Obrazy na stronie

the Princess put them on; and from this time the drawing-rooms at Montague-House were literally in the style of a common nursery. The tables were covered with spoons, plates, feeding boats, and clothes, round the fire; napkins were hung to air, and the marble hearths were strewed with napkins which were taken from the child; for, very extraordinary to relate, this was a part of the ceremony her Royal Highness was particularly tenacious of always performing herself, let the company be who they might. At first the child slept with her, she told me, but it made her uervous, and therefore a nurse was hired to assist in taking charge of it, and for him to sleep with. The Princess said one day to me as she was nursing him, "he had a little milk for two or three days, but it did not do, so we bring him up by hand with all kinds of nourishing things, and you see how well he thrives," so that I really always supposed she had attempted to suckle it. Another time she shewed me his hand, which has a pink mark upon it, and said, "it was very singular both our children should be marked, and she thought her child's came from her having some wine thrown on her hand, for she did not look much at little Caroline's mark." The Princess now adopted a new mode of inviting us to see her. She would invite either Sir John or I, but never both together as formerly. I concluded from this, that as she found it so difficult to keep even her own secret, she could ill imagine I had been able to keep hers, and therefore, under the impression that by that time I must have told Sir John, did not like to meet both our eyes; and if she saw Sir John without me, could better judge by his looks and manuer whether I bad divulged or not. I conclude she was at length satisfied that I had not; for we were one morning both invited again in the former manner, to a breakfast, and as it was a very curiously arranged party, I will put down the names, for to the person who is to peruse this detail, it will confirm the idea that her Royal Highness cannot always know correctly what she is about. When we entered, the Princess was sitting upon the sofa, elegantly dressed in a white and silver drapery, which covered her head and fell all over her person, and she had her little boy upon her knee elegantly dressed likewise. The guests were, her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Wales, with Miss Hunt, her Governess, Captain Manby, of the Navy, Mr. Spencer Smith, the Fitzgeralds, and ourselves. She got up and nursed the child, and carrying it to Sir John, said, "Here, Sir Jobn, this is the Deptford boy, I suppose you have heard I have taken a little child?" Sir

John only said, "Yes, he had, and it seemed a fine baby." She seemed pleased and satisfied that I had not told him, and then sat down to table, putting a chair for Princess Charlotte on her right hand, taking me by the hand and putting me on her left hand, told Captain Manby to sit at the top, and Mr. Spencer Smith at the bottom, and Sir John and the Fitzgeralds faced us. Princess Charlotte had a plain dinner prepared for her in another room, according to custom, and came in when our desert was placed, when we all sat down again as we were sitting, except Miss Hunt, who was never ordered to sit, but stood a few yards from Princess Charlotte. About five o'clock her Royal Highness rose from table, the little boy was brought in again, Princess Charlotte played with it, and the Princess of Wales wished all of us a good morning, and we broke up, totally at a loss to conceive what amusement it could be to collect us together. This breakfast was a kind of finale. We had very little intercourse. Her Royal Highness would walk past our house, for the express purpose of shewing she did not mean to come in, and when we did see her, she always abused Sir Sidney Smith. Often said, she wondered I liked to live at such a dull place as Blackheath, and in short gave us hints we could not misunderstand, that she wanted us away. At this time Sir John received a letter from his division, expressive of the General's wish that he would go to Plymouth, and therefore (without an Admiralty order) he determined to go to emancipate ourselves from the Princess of Wales, and as soon as we could dispose of the furniture, I followed him, leaving the house empty, which was ours three months after I quitted it. The day Sir John was to set off, the Princess walked to our house, and though his trunks were in the room, and he was occupied, would have bim sit down and talk to her, overpowering him and myself now with kindness, and said, she could eat something. She did so, staid four hours in the house, and at parting, took Sir John by both hands, wished him every good wish, and begged him always to recollect how happy she would be to see him again, and that she would be very kind to me in his absence; however, after he was gone, she never came near me, or offered me any kind of civility whatsoever. When I was upon the eve of departure, I called upon her and took her goddaughter and my other little girl with me. She was almost uncivil, and paid little or no attention if I spoke. I said the children were with me, but she did not answer, and after spending four or five hours very unpleasantly, P

