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Count D'Orsay, was purchased for £189, for the Marquis of Hertford. *
Landseer's celebrated picture of a spaniel sold for £150 10s. Landseer's sketch of Miss Power was sold for £57 10s. Lawrence's pictures of Mrs. Inchbald were sold for £48 6s.
The following letter from the French valet of Lady Blessington, giving an account of the sale at Gore House, contains some passages for those who make a study of human nature, of some interest:
“ Gore House, Kensington,
May 8th, 1849. “ My LADY,
“ J'ai reçu votre lettre hier, et je me serais empressé d'y repondre le même jour, mais j'ai eté si occupé etant le premier de la vente qu'il m'a eté impossible de le faire. J'ai vu Mr. P-- dans l'après midi. Il avait un commis ici pour prendre le prix des differents objets vendu le 7 Mai, et que vous avez sans doute recu maintenant, au dire des gens qui ont assisté a la vente. Les choses se sont vendus avantageusement, et je dois ajouter que Mr. Phillips n'a rien negligé pour rendre la vente interessante a toute la noblesse d'ici.
“ Lord Hertford a acheté plusieurs choses, et ce n'est que dimanche dernier fort tard dans l'après midi, qu'il est venu voir la maison, en un mot je pense sans exageration, que le nombre de personnes qui sont venus a la maison pendant les 5 jours quelle a eté en vue, que plus de 20,000 personnes y sont entrées une tres grande quantité de Catalogues ont eté vendu, et nous en vendons encore tous les jours, car vous le savez, personnes n'est admis sans cela. Plusieurs des personnes qui frequentent la maison sout venus les deux premiers jours.
* This picture was D'Orsay's chef-d'oeuvre. The Duke, I was in. formed by the Count, spoke of this portrait as the one he would wish to be remembered by in future years. He used frequently, when it was in progress, to come of a morning, in full dress, to Gore House, to give the artist a sitting. If there was a crease or a fold in any part of the dress which he did not like, he would insist on its being altered. To use D'Orsay's words, the Duke was so hard to be pleased, it was most difficult to make a good po ait of him. When he consented to have any thing done for him, he would have it done in the best way possible.
“ Je vous parle de cela my Lady parceque j'ai su que Mr. Dick avait dit a un de ses amis dans le salon qu'il y avait dans la maison une quantité d'articles envoyé par Mr. Phillips, et comme j'etais certain du contraire, je me suis addressé a Mr. Guthrie, qui etait en ce moment dans le salon, et qui lui meme s'en est plaint a Mr. Dick. Il a nié le fait, mais depuis j'ai acquit la certitude qu'il avait avancé ce que je viens de vous dire. Je n'ai pas hesité a parler tres haut dans le salon, persuadé que je désabuserait la foule qui s'y trouvait.
“ Le Dr. Quin est venu plusieurs fois et a paru prendre le plus grande interet a ce qui se passait ici. M. Thackeray est venu aussi, et avait les larmes aux yeux en partant. C'est peut etre la seule personne que jai vu réellement affectè en votre départ.
“ J'ai l'honneur d'etre, My Lady,
“ F. Avillon."
One of Lady Blessingtou's most intimate friends, in a note to her Ladyship, dated May 19, 1849, (after the break-up at Gore House, and departure from London), writes, “I have not been without an instinct or an impression for some time, that you were disturbed by those pre-occupying anxieties which make the presence of casual visitors irksome.
“ But now that the change is once made, may it yield you all that I hope it will. I trust now, that what there is of pain, will remain for those who lose you. You cannot but be enlivened by those new objects and scenes of your new place of abode, turbulent as it is. When that charm is done, you will come back to us again. Meanwhile what a time to be looking forward to! One becomes absolutely sick, wondering what is to be the end of it all. I could fill books with tales which one new courier after another brings of dismay and misery, and of breaking-up abroad."
On the same sad subject came two letters, worthy of the kind and noble-hearted person who wrote them.
From Mrs. T
“ Chesham Place, Friday, April, 1849.
