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lean, demure elderly woman, who, I dare say, was quite as good as her neighbours. Chatham lent the aid of his great malice to influence the popular sentiment against her. He assailed, in the House of Lords, “the secret influence, more mighty than the throne itself, which betrayed and clogged every administration.” The most furious pamphlets echoed the cry. “Impeach the King's mother," was scribbled over every wall at the Court end of the town, Walpole tells us. What had she done? What had Frederick, Prince of Wales, George's father, done, that he was so loathed by George II. and never mentioned by George III.? Let us not seek for stones to batter that forgotten grave, but acquiesce in the contemporary epitaph over him :
“ Here lies Fred,
Who was alive, and is dead.
The widow with eight children round her, prudently reconciled herself with the King, and won the old man's confidence and goodwill. A shrewd, hard, domineering, narrow-minded woman, she educated her children according to her lights, and spoke of the eldest as a dull, good boy : she kept him very close : she held the tightest rein over him : she had curious prejudices and bigotries. His uncle, the burly Cumberland, taking down a sabre once, and drawing it to amuse the child—the boy started back and turned pale. The Prince felt a generous shock : “What must they have told him about me?" he asked.
His mother's bigotry and hatred he inherited with the courageous obstinacy of his own race; but he was a firm believer where his fathers had been free-thinkers, and a true and fond supporter of the Church, of which he was the titular defender. Like other dull men, the King was all his life suspicious of superior people. He did not like Fox; he did not like Reynolds; he did not like Nelson, Chatham, Burke ; he was testy at the idea of all innovations, and suspicious of all innovators. He loved mediocrities; Benjamin West was his favourite painter; Beattie was his poet. The King lamented, not without pathos, in his after life, that his education had been neglected. He was a dull lad brought up by narrow-minded people. The cleverest tutors in the world could have done little probably to expand that small intellect, though they might have improved his tastes, and taught his perceptions some generosity.
But he admired as well as he could. There is little doubt that a letter, written by the little Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, --a letter containing the most feeble commonplaces about the horrors of war, and the most trivial remarks on the blessings of peace, struck the young monarch greatly, and decided him upon selecting the young Princess as the sharer of his throne. I pass over the stories of his juvenile loves—of Hannah Lightfoot, the Quaker, to whom they say he was actually married (though I don't know who has ever seen the register) of lovely black-haired Sarah Lennox, about whose beauty Walpole has written in raptures, and who used to lie in wait for the young Prince, and make hay at him on the lawn of Holland House. He sighed and he longed, but he rode away from her. Her picture still hangs in Holland House, a magnificent master-piece of Reynolds, a canvas worthy of Titian. She looks from the castle window, holding a bird in her hand, at black-eyed young Charles Fox, her nephew. The royal bird flew away from lovely Sarah. She had to figure as bridesmaid at her little Mecklenburg rivals wedding, and died in our own time a quiet old lady, who had become the mother of the heroic Napiers.
They say the little Princess who had written the fine letter about the horrors of war—a beautiful letter without a single blot, for which she was to be rewarded, like the heroine of the old spelling-book story-was at play one day with some of her young companions in the gardens of Strelitz, and that the young ladies' conversation was, strange to say, about husbands. “Who will take such a poor little princess as me?” Charlotte said to her friend, Ida von Bulow, and at that very moment the postman's horn sounded, and Ida said, “Princess ! there is the sweetheart.” As she said, so it actually turned out. The postman brought letters from the splendid young King of all England, who said, “Princess ! because you have written such a beautiful letter, which does credit to your head and heart, come and be Queen of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and the true wife of your most obedient servant, George !” So she jumped for joy; and went upstairs and packed all her little trunks; and set off straightway for her kingdom in a beautiful yacht, with a harpsichord on board for her to play upon, and around her a beautiful fleet, all covered with flags and streamers : and the distinguished Madame Auerbach complimented her with an ode, a translation of which may be read in the Gentleman's Magazine to the present day
“Her gallant navy through the main
Now cleaves its liquid way.
Of nymphs due reverence pay.