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suffering all the unpleasant feeling of being
where I had been courted and idolized, I
begged permission at last to go away. When
I went out, to my surprize, I found the chil-
dren had been kept in the passage near the
front door, with the door open to Blackheath,
in a December day, with four opposite doors
opened and shut upon them, instead of being
taken to the housekeeper's room, as they al-
ways had been. My maid had at length begged
the footman to go to a fire, as the children
cried dreadfully and were very cold. I under-
stand the man was a footman, of the name of
Gaskin, I, think, and his answer was, if the
children are cold, you can put them back into
the carriage and warm them. I took them
home immediately, and was inclined to returu
and ask why they had been thus all of a sud-
den treated with this brutality and imperti-
nence, and which was doubly cruel in Sir
John's absence: but I deferred going until I
meant to take my final leave, which I did on
the following Sunday. Doctor Burnaby was
standing in the hall with every thing pre-
pared for the Princess to receive the sacra-
ment. I was ushered through notwithstanding,
and the footmen seemed to go to and fro as
much at their ease as if no such thing was
preparing. She was standing in the drawing-vion,
room, and received me with Mis. Lisle and
Mrs. Fitzgerald. I said I should have been
gone before, had it been in my power, and in
compliance with her commands, had come to
take my leave. She did not ask me to sit
down, but said "God bless you; good bye."
I then said I was much concerned I had
brought my little girls a few days past, and
that I should never have done so, but from
her Royal Highness's repeated desire. She
said, she was sorry; and asked, who used them
so. I told her, one of her livery servants, and
Sir John would not like to hear of it. Her
Royal Highness said, "stop a moment;" flew
past me through the hall where Doctor Bur.
naby stood waiting for her, up to her own
room, and returned with a white paper box,
pushing it into my hand-" God bless you, my
dear Lady Douglas." I said I wished to de-
cline taking any thing; that my object in
coming there was to offer her my duty, and
tell her how ill my children had been used. I
'could not conceive how any footman could use
the freedom of treating Sir John's children so,
unless he had been desired. She only an-
swered, "Ob! no, indeed; good bye." I
attempted to put the box into her hands,
saying, I had rather not have it; but she
dropped her hands and turned away. I there-
fore wished Mrs. Lisle and Miss Fitzgerald good

morning, and went away. Doctor Burnaby
spoke to me as I passed him, and, looking
back, I saw her Royal Highness's head; she
was looking out after me, to see if she had
fairly got rid of me, and laughing immode.
rately at Dr. Burnaby in his gown. I quitted
her house, resolved never to re-enter it but for
form's sake, and wrote her word, that as I had
long been treated rudely, and my children,
whom she courted to her house, were now
insulted there, I felt a dislike to accepting a
present thrown at me, as it were, under such
unpleasant circumstances; that I had not un-
tied the box, and requested she would permit
me to return it; and that as I was an English
gentlewoman, and defied her to say she had
ever seen a single impropriety in my conduct,
I would never suffer myself to be ill-used
without a clear explanation. The Princess
wrote back a most haughty imperious reply,
desiring me to keep the box, styled herself
Princess of Wales in almost every line, and
insulted me to such a degree that I returned
an answer insisting upon her explaining her-
self. This she returned me unopened, saying,
she would not open my second letter, and had
therefore sent it to me to put in the fire, and
that she was ready to put the matter in obli-
as she desired me to do; wished me and
my dear little children well, and should at all
times be glad to see her former neighbour. I
did as she desired, and went away at Christmas
without ever seeing or hearing more of her
Royal Highness, aud found in the paper box
a gold necklace, with a medallion suspended
from it of a mock.

Thus ended my intercourse, for the present, with the Princess of Wales, and the year 1803.

When we resided in Devonshire, seeing by the papers that her Royal Highness was ill, we sent a note of enquiry to the lady in waiting, which was answered very politely, and even in a friendly manner, by her Royal Highness's orders. Upon the arrival of the Duke of Sussex from abroad, Sir John returned to town to attend him, and when we drove to Blackheath to see our friends, I left my card for her Royal Highness, who was visiting Mr. Canning; the moment she returned home she commanded Mrs. Vernon to send me word never to repeat my visits to Blackheath. I gave Sir John the note, and must confess, accustomed as I had been to her haughty overbearing caprice, yet this exceeded my belief of what she was capable of, being so inconsistent with her two last letters; but the fact was, she thought we were gone above 200 miles from her, and should be there for many