« MY DEAREST
“ Is it true that you are going to Paris ? If so, I hope I shall see you before you go, for it would grieve me very much not to bid you good-bye by word of mouth, for who can tell when we may meet again ! Dearest I hardly like to say it, because you may think it intrusive, but M— told me some time ago that you were in difficulties, owing to the Irish estates not paying, and told me to-day, that a rumour had reached her to this effect. If it be true, I need not say how it grieves me. You have so often come forward in our poor dearest mother's difficulties, so often befriended her, and us through her, that it goes to my heart to think you are harassed as she was, and that I am so poor that I cannot act the same generous part you did by her. But, dearest
I am at this moment in communication with Mr. P-through another lawyer, on the subject of the money left me by my mother, Dearest do not be offended with me, but in case I receive my money (£1600) down, do make use of me. Remember I am your own, and believe me, I am not ungrateful, but love you dearly, and cannot bear to think of your being in trouble. I am offering what, alas ! Mr. P. may create a difficulty about, but I trust he will not, and that you will not be angry or mistrust me, and consider me intrusive. Probably there is no truth in the rumour. If so, forget that I have ever seemed intrusive, and only rest assured of my affection. May God bless you, my dearest
“ Ever your most affectionate
From Mrs. T
“ April 28, 1849.1 " I was very glad to receive your affectionate note, my dearest and to know you are not offended with mine to you. I wrote to you from my heart, and one is seldom misinterpreted at those times. Whilst I live, dearest I shall have a heart to care for you, and feel a warm interest in your happiness; you must never let any thing create a doubt of this. Will you promise me this?
“ I doubt not you will be happier in Paris. It saddens me, however, to feel that, perhaps, we shall never meet again ; and I am very, very sorry not to have seen you, and bade you at least good-bye. "I cannot say how much I have thought of you, and felt for
breaking up your old house. I know how poor dearest mamma felt it, when such was her lot; and you resemble each other in so many things. Every one says you have acted most admirably, in not any longer continuing to run the chance of not receiving your annuity duly, but selling off, so as to pay all you owe, and injure no one. I think there is some little comfort in feeling that good acts are appreciated, so I tell you
this. I am half ashamed of my little paltry offer. Dearest --, I am so glad you were not affronted with me, for I know you would have done the same over and over again for me; but then you always confer, and never accept; and I have much to thank
you for, as well as my sisters, for you have been a most unselfish friend to each and all of us.
“ I should so like to know what is become of poor old Comte S- I wrote to him at the beginning of the year, but have never had an answer. If
you meet him, do be kind to him, poor old man, in spite of his deafness and blindness, which make him neglected by others, for he is a very old friend of ours, and I feel an interest in the poor old man, knowing so many good and kind acts of his.
Lady Blessington and the two Miss Powers left Gore House on the 14th of April, 1849, for Paris. Count D'Orsay had set out for Paris a fortnight previously.
For nineteen years Lady Blessington had maintained a position almost queenlike in the world of intellectual distinction, in fashionable literary society, reigning over the best circles of London celebrities; and reckoning among her admiring friends, and the frequenters of her salons, the most eminent men in England, in every walk of literature, art, and science, in statesmanship, in the military profession, and every learned pursuit. For nineteen years she had maintained establishments in London seldom surpassed, and still more rarely equalled, in all the appliances to a state of society, brilliant in the highest degree, but, alas ! it must be acknowledged at the same time, a state of splendid misery, for a great portion of that time, to the mistress of those elegant and luxurious establishments.
And now, at the expiration of those nineteen years, we find her forced to abandon that position, to relinquish all those elegancies and luxuries by which she had been so long surrounded, to leave her magnificent abode, and all the cherished works of art and precious objects in it, to become the property of strangers, and, in fact, to make a departure from the scene of all her former triumphs, which it is in vain to deny, was a flight effected with privacy, most painful and humiliating to this poor lady to be compelled to have recourse to.
Lady Blessington began her literary career in London, in 1822, with a small work, in one vol. 8vo., entitled, “ Sketches of Scenes in the Metropolis.” It commences with the account of the ruin of a large establishment in one of the fashionable squares of the metropolis, and of an auction in the house of the late proprietor, a person of quality, the sale of all the magnificent furniture and effects, costly ornaments, precious objects of art, and valuable pictures.