Europa, when conveyed by Jove
To Crete's distinguished shore,
Or be respected more."
They met, and they were married, and for years they led the happiest, simplest lives sure ever led by married couple. It is said the King winced when he first saw his homely little bride; but, however that may be, he was a true and faithful husband to her, as she was a faithful and loving wife. They had the simplest pleasuresthe very mildest and simplest-little country dances, to which a dozen couple were invited, and where the honest King would stand up and dance for three hours at a time to one tune; after which delicious excitement they would go to bed without any supper (the Court people grumbling sadly at that absence of supper), and get up quite early the next morning, and perhaps the next night have another dance ; or the Queen would play on the spinet-she played pretty well, Haydn said—or the King would read to her a paper out of the Spectator, or perhaps one of Ogden's sermons. O Arcadia ! what a life it must have been! There used to be Sunday drawingrooms at Court; but the young King stopped these, as he stopped all that godless gambling whereof we have made mention. Not that George was averse to any innocent pleasures, or pleasures which he thought innocent. He was a patron of the arts, after his fashion ; kind and gracious to the artists whom he favoured, and respectful to their calling. He wanted once to establish an Order of Minerva for literary and scientific characters; the knights were to take rank after the knights of the Bath, and to sport a straw-coloured ribbon and a star of sixteen points. But there was such a row amongst the literati as to the persons who should be appointed, that the plan was given up, and Minerva and her star never came down amongst us.
He objected to painting St. Paul's, as Popish practice ; accordingly, the most clumsy heathen sculptures decorate that edifice at present. It is fortunate that the paintings, too, were spared, for painting and drawing were wofully unsound at the close of the last century; and it is far better for our eyes to contemplate whitewash (when we turn them away from the clergyman) than to look at Opie's pitchy canvases, or Fuseli's livid monsters.
And yet there is one day in the year—a day when old George loved with all his heart to attend it—when I think St. Paul's presents the noblest sight in the whole world : when five thousand charity children, with cheeks like nosegays, and sweet, fresh voices, sing the hymn which makes every heart thrill with praise and happiness. I have seen a hundred grand sights in the world—coronations, Parisian splendours, Crystal Palace openings, Pope's chapels with their processions of long-tailed cardinals and quavering choirs of fat soprani - but think in all Christendom there is no such sight as Charity Children's Day. Non Angli, sed angeli. As one looks at that beautiful multitude of innocents: as the first note strikes : indeed one may almost fancy that cherubs are singing.
Of church music the King was always very fond, showing skill in it both as a critic and a performer. Many stories, mirthful and affecting, are told of his behaviour at the concerts which he ordered. When he was blind and ill he chose the music for the Ancient Concerts once, and the music and words which he selected were from “Samson Agonistes," and all had reference to his blindness, his captivity, and his affliction. He would beat time with his music-roll as they sang the anthem in the Chapel Royal. If the page below was talkative or inattentive, down would come the music-roll on young scapegrace's powdered head. The theatre was always his delight. His bishops and clergy used to attend it, thinking it no shame to appear where that good man was seen. He is said not to have cared for Shakspeare or tragedy much ; farces and pantomimes were his joy; and especially when clown swallowed a carrot or a string of sausages, he would laugh so outrageously that the lovely Princess by his side would have to say, “My gracious monarch, do compose yourself.” But he continued to laugh, and at the very smallest farces, as long as his poor wits were left him.
There is something to me exceedingly touching in that simple early life of the King's. As long as his mother lived-a dozen years after his marriage with the little spinet-player-he was a great, shy, awkward boy, under the tutelage of that hard parent. She must have been a clever, domineering, cruel woman. She kept her household lonely and in gloom, mistrusting almost all people who came about her children. Seeing the young Duke of Gloucester silent and unhappy once, she sharply asked him the cause of his silence. am thinking," said the poor child." Thinking, sir! and of what ? ” “I am thinking if ever I have a son I will not make him so unhappy as you make me.” The other sons were all wild, except George. Dutifully every evening George and Charlotte paid their visit to the