years, and she never calculated upon the return of his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, having very often told me his Royal Highness would never live in England, in his Majesty's life-time; that she was certain of that, and had reasons for knowing it; and Sir John would never have him here. I suppose she had taken this into her head because she wished it; and, therefore, the return of his Royal Highness was a mortal death-blow to all her hopes on this score; and when she found that his Royal Highness was not only returned, but that Sir John was in attendance, and that his Royal Highness was in Carlton House, where Sir John might see, and have the honour of being made known to the Prince of Wales, her fear and rage got the better of every prudent consideration, and she commanded Mrs. Vernon to dismiss me as I have mentioned. Had the Princess of Wales written to me herself, and told me, in a civil manner, that she would thank me to keep away, I should have acquainted her that I wished and desired to do so, and had only called for the sake of appearances, and there the matter would have ended; unless I had ever been called upon (as I am now) by his Majesty, or the Heir Apparent. In that case, as in this, I should have made it my sacred duty to have answered, as upon my oath; but the circumstance of being driven out of her house by the hands of the Lady in Waiting, as if I had deserved it, and as if I were a culprit, was wounding one with a poisoned arrow, which left the wound to fester after it had torn and stabbed me; it was a refinement in insult, for the Princess had always been in the habit of writing to me herself, and had commanded me never to hold intercourse with her through her ladies, but always directly to herself; and so particular were her directions and permission upon this head, that she told me never to put my letters under cover, but always direct them to herself. I felt so miserable, that Mrs. Vernon, to whom I was known, and for whom Sir John and myself had an esteem, should think ill of me; and I therefore wrote to the Princess, saying, "From the moment she judged proper to come into my family, I had always conducted myself towards her Royal Highness with the respect her high station demanded; and that when she forced her secrets upon me, I had (whatsoever my sentiments were) kept them most honourably for her, never yet having even told Sir John, although I gave him my full confidence in all other things; nor had I even, under my present aggravation, imparted it, or meant;

I was at a loss to conceive what she proposed to herself by persecuting me; that I was afflicted at being so placed in the opinion of a good woman, like Mrs. Vernon, and who was free to say what she pleased upon the subject every where; that it was half as bad to be thought ill of as to deserve it; and that I would wait upon Mrs. Vernon, and detail to her a circumstantial account of every thing which had occurred since I had known her Royal Highness; and I would acquaint my busband and family with the same, and leave them, and the circle of my friends, to judge betwixt her Royal Highness and myself; that I would not lie under an imputation of having done wrong; and I took my leave of her Royal Highness for ever, only first regretting I had ever known her, and thankful to be emancipated from Montague-House, and that she owed it to me to have, at least, dismissed me in a civil manner, by her own hands." This letter her Royal Highness returned unopened; but, from its appearance, I had strong reason to believe she had read it. I was resolved, however, if she had not, she should be taught better, as she might not treat any other person so ill as she had me, and my mind was bent upon speaking to Mrs. Veruon; I was nearly certain, if I wrote to Mrs. Vernon, the Princess would make her send my letter back, and therefore I wrote Mrs. Fitzgerald nearly a copy of what I sent her Royal Highness, and called upon her, as she had been always present, to say, if she ever saw any thing in my behaviour to justify any rudeness towards me: that I was precisely what the Princess found me when the Princess walked up to her knees in snow to seek my acquaintance, and precisely the same individual whom she had thought worthy of the strongest proofs of her friendship, and whose lying-in she had attended in so particular a manner, and had thought worthy of shedding tears over; that her Royal Highness had thought proper to confide in me a secret, of very serious importance to herself; and I would not, after acting in the most honourable manner to her, be dismissed by a Lady in Waiting; and I meant to be at MontagueHouse, and have a satisfactory conversation with Mrs. Vernon; and therefore she would be so good as to acquaint her Royal Highness with the contents of my letter, or lay it before her Royal Highness. Mrs. Fitzgerald sent back a confused note, saying, she could not shew the Princess my letter, unless she was called upon; and when she opened it her disappointment was great, for she expected to have found respectful inquiries after her Royal that after such generous conduct on my part, Highness's finger (which was hurt when she

thinks my conduct authorizes her to tell him off, and that she is my only true and integer friend. Such is the spirit of this foreigner, which would have disgraced a house-maid to have written, and it encloses a fabricated anonymous letter, which she pretends to have received, and upon which she built her doubts and disapprobation of me, as it advises ber not to trust me, for that I am indiscreet, and tell every body that the child she took from Deptford, was her own.

