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as he deserves to be. But he will return to England, be again thrown into the clique, which political differences keep apart from that of their opponents, become as cold and distant as formerly; and people will exclaim at his want of cordiality, and draw back from what they consider to be his haughty reserve.'
The Blessingtons remained in Pisa till the latter part of June, 1827. We find them again in Florence, from July to the November following:
At Florence, in 1826 and 1827, Lady Blessington was acquainted with Demidoff, “ the Russian Cræsus," with Lord Dillon, the author of an epic poem, “Eccelino, the Tyrant of Padua,” a production more complacently read aloud by his lordship on various occasions, than often patiently listened to by his hearers ; the Prince Borghese, a “noble Roman," remarkable for his obesity, the number and size of his gold rings, and the circumstance of his being the husband of the sister of Napoleon—" La petite et Mignonne Pauline;" Lamartine, “ very good-looking and distinguished in his appearance, who dressed so perfectly like a gentleman, that one never would suspect him to be a poet ;" Comte Alexandre de la Borde, and his son M. Leon de la Borde; Mr. Jerningham, the son of Lord Stafford ; Henry Anson, “a fine young man, on his way to the East” (and never destined to return from it); Mr. Strangways, in the absence of Lord Burghersh, officiating as Chargé d'Affaires ; Mr. Francis Hare, gay, clever, and amusing;” and, in May, 1827, Walter Savage Landor, “one of the most remarkable writers of his day, as well as one of the most remarkable and original of men." This was the first time of meeting with Mr. Landor, and during the sojourn of the Blessingtons in Florence, there were few days they did not see him. The strongest attachment that comes within the legitimate limits and bonds of
• The very
literary friendships, was soon formed between Lady Blessington and the celebrated author of “ Imaginary Conversations.”
In the Athenæum of the 17th of February, 1855, Mr. Landor makes the following reference to his first acquaintance with Lady Blessington: “I will now state my first acquaintance with her Ladyship. Residing in the Palazzo Medici at Florence, the quinsey, my annual visitant for fifty seasons, confined me to my room.
At that time my old friend, Francis Hare, who had been at Pisa on a visit to Lord and Lady Blessington, said at breakfast that he must return instantly to Florence. Lord and Lady B. joked with him on so sudden a move, and insisted on knowing the true reason for it. When he mentioned my name and my sickness, Lord Blessington said, “You don't mean Walter Landor!' man,' replied Hare. His Lordship rang the bell, and ordered his horses to be put instantly to his carriage. He had gone to Pisa for his health, and had rented a house on a term of six months, of which only four had expired. The next morning my servant entered my inner drawing-room, where I was lying on a sofa, and announced Lord Blessington. I said I knew no such person. He immediately entered, and said, 'Come, come, Landor! I never thought you would refuse to see an old friend. If you don't know Blessington, you may remernber Mountjoy.' Twenty years before, when Lord Mountjoy was under the tuition of Dr. Randolph, he was always at the parties of Lady Belnuore, at whose house I visited, more particularly when there were few besides her own family. I should not have remembered Lord Mountjoy. In those days he was somewhat fat for so young a man; he had now become emaciated. In a few days he brought his lady 'to see me and make me well again. They remained at
' Florence all that year, and nearly all the next. In the spring and until the end of autumn, I went every evening from my villa and spent it in their society. Among the celebrities I
met there was Pocrio, and, for several weeks, the Count di Camaldoli, who had been Prime Minister of Naples, the Duke de Richelieu too, and D’Orsay's sister, the Duchess de Guiche, beside a few of the distinguished Florentines.
When I returned to England, soon after Lord Blessington's death, my first visit was to the Countess. Never was man treated with more cordiality. Her parties contained more of remarkable personages than ever were assembled in any other house, excepting, perhaps, Madame de Stäel's. In the month of the coronation, more men illustrious in rank, in genius, and in science, met at Gore House, either at dinner or after, than ever were assembled in any palace.”
