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the peccadillos of their own contemporaries, to vent all their moral indignation upon those of mine.
Old Mr. L--ne* was announced : poor man, what did he get by his attendance on royalty ? the ill will of all parties. He knows many things which, if told, would set London on fire. Soon after his entrance, Lady M-C-- arose, and, kicking her train behind her, backed out of the room in capital style. How the heart dilates or closes in the presence of different persons ! It must surely be very unwholesome to be with those in whose society the latter is the case.
Went to Kensington-a great ball-every body of the highest fashion-Dukes of Portland and Beaufort, Earl Harrowby,t &c., &c. As I always wished the royal hostess well, I was glad to observe that the company then frequenting the palace were of the best. I sat down by some old friends, and felt that to be near them was a comfort, surrounded as I was by persons for whom I cared not, and who cared not for me ; but the Princess beckoned to me, and taking my arm, leant upon it, parading me around the apartments. The inner room was set out with refreshments, and a profusion of gold plate ; which, by the way, in after times I never saw. Was it taken away, or was it otherwise disposed of? Sofas were placed around the tables, and the whole thing was well managed.
* If these initials designate Mr. Livingstone, the tutor of some of the Princes, he was a good dull man, not likely to be intrusted with state secrets.
+ These noblemen and their wives continued to visit Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales till the King was de. clared too ill to reign, and the Prince became in fact Regent ; then those ladies disappeared that moment from Kensington, and were never seen there more. It was the besom of expediency, which swept them all away.
Her Royal Highness wished the company to come into this banquetting room; but, either out of respect, and not knowing whether they ought to do so or not, or because they preferred the outer room, no one would come in, except Lady 0-d, Lord H. Fitzgerald, and Lord G-r, who was forcibly seized upon by Lady 0-d. Altogether, in my quality of looker-on, I could not but think that lady was no honour to society ; and it was only surprising to remark in her instance, as well as in that of many others, how well impudence succeeds, even with the mild and the noble, who are often subdued by its arrogant assumption of command.
The Princess complained of the weight of some
jewels she wore in her head, and said they gave her the head-ache ; then, turning to a person
who was evidently a favourite, asked, May I not take them off now that the first parade is over ?” He replied in his own doucereux voice, Royal Highness is the best judge ; but, now that you have shown off the magnificence of the ornament, I think it would be cruel that
should condemn yourself to suffer by wearing it longer. In my opinion, you will be just as handsome without it.”
I was convinced, from the manner in which these words were spoken, that that man loved her. Poor soul ! of all those on whom she conferred benefits, I think he was the only man or woman who could be said to have loved her,and he ought not to have done so.
I dined again at Kensington. There were assembled a company of the very first persons of the realm. I was glad to see that what had been told me of low company was not true.
Wednesday, 9th, 1810.- This day, I found Her Royal Highness sitting for her picture. She received me with her usual graciousness of manner, and desired me to “ come and sit,” her phrase for feeling comfortable and at one's ease. She informed me that Mr. S-, the painter engaged upon the picture, was only altering the costume of a portrait taken many years back; which, she said, was by no means doing his talent justice. Certainly the picture was frightful, and I have often regretted that I never saw a tolerable likeness painted of her. Although during the last years of her life she was bloated and disfigured by sorrow, and by the life she led, the Princess was in her early youth a pretty woman; fine light hair-very delicately formed features, and a fine complexion-quick, glancing, penetrating eyes, long cut and rather sunk in the head, which gave them much expressionand a remarkably delicately formed mouth. But her head was always too large for her body, and her neck too short; and, latterly, her whole figure was like a ball, and her countenance became hardened, and an expression of defiance and boldness took possession of it, that was very unpleasant. Nevertheless, when she chose to assume it, she had a very noble air, and I have seen her on more than one occasion put on a dig.nified carriage, which became her much more than the affectation of girlishness which she
To-day, I received the following letter from my friend “ Matt Lewis :'*
“ The only news which is likely to be very interesting to you is, that I have got a violent cold; and that, too, can scarcely be called news, for I have now had it about a week. Perhaps you may think this a subject of much interest to myself, but of very little to you ; but I can assure you that you are likely to feel the bad effects of it, for it makes me so cross and so stupid, that you must not expect to find in this letter the slightest scrap of good nature or the faintest spark of entertainment. Since
left town, I have been to Brocket
* Matt Lewis, known to the public as “ Monk Lewis.” He was one of the most original characters I ever knew; he possessed generous and noble feelings, and talents of a very high description ; but the whole was marred by conceit, which frequently rendered him ridiculous: nevertheless, his friends, who profited by his good qualities, and enjoyed the amusement which no one could at times better supply to society than himself, will not like to see even this shade thrown upon his character.