went to see Mr. Canning), and that I might, tunity of * freely with his Majesty, and she make my mind easy, as Ladies in Waiting never repeated any thing; and she was astonished I had thrown out such a hint. A day or two after, a note was sent to Sir John, as if nothing had happened, requesting him to go to Montague-House. The servant who brought it drove Mrs. Vernon from Blackheath home to her own house in town, and I have no doubt it will be found (if inquiry is made) that Mrs. Vernon was put prematurely out of her waiting, lest I should explain with her. Sir John obeyed her Royal Highness's summons, and she received him in the most gracious pleasanttles, manuer, taking as much pains to please and flatter him now as she had formerly done by me, and began a conversation with him rela-ing. tive to a General Innes, of the Marines, whom the Admiralty thought proper, with many others, to put upon the retired list; she expressed an ardent desire to get that officer reinstated, and consulted Sir John, as belonging to the same corps, how she could accomplish such an undertaking. Sir John listened to her attentively, and made her short and very polite answers, acquainting her no such thing was ever done. She said she must speak to Lord Melville about it, as it was a hard case. The luncheon was then announced, and she ordered Sir John to attend herself and the ladies. Sir John found Mrs. Vernon was sent off, and a lady was there whom he did not know, but thought was Lady Carnarvon. When they were all seated Sir Jobu remained on his legs, and she looked anxiously at him, and said, "My dear Sir John, sit dowu and eat." He bowed, with a distant respect, and said, he could not eat; that he was desirous of returning to town; and if her Royal Highness had no further | business with him, he would beg leave to go. The Princess looked quite disconcerted, and said, "What, not eat any thing, not sit down; pray take a glass of wine then." He bowed again as before, and repeated that he could neither eat nor drink. "Well then," she said, 66 come again soon, my dear Sir John; always glad to see you.” Sir John made no reply, bowed, and left the room. I now received, by the twopenny post, a long anonymous letter, written by this restless mischievous person, the Princess of Wales,in which, in language which any one who had ever heard her speak would have known to be hers, she called me all kind of names, impudent, silly, wretched, ungrate ful, and illiteral (meaning illiterate), she tells me to take that, and it will mend my ill temper, &c. &c. &c. and says, she is a person high in this government, and has often an oppor

The whole construction of both these episfrom beginning to end, are evidently that of a foreigner, and a very ignorant one, and the vulgarity of it is altogether quite shock

In one part she exclaims that she did not think I should have had the impudence to come on her door again, and tells me 'tis for my being indiscreet, and not having allowed her to call me a liar, that she treats me thus, and that I should do well to remember the story of Henry the Eighth's Queen, and Lady Douglas. I was instantly satisfied it was from her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, and that Mrs. Fitzgerald had shewn her my letter, and this was her answer to it. I immediately carried it to Sir John Douglas, who said he was sure it came from the Prin cess, and he shewed it to Sir Sidney Smith, who said, "every word and expression in it were those which the Princess of Wales constantly used." Sir John desired me now te give him a full explanation of what her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales had confided to me, and whether I had ever mentioned it. I gave him my solemn word of honour it had never passed my lips, and I was now only going to utter it at his positive desire. That her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales told me she was with child,, and that it came to life at Lady Willoughby's; that if she was discovered, she would give the Prince of Wales the credit, for she slept at Carlton House twice the year she was pregnant; that she often spoke of her situation, compared herself and me to Mary and Elizabeth, and told me when she shewed me the child, that it was the little boy she had two days after I last saw her, that was the 30th of October; therefore her son was born upon the 1st of November, and I took a retrospect view of things after I knew the day of his birth, and her Royal Highness must have gone down stairs and dined with all the Chancellors about the fourth day after she was delivered, with the intention, if she

* So in the authenticated copy; some word seems omitted.

