bestow. tell you, my dear Madam, these particulars, that you may par take of that admiration which I know your good heart will feel and enjoy. At the moment you are struck with her superi ority, you love her aswa friend which is very rare though I have long experienced that happy union, in the person for whose sake I have received so many honours. I should make you an apology for saying so much of a Queen, &c. who prefer virtue to rank; but here, I present you with both, But in the midst of my raptures, I have omitted the agreeable sequel; which was, our going to the Queen's Lodge to inquire after her Majesty the day after she had been here; which we did after churchtime. Windsor is but eight miles from hence I set the Duchess of Portland down at the Queen's Lodge, and went on in her chaise to Mrs Walsingham, in the Castle, a sincere admirer of Lady Drogheda, and who desired me to convey her best compliments, which I put into your hands. I had not been ten minutes there, when your very ingenious and agreeable cousin, Miss Hamilton, (to whom I am greatly obliged,) came in all haste from the Queen, to bring me into her presence; a command I willingly obeyed. Nobody was with the
account of another visit which the In a subsequent letter we have an Queen, accompanied by the Princess Royal and the Princess Augusta, paid to the Duchess Dowager of Portland, to wish her joy on the marriage of her grand-daughter.
"The Queen, &c. came about twelve
wheel, (the work I am now reduced to,) and made me spin on, and give her a les son afterwards; and, I must say, did it tolerably well for a Queen. She staid till three o'clock; and now I suppose our royal visits are over for this year." p. 18.
The Duchess and Mrs Delany met the Royal party one morning at Garrat's Cross, near Bulstrode, to witness a stag hunt. The King came with a message from the Queen to the Duchess of Portland, to say, "Her Majesty would see her safe back to Bulstrode, and breakfast with her Grace.”
The Duchess of Portland returned home, in order to be ready to receive the Queen, who immediately followed before we could pull off our bonnets and cloaks. We received her Majesty and the Princesses on the steps at the door. She is so condescending and gracious, that she makes every thing perfectly easy. We got home a quarter before eleven o'clock; her Ma jesty staid till two. In her return back to Windsor, she met the chace, and was at the taking of the stag; they would not let the dogs kill him. oro assalt es Escalay
On Wednesday y the Duchess of Port land intended to go to return the Queen thanks for the honour she had done her; we were to set out early. I dressed my head for the day before breakfast, when a letter arrived from Miss Hamilton, from the Queen's Lodge, to me, with a message from the King, to desire we would not come till Thursday evening, eight o'clock, as he could not be at home till then. Accordingly we went; were there at the appointed hour. The King and Queen and the Princesses received us in the drawingroom, to which we went through the concert-room. Princess Mary took me by the left hand, Princess Sophia and the sweet little Prince Octavius took me by the right hand, and led me after the Duchess of Portland into the drawing-room. The King nodded and smiled upon my little conductors, and bid them lead me up to the Queen, who stood in the middle of the room. When we were all seated, (for the