Hallam, the historian, the young Lord Lifford, “ formed for tne dolce far niente of Italian life,” with his imploring expression of-Laissez moi tranquille-in his good-natured face, were then likewise residing at Florence ; and Lord and Lady Normanby also were sojourning there in 1827. Lord Normanby was a frequent visitor at the Blessingtons. His taste for theatricals was quite in unison with Lord Blessington's, while his taste for literature, his polished and fascinating manners, his desire to please, and disposition to oblige, and most agreeable conversation, furnished peculiar attractions for Lady Blessington. Lord Normanby was then thirty years of age, in the incipient stage of fashionable authorship, beginning to write novels, in the habit of contributing to albums, ambitious of politics, and exhibiting his turn for them by occasional prose articles for reviews and magazines.
The Blessingtons, though they had retraced their steps towards the North, were now veering between Florence, Genoa, and Pisa, and seem to have seldom turned their thoughts homewards. St. James's Square was beginning to disappear from their recollections. Those connected with Lord Blessington by the ties of blood, residing in his own country, were
seldom thought of; new scenes and new acquaintances appear to have taken fast hold of his tastes and feelings.
When Lord Blessington quitted England, in September, 1822, he had four children ; his eldest son, Charles John Gardiner, born in Portman Square, London, the 3rd of February, 1810, was then twelve
age. His eldest daughter, Emily Rosalie Hamilton, commonly called Lady Mary Gardiner, born in Manchester Square, the 24th June, 1811, was then (in 1822) eleven years of age. His legitimate daughter, the Hon. Harriet Anne Jane Frances, commonly called Lady Harriet Gardiner, born in Seymour Place, the 5th of August, 1812, was then ten years of age: and his legitimate son, the Hon. Luke Gardiner, commonly called Lord Mountjoy, born in 1813, was then nine years of age. The eldest son, Charles John Gardiner, had been placed at school ; the two daughters, and the young Lord Mountjoy, had been left under the care of Lady Harriet Gardiner, the sister of Lord Blessington, who was then residing in Dublin, at the house of the Bishop of Ossory, the brother-in-law of Lord Blessington, in Merrion Square South.
The Dowager Lady Mountjoy (the second wife of the first Lord Mountjoy) was then also living in Dublin.*
The 6th of April, 1823, Lady Blessington mentions in her diary at Genoa, the news having just reached Lord Blessington, by courier from London, of the death of his son and heir, the young Lord Mountjoy, on the 26th of March preceding
The boy was only in his tenth year. He was the only legitimate son of Lord Blessington, and by his death his Lordship was enabled to make a disposition of his property, of a very strange nature—a disposition of it, which it is impossible to speak of in any terms except those of reprehension, and of astonishment at the fatuity manifested in the arrangements made by his Lordship--and in the contemplated disposal of a daughter's hand without reference to her inclinations or wishes, or the feelings of any member of her family.
* In August, 1839, the Right Hon. Margaret Viscountess Mountjos died in Dublin, at an advanced age. She was the second wife of the Right Hon. Luke Gardiner, Lord Viscount Mountjoy, father of the late Earl of Blessington, by a former marriage. She married Viscount Mountjoy in 1793, and became a widow in 1798.
She resided chiefly in Dublin for many years previous to her decease.
Within a period of three months from the time of the death of his only son, on the 22nd of June, 1823, Lord Blessington signed a document purporting to be a codicil to a former will; making a disposition of his property, and a disposal of the happiness of one or other of his then two living daughters—an arrangement at once imprudent, unnatural, and wanting in all the consideration that ought to have been expected at the hand of a father for the children of a deceased
a wife. Partial insanity might explain the anomalies that present themselves in the course taken by Lord Blessington in regard to those children ; and my firm conviction is, that at the period in question, when this will was made, Lord Blessington could not be said to be in a state of perfect sanity of mind; but, on the contrary, was labouring under a particular kind of insanity, manifested by an infatuation, and infirmity of mind in his conduct with respect to his family affairs, though quite sane on every other subject —which unfitted him to dispose of his children at that juncture, and had assumed a more decided appearance of monomania after that disposal was made.
At Genoa, June the 22nd, 1823, Lord Blessington made a codicil to his will, wherein it is set forth that General Albert D'Orsay (the father of the Count Alfred) bad given his consent to the union of his son with a daughter of his Lordship. But it is evident, from the terms of this docu