was discovered, of having them all to say they
dined with her in perfect health so early in
November, that it could not be. Sir John re-
collected all her whims, and went over her
whole conduct, and he firmly believes her to be
the mother of the reputed Deptford child. I then
acquainted him of the pains she had taken to
estrange my mind and affections from him,
and he saw her pursuit of now changing sides,
and endeavouring to estrange him from me,
lest, if we lived in a happy state, I might make
known her situation to him; and we agreed,
that as we had no means of communicating
at present with his Majesty, or the Heir
Apparent, we must wait patiently until called
upon to bring forward her conduct, as there
seemed little doubt we should one day be.
Finding that Sir John Douglas did not choose
to visit where his wife was discarded and hurt
in the estimation of her acquaintance, her
fury became so unbounded, that she sought
what she could do most atrocious, wicked,
and inhuman, she reached her
would seem, and the result was, she made two
drawings with a pen and ink, and sent them
to us by the twopenny post, representing me
as having disgraced myself with his old
friend Sir Sidney Smith. They are of the most
indecent nature, drawn with her own hand,
and words upon them in her own hand writ-
ing. Sir John, Sir Sidney, and myself, can all
swear point blank without a moment's hesita-
and if her Royal Highness is a subject,
and amenable to the laws of this country (and
I conceive her to be so) she ought to be tried
and judged by those laws for doing thus, to
throw firebrands into the bosom of a quiet
family. My husband, with that cool good
sense which has ever marked his character,
and with a belief in my innocence, which
nothing but facts can stagger (for it is found-
ed upon my having been faithful to him for
nine years before we were married, and seven
years since), as well as his long acquaintance
with Sir Sidney Smith's character and dispo-
sition, and having seen the Princess of
Wales's loose and vicious character, put the
letters in his pocket, and went instantly to Sir
Sidney Smith. Sir Sidney was as much asto-
nished as we had been. Sir John then told
him, he put the question to him, and ex-
pected an answer such as an officer and a
gentleman ought to give to his friend: Sir
Sidney Smith gave Sir John his hand, as his
old friend and companion, and assured him in
the most solemn manner, as an officer and
gentleman, that the whole was the most
audacious and wicked calumny; and he would
swear to its being the hand-writing of the
Princess of Wales; and that he believed Lady

Douglas to be the same virtuous domestic wo-
man he thought her, when Sir John first made
him known to her. Sir Sidney added, "I never
said a word to your wife, but what you might
have heard; and had I been so base as to
attempt any thing of the kind under your
́roof, I should deserve for you to shoot me like
a mad dog. I am ready to go with Lady
Douglas and yourself, and let us ask her what
she means by it; confront her." Accordingly,
Sir John wrote a note to the lady in waiting,
which was to this effect:-" Sir John and Lady
Douglas, and Sir Sidney Smith, present their
compliments to the lady in waiting, and re-
quest she will have the goodness to say to her
Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, that
they are desirous of having an audience of her
Royal Highness immediately." We received
no answer to this note; but, in a few days, an
auswer was sent to Sir Sidney Smith, stating,
that her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales
was much indisposed, and could not see any
one at present. This was directed to Sir
Sidney Smith, at our house, although he did
not live there. This was an acknowledgment
of her guilt she could not face us; it was
satisfactory to us all, for it said-1 am the
author, let me 'off; but to make one's satis.
faction upon this the more perfect, and to
warn her of the danger she runs of discovery,
when she did such flagrant things, I wrote the
under-written note, and put it into the Post
Office, directed to herself:-

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"MADAM,-I received your former anonymous letter safe; also your two last, with drawings. I am, Madam, your obedient servant, CHARLOTTE DOUGLAS."

It appears evident that her Royal Highness received this safe, and felt how she had committed herself, for, instead of returning it in the old style, she sent for his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, and requested him to send for Sir Sidney, and by the post Sir Sidney received an anonymous letter, saying, the writer of that wished for no civil dissentions, and that there seldom was a difference, where, if the parties wished it, they could not arrange matters. Sir Sidney Smith brought this curious letter to shew Sir John, and we were all satisfied it was from her Royal Highness; who, thinking Sir Sidney and Sir John might, by this time, be cutting each other's throats, sent very graciously to stop them; in short, she called them civil dissentions. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, being employed to negociate, sent for Sir Sidney Smith, and acquainted him, that he was desired by her Royal Highness to say, that she would see Sir Sidney Smith in the course of a few days,

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